IRAQ BEGINS ANBAR LIBERATION OPERATION
Iraq announced the start of a military operation today aimed at liberating the western Anbar province from ISIS terrorists, Reuters reports. The first city expected to be targeted is Ramadi, the capital city of the province that fell to the terrorist organization on May 17, Al Jazeera reports. Iraqi forces will be comprised of both government forces and Iran-backed Shia militias. Over the last week, thousands of fighters have been gathering at the Habbaniyah military base, near Ramadi, in preparation for a counter-offensive.
“I believe my father was poisoned,” both daughters of the late bluesman B.B. King have written in separate but identical affidavits. The 89-year-old King died May 14 in Las Vegas, and his daughters believe the musician’s business manager and his personal assistant killed him, AFP reports. Las Vegas police have launched a homicide investigation into his death. Brent Bryson, an attorney for King’s estate, said he hoped “they have a factual basis that they can demonstrate for their defamatory and libelous allegations.”
MALAYSIA EXHUMES MASS GRAVES
Malaysian authorities have begun exhuming bodies they believe to be migrants that human traffickers buried in mass graves near the Thai border, the BBC reports. Officials also believe these areas were abandoned recently after a crackdown by Thai authorities on human traffickers in the region. Malaysia’s national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said there were signs that the victims were tortured.
Ending three consecutive weeks of decline, 35 new Ebola cases were reported in Guinea and Sierra Leone last week, four times more than the one prior, L’Obs reports.
Daredevils raced down the very steep Cooper’s Hill chasing a Double Gloucester Cheese during the annual Cheese-Rolling and Wake in southwestern England.
CHINA TO EXPAND PRESENCE IN DISPUTED SEA
In what will probably escalate regional tensions, China outlined a strategy today to boost its military presence in the already disputed South China Sea, Reuters reports. China has been accused of aggressively pursuing territorial claims in the region.
TORNADO KILLS 13 IN MEXICO
At least 13 people, including three children, were killed by a powerful tornado yesterday in the Mexican city of Ciudad Acuña, near the U.S. border, El Universal reports. More than 200 people were also injured and about 400 homes were damaged by the twister, Mayor Evaristo Lenin Perez said. The tornado, which reportedly ripped through the city in just six seconds, was spawned by the same storm that caused heavy rains and flooding in central Texas last week. The city had not been hit by such a powerful tornado in more than a century, CNN reports.
AL-SHABAB CLAIMS KENYA POLICE KILLINGS
At least 25 Kenyan police officers were reportedly killed by al-Shabab militants last night near Garissa, where 148 students were killed by fighters from the same group in April, Al Jazeera reports. Al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab said today that the police officers were killed in an ambush. “We took all their weapons. There were some Kenyan forces that escaped in the course of the ambush fighting.”
Rich families from Guangzhou or Beijing are flocking to the new Asian “villages” of the famous French vacation brand Club Med, which is a novelty for them, L’Obs Ursula Gauthier writes. “What arouses the curiosity of Chinese guests here is the Club Med concept itself, and its bizarre French lifestyle,” she writes. “For example, there are many foreigners on staff, from all over the globe, who don’t speak a word of Chinese. Also on offer are a plethora of activity choices still unknown in China: from rock climbing to mountain biking, golf and water aerobics and also cooking lessons, sculpture and yoga. To Chinese visitors, the strangest thing is the omnipresence of the Club Med employees — known the world over as GOs, or ‘genteel organizers’ — who welcome clients with open arms, watch the sports activities, dine with guests, and do their best to have conversations with clients even though they don’t speak a common language.”
Read the full article, In China, Club Med Is A Brand New Idea 65 Years After Its Founding.
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
WASHPO REPORTER’S TRIAL BEGINS IN IRAN
The espionage trial of Jason Rezaian, the Iranian-American Tehran bureau chief for The Washington Post, began behind closed doors today in Tehran, Reuters reports. Iranian authorities have yet to elaborate on the charges he faces, and they proceeded with the journalist’s trial despite calls from President Barack Obama, Rezaian’s family and rights groups for his release. The semi-official Iranian news agency quoted the reporter’s lawyer Leila Ahsan as saying that the had “been charged with espionage for collecting confidential information and handing it to hostile governments, writing a letter to Obama and acting against national security.” Rezaian has been imprisoned for 10 months.
ON THIS DAY
Irish author Bram Stoker’s Gothic horror novel Dracula was published 118 years ago today. Time now for your 57-second shot of history.