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Indonesia Executions, Nigerian Hostages Rescued, Tanking Twitter

Indonesia Executions, Nigerian Hostages Rescued, Tanking Twitter


Nepal officials are acknowledging that the response to Saturday’s devastating earthquake that took at least 5,000 lives has been too slow for survivors in remote villages, who are still waiting for aid to reach them, Sky News reports.

  • Meanwhile, riots have erupted in the capital Kathmandu as thousands of residents express angry at the lack of buses to leave the city, despite government announcements that more services would be deployed. “We have been waiting since dawn,” a student told AFP. “They told us that there would be 250 buses coming, but we haven't seen any of them.” According to The Guardian, more than 100,000 people have already fled the city amid threats of lawlessness and diseases, and officials believe up to 300,000 could leave.
  • A survivor rescued by a French team after spending 82 hours next to three decomposing corpses under the rubble told reporters he survived by drinking his own urine. “I had some hope, but by yesterday I’d given up. My nails went all white and my lips cracked. I was sure no one was coming for me. I was certain I was going to die.” Read his story here.


Photo: Sijori Images/ZUMA

Australia has recalled its ambassador to Indonesia after the country executed eight people, including two Australians, by firing squad early today as part of what Indonesia’s attorney general described as “a war against horrible drug crimes,” ABC reports. Among the others killed were four Nigerians, one Indonesian and a Brazilian. According to O Globo, the Brazil government denounced the execution of its citizen as a “grave development in the relationship” between the two countries and said it would “assess” its important economic partnership with Indonesia after presidential calls to spare the convict’s life were ignored. A ninth prisoner, a Filipino woman, was granted a last-minute reprieve after a woman admitted to having tricked her into carrying drugs into Indonesia.


A first-of-its-kind World Health Organization study in Europe revealed that air pollution cost the continent a staggering $1.6 trillion, a tenth of its GDP, in 2010. According to the report, outdoor and indoor pollution causes 600,000 deaths a year in the European region in addition to many diseases.


Nigerian troops fighting the Islamist group Boko Haram announced yesterday they had rescued 293 girls and women the jihadists were holding hostage, newspaper Vanguard reports. It appears that those rescued did not include the 200 girls abducted in a school in Chibok in April 2014. The army also said it had cleared “four key terrorist camps” and seized weapons. “Our gallant troops have been making progress in the desired aim of ridding the nation of terrorists and their sanctuaries,” an official statement read.


One tweet is all it took for Twitter’s shares to plummet by more than 18% yesterday after financial intelligence service Selerity reported the company had lower-than-expected revenues.


Officials characterized the situation in Baltimore as largely “stable” last night after violent riots erupted Monday over the alleged police killing of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. According to The Baltimore Sun, the police clashed with small groups of people and fired tear gas and pepper spray in an effort to enforce a citywide curfew. Ten people were arrested, most of them for violating the curfew. Speaking from the White House, President Barack Obama said the nation must “do some soul searching.”


As Calcalist’s Tamara Wolman writes, bags, pouches and purses are among the world's oldest fashion items, used through the ages for carrying seeds, weapons and eyeliner. Over the course of centuries, it has been an indispensable accessory. “Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, even argued that women’s purses subconsciously represent their genitals and their relation to them,” Wolman writes. “But even without going as far as the subconscious, the handbag has always concealed secrets and significances, a mirror of both the person and their approach to their property and image. And the more society, culture, technology and objects have evolved, the more image has become precious — an asset, perhaps even more valuable than material ones. Accordingly, the handbag has become an object that bears the tension between the functional, containing, concealing and the ostentatious, visible and representative.”

Read the full article, Handbags, The Accessory That's Carried On Through The Ages.


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has named his nephew, Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef, as the new crown prince, replacing King Salman’s half-brother who reportedly expressed “his desire to be relieved from the position,” an official statement said. Read more from AFP.

  • Meanwhile, aid flights to Yemen have been suspended after the Saudi-led coalition destroyed the airport’s runway in the capital Sana’a to prevent an Iranian plane from landing, Reuters reports. After one month of airstrikes on the Houthi Shia rebels there, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross says the humanitarian situation “was difficult enough before, but now there are just no words for how bad it’s gotten.”


International sanctions and the ruble’s collapse in value have hit Russia’s gas giant Gazprom badly, with the company reporting net profits for 2014 seven times smaller than the previous year.



Public sector workers will work shorter days in Venezuela as part of what the country’s vice president described as “preventive measures” to reduce energy consumption as a significant heat wave drives demand, El Universal reports. By limiting work days to six hours, the government hopes to save 20% in energy. It’s urging the private sector to improve efficiency and citizens to reduce consumption during peak times.


Happy 4th wedding anniversary to Prince William And Kate Middleton. Time for today's 57-second shot of history.

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China's Military Intentions Are Clear — And Arming Taiwan Is The Only Deterrence

China is spending more money on weapons and defense than ever. The reason is evident: Xi Jinping wants to take Taiwan. Europe should follow the U.S. and support Taipei militarily as the only way to deter Beijing from war.

Photo of Military drills in Taiwan amid rising China-U.S. Tensions

Taiwanese soldiers stand guard at a base during a military drill simulating defense operations against a possible Chinese PLA intrusion

Gregor Schwung


BERLIN — Fear is never the best advisor.

It is, however, an understandable emotion when China announces the biggest increase in its defense budget in memory. And when Beijing does so after siding with Russia in the Ukraine war with its supposed "peace plan" and justifying the increase with an alleged "escalating oppression" of China in the world.

The budget plan unveiled by outgoing Premier Li Keqiang calls for a 7.2% increase in defense spending. That's more than in previous years — and just the official figure.

Experts estimate the true spending is much higher, as Beijing finances its military through numerous shadow budgets.

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