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Hillary Holds, Dilma Sinks, Sodom Found

Hillary Holds, Dilma Sinks, Sodom Found

U.S.-RUSSIA TALKS OVER SYRIA CAMPAIGNS

U.S. and Russian officials are expected to meet today for a third round of talks to discuss safety procedures in their respective Syrian campaigns after what the BBC describes as a "near-miss" on Saturday. American and Russian warplanes were reportedly in visual contact and within miles of each other. According to U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, an agreement to prevent potential accidental conflict between planes could take place "in very short order," Voice of America reports. Yesterday, the Russian Defense Ministry said Russian warplanes in Syria had carried out 88 sorties and hit at least 86 ISIS targets, saying this resulted in the elimination of the most part of ISIS ammunition, heavy vehicles and equipment."


VERBATIM

Photo: Josh Haner/NYT /ZUMA

"I'm a progressive, but I'm a progressive who likes to get things done," was the statement that won yesterday's first Democratic debate for Hillary Clinton, according to The Washington Post. The two-hour long debate was largely dominated by the former First Lady and Bernie Sanders, who Clinton at one point accused of not being tough enough on gun legislation. The two also disagreed over the role of Edward Snowden's revelations on the NSA, though both would want him to face trial. By the Google metric, however, Sanders was the clear winner.


ISRAEL SEALS OFF EAST JERUSALEM

Hundreds of Israeli troops were deployed over night in Israeli cities and in the Palestinian areas of Jerusalem as part of measures aimed at curbing the recent violence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Ynet News reports. Three Israelis were killed Tuesday, including two in an attack on a public bus. According to The Times of Israel, another Israeli man was stabbed in the chest by a fellow Israeli who "mistook him for an Arab." The victim survived.


TALIBAN WITHDRAW FROM KUNDUZ

Taliban insurgents announced yesterday they had withdrawn from the Afghan city of Kunduz, 15 days after they seized it, leaving behind many destroyed buildings, The New York Times reports. Kunduz is also the location of a Doctors Without Borders' hospital bombed in U.S.-led airstrikes on Oct. 3, which the humanitarian NGO says was a war crime.


ON THIS DAY


The whims of history bring together Nikita Khrushchev and Winnie-the-Pooh, on today's 57-second shot of history.


NORTH KOREA FLIRTS WITH CAPITALISM

A South Korean news report says the Pyongyang regime is encouraging North Koreans to open private banks, and the first ATM machines have been sighted in the capital. Read more here.


VW CUTS INVESTMENTS

Volkswagen has announced annual spending cuts of 1 billion euros as part of the German brand's effort to make savings to pay for future fines and settle lawsuits, not to mention repairs after the emergence of the diesel emissions scandal, the Financial Times reports. VW has already set aside 6.5 billion euros, but some analysts believe the scandal could cost the carmaker more than 30 billion euros. The London-based daily says the scandal could have serious repercussions in Eastern European countries, where many VW components are manufactured.


BELGIANS TOAST MEGA-BEER MERGER

This is how the front page of Brussels-based business daily De Tijd looked this morning after the mega beverage merger that it says ensures that the "biggest pint in the world is Belgian."


61%

The pressure keeps piling on Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff. On top of the imminent threat of impeachment, a poll published today in newspaperFolha de S. Paulo shows that 61% of its readers want the center-left leader to resign, with an overwhelming 77% judging her government's action "bad or terrible." Addressing her party's conference yesterday, Rousseff said she had a "clean biography" and lambasted her opponents, calling them "putschists" and "moralists without morals." Read more in English from AFP.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Typically reliant on solid argument and logical persuasion, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is now turning to the humanity of Germans on the refugee crisis, Thorsten Denkler writes for Süddeutsche Zeitung. It's a revolutionary approach — and a big political risk — for the world's most powerful woman: "This time around, Merkel stands alone. Her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is largely lined up against her now, especially at the grassroots level. Her cabinet of ministers is wobbling on its formerly secure pedestal, and Interior Minister Thomas de Mazière has made it abundantly clear that he's unconvinced by Merkel's ‘we can do it' attitude."

Read the full article, Germany's Refugee Crisis And The Remaking Of Angela Merkel.


FORMER BURKINA FASO LEADER AUTOPSIED

An autopsy of the remains of Burkina Faso's Thomas Sankara showed the African Che Guevara was "purely and simply riddled with bullets" during a 1987 coup that saw his former brother-in-arms Blaise Campaoré take power, AFP reports. Sankara's official death certificate says he died of "natural causes," and Campaoré, who was himself removed from power in an uprising last year, had repeatedly opposed the exhumation of Sankara's remains during his rule.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



CITY OF SODOM FOUND?

Archaeologists believe they have discovered the ruins of the infamous city of Sodom, which the Bible says was destroyed by God, in Jordan. According to the researchers, the location and the size of the city matches Biblical descriptions. Evidence shows the site was suddenly abandoned, and was uninhabited for 700 years before being partly rebuilt.


LONDON CHURCH BELLS RING FOR 24 HOURS

Residents within earshot of the South London church of St George The Martyr will probably be forgiven for any bad words they might have used Monday and Tuesday as the church's bells rang non-stop for 24 hours. But the church's cool response to Twitter messages probably partly made up for the disturbance.

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Geopolitics

Journalist Spy, Subversive 13-Year-Old: Law And Order In Totalitarian Russia

Even beyond the bloodshed of its war in Ukraine, lesser acts of aggression by the state are a clear expression of the intentions of Vladimir Putin's Russia.

Photo of an anti-war drawing by a 13-year-old girl

Incriminated drawing by Maria, 13

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

They are "minor” incidents compared to the bloody frontline near Bakhmut, or the missiles raining down on Ukrainian cities. But these same incidents say a lot about what is going on in Russian society, behind the relatively normal facade that has been preserved for a year.

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Two arrests occurred Thursday, one of a Russian citizen whose story is one of aberrant cruelty; the other of an American journalist turned hostage in the proxy confrontation between Moscow and Washington.

Aleksei Moskalyov is a single father of a 13-year-old girl, Maria, a status which is in itself considered abnormal in Russian society. But above all, Maria was taken away from her father and placed in an orphanage for having drawn an anti-war picture at school. Her own teacher reported her to the authorities.

The father was sentenced to two years in prison for having criticized the Russian army. He fled, but was arrested in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, probably betrayed by the activation of his cell phone. He risks an even harsher sentence, and likely will not see his daughter again for years.

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