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FBI Flip-Flop, Hong Kong Showdown, Hair Oddity

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

How Ukraine Keeps Getting The West To Flip On Arms Supplies

The open debate on weapon deliveries to Ukraine is highly unusual, but Kyiv has figured out how to use the public moral suasion — and patience — to repeatedly shift the question in its favor. But will it work now for fighter jets?

Photo of a sunset over the USS Nimitz with a man guiding fighter jets ready for takeoff

U.S fighter jets ready for takeoff on the USS Nimitz

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — In what other war have arms deliveries been negotiated so openly in the public sphere?

On Monday, a journalist asked Joe Biden if he plans on supplying F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. He answered “No”. A few hours later, the same question was asked to Emmanuel Macron, about French fighter jets. Macron did not rule it out.

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Visiting Paris on Tuesday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksïï Reznikov recalled that a year ago, the United States had refused him ground-air Stinger missiles deliveries. Eleven months later, Washington is delivering heavy tanks, in addition to everything else. The 'no' of yesterday is the green light of tomorrow: this is the lesson that the very pragmatic minister seemed to learn.

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