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Istanbul Blast, N. Korea's Faked Launch, Marrying Murdoch

Istanbul Blast, N. Korea's Faked Launch, Marrying Murdoch


Photo: Zeynep Cermen/Xinhua via ZUMA

An explosion in Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet tourist district killed at least 10 people and wounded 15 others today, CNN Türk reports. Local authorities have said they believe an ISIS suicide bomber caused the blast, Turkish daily Hürriyet reports.

  • French and German citizens could be among those killed, Reuters correspondent Parisa Hafezi reports. Six German citizens, one Norwegian and a Peruvian are also reported to be among the wounded.
  • Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has called for a security meeting with the interior minister and security chiefs in Ankara, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, Turkish authorities have imposed a media "blackout" in the name of national security, news agency Anadolu Ajansi reports.
  • Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the alleged suicide bomber was probably Syrian, as The Guardian reports.


At least 400 people suffering from severe malnourishment and starvation or in need of urgent medical treatment must be evacuated from the government-besieged Syrian town of Madaya, the United Nations said yesterday. "They are in grave peril of losing their lives," UN humanitarian affairs chief Stephen O'Brien told The Guardian after a UN Security Council meeting in New York last night. Government forces allowed a UN aid convoy to enter the city yesterday, as did rebels surrounding the northern villages of Fua and Kefraya.


At least 32 people were killed yesterday in a series of ISIS attacks in Baghdad, Iraq, the AFP reports. A first attack involving gunmen and bombers at a market area in the east of the city left 12 dead. A double blast then killed another 20 people in northern Baghdad. Combined, they mark the deadliest acts of violence in the area in months.


No need for Twitter if you're a media baron: Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch placed an announcement in the Births, Marriages and Deaths page of The Times, the storied London-based newspaper he owns, to share news of his engagement to American actress and former supermodel Jerry Hall. Read more about it in Le Blog.


Police in Leipzig, Germany, have arrested 211 far-right extremists after hundreds of masked people went on a rampage last night, breaking windows, vandalizing buildings, setting cars on fire and throwing fireworks, Der Spiegel reports. The incidents happened on the sidelines of an anti-Islam, xenophobic rally organized by "Legida," the Leipzig version of the anti-Muslim "Pegida" movement. Authorities say a break-off group walked through the southern Connewitz area, known to be left-leaning. This comes after hundreds of women were sexually assaulted by gangs of young migrants in Cologne on New Year's Eve.

  • Swedish police are also investigating reports of sexual assaults by migrant men during a festival in Stockholm last summer, The New York Times reports. Authorities have been accused of covering up the incidents.


"The rocket ejected, began to light, and then failed catastrophically," Reuters quoted California researcher Melissa Hanham as saying yesterday, describing footage of a North Korean submarine-launched ballistic missile. Video of North Korea's December launch, which officials there declared Friday had been successful, was apparently faked. "North Korea used heavy video editing to cover over" the failure of the launch, Hanham added.


Today marks the sixth anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake that killed at least 220,000 people in Haiti. That, plus the Eiffel Tower and Jack London's birthday in today's 57-second of history.


Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi has been arrested for her provocative work. With a new exhibition in Hong Kong, Asia's battle for free speech and open sexuality comes together, Julie Zaugg writes for Le Temps. "‘Japan is a very patriarchal society, very generous towards male sexual desire,'" she says. "Igarashi notes that your local Japanese newsstand is likely to sell dozens of pornographic books and magazines, and every year thousands of visitors travel to the city of Kawasaki to parade with giant phallic sculptures during a festival called Kanamara Matsuri. Women, on the other hand, are not supposed to express any sexual desire. ‘The simple mention of the word vagina on television could lead to the host's dismissal,' she says."

Read the full article, From Japan To Hong Kong, Female Sexuality Is A Free Speech Battle.


The Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group, headed by China's richest man Wang Jianlin, is set to buy the Hollywood film studio Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion, the group reports on its website. The purchase of Legendary, which has produced blockbusters such as Jurassic World, Inception and the Dark Knight trilogy, marks "China's largest cross-border cultural acquisition to date."



It turns out that today's youth are undermining Great Britain's reputation for copious tippling. A study by the Office for National Statistics shows that they are consuming much less alcohol than previous generations, with the proportion of teetotaling young adults increasing by over 40% between 2005 and 2013.


In 10 languages, the world bids farewell to British rock legend David Bowie.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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