Kremlin Keeps Distance, France Honors Victims, Black Friday Advice

Kremlin Keeps Distance, France Honors Victims, Black Friday Advice


Photo: Dai Tianfang/Xinhua/ZUMA

The Kremlin said today that Western nations were “not ready” to form a single coalition with Russia to defeat ISIS, AFP reports. The comments come one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with French President François Hollande at the end of a diplomatic blitz in which Hollande tried to bring all anti-ISIS forces together. Though the sides failed to reach a deal to form a single coalition, Putin yesterday said Russia and France would exchange information “about which territories are occupied by the healthy part of the opposition rather than terrorists.” The West and Russia remain generally at odds over the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with Putin insisting that his fate “must stay in the hands of the Syrian people” and describing him and the Syrian army as “a natural ally” against ISIS.

  • It looks like France’s strong stance against Assad could change, though, as Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius spoke for the first time of possibly of including “regime forces” in a coalition of ground troops otherwise comprised of the “moderate” opposition and “other Sunni Arab states.” But he insisted that Assad, whom he once said “doesn’t deserve to be on Earth,” “cannot represent the future of his people.”
  • Germany announced yesterday it would start supporting the French airstrikes campaign over Syria with reconnaissance jets, a refueling aircraft and a frigate to protect the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, Deutsche Welle reports.
  • Russian media are reporting that the Syrian army is advancing on ISIS fighters in the region of Homs, as it gains territory towards the ancient city of Palmyra.


As French flags went up all around the city, about 1,000 people gathered in Paris this morning for a memorial ceremony to honor the 130 people killed and 350 wounded during the terrorist attacks two weeks ago. The ceremony took place at Les Invalides, where soldiers who died defending France are traditionally laid to rest and where Napoleon is buried. Speaking at the end of the ceremony, President François Hollande paid tribute to the victims who, he said, “embodied France.” He said that the terrorists, acting “in the name of a mad cause and a betrayed God,” would not “divide us, oppose us, throw us against one another,” and he pledged to “defeat” the “army of fanatics.”

  • Some families of victims declined the president’s invitation to attend the ceremony and called for others to boycott the event, France TV Info reports. They blamed the government for not doing enough to protect France after January’s Charlie Hebdo attacks.


“As we all know from the Roman empire, big empires go down if the borders are not well-protected,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned, urging the 28-nation bloc of EU states to stop the “massive influx” of refugees. French newspaper Les Échos, meanwhile, reports that the Netherlands are threatening to leave the open-border Schengen Area the country co-founded to create instead a “mini Schengen” with Belgium, Sweden, Luxemburg, Austria and Germany.


While all eyes are focused on Syria, the war in Yemen rages on and is becoming more complex. According to The New York Times, the United Arab Emirates, which is involved in the conflict against Shia Houthi rebels as part of the Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab states, has secretly contracted hundreds of mercenaries from Colombia. An estimated 450 fighters come from Latin America, and experts quoted in the article say that the use of foreign mercenaries by rich nations could be “a glimpse into the future of war.”


This may be the heyday of digital music, in Japan as much as anywhere else, but at the same time, vinyl records are making a slow but steady comeback as people rediscover the warmth of the sound the analog format contains, The Japan News reports. “Vinyl records peaked in the late 1970s, when nearly 200 million were manufactured annually in Japan. But their output sharply declined after the advent of CDs, which first came out in 1982 and became the primary way of listening to music. Vinyl records were handed a further blow when Apple Inc. began its online music-distribution services. A turning (back) point came in 2012, when the Beatles albums were reissued on vinyl records. The beauty of their sound captured people’s attention once again, which led to more great jazz and rock records being reissued in the format.”

Read the full article, Even In Techno-Charged Japan, Vinyl Makes Comeback.



Two journalists from Turkish opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet have been arrested and accused of spying and being members of a terrorist group after a report earlier this year in which they revealed that Turkish intelligence agencies were illegally providing “extremist groups” with weapons, Today’s Zaman reports. “Don't worry, these are medals of honor for us,” Cumhuriyet’s editor-in-chief Can Dündar said after the court decided to imprison him and his colleague Erdem Gül. “The president is acting as if this is a personal lawsuit,” Dündar added.


Harvey Milk, Kurdish history and the incomparable Bruce Lee. We’ve got all that and more in today’s shot of history.


While many might use Black Friday to upgrade their tech gear, the words of a man who spent the last 40 years in jail might serve as a healthy reality check. Finally free in New York, he was confused at the sight of “a majority of people talking to themselves” with “wires in their ears” like “CIA agents.”

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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]


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.


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.



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.


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.

➡️


"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.


​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

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

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