More EU Borders Close, Obama And Francis, Invisibility Cloak
CHILE HAILED FOR QUAKE PREPARATION
Photo: Mario Ruiz/EFE via ZUMA
The death toll following Wednesday night's earthquake in Chile remains very low, rising to 12 late yesterday, owing to the country's extensive earthquake preparation efforts. Interviewed by newspaper La Tercera, German geologist Onno Oncken, who helped create Chile's anti-tsunami alert system, said the country's preparation for such events is among the best in the world. But Chile learned the hard way, after the most powerful earthquake ever recorded devastated the country in 1960.
REFUGEES FACE MORE CLOSED BORDERS
Highlighting a Europe in chaos, Croatia has become the latest EU country to close part of its border to refugees coming in from Serbia. The government has ordered seven of its eight border crossings with Serbia closed after Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said that 13,000 migrants had entered the country since early Wednesday. "Our welcoming capacities are saturated," Ostojic told TV network N1.
- Refugees started entering Croatia after Hungary closed its border with Serbia and began arresting anybody who passed the fence, leading to violent clashes when asylum seekers tried to force passage and threw stones at the police, who answered with tear gas. "No matter what criticism I receive â€¦ we will never allow such aggressive people to enter Hungary," Deutsche Welle quoted Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto as saying. "Not even for transit purposes." The country began installing new fences this morning, this time along the border with Croatia, leaving Slovenia as the only route leading to Europe's Schengen Area open-border zone, The Guardian explains.
- But Slovenia has also started to crackdown on refugees crossing into the country with the hope of reaching Austria and Germany. All rail traffic from Croatia has been stopped after a group of 150 people was arrested on a Zurich-bound train. "We will return them to Croatia in the shortest time possible," a police official said. The government intends to abide by Schengen rules and Prime Minister Miro Cerar said it "cannot let people who do not meet conditions to enter the European Union."
On the eve of the pontiff's visit to the United States, confidential Obama administration documents reveal a remarkable harmony with Francis' objectives, La Stampa's Paolo Mastrolilli reports. "The reports were compiled to provide Obama with an overview on the pope himself and the structure of the Vatican and then elaborate on several areas of common interest and potential collaboration, including the fight against poverty and hunger, climate change, the war in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, relations with Cuba and human trafficking," he writes. "The White House documents note that the Vatican sees protecting the environment as a â€˜moral duty' and express high hopes for the pope's new encyclical on the environment, which was bitterly criticized by conservatives in the U.S."
Read the full article, Pope Francis And Barack Obama, Why The White House Believes.
WHITE HOUSE URGES CITIZENSHIP FOR IMMIGRANTS
The White House launched a nationwide campaign yesterday for the 8.8 million legal immigrants living in the U.S. to pursue American citizenship. But as The New York Times points out, this encouragement may not be entirely altruistic, as it would add a large pool of potential Democratic voters to the electorate, just in time for next year's presidential race.
MILITARY INSTALLS NEW BURKINA PRESIDENT
The situation in Burkina Faso was still tense this morning after the rebel military installed General Gilbert Diendéré as the country's new president Thursday, just three weeks before national elections were set to take place. Read more in Le Blog.
URINATION STUDY WINS IG NOBEL
This year's Ig Nobel Prize winners, who are honored for "improbable research," are worth a long look and a laugh. Among the winners announced yesterday are Georgia Tech researchers who found that "nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds)." See the full list here.
ON THIS DAY
It's been 45 years since the death of Jimi Hendrix at age 27. Get your shot of history here.
SOUTH SUDAN TANKER BLAST KILLS DOZENS
At least 182 people have died in South Sudan after a fuel truck exploded in a southwestern province, Reuters reports. The blast occurred Wednesday after the truck veered off the road. An official has warned that the death toll could rise, mostly because of lack of medical infrastructure.
"Their emancipation doesn't come with a car, but with a smartphone," French researcher Nicolas Louvet told Le Monde, remarking about the current generation's declining interest in learning to drive. "They don't leave their parents at 18, but at 13. In their room."
SCOTLAND THREATENS NEW REFERENDUM
Scottish Nationalist Party leader Nicola Sturgeon is expected to say in a speech later today that British Prime Minister David Cameron is "living on borrowed time." It would be her clearest threat to date of her party demanding a second independence referendum, The Guardian reports. In her speech, which coincides with the one-year anniversary of Scotland's failed bid to gain independence, Sturgeon will renew demands for the Conservative British government to scrap the Trident nuclear missiles, stationed in Scotland, and to end austerity policies.
The average worker in Nairobi, Kenya, must log 173 minutes on the job to earn enough to pay for a McDonald's Big Mac, the most recent UBS Prices and Earnings study shows. For the same product, people in Hong Kong have to work just nine minutes. According to the study's findings, New York is the world's most expensive city.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
HOW NOT TO BE SEEN
Scientists have invented a Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak. Don't expect to be wearing one anytime soon, though. It's microscopic.