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Europe's Refugee Crisis, Palin's Gaffe, Super Stonehenge

Europe's Refugee Crisis, Palin's Gaffe, Super Stonehenge


Photo: Ray Tang/Rex Shutterstock/ZUMA

The Austrian government has warned it could close its border to undocumented refugees after some 15,000 crossed the border from Hungary to Austria this weekend alone, Wiener Zeitung reports. But in neighboring Germany, the government has dedicated an extra 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) to cope with the unprecedented influx of refugees, Deutsche Welle reports. Munich police estimated that 20,000 asylum seekers reached the Bavarian city over the weekend. They were welcomed at the train station by hundreds of Germans. According toSüddeutsche Zeitung, 10,000 more could arrive today.

  • There are now doubts about the origin of some refugees after German police seized packages Friday that contained fake Syrian passports to be sold to migrants. The EU's border agency Frontex had warned before that smugglers had been selling fake Syrian documents in Turkey. Forged Syrian identities would give non-Syrians automatic eligibility for refugee status.
  • In his Sunday sermon, Pope Francis urged religious communities across Europe to take in refugee families, which he said would be a "concrete act of preparation" for the Jubilee Year of Mercy starting in December. The pontiff announced that two families will be offered shelter at the Vatican.
  • The United States, meanwhile, came under pressure from David Miliband, the head of the International Rescue Committee, to help Europe deal with the crisis.
  • Pressed by his opposition, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls for his country to take in refugees, arguing that Israel is "a very small country, with neither demographic or geographic depth." Instead, he said work to erect an 18-mile fence on the border with Jordan would begin immediately, The Jerusalem Post reports.
  • Read more about what's next for Austria's refugees in our Extra! feature.


"When you're here, let's speak American." That's Sarah Palin's call to immigrants who want to live in the United States. The debate was sparked by the fact that Republican candidate Jeb Bush recently answered a question in Spanish.


French President François Hollande has announced plans to expand French participation in the anti-ISIS coalition by launching reconnaissance flights over Syria starting tomorrow in preparation for an airstrikes campaign, Le Figaro reports. The French government has been actively supporting "moderate" rebels since the beginning of the Syrian war, and has also repeatedly called for President Bashar al-Assad to go. Hollande recently said that Assad's "neutralization" was a pre-condition for peace. This comes amid signs that the U.S. and Russia, the latter an Assad supporter, could soon be fighting on opposite sides in Syrian skies.


The first Miss America pageant was held 94 years ago today. That and more in today's shot of history.


It's not just the economics of the media that's putting traditional news photographers out of business. It's our troubled relationship with images themselves, Michel Guerrin writes for Le Monde. "Photojournalist used to be a well-established occupation," he writes. "You don't hear about it now. ‘We've become invisible,' says Christian Ducasse, of the French Union of Professional Photographers. In France, 36,000 people currently hold a press card, of which only 800 are photographers. And yet, there are still as many photographs in the media. The difference of course is that they now come from all over."

Read the full article, The Inevitable Death Of Professional Photojournalism.


Israel is planning to destroy 17,000 Palestinian buildings, constructed without permits, in the occupied West Bank, plunging poor families into a "state of chronic uncertainty," a UN report says.


Jimmy Morales, a TV comedian-turned-politician, appears to be the clear leader of Guatemala's presidential vote yesterday, with Prensa Libre putting him at almost 26%. Early results suggest he will face center-right businessman and longtime politician Manuel Baldizon in a runoff to be held Oct. 25. The vote comes after a difficult week for Guatemalan democracy, which saw President Otto Pérez Molina resign and arrested over corruption charges.



An independent investigation by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights into the disappearance of 43 Mexican students nearly a year ago has rejected the government's findings, El Universal reports. According to the international experts, there's no evidence to support the government's claim that the students' bodies were burned beyond recognition at a landfill, which the families had also dismissed. While the report stops short of saying what exactly happened on Sept. 26, 2014, it presents several possible explanations, including the theory that the group of students, who were joining a mass demonstration, may have interfered with a drug shipment in which high-ranking officials were involved. The parents of the missing students have asked President Enrique Peña Nieto for an interview and called for a national demonstration.


Archaeologists have found a larger version of the prehistoric Stonehenge monument just one mile away, which they believe could have been buried as part of a religious revolution. Read more from The Independent.

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Joshimath, The Sinking Indian City Has Also Become A Hotbed Of Government Censorship

The Indian authorities' decision to hide factual reports on the land subsidence in Joshimath only furthers a sense of paranoia.

Photo of people standing next to a cracked road in Joshimath, India

Cracked road in Joshimath

@IndianCongressO via Twitter
Rohan Banerjee*

MUMBAI — Midway through the movie Don’t Look Up (2021), the outspoken PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is bundled into a car, a bag over her head. The White House, we are told, wants her “off the grid”. She is taken to a warehouse – the sort of place where CIA and FBI agents seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Hollywood movies – and charged with violating national security secrets.

The Hobson’s choice offered to her is to either face prosecution or suspend “all public media appearances and incendiary language relating to Comet Dibiasky”, an interstellar object on a collision course with earth. Exasperated, she acquiesces to the gag order.

Don’t Look Upis a satirical take on the collective apathy towards climate change; only, the slow burn of fossil fuel is replaced by the more imminent threat of a comet crashing into our planet. As a couple of scientists try to warn humanity about its potential extinction, they discover a media, an administration, and indeed, a society that is not just unwilling to face the truth but would even deny it.

This premise and the caricatured characters border on the farcical, with plot devices designed to produce absurd scenarios that would be inconceivable in the real world we inhabit. After all, would any government dealing with a natural disaster, issue an edict prohibiting researchers and scientists from talking about the event? Surely not. Right?

On January 11, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), issued a preliminary report on the land subsidence issue occurring in Joshimath, the mountainside city in the Himalayas.

The word ‘subsidence’ entered the public lexicon at the turn of the year as disturbing images of cracked roads and tilted buildings began to emanate from Joshimath.

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