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IMF Walkout, No MERS Ban, Buried With Fido

German Chancellor Angela Merkela
German Chancellor Angela Merkela

GAZA CHILD KILLINGS "TRAGIC ACCIDENT"

Israel Defense Forces have closed an internal investigation into its controversial bombing in last year's Gaza war, in which an Israeli missile killed four children aged 9 to 11 on a Gaza beach, clearing itself of any culpability, Haaretz reports. The Israeli advocate general's office described the attack as a "tragic accident," saying that soldiers couldn't have known the figures running near a Hamas target were children. But journalists who were at the scene also said the bombed "compound" looked more like a small fisherman's hut, The Washington Postreported. A detailed account of the investigation was posted by IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

IMF LEAVES GREECE BAILOUT TALKS

The International Monetary Fund delegation walked out on Greek debt talks in Brussels yesterday, leaving negotiations stalled for the moment, because of major differences with the government in Athens, Reuters reports. The surprise IMF move came as the European Union told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to stop gambling with his cash-strapped country's future and make the crucial decisions necessary to avert a devastating default.

$9 MILLION

The United States is spending more than $9 million every day to lead an international coalition against ISIS, The Hill reports. The Pentagon released new figures yesterday offering a cost breakdown of Department of Defense spending on the operation. It shows that about two-thirds of the total expenses have gone to the Air Force and that the bombing campaign against the terrorist organization has cost more $2.7 billion since it began in June 2014.

MERKEL PHONE-TAPPING PROBE DROPPED

German authorities have decided to drop an investigation into the NSA's alleged tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. The office of federal prosecutor Harald Range said the NSA had failed to provide enough evidence to justify legal action.

ON THIS DAY

Mississippi civil right activist and World War II veteran Medgar Evers was murdered 52 years ago today by Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens' Council. Time for your 57-second shot of history.

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD

The World Health Organization said today it isn't recommending travel bans or sweeping airport screenings to prevent the spread of the MERS virus in South Korea. "Unless you have close contact, it is unlikely that you will catch MERS," a WHO spokesperson in Manila told Al Jazeera. "That's why it passes in healthcare facilities, because it tends to be in close contact." An 11th person, a 72-year-old woman in Seoul, died from the virus today, and four new cases were reported.

SAVE THE CHILDREN ORDERED TO LEAVE PAKISTAN

Pakistan authorities closed down the Islamabad offices of the aid group Save the Children yesterday, accusing it of "anti-Pakistan" activities, The New York Times reports. Its foreign staff members were given 15 days to leave the country. "We strongly object to this action and are raising our serious concerns at the highest levels," the organization wrote in a statement.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Cuban gays and lesbians once hid from police. But today, with help from the president's daughter Mariela Castro, LGBTs in Cuba are fighting for their rights, Clarin's Marta Maria Ramirez reports. "The first four decades after Cuba's 1959 revolution were marked by persecution of homosexuals, forcing some people into work camps," the journalist writes. "Starting in the late 1990s, however, the state began softening its stance. In 1997 Cuba modified its criminal code, removing public indecency provisions that had empowered police to arrest people for being gay. A decade later it even began paying, in a handful of cases, for gender reassignment surgeries. And in June 2014, the National Assembly approved a new Labor Code that includes measures against discrimination for sexual orientation. The tweaking of Cuban norms and laws in recent years favoring non-discrimination, may even reach the constitution, Mariela Castro says."

Read the full article, Cuba's LGBT Revolution, With A Castro Leading The Charge.

BEST FRIENDS FOR ETERNITY

In Germany, you can now be buried alongside your pet dog or cat. Read more in our Zoo'd blog.

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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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