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Jihadi John Killed?, Beirut Bloodied, Algorithm Culture

"JIHADI JOHN" BELIEVED DEAD AFTER U.S. AIR STRIKE, ISIS STRIKES BEIRUT

ISIS terrorist Mohammed Emwazi, better known by the nickname "Jihadi John," was the target of a U.S. airstrike in the Syrian city of Raqqa and U.S. officials believe with a "high degree of certainty" that he was killed, the BBC reports. "Jihadi John," a British citizen born in Kuwait, is believed to be responsible for the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff as well as British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning. At least one other person is believed to have died in the airstrike.

  • ISIS has claimed responsibility for a Beirut bombing that killed at least 43 in what is being described as the most deadly attack since Lebanon's civil war ended in 1990. See coverage from Beirut daily L'Orient Le Jour in our Extra! feature.
  • The U.S. and its allies in the anti-ISIS coalition are also stepping up their airstrikes against Syrian oil fields controlled by the terrorists,The New York Times reports. The sale of crude oil is believed to bring about $40 million a month to ISIS' war chest.
  • Kurdish fighters are making quick progress in their fight to retake the northern Iraqi city of Sinjar, having entered the town and begun clearing it of ISIS jihadists, according to theBBC. The Iraqi army meanwhile has renewed its attempts to recapture the town of Ramadiand said they were advancing on three fronts.

LANDSLIDE VICTORY FOR MYANMAR'S SUU KYI

Photo: U Aung/Xinhua/ZUMA

Myanmar's National League for Democracy party, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, was today officially declared the winner of last Sunday's national elected, obtaining 348 of the Parliament's 657 seats, The Irrawaddy reports. The announcement comes on the five-year anniversary of Suu Kyi's release from house arrest, where the 70-year-old Nobel Peace Prize Winner was detained for 15 years.


ON THIS DAY

Happy birthday Whoopi Goldberg! This and more in your 57-second shot of history.


VERBATIM

"Avalanches can be triggered if any careless skier hits the slopes and moves a little snow," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said in thinly-veiled criticism of Angela Merkel's "migrants welcome" policy. Schäuble, one of the most powerful members of Merkel's cabinet, has grown critical of the ongoing migrant crisis, describing it as a "rendezvous of our society with globalization," and urged more European cooperation. EU leaders meanwhile agreed to offer 3 billion euros to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in exchange for his country's help in stemming the flow of refugees.


HOLLANDE AND KERRY CLASH OVER COP21 DEAL

French President François Hollande insisted yesterday that the COP21 climate conference, which will start at the end of November in Paris, must result in an agreement that is legally binding, in response to comments from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stating the opposite, Radio France Internationalereports. "If the agreement is not legally binding, there will be no agreement," Hollande said. In an interview published on Wednesday in Financial Times, Kerry said there were "not going to be legally binding reduction targets" like that agreed in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which the U.S. Senate actually never ratified.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Music, books and other intellectual artifacts are increasingly being produced automatically by machines. A new book explores the ways in which artists exploit this new reality, called "robotic dadaism," Nic Ulmi reports for Le Temps: "After flourishing in the margins of artistic and intellectual production, robotic dadaism and uncreative writing are now becoming mainstream. David Cope participated in the creation of the JamBandit app, which enables users — even those who can't play an instrument — to improvise baroque, jazz or hard rock music with the cheek of a virtuoso."

Read the full article, When Algorithms Create Our Culture.


$1.6 BILLION

An office tower became Hong Kong's most expensive ever after its billionaire owner, Joseph Lau Luen-hung, sold it for $1.6 billion Thursday. This was the second record broken in two days by the fugitive tycoon found guilty of bribery in Macau. On Wednesday, he spent a whopping $48 million on "Blue Moon," now the world's most expensive diamond, for his 7-year-old daughter. Read more from the South China Morning Post.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD



B-52 BOMBERS IN SOUTH CHINA SEA

Two U.S. B-52 bombers flew near artificial Chinese islands in disputed areas of the South China Sea claimed by Beijing and continued their mission despite warning by Chinese air controllers not to enter what they believe is China's airspace, the Pentagon said Thursday. This comes amid growing U.S.-China tensions in the area, over what Beijing perceives as American provocations. President Barack Obama is expected to visit the region next week for Asia-Pacific summits where, according to Reuters, he will reassert his commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight in the disputed area.


SCARY 13

Today's the worst day for anybody suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia. We're hoping this list of a few things to know about the Friday the 13th superstition will help. Good luck!

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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