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Nepal Violence, Trump's Tirade, Big Ben's Lost Time


Chinese stocks continued to fall for a fifth consecutive day, despite the People's Bank of China cutting its key lending rate in a bid to restore calm to the stock markets. A volatile Shanghai Composite index eventually fell by 1.3%, after rising by as much as 4.3% and dropping 3.9%. After trading closed, China's central bank announced it would inject 140 billion RMB ($22 billion) into the economy to try and stop an economic slowdown. According to Market Watch, the news of more stimulus from China will push U.S. stocks higher at today's open, despite yesterday's late sell-off. But European shares have fallen further this morning. Read more from Reuters.


"Go back to Univision," GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump told Jorge Ramos, an Emmy-winning journalist for Spanish-speaking broadcaster Univision, before having him removed from a news conference last night. Ramos wanted to question Trump about his plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, but Trump argued that he hadn't been called upon. The journalist was later allowed to return to the room, and Trump told him he would deport the immigrants "very humanely." Meanwhile, the billionaire renewed attacks against Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, prompting the network's chief to demand an apology.

For more on Trump, a Latin American view from America Economia: Hey Donald Trump, Hugo Chavez Would Be So Proud.


Serbia and Kosovo took a significant step towards reconciliation yesterday when the two countries signed what EU chief diplomat Federica Mogherini characterized as a "landmark agreement" 16 years after the war between the two sides, EU Observer reports. The deal covers vast policy areas, including energy and telecommunications, and will also grant some level of autonomy to Serbian populations in areas of Kosovo where they are a majority, Balkan Insight explains. The move also removes hurdles in the two countries' paths to entering the European Union.


The late Mother Teresa, Nobel Peace Prize winner and humanitarian, was born on this day in 1910. More in today's shot of history.


At least eight people were killed in Tikapur, Nepal, Monday, after violent protests against government plans for a new Constitution. Seven police officers were killed by the crowd and one of them was burned alive, The Nepali Times reports. The other victim was an 18-month-old boy who was shot dead while playing in the courtyard of his parents' home. Speaking to reporters, the parents said they didn't believe their son had been "collateral damage" but that the gunmen intentionally targeted him. "The way he shot my son dead from 30 feet away shows he was not an ordinary villager," the boy's father said. Nepal is still struggling to recover from a violent earthquake that devastated huge parts of the country, killing more than 9,000 people.


As many as five million Syrians, most of them in Aleppo and Damascus, have been affected by sometimes deliberate water shortages that UNICEF says are used by parties to the conflict to "achieve military and political gains." According to the agency's report, there have been at least 18 deliberate water cuts this year alone, with some of them lasting as long as a month.


South Sudanese President Salva Kiir is expected to sign a final peace agreement today that will hopefully end a 20-month conflict with his former deputy and rebel leader Riek Machar, Sudan Tribune reports. A week ago, Kiir had refused to sign the deal, which includes power-sharing measures and a return of Machar as vice president. But UN pressures and fears of U.S.-backed sanctions seem to have convinced him, despite uncertainties over the army's reaction.


The suspected terror attack thwarted by American and British passengers aboard a high-speed European train has brought railway security sharply into focus. The alleged gunman, believed to be a 25-year-old Moroccan named Ayoub El Khazzani, boarded the Amsterdam-to-Paris train equipped with an assault rifle, automatic pistol, nine cartridge clips and a box-cutter. More than a decade after the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people, and days after what could have been another such massacre, how can authorities in Europe and across the world rethink railway security? There are five key points to bear in mind.

Read the full article, After French High-Speed Rail Attack, Time To Step Up Train Security?


ISIS-affiliated social media accounts have published images purportedly showing the destruction of Palmyra's 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin. The ancient Syrian city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.


The International Committee of the Red Cross announced yesterday it was suspending its activities in Aden, Yemen, after gunmen stormed its offices on Monday and stole cars, equipment and cash. The port city of Aden is technically under the control of forces loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi since they retook it from Houthi rebels, but the country's al-Qaeda branch has recently been able to deploy fighters to parts of the city.


Stephen Hawking's new theory about black holes is that they could be a passage to another universe. "But you couldn't come back to our universe," he said. "So although I'm keen on space flight, I'm not going to try that."



The worst came to pass. Big Ben recently went "temperamental" and wasn't telling time properly, causing disruptions to a BBC radio station. The 156-year-old clock's "little fit" has now been solved and Londoners are hoping it will keep time and carry on.

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Smaller Allies Matter: Afghanistan Offers Hard Lessons For Ukraine's Future

Despite controversies at home, Nordic countries were heavily involved in the NATO-led war in Afghanistan. As the Ukraine war grinds on, lessons from that conflict are more relevant than ever.

Photo of Finnish Defence Forces in Afghanistan

Finnish Defence Forces in Afghanistan

Johannes Jauhiainen


HELSINKI — In May 2021, the Taliban took back power in Afghanistan after 20 years of international presence, astronomical sums of development aid and casualties on all warring sides.

As Kabul fell, a chaotic evacuation prompted comparisons to the fall of Saigon — and most of the attention was on the U.S., which had led the original war to unseat the Taliban after 9/11 and remained by far the largest foreign force on the ground. Yet, the fall of Kabul was also a tumultuous and troubling experience for a number of other smaller foreign countries who had been presented for years in Afghanistan.

In an interview at the time, Antti Kaikkonen, the Finnish Minister of Defense, tried to explain what went wrong during the evacuation.

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“Originally we anticipated that the smaller countries would withdraw before the Americans. Then it became clear that getting people to the airport had become more difficult," Kaikkonen said. "So we decided last night to bring home our last soldiers who were helping with the evacuation.”

During the 20-year-long Afghan war, the foreign troop presence included many countries:Finland committed around 2,500 soldiers,Sweden 8,000,Denmark 12,000 and Norway 9,000. And in the nearly two years since the end of the war, Finland,Belgium and theNetherlands have commissioned investigations into their engagements in Afghanistan.

As the number of fragile or failed states around the world increases, it’s important to understand how to best organize international development aid and the security of such countries. Twenty years of international engagement in Afghanistan offers valuable lessons.

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