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Nepal Death Toll, Baltimore Burning, The Anti-Barbie

NEPAL DEATH TOLL COULD REACH 10,000

As the Nepalese continue digging through rubble in search for survivors four days after its deadliest earthquake in decades, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said today that the death toll could reach 10,000, Reuters reports. Confirmed figures this morning put the number at 4,349 people killed and more than 7,000 injured.

  • "The death toll could go up to 10,000 because information from remote villages hit by the earthquake is yet to come in," Koirala said.
  • According to a UN report, eight million people have been affected by Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake and over two million live in 11 districts that were severely struck. More than 1.4 million people are in need of food assistance, water, shelter and medication, the same report says.
  • International aid has started arriving in the Himalayan nation, but distribution is slow because access is difficult, and there has been heavy rain and aftershocks.
  • In the capital Kathmandu, thousands of people are still sleeping outside, on streets, roads and in parks.
  • With hospitals overflowing and water scarce, authorities fear potential waterborne diseases. The government has ordered additional mass cremations to prevent the spread of diseases.

BALTIMORE BURNING

Photo: Lloyd Fox/TNS/ZUMA

Tuesday's front page of The Baltimore Sun reads "RIOTS ERUPT," appearing above images of clashes and burning cars as the city descended into chaos yesterday after two weeks of tensions over the alleged police killing of Freddie Gray. The violence began just hours after the funeral for Gray, the 25-year-old Baltimore man who died April 19 while in police custody, becoming the latest symbol of police violence against young black men in the United States. Read more on our 4 Corners blog.


INDONESIA SET TO EXECUTE 8 FOREIGNERS

Indonesian officials have rejected last-ditch international clemency pleas for nine prisoners — eight foreigners and one Indonesian — sentenced to death for drug trafficking, instead ordering their executions by firing squad to proceed, The Jakarta Post reports. The prisoners, the so-called “Bali Nine,” saw their families in prison today for what could be the last time. Although authorities in Jakarta have refused to communicate the exact execution date, it is believed they will be carried out early tomorrow. ABC published photos of coffins arriving at Cilacap port, near the prison island, as well as the crosses that would be used, inscribed with the date 29.04.2015.


VERBATIM

"It is a matter of the utmost gravity that those who looked to them for protection and were granted shelter there had their hopes and trust denied," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement today, denouncing Israeli attacks on UN schools that killed 44 Palestinians and injured at least 227 others last year during the Gaza war, Al Jazeera reports. A UN inquiry also said Palestinian fighters “probably” fired at Israeli forces from schools in at least two cases, which Ban Ki-moon called “unacceptable.”


BOSNIAN POLICEMAN KILLED IN ATTACK

A gunman shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) attacked a police station in the eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik last night, killing one officer and wounding two before he was shot dead, Sarajevo-based daily Dnevni Avaz reports. A police spokeswoman said the attacker, identified as 24-year-old Nerdin Ibric from a nearby village, opened fire in the building with an automatic weapon while police officers were changing shifts. Zvornik is located in the country’s Serb-dominated region, the Serb Republic. Regional Interior Minister Dragan Lukac characterized it as the “worst terrorist attack that could happen in the Serb Republic.”


800,000

China became the second-largest wine-growing country last year, with close to 800,000 hectares of vines, Les Échos reports. The country, now behind global leader Spain, overtook France, which nevertheless remains the biggest producer.


BOKO HARAM KILLS 21 IN NIGERIA

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed 21 people who were trying to return home to recover abandoned food supplies in northeastern Nigeria, a local official and a victim’s relative quoted by the Nigerian daily Vanguard said today.


ON THIS DAY


American engineer Dennis Tito became the first space tourist 14 years ago today, self-funding an eight-trip in orbit. Time now for your 57-second shot of history.


BAGHDAD CAR BOMBS KILL 20

Three car bombs targeting busy commercial areas in Iraq’s capital Baghdad killed at least 20 civilians yesterday, Al Arabiya reports. The deadliest of the three attacks was in the upscale Mansour district of western Baghdad, where a car packed with explosives blew up, killing at least 10 people and wounding 27, police and medical sources said.


MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD



SEWOL FERRY CAPTAIN GETS LIFE

A Gwangju High Court in South Korea sentenced Lee Jun-seok, the captain of the Sewol ferry that sank last year, killing 304 passengers, to life imprisonment for murder today, The Korea Times reports. The city’s district court had previously issued the captain a 36-year prison sentence, but that was annulled during the hearing with 15 other members of the Sewol crew.


WORLDCRUNCH TO-GO

Over the past four years, nearly 150,000 Syrian refugees have declared political asylum in the European Union, most of them resettling in Germany and Sweden, Syria Deeply reports. Thousands more have attempted to make the journey to Europe, wagering their savings and their safety for the chance to be smuggled to the Western continent by land or sea. Among those who make it to Europe, some have managed to adapt and settle down, while others find the social and cultural differences difficult to overcome. Syria Deeply met with some young Syrians who have recently made it to Europe to seek asylum. They shared their personal perspectives on the homeland they've left behind, and what it would mean to build a new life in Europe.

Read the full article, Syrian Refugees In Europe, Between Hope And Longing.


THE ANTI-BARBIE

The Official expand=1] Amy Schumer Doll has just been released, and it’s nothing like a Barbie.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Fight Over Tourist Visa Ban For Russians Is Taking Everyone For A Ride

High on the agenda of the Prague summit of Europe’s foreign ministers this week was a proposal to ban tourist visas for Russians, as punishment for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. But it is ultimately a way to change the subject, and recalls Zelensky’s iconic remark after the war began.

Passengers arrive at Sheremetyevo International Airport, Russia

TASS
Anna Akage

It’s not a new question. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had called for a ban on tourist visa for Russian soon after the war began, and this week it became the center of the Prague summit of European Union foreign ministers.

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Some European Union nations voiced their support soon after it was mentioned by Zelensky, including former Soviet republics and current Russia neighbors, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. They were followed by Finland and the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Poland. Hungary, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus. Germany and France are looking for a compromise that would allow for visas for students, workers of culture and science, as well as people who need entry for humanitarian reason. Perhaps most importantly, however, the U.S. took an unambiguous position against the restrictions.

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Writing contest - My pandemic story
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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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