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Hebdo Mastermind Killed, NAACP Activist Quits, Blackhawk's Dynasty

Hebdo Mastermind Killed, NAACP Activist Quits, Blackhawk's Dynasty

KURDS RETAKE KEY SYRIAN TOWN

A Turkish soldier holds a child as Syrian refugees flee Tal Abyad — Photo: Ibrahim Khader/Pacific Press/ZUMA

Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria have seized the town of Tal Abyad, formerly held by ISIS, cutting off a major supply route for the terrorist organization. Huseyin Kocher, a Kurdish commander in Tal Abyad, told the BBC the whole city was under Kurdish control and that there was no more fighting. They were backed on the ground by rebel groups and in the air by the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition. At least 40 ISIS jihadists were killed while attempting to flee. The assault and airstrikes prompted 16,000 Syrian civilians to leave their homes and attempt to cross the border to Turkey.


MASTERMIND OF HEBDO ATTACKS KILLED

In a video released today, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula confirmed the death of its leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi, who had claimed January's Charlie Hebdo attacks. Quoting U.S. officials, The Washington Post reports that he had been targeted by a CIA drone attack in Yemen last week. SITE intelligence group director Rita Katz tweeted that it represents the "hardest hit to al-Qaeda since bin Laden's death."


ON THIS DAY


Pius IX was elected Pope 169 years ago today, going on to serve 31 years, becoming the longest-reigning pontiff in the history of the Catholic Church. Today's 57-second shot of history is here.


MORSI DEATH SENTENCE UPHELD

An Egyptian court has upheld its death sentence for former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi regarding a 2011 mass prison break, Al Jazeera reports. Earlier this morning, the court had sentenced Morsi to life in jail on charges of spying for the Palestinian group Hamas, the Lebanese group Hezbollah, and Iran.


EXTRA!

A corruption scandal involving high-level politicians in Panama is spreading, now implicating members of current President Juan Carlos Varela's administration. Read more in our Extra! feature.


NAACP ACTIVIST EXPOSED AS WHITE QUITS

Rachel Dolezal, the U.S. civil rights activist and president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, has resigned from her position days after her white parents told the media that she had been posing as black for years, The Guardian reports. Dolezal announced her resignation in an unapologetic Facebook post published Monday.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

As L'Obs reports, the latest workplace threat is "boreout," persistent boredom and disengagement with your job. "People whose skills and expertise aren't being sufficiently tapped are most at-risk of this toxic office ailment," the newspaper writes. "Hyperactive adults also experience this phenomenon at a disproportionate rate, even though they often are deeply involved with their work. It can happen even when their qualifications and workload are in sync. They often need to compensate for workplace boredom by adding professional side projects or investing themselves more in personal activities."

Read the full article, Meet "Boreout," Burnout's Blasé Cousin.


BAHRAIN SHIA OPPOSITION LEADER JAILED

The main Shia opposition leader in Bahrain, Sheikh Ali Salman, has been sentenced to four years in jail for inciting violence, promoting disobedience and "insulting" public institutions, Reuters reports. Salman, 49, is the most senior figure in the Shia opposition to be jailed since anti-government protests erupted in 2011, at the height of the region's "Arab Spring" uprisings.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



CHINA "COMPLETING" LAND RECLAMATION

China's land reclamation project on the Spratly islands in the disputed South China Sea will soon be completed, foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang announced today. "Apart from satisfying the need of necessary military defense, the main purpose of China's construction activities is to meet various civilian demands and better perform China's international obligations and responsibilities," Xinhua quoted him as saying.


FILIPINO REBELS LAY DOWN WEAPONS

Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, one of the Philippines' largest rebel groups, turned over 75 assault weapons to authorities today as part of a peace agreement reached last year, Al Jazeera reports. The deal was brokered by Malaysia after year-long talks and was stalled earlier this year because of deadly clashes between the rebels and the military. The group, which was founded in 1978 and has 11,000 members, had been asking the government for autonomy for the Moro people.


VERBATIM

"I keep saying I don't really know what a dynasty is," Chicago Blackhawks' right wing Patrick Kane said last night after his team beat the Tampa Bay Lightning to claim its third Stanley Cup in six years. As the Los Angeles Times put it, that's "as close to a dynasty as the salary-capped NHL is likely to produce."

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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