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SPOTLIGHT: A LOADED TRANSCRIPT

It's hard to recall the last time the FBI flip-flopped so quickly. The release yesterday morning of transcripts of the Orlando nightclub gunman's calls to 911 had initially withheld Omar Mateen's references to his apparent Islamist motivations for the attack that killed 49 people. Outrage was immediate. House Republican Speaker Paul Ryan called it "preposterous" that the FBI would try to shield the public from that component of the assault. Others said it was another sign that President Barack Obama, who also chose not to use the term "Islamic radicalism" after last week's attack, was failing to confront terrorism head on. By the afternoon, FBI officials had re-issued the transcript to include the moments when Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terror group, as well as his declaration in Arabic to "Allah, the Merciful."


The FBI explained its rationale for not wanting to give a cold-blooded killer a platform for his twisted ideas. We've also heard Obama's expand=1] articulate explanation for the potential consequences of alienating the vast majority of peace-loving Muslims by linking these acts in any way to Islam. But the FBI reversal is a reminder that little these days is bound to stay quiet or hidden for long. We must ultimately have faith that when we describe something, however incomplete, it is part of a larger conversation that must take place to ultimately defeat this vile attempt to hijack a religion. The religion currently facing this existential threat happens to be Islam. The conversation will sometimes be unpleasant, and sometimes misunderstood. But best to keep talking.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY



U.S. SENATE BLOCKS ALL GUN BILLS

The Senate rejected four gun control measures in the wake of the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history. The proposals, aimed at bolstering background checks for gun buyers and cutting firearm access to people with terror links, were defeated despite growing gun violence in the country.


FAKE SUICIDE BOMBER IN BRUSSELS

Belgian police have arrested a man threatening to blow himself up this morning at a shopping center in central Brussels. His fake explosive belt turned out to be made of biscuits and salt, but the alert triggered a wide-scale anti-terrorism operation in the Belgian capital, RTBF reports.


— ON THIS DAY

Happy 34 to Prince William! That, and more, on your 57-second shot of History!


ZUCKERBERG TO CONTROL FACEBOOK FOR YEARS

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will stay in control of the social media behemoth for possibly decades to come. Shareholders voted in favor of a measure that would let Zuckerberg keep a majority stake in Facebook even if the company issues more stock. And with good reason, Wired magazine notes. More than 1 billion people use Facebook on mobiles every day and the tech giant drew over $5 billion in revenue last quarter.


MISSING HONG KONG BOOKSELLERS

Hong Kong asked China whether its detention of five booksellers violated the "one-country, two systems" formula under which the former British colony returned to Chinese rule nearly two decades ago. Hong Kong's strong statement follows Saturday protests against Beijing's handling of the booksellers whose shop had published gossipy books on Chinese leaders.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

Royal Ferry — Copenhagen, 1967


JORDANIAN SOLDIERS KILLED AT SYRIA BORDER

Six Jordanian soldiers were killed and 14 others wounded after a car bomb exploded near a refugee camp at Jordan's border with Syria, The Jordan Times reports. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Now take a left on the Seine River and you've reached your destination … Soon a reality? For Swiss daily Le Temps, Julie Schüpbach investigates on the futuristic (and funny-looking) SeaBubbles, electric pods slated to transport up to four people on water: "Estimated to cost between $21,000 and $42,000, the SeaBubble is slated to transport up to four people and come with an electric recharging terminal. Investor Henri Seydoux believes the vehicle has the potential to become as widespread as car ride service Uber. Officials in Paris have expressed interest in the project. ‘Paris should be the first city to test prototypes of SeaBubbles,' Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has said."

Read the full article, Driverless "SeaBubbles" Aim To Be The Uber Of Waterways.


— MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH

HAIR ODDITY

A lock of hair that belonged to recently deceased rock icon David Bowie is expected to fetch $4,000 when it goes under the hammer at an auction in Beverly Hills next Saturday. A bargain compared to a piece of Elvis Presley's pompadour that pulled in $155,000 back in 2002.

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Geopolitics

Why The 'Perfect Storm' Of Iran's Protests May Be Unstoppable

The latest round of anti-regime protests in Iran is different than other in the 40 years of the Islamic Republic: for its universality and boldness, the level of public fury and grief, and the role of women and social media. The target is not some policy or the economy, but the regime itself.

A woman holds a lock of her hair during a London rally to protest the murder of Mahsa Amini in London

Roshanak Astaraki

-Analysis-

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran on Sept. 16, after a possible beating at a police station, has sparked outrage and mass protests in Iran and abroad. There have been demonstrations and a violent attempt to suppress them in more than 100 districts in every province of Iran.

These protests may look like others since 2017, and back even to 1999 — yet we may be facing an unprecedented turning point in Iranians' opposition to the Islamic Republic. Indeed newly installed conservative President Ibrahim Raisi could not have expected such momentum when he set off for a quick trip to New York and back for a meeting of the UN General Assembly.

For one of the mistakes of a regime that takes pride in dismissing the national traditions of Iran is to have overlooked the power of grief among our people.

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Writing contest - My pandemic story
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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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