U.S. AIRSTRIKES TARGET ISIS IN LIBYA
A predawn U.S. airstrike targeted an ISIS camp in Libya, killing at least 30 members of the terrorist outfit, The New York Times reports. The operation, about 50 miles west of Tripoli, targeted senior Tunisian operative Noureddine Chouchane who is linked to two major terrorist attacks in Tunisia last year. U.S. intelligence officials were still trying to determine whether Chouchane had been killed in the strike. The Obama Administration and its allies have been weighing whether to increase military operations in Libya, a new stronghold for ISIS. But Western officials say that the airstrikes at 3:30 a.m. were focused on Chouchane, the alleged mastermind of a mass shooting at the National Bardo Museum in Tunis that killed 22 people, and a subsequent attack that killed 38 at a beach resort in Sousse. Administration officials emphasized that this morning's strike do not represent the start of new U.S. war in a Muslim country.
EU TALKS ON UK AND GREECE
British Prime Minister David Cameron has resumed talks in Brussels with European leaders to find a deal that could avoid the so-called "Brexit" scenario ahead of national referendum on whether the UK should remain in the EU, the BBC reports. Cameron is hoping to get concessions from European Union leaders to exempt Britain from certain EU policies, which would allow him to campaign against Brexit. Meanwhile, leaders of Germany and France are also meeting today with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras over concerns about massive immigrant influx into Europe via Greece. Officials said Tsipras, Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's Francois Hollande argued yesterday over conflicting national reactions to the migrant influx, and the potential collapse of Europe's border-free travel, Le Mondereports. The EU's executive Commission has granted Greece three months to restore order on its borders, but many are skeptical to Athens ability to meet the deadline.
OIL PRICES FALL ON OVERSUPPLY CONCERNS
Oil prices resumed their decline today, snapping a three-session winning streak, Reuters reports. Oil prices had gained sharply earlier this week, spurring a rally in stock markets after a coalition of leading oil producers including Saudi Arabia, Russia and Venezuela, moved to freeze oil outputs.
ON THIS DAY
From Deng Xiaoping to Betty Friedan, here is your 57-second shot of history!
LECH WALESA, A COMMUNIST INFORMANT?
It is not the first time Lech Walesa, Poland's revered first president of the post-Communist era, has been accused of being a spy for the old regime, having been cleared by a court in 2000. But new accusations yesterday that the now 72-year-old was a paid informant for the Communist authorities in the 1970s, before he founded the Solidarity movement, included potentially damning official documents. Still for leading liberal newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, the whole thing is "conspiracy nonsense" on the part of the ruling Law and Justice Party and its leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a man with "a long-standing hatred" of Walesa. Read more on Le Blog.
OBAMA TIGHTENS NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS
U.S. President Obama has extended sanctions against North Korea, signing legislation passed last week by Congress to punish Pyongyang for its latest nuclear weapons tests in defiance of the United Nations. The aim of the new measures is to deny North Korea the money needed to develop miniaturized warheads, AP reports. The bill, which comes as the UN debates new sanctions, includes an authorization of $50 million dollars over the upcoming five years to finance radio broadcasts into the country, purchase communications equipment and support humanitarian assistance programs.
DONALD TRUMP CHALLENGED ON IRAQ WAR STANCE
Republican party frontrunner Donald Trump acknowledged Thursday that he "could have" signaled support for invading Iraq during a 2002 interview with radio host Howard Stern. The billionaire candidate, interviewed on CNN, has repeatedly blasted former President George W. Bush for launching the war. But when asked by Stern whether he would support an invasion, Trump had responded: "Yeah, I guess so." In the interview with CNN, Trump also tried to soften a showdown that began earlier in the day with Pope Francis after the pontiff criticized the candidate's idea of building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the northern influx of illegal immigrants. "A person who thinks only about building walls — wherever they may be — and not building bridges, is not Christian," the Pope said. Trump, who initially called the remark "disgraceful," told CNN that Francis' words were mischaracterized by the press.
For the first in our Rue Amelot series of exclusive essays, Cynthia Martens — an American journalist and writer raised in France and married to an Italian — explores how and why modern notions of nationality are troublingly simplistic: "Scientists can use DNA to reveal where an individual's direct male or female line likely lived 10,000 years ago, and it's typically very far from where that person currently lives. So how many generations of your family need to have been living somewhere for you to be "from" there; and on the flip side, at what point do you lose claim over your association with a place once your forebears have left?"
Read the full Rue Amelot essay, Soil And Blood: National Identity Is More Than My Passport.
(Oh and by the way, the name of the series is a nod to Worldcrunch's humble address in eastern Paris!)
MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD