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Greeks Stage Mass Strike, EU Arrests Jihadists, Twin Love

KURDS LAUNCH IRAQ OFFENSIVE

Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes last night, Kurdish Iraqi forces launched a major offensive today to retake the strategic northern Iraqi town of Sinjar from ISIS fighters, Al Jazeera reports. According to a statement from the Kurdish Regional Security Council, about 7,500 Peshmerga fighters aim to cut off ISIS supply lines and establish a buffer zone around the town to prevent artillery strikes in what has been called "Operation Free Sinjar." The city is located along the main highway that links Mosul and Raqqa, two ISIS bastions in Iraq and Syria. According to Reuters, Yazidi fighters are also participating in the offensive.


SYRIZA FACES MASS STRIKE

A general 24-hour strike to protest impending spending cuts and tax increases is expected to bring most of Greece to a halt today. It is the first mass strike the leftist Syriza government has faced since coming to power in January. The move was called by the main public and private sector unions, Greek daily Ekathimerinireports, with the paradoxical support of the Syriza party. Thousands are expected to march towards the Athens parliament, near where discussions for a third aid plan for Greece will be held between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and EU creditors.


VERBATIM

"Public trust can be won through correct deeds," Burmese military chief Min Aung Hlaing said in a statement today, indicating that the country's armed forces will cooperate with the new government. Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party are expected to win about 80% of the parliament seats after last weekend's first openly contested elections there in 25 years.


MASS CRACKDOWN ON EU "JIHADIST NETWORK"

Police in several European countries executed raids today targeting 17 people suspected of being connected to a "jihadist network," the BBC reports. Six suspects were detained in Italy, four in Britain, and three in Norway. Police believe some of the suspects may have traveled to Syria or Iraq. The network was allegedly planning to free its leader, who is detained in Norway.


ON THIS DAY


New York's Ellis Island, the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States for more than six decades, closed on this day in 1954, nine years after the birth of the inimitable Neil Young. That and more in today's shot of history.


ISRAELI TROOPS RAID HOSPITAL, KILL PALESTINIAN

Israeli undercover forces raided a hospital in the West Bank today, shooting and killing a Palestinian man as part of an operation to detain another man suspected of stabbing an Israeli civilian on Oct. 25, Reuters reports. A group of between 20 and 30 men entered Al Ahli Hospital in Hebron, disguised as a family and pushing another operative pretending to be in labor in a wheelchair. The man killed was reportedly the cousin of the Palestinian suspect. Video footage of the raid was released by The Jerusalem Post.


47.5 MILLION

Photo: Sotheby's

Andy Warhol's 1972 Mao, a portrait of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, sold for $47.5 million during an auction in New York Wednesday evening, Bloomberg reports. The now former owner, billionaire Steven Cohen, acquired the work in 2007 and sold it for more than 40 times its last auction price 19 years ago.


SWEDEN REVIVES STOPGAP BORDER CONTROL

Swedish authorities announced today that they will impose temporary border checks to manage the flow of refugees, the daily Dagens Nyheter reports. Swedish Interior Minister Anders Ygeman said the decision, set to last 10 days, comes as a surge of new arrivals poses a threat to public order. He said the aim was not to limit the number of asylum seekers but to have better control of the flow. With 200,000 refugees expected to reach Sweden this year, the Scandinavian country will receive more per capita than any other EU country.


BRAZIL CONSIDERS TAXING AIRBNB

Two years after hosting a costly FIFA World Cup, Brazil will once again be on the world sporting stage next summer at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. But now, with the Brazilian economy facing a deepening crisis, the government has an idea for some help from a pillar of the sharing economy: an Airbnb tax. Read more from Le Blog.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD



WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

The average age in Goretto, Italy, is 65. The one immigrant family in town recently had a baby girl, the first birth in a decade, and they're already making plans to leave, Niccolo Zancan reports for La Stampa. "Gorreto has the highest average age in Europe at 65.1: If this doesn't seem quite old enough, it's because the 94 inhabitants' combined age is brought down by the presence of a 2-year old Romanian child. In any case, it's not a record to be proud of."

Read the full article, Welcome To Gorreto, The Oldest Town In An Aging Europe.


TWICE THE HAPPINESS?

In southern India's Thrissur, two identical twin brothers were married to two identical twin sisters — by twin priests — and accompanied by twin flowers girls and twin page boys, India Today reports.

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Dottoré!

Sowing The Seeds Of Paranoia

"They must be dumping garbage — good, it makes for good fertilizer!"

"Slowly, we were the only ones left"

Mariateresa Fichele

"Dottoré, I know a lot of flags, and let me tell you why. I grew up in the province of Caserta, and — like everybody in those days — my parents owned a piece of land, and they would take me with them to farm it.

I remember there were other kids in the fields around us. But then, slowly, we were the only ones left because everybody was selling the land, making a lot of money off of it too.

Papà wouldn't listen to reason and he kept the land. But in the meantime, instead of farmers, trucks began to arrive. Many many trucks, unloading thousands of barrels and burying them into the ground.

Keep reading...Show less

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