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ISIS Hit In Libya, Brussels on Brexit, Walesa Accused

ISIS Hit In Libya, Brussels on Brexit, Walesa Accused

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 Monde reports. 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 â€" wherever they may be â€" 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.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

For the first in our Rue Amelot series of exclusive essays, Cynthia Martens â€" an American journalist and writer raised in France and married to an Italian â€" 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

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Spencer Tunick Nude Installation in Israel

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Salam!*

Welcome to Monday, where the UK pays homage to slain MP David Amess, Myanmar frees thousands of prisoners, and Facebook gets ready to build its "metaverse." Please fasten your seatbelts: Worldcrunch also takes stock of the long-lasting effects — good and bad — the pandemic has had on the air travel industry.

[*Azeri - Azerbaijan]

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

Myanmar to free political prisoners: Myanmar's junta chief Min Aung Hlaing has announced the release of 5,636 prisoners who had been jailed for protesting the coup that ousted the civilian government in February 2021.

• Powerful Haiti gang behind the kidnapping of U.S. missionaries: The notorious 400 Mawozo gang is believed to be behind the kidnapping in Haiti of a group of Christian missionaries, including 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian. The brazen kidnapping on Saturday comes as crime is spiking since the killing of President Jovenel Moise in July.

• UK to pay tribute to David Amess: British lawmakers will pay homage in parliament to colleague David Amess, who was stabbed to death Friday in what was described by the police as a "terrorist incident." Officers arrested a 25-year-old suspect whose father, Harbi Ali Kullane, worked as a media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia.

• COVID update: Russia has registered more than 34,000 cases of new infections in the past 24 hours, a new record since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, police in the northeast Italian city of Trieste used water cannons to clear striking dockworkers protesting Italy's new requirements that all employees be vaccinated.

• At least 26 killed in floods in India: Torrential rain has triggered floods and landslides in India's southern coastal state of Kerala, killing at least 26 people.

• Facebook to hire 10,000 in EU to develop "metaverse": The U.S. social media giant plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to build a "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet that the company touts as the future.

Punishing parents for children's bad behavior: After limiting gaming hours for minors, China is now considering legislation to reprimand parents if their children exhibit "very bad behavior" or commit crimes.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Colombian daily El Espectador dedicates its front page to Alex Saab, "owner of the secrets" of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The Colombian businessman, wanted by U.S. authorities for allegedly laundering money on behalf of Venezuela's government, has been extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. where he is scheduled to appear in court today.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

4.9%

China's economy registered its slowest pace in a year as the country faces a looming energy crisis with power shortages and increasing pressure on its property sector. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the period between July-September rose 4.9%, the weakest numbers since the third quarter of 2020 and significantly lower than forecasts. The world's second-largest economy faces a debt crisis linked to the China Evergrande Group debt crisis, while energy shortfalls have dropped factory output to its weakest since early 2020, when heavy COVID-19 curbs were in place.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

7 ways the pandemic may change the airline industry for good

Will flying be greener? More comfortable? Less frequent? As the world eyes a post-COVID reality, we look at ways the airline industry has been changing through a pandemic that has devastated air travel.

⛽ Cleaner aviation fuel: With air travel responsible for roughly 12% of all CO2 emissions from transport, and stricter international regulation on the horizon, the industry is increasingly seeking sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fuel. In Germany, state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports that the world's first factory producing CO2-neutral kerosene recently started operations in the town of Wertle, in Lower Saxony. The plant, for which Lufthansa is set to become the pilot customer, will produce CO2-neutral kerosene through a circular production cycle incorporating sustainable and green energy sources and raw materials

.🛃 Smoother check-in: The pandemic has also accelerated the shift towards contactless traveling, with more airports harnessing the power of biometrics — such as facial recognition or fever screening — to reduce touchpoints and human contact. Similar technology can also be used to more efficiently scan physical objects, such as explosive detection. Ultimately, passengers will be able to "check-in" and go through a security screening anywhere at the airports, removing queues and bottlenecks.

✈️ The billion-dollar question: Will we fly less? At the end of the day, even with all these (mostly positive) changes that we've seen take shape over the past 18 months, the industry faces major uncertainty about whether air travel will ever return to the pre-COVID levels. Not only are people wary about being in crowded and closed airplanes, but the worth of long-distance business travel, in particular, is being questioned as many have seen that meetings can function remotely, via Zoom and other online apps.


➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

"The crimes committed that night are unforgivable for the Republic."

— Emmanuel Macron became the first French president to commemorate the killing of as many as 200 Algerian independence protesters by Parisian police in 1961. For 40 years, French officials ignored the massacre, which took place a year before Algeria gained its independence from France after an eight-year war. In 2012, French President François Hollande acknowledged the killings for the first time on a visit to Algeria, and Macron took it further by attending Sunday's commemoration at the site where the events happened in the French capital. Still, many had hoped the French President would go further and take responsibility for a "state massacre," for a crime many historians consider the most violent repression of a peaceful demonstration in post-War Europe.

📈💥  IN OTHER NEWS

​Low trust, high risk: The global rise of violence targeting politicians

The deadly stabbing of British Parliament Member David Amess confirms an ongoing study on trust and governance in democracies around the world: It's bad. In The Conversation, James Weinberg — the study's author and a lecturer in Political Behavior at the University of Sheffield — writes:

⏪ The assassination of Amess, who was stabbed to death in his constituency on Friday, is a tragic moment for democracy. What makes it even more devastating is that such a catastrophic failure is not without precedent or predictability. Labour MP Jo Cox was shot at her constituency surgery in 2016. Before her, another Labour MP, Stephen Timms, survived a stabbing in 2010. And Andrew Pennington, a Gloucestershire county councilor, died in a frenzied attack in 2001 while trying to protect local Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones.

☝️ Beyond these critical junctures in the public debate about politicians' safety, elected representatives must live with an increasingly insidious level of popular cynicism that threatens violence on an almost daily basis.

🇬🇧🇳🇿🇿🇦 Not only are these experiences of abuse or threats of physical violence felt across both sides of the political aisle in the UK — they also appear to be growing more common in other democratic contexts where the climate of politics has been presumed to be both calmer and more volatile, from New Zealand to South Africa.


Read the full piece from The Conversation, now on Worldcrunch.com

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

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