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Merkel's Warning, Turkey's War, Star Wars Preview

GERMANY CAN TAKE 500,000 REFUGEES A YEAR

Photo: Paul Hackett/London News Pictures/ZUMA

Germany can cope with at least 500,000 asylum seekers a year for several years, Die Weltquoted German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel as saying today, as authorities there expect to receive more than 800,000 this year alone (four times the 2014 figure).

  • Chancellor Angela Merkel described the recent arrival of more than 20,000 refugees in Germany as "breathtaking" but "manageable." "I am happy that Germany has become a country that many people outside of Germany now associate with hope," Süddeutsche Zeitung quoted her as saying.
  • But Merkel issued a warning to her European neighbors, urging them to take in more refugees. "What isn't acceptable in my view is that some people are saying this has nothing to do with them," she said. "This won't work in the long run. There will be consequences, although we don't want that."
  • Countries such as France and the UK said they would receive thousands more asylum seekers over the next months and years.
  • Gabriel also warned that if eastern and western European countries continued to refuse their share of migrants, the Schengen Area of open borders could be at risk.
  • Brazil would welcome Middle Eastern refugees "with open arms," President Dilma Rousseff said in a speech to commemorate the country's Independence Day. "Brazil is a nation that was shaped by people of the most diverse origins and have been living here in peace, even in difficult times," Rousseff said. According to O Globo, about 2,100 Syrian refugees are now living in Brazil.

TURKEY PLEDGES TO "WIPE OUT" PKK

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has pledged to "wipe out" fighters for the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, after an attack in southeastern Turkey Sundaythat killed 16 Turkish soldiers. "The mountains of this country, the plains, highlands, cities will be not abandoned to terrorists," Davutoglu said during a press conference Monday, the BBC reports. "Whatever it takes, they will be cleared," he added.

  • These deadly incidents come after a two-year peace process between Turkish authorities and the PKK, the EU and the U.S. collapsed in July.
  • As a response, about 50 Turkish warplanescarried out airstrikes against PKK positions in northern Iraq Monday and Tuesday, killing at least 35 fighters, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.
  • Meanwhile, Hürriyet reports that at least 10 Turkish police officers were killed today in eastern Turkey when their bus was hit by an IED believed to have been laid by the PKK.

POPE WANTS TO KEEP DIVORCEES IN CHURCH

Pope Francis is expected to unveil changes today that may make it less cumbersome for divorced and remarried Catholics to remain in the church, Italian Catholic weekly magazine Avvenire reports.


CAMERON DEFENDS KILLING UK ISIS FIGHTERS

For the the first time, the UK authorized a drone airstrike in Syria that killed two British ISIS members, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Monday. The two men were killed in Raqqa on Aug. 21. Cameron justified the attack on the basis that one of the terrorists, 21-year-old Reyaad Khan, represented a specific threat to the UK, The Guardian reports. Khan and another ISIS fighter were allegedly plotting to attack "high-profile public commemorations" in the UK, which were understood to be the Armed Forces Day and the May 8th Victory Day, which the Queen presided over. "It was necessary and proportionate for the individual self-defense of the UK," Cameron said. The move has been strongly criticized across the UK. "If you go down this route, then we want to be very wary of ending up like the Americans," Conservative lawmaker David Davis said. "Obama has every-Thursday-morning meetings to drop a death list of hits with drones. The result of that? A lot of them hit in Pakistan and killed a lot of innocent people as well. It became counter-productive. It actually made a lot of Pakistanis anti-American, and it helps the terrorist movement there," The Telegraph quoted him as saying.


ON THIS DAY


Can you guess what masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture was unveiled in Florence, Italy, 511 years ago today? Find out in today's shot of history.


COURT ACQUITS AMANDA KNOX FOR "STUNNING FLAWS"

Though they were definitively cleared last March, Italy's highest court has nevertheless acquitted Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito of the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher, citing "stunning flaws" in the investigation that led to their earlier conviction, La Repubblica reports.


VERBATIM

"Under such circumstances, certain people will naturally be spurned and kicked out," Wang Jiarui, head of the international department of China's Communist Party, said in Beijing today about corruption within the party, Reuters reports. "But if there are many such officials, it will cause a crisis for the ruling party, though we've obviously not reached that stage," he added, revealing fears that corruption could affect the party's hold on power. Chinese President Xi Jinping launched a sweeping anti-corruption campaign in 2012.

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



FRENCH ECONOMIST TO HELP SPANISH PARTY

Thomas Piketty, a French economist and author of the controversial but best-selling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, will join the Spanish anti-liberal Podemos party,Les Echos reports. He is being brought on board to help develop an economic program for the party, which was founded in January 2014 and is now Spain's second largest. The country is preparing for general elections that will be held in December 2015.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Wareef Kaseem Hamdeo, a chef from Aleppo who found refuge from the Syrian civil war in Gaza City, became a local celebrity after opening a Syrian restaurant there. "After searching for work in Turkey and Egypt, he ended up in the unlikely destination of Gaza, where he endured yet another war for 51 days last summer when Israel and armed Palestinian groups battled until a cease-fire was reached in late August," Lara Abu Ramadan writes for Syria Deeply. "But he found both love and local fame, eventually getting married and making a new life for himself there. ‘I came to Gaza with my Palestinian friend through a tunnel. It was an adventure,' Hamdeo says. ‘After we got through the tunnel and came to the beach road near Rafah, the view took my breath away and reminded me of Syria. The air was clean, and it wasn't nearly as crowded as in Egypt. I felt comfortable again.'"

Read the full article, After Fleeing Aleppo, Syrian Chef Makes It Big In Gaza.


THE FORCE IS WITH FRANCE

Star Wars fans from all over the world now have a reason to book plane tickets to France for Dec. 16. Disney has announced that the seventh installment of the film series, The Force Awakens, will be released in France two days before the rest of the world. "Que la Force soit avec vous !"

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Society

Jehovah's Witnesses Translate The Bible In Indigenous Language — Is This Colonialism?

The Jehovah's Witnesses in Chile have launched a Bible version translated into the native Mapudungun language, evidently indifferent to the concerns of a nation striving to save its identity from the Western cultural juggernaut.

A Mapuche family awaits for Chilean President Gabriel Boric to arrive at the traditional Te Deum in the Cathedral of Santiago, on Chile's Independence Day.

Claudia Andrade

NEUQUÉN — The Bible can now be read in Mapuzugun, the language of the Mapuche, an ancestral nation living across Chile and Argentina. It took the Chilean branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a latter-day Protestant church often associated with door-to-door proselytizing and cold calling, three years to translate it into "21st-century Mapuzugun".

The church's Mapuche members in Chile welcomed the book when it was launched in Santiago last June, but some of their brethren see it rather as a cultural imposition. The Mapuche were historically a fighting nation, and fiercely resisted both the Spanish conquerors and subsequent waves of European settlers. They are still fighting for land rights in Chile.

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