SYRIAN ARMY TAKES BACK KEY AIR BASE FROM ISIS
The Syrian army has regained control of the Kwairis military airbase, near the northern city of Aleppo, ending a siege that started in April 2013 and was reinforced by ISIS in the spring of 2014, the Syrian Arab News Agency reports. According to experts quoted by AFP, this is an important breakthrough for the Assad regime and its allies, and the airbase could now be used by Russian warplanes to fully retake the city of Aleppo, as well as protecting the Syrian government's western stronghold in Latakia, where 24 civilians were killed yesterday in terrorist rocket attacks. The BBC meanwhile reports that a Russian document circulating at the United Nations set out a potential political transition process of 18 months, followed by presidential elections. This comes ahead of a summit, due to take place in Vienna on Saturday.
EUROPE'S TWISTS, TURNS ON MIGRANT CRISIS
Reversing a decision made in August, Germany will resume the application of the Dublin rules on asylum, meaning that the mostly Syrian refugees that have entered will be sent back to the countries where they first registered (except Greece) upon entering the European Union. German weekly Der Spiegel reports that the announcement comes amid reports of tensions in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government, and even inside her own CDU party. According to officials statistics, about 800,000 migrants have already registered in the country this year, with authorities forced to requisition school gyms and even churches to accommodate the refugees.
Hungary, which erected fences at most of its borders to prevent more refugees from entering, has warned Germany that "not a single Syrian" should be returned there. "The Dublin system is dead since apart from a few exceptions, countries aren't abiding by its terms," Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said.
Slovenia has meanwhile started to erect a barbed-wire fence on its border with Croatia to limit entries, as the tiny country is overwhelmed by the number of migrants, a situation made worse by restricted entries into neighboring Austria.
Meanwhile in France, migrants clashed with the police for a third consecutive night in the northern city of Calais, amid recent attempts to relocate the estimated 6,000 migrants on the infamous "Jungle" to other parts of France. Speaking to AFP, local officials said the violence had spread to the city's suburbs located near the camp, with residents reporting theft and damage to their homes.
The growing unrest comes as 50 leaders from Europe and Africa meet Wednesday in Malta to discuss the migrant crisis. According to Euronews, EU leaders are willing to grant Africa 1.8 billion euros in emergency funds to help it take back some of the economic migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean.
GERMANY SPIED ON FABIUS, FBI, UNICEF
New revelations about Germany's BND intelligence service show that its list of targets included French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, as well as several international and foreign institutions. According to public radio station RBB, which didn't name its source, the BND spied on the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the FBI, the United Nations bodies UNICEF and the World Health Organization, as well as European and American companies, such as weapons manufacturer Lockheed.
ON THIS DAY
World War I ended and a more "modern artist" named Leonardo was born.
MYANMAR'S SUU KYI TO MEET PRESIDENT AFTER VICTORY
Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner and leader of Myanmar's National League for Democracy has written to the country's President, army and Parliament speaker, requesting a meeting to prepare "national reconciliation" after her party's victory in a historic national poll, The Irrawaddy reports. The President has reportedly accepted the meeting, though it will likely take place only once the final results have been announced. Suu Kyi has retained her own constituency, and her party has won 163 seats.
"Why does she keep interrupting everybody?" Donald Trump hit another bad note, chiding fellow candidate Carly Fiorina, during Tuesday night's fourth Republican debate. The attack earned Trump boos from the audience and commentators generally agreed that his overall performance was lackluster. The New York Times picked Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul as the top performers in the debate, describing Jeb Bush as "Better. Maybe."
MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
Half-a-day is all it took for Chinese online shoppers tobreak the $9.3 billion spending record for Singles' Day, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced earlier today. The figures dwarf those registered in the U.S. on Cyber Monday, with a record of "just" $1.35 billion.
ISRAEL-EU ROW OVER LABELS
Israel's Foreign Minister has summoned the European Union's representative to Israel after the EU approved plans to label products from occupied West Bank settlements, Haaretz reports.
Le Temps correspondent Arnaud Dubus visited northern Laos to discover how Chinese business interests are largely taking over large swaths of the Southeast Asian country. "With its casino surrounded by pseudo-Greek statues, its early century Shanghai-like neighborhood and its Beijing pagodas, the "Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone" is the most extravagant example of Chinese economic presence in northern Laos. This zone, which the Laotian government has allocated to a Chinese company for 99 years, is a Chinese enclave where people live a Beijing lifestyle and speak only Chinese.
It's a sign of the economic changes that have transformed northern Laos, on the border with China. There is a massive penetration of Chinese entrepreneurs in this country, which is one of Asia's poorest in terms of per capita incomeâ€¦" Read the full article: How Northern Laos Is Being Swallowed By China
PORTUGAL WITHOUT GOVERNMENT
As expected, the opposition in the Portuguese parliament ousted the center-right minority government of Pedro Passos Coelho on Tuesday, making it the shortest-lived in the country's history after just 12 days in power. The newspaper Díario Económico said the likeliest option now is for the President of the Republic to name the leader of the center-left Socialist party, António Costa, as the new Prime Minister and let him form a coalition government with other left-leaning parties. The head of state's unusual attempt to name a"minority government" clearly failed.
INDEPENDENCE FOR EASTER ISLAND?