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Kim Fires, Brazil Billionaire, April Fools Int'l

DEATH TOLL FROM DAMASCUS AIR STRIKE NOW AT 33

The death toll from airstrikes carried out yesterday in the Deir al-Asafir district southeast of Damascus has risen to 33, mostly women and children, Reuters reports this morning. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the strikes were carried out by Syrian aircraft and came despite a month-long "cessation of hostilities" in Syria between government forces and their opponents, excluding Islamic State and al-Qaeda's al-Nusra Front. The targeted area is controlled by different factions, including rebel forces covered by the truce as well as al-Nusra Front.


POLICE FILE HOMICIDE CASE AFTER KOLKATA CRASH

Photo: Sonali Pal Chaudhury/NurPhoto/ZUMA

Five company officials have so far been detained as Indian police this morning opened a case of culpable homicide against the construction company IVRCL that built the flyover that collapsed in Kolkata yesterday, killing at least 24 people and injuring at least 90, Hindustan Timesreports. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee commented that those responsible would not be spared and blamed the previous state government that awarded the flyover contract in 2007.


KIM FIRES AWAY AGAIN

South Korea's Defense Ministry says North Korea fired another short-range surface-to-air missile into the East Sea at 12:45 local time today, The Korea Heraldreports. The launch, taking place as regional leaders met in Washington to discuss the threat of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, is the latest in a series of launches during an extended period of elevated military tension on the Korean Peninsula.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD



GAS EXPLOSION IN PARIS

A major midday explosion in a 7-story building sent a major scare through the French capital, though police quickly confirmed the cause was a gas leak. At least 5 people were injured, Le Figaro reports.


BRAZIL CHARGES WORLD'S RICHEST BANKER WITH BRIBERY

The world's richest banker, Joseph Safra is the latest billionaire to be named in Brazil's far-reaching corruption probe as prosecutors yesterday charged him with an alleged scheme to pay bribes, Folha de S.Paulo reports. According to Brazil's Federal Police, The Safra Group is accused of paying R$15.3 million (about $4 million) in bribes to Brazil's Administrative Council of Tax Appeals.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Le Monde tells the story of Abolfazl Arabpour, an 86-year-old tailor from the Iranian holy city of Qom, who has been dressing the cream of the Shia clergy for 50 years, supplying everything — even the boxer shorts. "Who wears it the best? Without any doubt Mohammad Khatami, according to the tailor. Not even Rouhani has replaced him in his heart. The only true reformist Iranian president (1997-2005) embodied, in his day, a new face of Iran. He advocated "dialogue between civilizations" while wearing immaculate clothes. He was the one who made Abolfazl Arabpour famous …" Read the full article, Shia Chic: Meet The Qom Tailor Who Dresses Iran's Clerics.


ON THIS DAY


The ancient Roman city of Pompeii was rediscovered 268 years ago today. That, and more, in your 57-second shot of history.


TRUMP MEETS WITH GOP BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump paid a closed-door surprise visit to the Republican National Committee yesterday after a tumultuous two days on the campaign trail, NBC News reports. The meeting came after Trump faced harsh criticism for suggesting in an interview with MSNBC that he advocates "some form of punishment" for women who receive abortions. Trump commented on Twitter he had a "nice meeting" with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.


EXTRA!

"What now for Zuma?" asks Cape Town-based, Afrikaans-language daily Die Burger on its front page Friday, a day after South Africa's highest court ruled that President Jacob Zuma breached the constitution by upgrading his private home with government money.


ARCHITECTURE WORLD MOURNS ZAHA HADID

World famous Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid, the first female winner of the top Pritzker Architecture Prize, died yesterday from a heart attack at the age of 65. Read a 2009 profile of Hadid from The New Yorker.


78%

That's the number of Belgians who believe there will be more terrorist attacks, a poll published in Le Soirreveals. The survey found 36% believe Muslims are complicit with the terrorists, 31% think they're victims, 33% think they're neither nor.


APRIL FOOLS INTERNATIONAL

Pranks abound today, on what is arguably the year's least trustworthy 24 hours on the Internet.

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Economy

Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

in the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading – and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

Protesters on Thursday in the German state of Thuringia carried Russian flags and signs: 'First our country! Life must be affordable.'

Martin Schutt/dpa via ZUMA
Stefanie Bolzen, Philipp Fritz, Virginia Kirst, Martina Meister, Mandoline Rutkowski, Stefan Schocher, Claus, Christian Malzahn and Nikolaus Doll

-Analysis-

In her State of the Union address on September 14, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, issued an urgent appeal for solidarity between EU member states in tackling the energy crisis, and towards Ukraine. Von der Leyen need only look out her window to see that tensions are growing in capital cities across Europe due to the sharp rise in energy prices.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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In the Czech Republic, people are already taking to the streets, while opposition politicians elsewhere are looking to score points — and some countries' support for Ukraine may start to buckle.

With winter approaching, Europe is facing a true test of both its mettle, and imagination.

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Writing contest - My pandemic story
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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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