MUSKOVITES MARCH OVER POLITICIAN’S MURDER
Tens of thousands of people marched in Moscow yesterday in remembrance of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead near the Kremlin Friday evening. Between 16,000 and 70,000 are believed to have attended the march, with some people carrying signs reading, “I am not afraid.”
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- Nemtsov, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin and the Ukrainian conflict, was an experienced politician and had served as deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin. He was shot four times by a gunman in a car as he was walking near the Red Square, circumstances that suggest the killer was a professional who had carefully identified his target, The Moscow Times writes.
- Critics of Putin have said the murder was politically motivated and accused the president. Russian officials, meanwhile, have denounced the “filthy crime” aimed at destabilizing Russia. Nemtsov’s death “has all the hallmarks of a contract killing and is of a purely provocational nature,” Putin said.
UN Refugee Agency Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl told the BBC that “it is a figure of shame for the entire world” that 860,000 Palestinians are dependent on food assistance. He also highlighted the significant gap between the money pledged after last summer’s Gaza conflict and the actual money that the agency received to help with the enclave’s reconstruction.
IRAQ LAUNCHES TIKRIT OFFENSIVE
The Iraqi army has launched a large-scale military offensive to retake the city of Tikrit, hometown of late leader Saddam Hussein, Al Jazeera reports. At least 30,000 troops and militia groups have started attacking ISIS positions near the Tigris river and are trying to encircle the city, backed with army jets. According to an Al Jazeera reporter, “this is one of the biggest military operations that will eventually proceed to take back Mosul,” ISIS’ stronghold in Iraq, for which the Pentagon also has plans.
- Harakat Hazm, the first Syrian rebel group to be given U.S. weapons, announced it would dissolve after suffering heavy defeats at the hands of the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, the al-Nusra Front. According to Reuters, the group has joined a bigger Islamist alliance, the Shamiyah front.
PRO-WEST PARTY WINS IN ESTONIA
Taavi Roivas, at 35 Europe’s youngest prime minister, and his pro-NATO Reform party have won Estonia’s parliamentary election that was largely overshadowed by security concerns related to the Ukraine conflict and what is perceived as a military threat from Russia, AFP reports. With 30 seats in a 101-member parliament, Roivas will have to seek a coalition partner, but he has already ruled out governing with the pro-Russian party Center, which won 27 seats.
“I feel really awful. Here I am doing charity work and one of my dearest friends is being buried,” William Shatner wrote on Twitter to justify his absence at Leonard Nimoy’s funeral. Shatner was the target of much criticism from Star Trek fans for his decision to uphold his commitment despite Spock’s passing.
DEADLY BACTERIA FROM LOUISIANA LAB
Despite weeks of investigation, authorities have found no explanation for how a deadly type of bacteria was released from a Louisiana lab north of New Orleans, USA Today reports. The release of Burkholderia pseudomallei, which was found in four monkey-like rhesus macaques, is believed to have happened in November and is considered a potential bioterror agent. Officials have said there is no public health threat, but the newspaper suggests too few samples were taken to assess the risk.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
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VIOLENT PROTESTS IN HONG KONG
The Hong Kong police clashed with demonstrators yesterday after the third protest in a month against China’s so-called “parallel traders,” who are said to exploit visa rules to buy goods in Hong Kong that they sell at a profit in mainland China, the South China Morning Post reports. Police arrested 38 protesters.
As Mada Masr’s Nermeen Khafagy writes, antique dealers, second-hand markets, auction showrooms, music lovers and historians are the cornerstones of the wondrous world of vintage vinyl records in Egypt, just as they are in similar dusty corners around the world. “Egypt's phonographic history is particularly rich in oriental music, with record labels running from the end of the 19th century until the mid 1950s, through companies such as Gramophone, Odeon, Baidaphone, Meshian, and Polyphon,” the journalist writes. “There were vernacular free verse, couplets, odes, Koran recitation, religious chanting and more. And when the competition between the companies came to an end, the floor was yielded to fierce competition between amateur record-collecting music aficionados, record dealers and Gulfie moneybags.”
Read the full article, Oriental Hits To Female Koran Chants, Welcome To Egyptian Vintage Vinyl.
ON THIS DAY
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On March 2, 1946, Ho Chi Minh was elected president of North Vietnam. Time for your 57-second shot of history.
L.A. POLICE KILL HOMELESS MAN
Graphic footage has emerged online showing LAPD officers shooting and killing a homeless and apparently unarmed man in Los Angeles’ Skid Row area after a struggle. The victim’s identity hasn’t been released yet, according to The Los Angeles Times. One witness said the man had tried to reach for a policeman’s gun during the fight.
‘O LUNA MIA
Check out this week's horoscope, straight from the Eternal City.