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Lost In Brazil, Dilma Can Wait


Brazil has won its first gold medal in Rio (courtesy of judoka Rafaela Silva), and other national athletes — especially soccer players after the 2014 World Cup fiasco — will obviously be looking to add to that tally. But one area where the hosts certainly won't be claiming any prizes is organization. Sure, after months of doomsday warnings, the Olympic constructions were ultimately completed in time, but a scathing report in Folha de S. Paulo points its finger at a surprising failure: the Olympic volunteers.

The São Paulo daily chronicled the abysmal level of preparation, with some of volunteers incapable of even helping fellow Brazilians find their way around Rio de Janeiro. When asked about the location of the badminton events, one volunteer replied, "I think it's in Deodoro. Nobody's ever asked me that. But look, don't go there. If I'm wrong, you'll end up being angry."

Anecdotes like this can be shrugged off, especially in the face of far more dire pre-Games warnings about security and Zika. But there's also a less amusing side to it: In many ways, this level of administrative amateurism is symptomatic of Brazil's political woes, the ugly flipside of locals loveable just-go-with-the-flow demeanor. With the latest Senate vote moving President Dilma Rousseff closer to impeachment, most will now set the drama aside as the Games continue for the next 10 days. In the meantime, Brazilians will be rooting for a few more golds — if they can just find their way to the stadium.



"We do not need tears or sympathy or even prayers: We desperately need a zone free from bombing," a group of 15 doctors, part of the last 35 remaining in the Syrian city of Aleppo, wrote in an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama. This comes as the Russian defense ministry announced yesterday daily three-hour ceasefires in the war-torn city to allow humanitarian aid to reach residents. The United Nations however said this was far from being long enough for convoys to help trapped civilians.


Libyan pro-government forces have claimed they captured from ISIS the Ouagadougou Conference Center, which served as the terrorist organization's command center in the key city of Sirte, Libya Herald reports. If confirmed, the loss of the center would mark a major setback for the jihadist group.


Vladimir Putin has accused Ukraine of plotting terrorist attacks in Crimea to destabilize the region and create a new conflict, Russian daily Kommersant reports. The Russian president said yesterday that two Russian servicemen had been killed during the attempted arrest of a Ukrainian spy in Crimea. Kiev has dismissed these claims as Russian provocation made to escalate towards a full-blown war.


"The Rock" welcomed its first prisoners 82 years ago … That, and more, in your 57-second shot of History.


Police in Canada shot dead a 24-year-old terror suspect in an operation carried out yesterday in the province of Ontario, the National Postreports. The man killed has been named as Aaron Driver, who was arrested last year for supporting ISIS on social media and could have been planning to carry out a suicide bombing in public area, according to a statement by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.


Twin bomb blasts attributed to the Kurdish PKK group killed at least eight people, including police officers, last night in southeastern Turkey, Hürriyet reports. The explosion of a car bomb killed five people in Diyarbakir while, almost simultaneously, another blast killed three in Kiziltepe.


Wildfires carried by high winds have burned up to 33 square kilometers of garrigue and pine woods near the southeastern France city of Marseille by this morning. Three people have been injured and hundreds have been evacuated, Le Mondereports.


The recent visit by Pope Francis during World Youth Day highlighted how little Polish leaders care about the emergency of Europe's refugee crisis. For Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, Jakub Halcewicz writes: "During his first speech at Wawel Castle in Kraków, Francis said the world needs ‘a spirit of readiness to welcome those fleeing from wars and hunger, and solidarity with those deprived of their fundamental rights, including the right to profess one's faith in freedom and safety.'

Now let's go back to reality. Our reality. Are we Poles and the Polish political elite ready to accept those people fleeing from wars and hunger? We are one of the biggest European Union countries — for many, a symbol of freedom and democracy regained, belonging to the happy and wealthy part of the world. Are we aware of the responsibility that this entails? Unfortunately, it's highly doubtful."

Read the full article, Refugees, The Moral Failure Of Poland's Leaders.


Where Weavers Nest — Saint-André, 2000


This year, Iceland is expecting about 1.7 million tourists, more than the 1.28 million who visited the island last year. That's more than five times the country's own population, according to Le Monde. The problem is Iceland wasn't ready for this surge in tourism: Reykjavik's international airport is too small, the roads are jammed and there aren't enough hotels.



The cast of Hookgot together again as Steven Spielberg's cult movie turns 25 this year. The "Lost Boys" also paid tribute to Robin Williams, who played Peter Pan, as today marks the second anniversary of the actor's death.

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A Refuge From China's Rat Race: The Young People Flocking To Buddhist Monasteries

Unemployment, stress in the workplace, economic difficulties: more and more young Chinese graduates are flocking to monasteries to find "another school of life."

Photograph of a girl praying at a temple during Chinese Lunar New Year. She is burning incense.

Feb 20, 2015 - Huaibei, China - Chinese worshippers pray at a temple during the Lunar New Yeat

Frédéric Schaeffer

JIAXING — It's already dawn at Xianghai Temple when Lin, 26, goes to the Hall of 10,000 Buddhas for the 5:30 a.m. prayer.

Still half-asleep, the young woman joins the monks in chanting mantras and reciting sacred texts for an hour. Kneeling, she bows three times to Vairocana, also known as the Great Sun Buddha, who dominates the 42-meter-high hall representing the cosmos.

Before grabbing a vegetarian breakfast in the adjacent refectory, monks and devotees chant around the hall to the sound of drums and gongs.

"I resigned last October from the e-commerce company where I had been working for the past two years in Nanjing, and joined the temple in January, where I am now a volunteer in residence," explains the young woman, soberly dressed in black pants and a cream linen jacket.

Located in the city of Jiaxing, over a hundred kilometers from Shanghai, in eastern China, the Xianghai temple is home to some 20 permanent volunteers.

Unlike Lin, most of them only stay for a couple days or a few weeks. But for Lin, who spends most of her free time studying Buddhist texts in the temple library, the change in her life has been radical. "I used to do the same job every day, sometimes until very late at night, writing all kinds of reports for my boss. I was exhausted physically and mentally. I felt my life had no meaning," she says.

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