Iowa Results, Jordan's Migrant Angst, Apple Dethroned

IT'S CRUZ IN IOWA, CLINTON BY A HAIR

In a humiliating upset for Donald Trump, evangelical Tea Party hero Sen. Ted Cruz won Iowa's all-important GOP caucus with 28% of the vote last night, to Trump's 24%. On the Democratic side, major media outlets are still characterizing the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders matchup a "virtual tie." Clinton looks to be ahead by the narrowest of margins — 49.9% to 49.5% with 99% of precincts reporting. Now all eyes turn to next week's New Hampshire primary.

  • "Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across Iowa and all across this great nation," Vox quoted Cruz as saying in his victory speech.
  • Trump, who said he still expected to win the Republican nomination, said he was "just honored."
  • "It is rare that we have the opportunity we do now to have a real contest of ideas," Clinton said, adding she was breathing a "big sigh of relief."
  • "Nine months ago, we came to this beautiful state, we had no political organization, we had no money, we had no name recognition, and we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America," an overwhelmed Sanders said.
  • See how today's front page of New York's Daily News mocks Trump.

VERBATIM

"Sooner or later, I think the dam is going to burst," Jordan's King Abdullah tells the BBC about the influx of refugees there, characterizing the situation as reaching a "boiling point." Jordan has welcomed refugees from neighboring war-torn countries for decades. Syrians fleeing their country now make up almost 20% of Jordon's population, but only 1% of them have work permits. King Abdullah, who also said 25% of the country's budget was being spent on helping refugees, stressed the need for more international funding if Jordan is going to accept more refugees.


RIO OLYMPICS WILL GO ON DESPITE ZIKA

August's Olympic Games in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro will "go ahead" despite the devastating mosquito-borne Zika virus, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said yesterday, Reuters reports. Bach added that conditions will be good for athletes and spectators to attend the event. This came just after the World Health Organization declared the virus an international public health emergency, The Guardian reports. Last week, the WHO said the Zika virus, suspected of causing microcephaly in babies, was "spreading explosively" and could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

The French far-right National Front party is currently able to garner a majority of votes among the working class, but not among the middle class or senior executives, Jean-Marc Vittori writes for Les Echos. "If a National Front victory in 2017 isn't the likeliest prospect, it should not, however, be ruled out entirely," he continues. "It's actually not difficult to imagine how it could happen."

Read the full article, The Perfect Storm That Could Lead To A Le Pen Presidency.


SYRIA TALKS ENTER SECOND DAY

Syria peace talks in Geneva entered a second day today after opposition representatives and UN diplomats gathered on Monday. "We are starting officially the Geneva talks," UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said yesterday, following humanitarian demands by the main Syrian opposition bloc, Al Jazeera reports. Syrian government representatives are expected there this morning, and the opposition in the afternoon.

  • Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that Syrian government forces and their allies made significant advances in a major offensive that could cut insurgent supply lines between the northwestern city of Aleppo and the Turkish border.
  • An ISIS suicide bomber killed at least 18 Iraqi soldiers today when he detonated his car in the town of Al-Bu Dhiaab, north of Ramadi, which was recently liberated from the terrorist organization.

SNAPSHOT

Photo: Liu Dawei/Xinhua/ZUMA

At least 100,000 Chinese travellers are stuck in Guangzhou's main railway station during their journeys home for the Chinese Lunar New Year festivities that begin Feb. 8.


NEW MUSLIM CARTOON CAUSES UPROAR

A cartoon of an early 20th century Senegalese Muslim leader has sparked a nationwide uproar, with the vignette criticized by civilians and political leaders alike. The Paris-based African news magazine Jeune Afrique published a cartoon of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba, founder of the Mouride Brotherhood, last week in which a passing Westerner asks why the traditionally robed leader is "wearing a dress." The magazine formally apologized for the caricature over the weekend and removed it from the website, though it is still visible on the cartoonist's Twitter profile. The caricature poked fun at ongoing controversy in Senegal over men carrying handbags, a new fashion trend pioneered by the young singer Wally Seck. Read more in English.


ON THIS DAY


James Joyce, Shakira and Philip Seymour Hoffman. We've got 'em all in today's shot of history.


25,273

For the first time in 24 years, more people are migrating from Australia to New Zealand than vice versa (25,273 vs. 24,504 in 2015), according to Statistics NZ. It's the highest net gain of Australians moving to New Zealand since 1991. The two countries have an agreement allowing most citizens to work and live in either country, and the rise is being explained by New Zealand's economic and political stability.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



GOOGLE OVERTAKES APPLE

Google's parent company Alphabet has become the world's most valuable company after announcing that its global revenues rose by 13% last year, Forbes reports. This means that Apple, which had been holding the title since dethroning Microsoft in 2010, has now been deposed too.

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Geopolitics

The New Iraq, Signs Of Hope Amid The Rubble And Reconstruction

How do you rebuild a country decimated by four decades of war and embargoes? Following the withdrawal of the U.S. military, Iraq faces many challenges, from oil revenues captured by the militias and endemic corruption to religious segregation. However, there are glimmers of hope for the country's future.

Street scene in Erbil, Iraq

Théophile Simon

BAGHDAD — With a vast office located at the top of a tower fiercely guarded by the army and a bell to call the staff, Khalid Hamza Abbas is obviously a powerful character, decked out in an impeccable suit. Abbas runs the Basra Oil Company (BOC), the national company responsible for the exploitation of the oil fields in the province of Basra, in the very south of Iraq, from which four million barrels of crude oil flow daily. It’s the equivalent of 4% of world demand and 65% of central government revenue concentrated in a region of only four million inhabitants.

As he explains the profit-sharing scheme between the world’s major oil companies and his public enterprise, the 50-year-old with thin glasses is suddenly stopped dead in his tracks by the ringing of his telephone. He tries a joke to mask his suddenly worried face: "I'm going to ask you to leave my office for a few moments. If I haven't called you back in 10 minutes, call the police."

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