Greek Cash Withdrawals, MERS In Thailand, Obama Slip
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FAMILIES MOURN AFTER CHURCH SHOOTING

Photo: Curtis Compton/ZUMA

Mourners in Charleston, S.C., flooded the town's churches yesterday while prayers were held across the country in memory of the nine people killed at the Emanuel AME Church Wednesday night. Photos onThe Post And Courier's website show tearful people praying in front of the church, as mourners bring flowers to honor the victims.

  • President Barack Obama renewed calls for tougher gun laws, saying the massacre happened "because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun."
  • Federal authorities are investigating the shooting as a hate crime. Killer Dylann Roof's past suggests his support for white supremacist ideas, and the 21-year-old has a history of drug use, The Washington Post reports.

GREECE SEES MASSIVE CASH WITHDRAWALS

The Greek economy is degenerating by the day, with reports that citizens withdrew more than 1 billion eurosfrom their banks yesterday alone, and more than 2 billion euros over the past three days, Reuters reports. Capital flight has been ongoing for months but has dramatically picked up pace amid failure to reach a deal to avoid Greece defaulting on its debt and to spare the poor more austerity measures. Talks in Luxembourg ended yesterday without agreement and with IMF chief Christine Lagarde saying that negotiations required "adults in the room." A new "last chance meeting" is planned for Monday. Read more from E Kathimerini.


13%

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index has had its worst week since 2008, dropped by 13% today, fueling fears that a bubble may be about to burst.


SAUDI ARABIA-RUSSIA SIGN NUCLEAR DEAL

Oil giants Saudi Arabia and Russia signed a series of energy agreements in Saint Petersburg yesterday, including "the peaceful use of nuclear technology," the Saudi-owned pan-Arab news channel Al Arabiyareports. The agreed legal framework might include the development of nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia, the RT reports. Meanwhile, the Gulf monarchy is trying to secure Moscow's backing in its war against Yemen's Houthi rebels, with the Saudi ambassador to Russia highlighting Moscow's "important" role in "maintaining stability and security in the world."


ON THIS DAY


Americans Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed 62 years ago today for treason after spying for the Soviet Union and passing on atomic secrets. Time foryour 57-second shot of history.


MILITANTS SAY BELMOKHTAR NOT DEAD

Islamist group al-Mourabitoun has denied reports from the exiled Libyan government that its leader, the infamous Mokhtar Belmokhtar, was killed in a U.S. airstrike last weekend. According to The New York Times, al-Qaeda's north African branch also released a statement denying Belmokhtar had been killed, saying he was "still alive and kicking and wandering the land of God." If true, the claims would mean that the man behind the deadly 2013 gas plant attack in Algeria has once again cheated death.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

In Bijie, an impoverished rural area of Guizhou Province, children are dying, some in ghastly accidents, some by their own hand. "It's as if the place is cursed," Song Shinan reports for Caixin. "There is a Chinese nursery rhyme called ‘Our Motherland is a Garden.' For the left-behind children of Bijie, home is a wasteland, a place where they can be suffocated, crushed by vehicles, raped, or even kill themselves because they can no longer bear the loneliness and poverty."

Read the full article, China, Where The ‛Left-Behind Children‛ Turn To Suicide.


MERS SPREADS TO THAILAND

Thailand announced its first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the virus that has already killed 24 people in South Korea. The patient is a 75-year-old man who traveled from Oman Monday, and 59 other people are being monitored as potential carriers, The Bangkok Post reports. North Korea claimed today that it had developed a "strong immune activator" made of ginseng extracts that can prevent and cure MERS.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD



EXTRA!

"The Losers' Triumph," today's headline in the Danish tabloid BT reads. Yesterday's elections demonstrate a shift to the right in the Scandinavian country. While the Social Democratic Party of current Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt won the most seats, her center-left coalition lost to the right-wing opposition.

Read more in our Extra! feature.


VERBATIM

"Little slip of the tongue there," President Barack Obama told a laughing crowd at a Hollywood fundraiser hosted by Tyler Perry, after this Freudian slip: "We should be reforming our criminal justice system in such a way that we are not incarcerating non-violent offenders in ways that renders them incapable of getting a job after they leave office." Read more fromUSA Today.

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Geopolitics

Taliban Redux, Cleaned-Up Image Can't Mask Their Cruel Reality

Twenty years later the Islamist group is back in power in Afghanistan, but trying this time to win international support. Now that several months have passed, experts on the ground can offer a clear assessment if the group has genuinely transformed on such issues as women's rights and free speech.

The Taliban have now been in power for almost five months

Atal Ahmadzai and Faten Ghosn

The international community is closely monitoring the Taliban, after the group re-seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

There is legitimate reason for concern. The Taliban are again ruling through fear and draconian rules.

The Taliban’s last regime, in the mid-1990s, was marked by human rights violations, including massacres, mass detentions and rape. The regime collapsed on Nov. 14, 2001, shortly after the U.S. launched its global war on terrorism.

Even after the Taliban officially fell from power, their subsequent two decades of insurgency produced various gross human rights violations, an encompassing term under international human rights law.

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