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London Mayor, Aleppo Truce, End Of "Bin Laden" Bills

Alberta fires
Alberta fires


It's Super Thursday in the UK, with voters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland choosing their next parliaments. But it's the British capital, which is set to replace maverick Boris Johnson as mayor, that has eyeballs from around the world. Frontrunner Sadiq Khan, if elected, would be London's first-ever Muslim mayor, which could have global ramifications and shake up the political machinations in Britain.

  • The final poll published in The London Evening Standardsuggests that Khan, the Labour candidate, is on course to defeat Tory's Zac Goldsmith.
  • The campaign has been marred by anti-Semitism accusationsagainst Labour figures, notably former mayor Ken Livingston. Khan has been quick to distance himself from those linked to the accusations.
  • The Guardian has endorsed Khan, and featured a powerful and personal essay by Ugandan-born British writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, entitled "Electing Sadiq Khan as mayor of London would be the terrorists' worst nightmare."
  • The Scottish Parliamentary elections will be dissected for the current strength of the independence movement. Read more from The Telegraph.


The Canadian province of Alberta declared a state of emergency yesterday, as frantic efforts to contain the fire devastating the outskirts of the oil sands city of Fort McMurray proved unsuccessful, amid worsening weather conditions, CBC reports.


"I am an innocent victim," Dilma Rousseff told the BBC. The Brazilian president has been accused of obstructing justice in the ongoing corruption investigation around Petrobras, and is likely to be impeached by the Senate next week, which would suspend her from office for 180 days. In the interview, she described the impeachment as "illegitimate" that is "ultimately based on a lie."


Did you know that Chanel No. 5 was introduced on 05/05, 95 years ago? That, and more, in today's 57-second shot of history.


After John Kasich threw in the towel yesterday, Donald Trump takes the reins of a Republican party grappling "with an identity crisis deeper than anything it has seen in half a century," The Washington Post writes. The billionaire's "improbable coup" has "demolished just about every pillar of Republican philosophy," and party members now have to decide whether to support a divisive Trump. In one notable case, neither of the Presidents Bush, father or son, will endorse him.


Autonomous vacuum cleaners are just the beginning. As time goes by, artificially intelligent machines will play ever greater roles in our lives. ForLe Monde, Laurence Devillers (not a robot) starts asking some important questions: "Thanks to brain imaging, researchers know that humans can feel empathy towards mistreated robots, albeit without the same intensity as they do for mistreated humans.

This kind of emotional and social interaction between humans and robots gives rise to several ethical questions. How humanlike should developers be allowed to make robots? How autonomous should the machines be with regards to decision making? What about the ‘six-million-dollar-man' scenario? Should there be limits on the use of robot technology to repair or enhance human beings? For now, few studies have attempted to answer those questions."

Read the full article, The Robot Revolution Is Underway, But Are We Ready?


The United States and Russia reached an agreement to extend a fragile ceasefire in Syria to the city of Aleppo, after days of intense fighting that killed dozens, Reuters reports.


Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is holding a press conference today on his possible resignation after months of growing tension with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Istanbul-based daily Milliyet, a paper reportedly close to Erdogan, welcomed the news on the front page of its Thursday edition.


The Lion Guards — Tunis, 1970


The National Electoral Board of Venezuela has begun a verification process of the 1.85 million signatures presented by the opposition to demand a referendum on President Nicolas Maduro's future. The collapse of Venezuela's economy, with inflation predicted to hit 700% this year, cost Hugo Chavez's successor dearly. A recent poll shows Maduro's approval rating at just 26.8%. Still, it's more than double than French PresidentHollande's 13%. For more, here's a Clarin piece on Maduro clinging to power.



The European Central Bank announced yesterday it would stop printing the 500-euro-bill at the end of 2018, according to French daily Les Échos." Often dubbed the "Bin Laden," the banknote is a favorite among criminals. Others see the move as a major step towards a cashless economy.

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Joshimath, The Sinking Indian City Has Also Become A Hotbed Of Government Censorship

The Indian authorities' decision to hide factual reports on the land subsidence in Joshimath only furthers a sense of paranoia.

Photo of people standing next to a cracked road in Joshimath, India

Cracked road in Joshimath

@IndianCongressO via Twitter
Rohan Banerjee*

MUMBAI — Midway through the movie Don’t Look Up (2021), the outspoken PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is bundled into a car, a bag over her head. The White House, we are told, wants her “off the grid”. She is taken to a warehouse – the sort of place where CIA and FBI agents seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Hollywood movies – and charged with violating national security secrets.

The Hobson’s choice offered to her is to either face prosecution or suspend “all public media appearances and incendiary language relating to Comet Dibiasky”, an interstellar object on a collision course with earth. Exasperated, she acquiesces to the gag order.

Don’t Look Upis a satirical take on the collective apathy towards climate change; only, the slow burn of fossil fuel is replaced by the more imminent threat of a comet crashing into our planet. As a couple of scientists try to warn humanity about its potential extinction, they discover a media, an administration, and indeed, a society that is not just unwilling to face the truth but would even deny it.

This premise and the caricatured characters border on the farcical, with plot devices designed to produce absurd scenarios that would be inconceivable in the real world we inhabit. After all, would any government dealing with a natural disaster, issue an edict prohibiting researchers and scientists from talking about the event? Surely not. Right?

On January 11, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), issued a preliminary report on the land subsidence issue occurring in Joshimath, the mountainside city in the Himalayas.

The word ‘subsidence’ entered the public lexicon at the turn of the year as disturbing images of cracked roads and tilted buildings began to emanate from Joshimath.

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