SPOTLIGHT: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

It's been a hairy few days in European politics. In what is being dubbed "CoiffeurGate", French satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchainé revealed that President Francois Hollande has a full-time hairdresser who earns 9,895 euros a month (over $10,000), about the same salary as a government minister. Bemused French citizens are not only citing the hefty bill but the fact that Hollande's hair is so utterly unremarkable.

Across the English Channel, the same cannot be said for Britain's newly appointed Foreign Secretary, former London Mayor Boris Johnson. Indeed, his anything-goes approach to both hair and political rhetoric have drawn comparisons across the Atlantic, to Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for U.S. President.

Controversy over political hair is not new, with former President U.S. Bill Clinton's "Hairgate" scandal in 1993, when a high-priced hairstylist came aboard Air Force One at Los Angeles Airport and reportedly delayed several commercial flights. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi also attracted plenty of attention for apparent hair-replacement procedures. Indeed, he once showed up wearing a bandana for an encounter with then British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Of course, this has been a troubling moment for Blair for very different reasons.


WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY

  • Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to meet potential running mates ahead of upcoming Republican convention.

  • Bank of England expected to cut interest rates in first post-Brexit policy meeting.


POST-BREXIT POLITICS, NEXT ROUND

Newly appointed British Prime Minister Theresa May named former London Mayor and Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. Along with a new secretary for negotiations to quit the EU, Johnson forms part of May's so-called "Brexit cabinet", reports The Daily Telegraph.

Across the aisle, after a Labour Party committee ruled that leader Jeremy Corbyn could automatically stand in an upcoming leadership election, former shadow minister Owen Smith declared his own candidacy. This sets up a three-way contest with Corbyn and Angela Eagle. With polls indicating Corbyn is likely to be re-elected, The Guardian reports the party could split.

ISIS CONFIRMS DEATH OF NO. 2 OMAR AL-SHISHANI

The Islamic State confirmed the death of Omar al-Shishani, its well-known head of military operations and No. 2 to leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. While the group reports the Chechen-born Shishani was killed in fighting near their stronghold of Mosul in northern Iraq, U.S. authorities say he was killed by an American air strike in Syria in March.

— ON THIS DAY

Parisians stormed the Bastille, Jane Goodall arrived in Tanzania and other notable events for July 14 in your 57 seconds of history.

CUBAN ECONOMY MINISTER SACKED AMID CRISIS

As Cuba's economic and energy crisis deepens, Havana removed Economy Minister Marino Murillo from his post. Part of the blame is that Cuba is heavily dependent for its energy needs on Venezuela, which is facing ongoing turmoil and food shortages.

— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

German daily Die Welt traveled north to Norway to a cave 80 meters under a mountain, site of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault — the largest seed bank on Earth

It "looks like the entrance to a war bunker. Or a secret weapons factory. It could be the stuff of fiction: We almost expect Darth Vader to emerge from a wall. Or it could be the gate to an underworld that is populated with dwarfs and trolls — creatures that animate works like the Lord of the Rings.

It's minus 6 degrees Celsius in the cave in this surreal location in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. But there are no trolls running around. And there aren't many humans either. Instead, tucked inside a cool chamber, 27 meters long and 10 meters wide, vacuum-packed aluminum bags hold more than 850,000 species of crops." Read the full story: Seed Vault Hidden In Norwegian Cave Holds Planet's Biodiversity

DEADLY KASHMIR CLASHES CONTINUE

The death toll in a week of violent clashes in India's restive northern region of Kashmir rose to 37 on Wednesday, as Indian authorities extended a curfew to halt the clashes, reports the Times of India.

MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

Yellowstone Park - May 1994

TENSIONS RISE IN BURUNDI AFTER ASSASSINATION

The assassination of Hafsa Mossi, a former government minister and BBC journalist, reignited tensions in Burundi's long-running political crisis. According to Le Monde, many opposition and military figures have been killed since an attempted coup in April 2015, but the killing of Mossi is a first for politicians close to President Pierre Nkurunziza.

— MORE STORIES, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WORLDCRUNCH

NINTENDO SHARES SALVAGED BY POKÉMON GO

The Japanese gaming company Nintendo hadn't had much fun in recent years. But reports this morning showed shares in the company had risen by more than 50% since the release of Pokémon Go, an augmented reality app that has been a smash hit since its debut in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand last week. The firm now plans to launch the app in Japan and other countries in the coming weeks, reports Asahi Shimbun.

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Society

The Barber Of Amsterdam? Dutch Culture Sector's Hair-Razing COVID Protest

Theaters, museums and cinemas welcomed "essential services" on their stage floors to make a point about the industry's struggles during the latest COVID lockdown.

Theater Hairdresser a peaceful protest against Netherlands' continued nationwide lockdown in the arts sector

It’s an unusual sight even in these unusual times: in the Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam's prestigious concert hall, a man sits on stage getting his hair cut. Behind him, an orchestra plays Charles Ives' Symphony no. 2. In front of him, dozens of people are watching — both the orchestra, and to see when it's their turn for the next haircut.

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