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Kerry-Netanyahu Meeting, Refugees in Slovenia, Mark Hamill Mystery

Kerry-Netanyahu Meeting, Refugees in Slovenia, Mark Hamill Mystery

KERRY, NETANYAHU MEET IN GERMANY

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Berlin today for talks about ongoing violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Kerry called for an immediate end to all incitement and violence after three weeks of deadly attacks. Netanyahu also called for a de-escalation but blamed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas for the violence. “I think it is time for the international community to say clearly to President Abbas to stop spreading lies about Israel,” the AP quoted Netanyahu as saying. “Lies that Israel wants to change the status quo at the Temple Mount, lies that Israel wants to tear down the al-Aqsa Mosque, lies that Israel is executing Palestinians. All of that is false.”

  • Kerry will also meet Abbas over the weekend in Amman, Jordan, Le Monde reports.
  • After meeting Israeli and Palestinian authorities Wednesday in Jordan, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “not optimistic” about the situation, Voice of America reports.
  • At least 50 Palestinians and eight Israelis have been killed since the beginning of the latest wave of violence.
  • Early today, Israeli police said they shot and killed a Palestinian and wounded another after the two stabbed a Jewish seminary student near Jerusalem, Reuters reports.

WHITE HOUSE CONDEMNS ASSAD’S MOSCOW VISIT

The White House has strongly criticized Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s visit to Moscow earlier this week. “We view the red carpet welcome for Assad, who has used chemical weapons against his own people, at odds with the stated goal by the Russians for a political transition in Syria,” spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One, The World Post reports. Assad’s visit to Moscow, his first overseas trip since the the Syrian civil war began in 2011, is seen as a clear message from Moscow that it is a key player in the Middle East. Other countries criticized also the visit. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said “the Syrian government has no legitimacy left.” French President François Hollande warned against strengthening the position of Assad, “who is the problem, and cannot therefore be the solution.” Even Iran, one of Syria’s key allies, said it would not help keep Assad in power “forever,” Turkish daily Hürriyet reports.


VERBATIM

Photo: Mike Theiler/CNP/ZUMA

“I’ve concluded it has closed,” Vice President Joe Biden said during a White House address yesterday, referring to his window of opportunity to “mount a winning campaign” for the Democratic nomination for president. The announcement that he won’t run removes a major political threat to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Biden’s full speech is available via The Washington Post.


SWORD ATTACK IN SWEDISH SCHOOL

Swedish police shot a masked man armed with a sword or a knife today at a school in the western city of Trollhattan after he attacked teachers and students. Officials say one teacher died from the attack and four students were wounded, daily Dagens Nyheter reports. The attacker was seriously injured and has been transported to the hospital.


350 MILLION

That’s the estimated number of copies of the comic book The Adventures of Asterix that have been sold worldwide since its creation in 1959, French daily Les Echos reports. The latest in the French comic series is being released today, following the exploits of a village of indomitable Gauls as they resist Roman occupation.


ON THIS DAY


In today’s 57-second shot of history, a crisis began, a philosopher rebelled and a French icon was born.


SLOVENIA STRUGGLES WITH REFUGEE INFLUX

Slovenian authorities have asked the EU for police to help manage a mass influx of more than 10,000 refugees coming over the past 24 hours from Croatia, most of them fleeing the Syrian war, the daily Delo reports. “Slovenia has already asked other EU member states for police units,” Slovenian Interior Minister Vesna Gyorkos Znidar said Wednesday.

  • This mass flow of refugees into the smallest country on the Balkan migration route started Friday after Hungary closed its border with Croatia.
  • On Wednesday, the Slovenian parliament passed an amendment granting more power to the army to help the police, The Slovenia Times reports.
  • Police at Slovenia’s main refugee camp on the border with Croatia told the AP that migrants set fire to a stack of UN-supplied blankets to protest the living conditions there. The fire destroyed several army-issued tents.
  • Two overloaded wooden boats carrying 114 refugees from Syria, including 28 children, washed up at a UK military base in Cyprus Wednesday, The Guardian reports. The UN refugee agency said the UK was legally obliged to resettle the migrants, contradicting claims by the British Ministry of Defense.

ALASKAN PERMAFROST WARMING WORSENS

Alaska’s permafrost, the perennial frozen soil found underneath about 25% of the northern hemisphere, could start to thaw by 2070, Professor Vladimir Romanovsky, one of the world's leading experts on the subject, told the BBC. Researchers fear methane could be released from the permafrost, exacerbating global warming.


ANGOLA HIP HOP PROTESTS

A new wave of democratic protests has been spreading across Africa, from Angola to Burkina Faso and beyond, as several long-time leaders look to extend their rule for as long as they can, often defying their country's own constitution. Front and center in these popular movements have been several prominent hip hop stars. Read about it on Le Blog.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

French academic André Gunthert asserts that the selfie is not narcissistic folly at all but instead represents a new kind of revolution that threatens the elitists’ control of society. “A ‘selfie,’ or self-portrait taken with a smartphone, is sometimes viewed with contempt from society’s top rungs,” writes L’Obs Aurélien Viers. “Intended to be shared, often to get people to laugh and react, this form of expression is nevertheless significant, Gunthert writes in his new book The Shared Image. In fact, Gunthert says, the selfie phenomenon represents a revolution ‘unlike anything we’ve seen for centuries.’ They are not just iconographic, but also sociological â€" and even political. Selfie detractors simply don’t have a full understanding, he says.”

Read the full article, A French Intellectual’s Defense Of The “Subversive” Selfie.


MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD



FOLLOWING DAD’S ADVICE

Why doesn’t Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy, appear in either the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens bills or trailers, despite his name featuring second on the movie’s poster? Well, there’s a crazy theory going around saying the Jedi finally joined the dark side and is in fact Kylo Ren, the masked, mysterious character with the triple-bladed lightsaber seen in the trailer.

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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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