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Hollande And Putin, Pope Visits Kenya, Thanksgiving Trivia

Hollande And Putin, Pope Visits Kenya, Thanksgiving Trivia


French President François Hollande is set to meet Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin later today in Moscow in the hopes of forming an international military coalition against ISIS. Hollande has been engaged in a diplomatic blitz this week, having met with British Prime Minister David Cameron, U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to discuss military measures after the Nov. 13 Paris terror attacks that left 130 dead.

  • But the French president's efforts in Russia could be jeopardized by tensions between Russia and Turkey, after the Turkish military shot down a Russian jet Tuesday.
  • French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said there is no alternative but to "annihilate ISIS," before the French parliament voted overwhelmingly to pursue anti-ISIS airstrikes in Syria, Le Monde reports.
  • Merkel, who was in the French capital with Hollande yesterday to pay respects to those who were killed in the Paris attacks, said Germany would "do more" to support France in its fight against terrorism. The German chancellor announced Berlin would send 650 additional troops to Mali alongside the French military.
  • Vice has the first interview with the members of Eagles of Death Metal, the California band that was playing in the Bataclan theater in Paris, where 89 people were killed by terrorists.
  • David Cameron said this morning that UK airstrikes against ISIS militants would be in the country's "national interest," the BBC reports. British Members of Parliament are expected to vote on whether to authorize such airstrikes within weeks.


Turkey released the audio recording of apparent warnings issued to the Russian warplane shot down by Turkish military Tuesday, Hürriyetreports. "This is Turkish Air Force speaking on guard," a voice can be heard saying. "You are approaching Turkish airspace. Change your heading south immediately." But the surviving jet pilot claims he received no warning, despite Turkish military insisting it gave 10 warnings in five minutes.

  • In a defiant move, Moscow sent an advanced missile system to Syria yesterday to protect its jets operating there, Reuters reports.
  • Russian warplanes also reportedly carried out new airstrikes against insurgent-held areas near where the jet was shot down.


Research suggests that sustained terror attacks over time deal a crippling blow to economies, but a single act of appalling violence, like the Nov. 13 attacks in France, may have fewer lasting effects than one might think, Les Echos reports. "After Sept. 11, 2001, the number of domestic airline passengers dropped 10% in the United States and even more on international flights," the newspaper writes. "But at the macro level, the impact was barely discernible. In late 2001, many economists argued that the attacks of Sept. 11 would rush the United States further into recession. In fact, the country was already emerging from it, and the dramatic events did nothing to reverse the economic turnaround."

Read the full article, Terror And The Economic Cost Of Fear.


Photo: Steve Bichage via Instagram

Thousands of people gathered at a university campus in Kenya's capital of Nairobi to attend a mass celebrated by Pope Francis this morning. In his sermon, he insisted on the need for interreligious harmony, the Daily Nation reports. This is the first stop of the Pope's three-nation visit on his first trip as a pontiff to Africa. Read more about it on Le Blog.


Two bright spots of American entertainment culture, Tina Turner and Casablanca, were born on this day. That and more in today's shot of history.


Luis Diaz, the leader of the Venezuelan opposition party Democratic Action for the town of Altagracia de Orituco, was shot and killed yesterday during a public meeting, El Universal reports. According to witnesses, shots were fired from a vehicle while Diaz was on stage beside Lilian Tintori, the wife of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for "incitement to violence" after deadly protests in 2014 that left 43 dead. The assassination, which the Democratic Action party is blaming on the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela, comes before the Dec. 6 parliamentary elections.


"I look at the political landscape, I think that there might be a future out there for me. They might need me out there," American actor Will Smith said Wednesday on Scott Feinberg's Awards Chatter podcast, hinting at a possible political career. "This is the first year that I've been incensed to a level that I can't sleep, you know?"


North and South Korean officials met today in Panmunjom, a village in the demilitarized zone on the border between the two countries, to hold rare, high-level talks aiming at improving relations after a military standoff last August, The Korea Times reports. On Aug. 4, two South Korean soldiers were seriously wounded by a landmine that Seoul blamed on Pyongyang. North Korea denied planting the landmine. A military escalation was defused with an inter-Korean agreement reached on Aug. 25.



A French army sergeant from a parachute regiment died overnight from wounds suffered last Oct. 13 in northern Mali. His vehicle drove on a landmine placed by "terrorist groups" that also injured two other soldiers, Le Figaro reports. France, in an attempt to secure the country from Islamist threats, has a large military presence in Mali.


Having random statistics on hand can sometimes be a godsend during long family meals. Here's one: 59.3% of EU residents live in houses and 40% live in apartments, according to a study by the European Commission. Time to shine!


For those of you still wondering whether Turkey is named after a bird, we dug up this Worldcrunch fowl nugget from our archives: Turkey-And-Egg Question: Which Came First, The Country Or The Bird?

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Cilia Flores de Maduro, How Venezuela's First Lady Wields A Corrupt "Flower Shop" Of Power

Venezuela's first lady, Cilia Flores, is one of the country's chief power brokers and a consummate wheeler-dealer who, with the help of relatives, runs a voracious enterprise dubbed the Flower Shop.

Photo of Cilia Flores (left) and her husband Nicolás Maduro (middle)

Cilia Flores (left) and her husband Nicolás Maduro (middle)

Mauricio Rubio


One of the clearest signs of tyranny in Venezuela has to be the pervasive nepotism and behind-the-scenes power enjoyed by President Nicolás Maduro's wife, Cilia Flores de Maduro.

In Venezuela, it's said that Flores works in the shadows but is somehow "always in the right place," with one commentator observing that she is constantly "surrounded by an extensive web of collaborators" — including relatives, with whom she has forged a clique often dubbed the floristería, or the "Flower Shop," which is thought to control every facet of Venezuelan politics.

She is certainly Venezuela's most powerful woman.

From modest origins, Flores is 68 years old and a lawyer by training. She began her ascent as defense attorney for the then lieutenant-colonel Hugo Chávez, who was jailed after his failed attempt at a coup d'état in 1992. She offered him her services and obtained his release, which won her his unstinting support for the rest of his life.

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