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New Russian Offensive?, NASA Craft Crashes, Bernie's In

New Russian Offensive?, NASA Craft Crashes, Bernie's In


The death toll in and around Nepal, where a devastating earthquake struck Saturday, now exceeds 6,200 people, Reuters reports. More than 14,000 people were also injured, and at least 600,000 homes were destroyed in the disaster.

  • Disposing of bodies still being found six days after the earthquake is becoming a problem for authorities, as morgues and hospitals are beyond capacity.
  • According to Nepal Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, the country will need at least $2 billion for reconstruction. It has appealed for help from international donors.
  • According to the United Nations, at least eight million people have been affected by the earthquake, and two million people will be in need of tents, water, food and medication over the next three months.


Photo: Sajjad/Xinhua/ZUMA

A laborer works at an iron factory on International Workers' Day in eastern Pakistan’s Lahore.


Russia may be exploiting the lull in fighting between national Ukraine forces and pro-Russian separatists to restrategize and reposition itself for a new offensive there, I.S. NATO Commander Philip Breedlove told Congress yesterday. “Many of their actions are consistent with preparations for another offensive,” Reuters quotes him as saying. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which is monitoring the ceasefire, reports that there is significantly less fighting since a February ceasefire agreement was reached in Minsk, Belarus. But the United States says Russia now has its largest force on the border since October and has deployed additional air defense systems, Reuters reports.


“It's a sign that decent people in Indonesia appreciate the anger that Australians feel at these cruel and unnecessary deaths, and it's a sign that in time the good and strong friendship between Australia and Indonesia can be resumed,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said during a press conference today, ABC reports. He was referring to Wednesday’s firing squad executions of two Australians, alongside six other convicts, in Indonesia. They were charged with drug trafficking, an offense punishable by death in the country.


Progressive Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Congressional independent, has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president, acknowledging in so many words his long odds against Hillary Clinton but characterizing himself as a politician with “the most unusual political history of anyone in Congress,” The New York Times reports. A self-described “Democratic socialist,” the Times calls the 73-year-old a “grumpy grandfather-type,” and liberals hail his candidacy as a way to keep Clinton from veering too far to the right. “Having Bernie Sanders in the race, calling for populism, will help open the political space for people like Hillary Clinton and others to take bold stands,” Adam Green, a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told the newspaper.


One week ahead of Britain's national elections, polls are too close to call between the two leading candidates, the Tories' incumbent Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband. The Economist divides its cover between the two, casting the election as a choice between risks: for the economy (Miliband) and for a possible UK exit from the European Union (Cameron). Read more in our Extra! feature.



The Saudi Arabian military repelled a major attack by Houthi rebels on its border yesterday, according to a statement by the state-controlled Saudi Press Agency. It would have been the first major assault on Saudi territory since the March 25 beginning of an airstrike campaign by a Saudi-led coalition against the Yemeni rebels. The state media says “dozens” of rebels were killed in the attack, which happened on the southern Saudi border, near the town of Najran.


Süddeutsche Zeitung asks why so many modern couples find it difficult to work out division of labor within their households. After all, even Paleolithic people had it figured out. “What we can learn from these bygone days is that women were not just sitting outside their caves all day, baby at the breast and sewing leather loincloths with bone needles waiting for the men to return from their daily hunt with a nice piece of bloody mammoth meat,” the newspaper writes. “If you believe archeologist and Paleolithic expert Linda Owen, things were, well, much more evolved than that. Even Ötzi, who lived around 3,300 BCE, was more progressive than some modern men who so zealously attempt to play the roles of spouse and father. Why else would the frozen remains of the glacier mummy have been found with a sewing kit?”

Read the full article, Worse Than Cavemen, Dads Today Do Even Less Than In The Stone Age.


NASA’s Messenger spacecraft smashed into Mercury’s north pole yesterday, after 10 years in space and four in the planet’s orbit left its fuel tanks empty, NASA officials say. The crash occurred at 12 times the speed of sound, reportedly obliterating the car-sized spacecraft. Launched in 2004, Messenger sent back more than 270,000 images and 10 terabytes of scientific measurements of Mercury.


A 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck off Papua New Guinea today, according to Reuters. No immediate casualties or damage have been reported.


The first Batman comic hit the streets 76 years ago today. More now in your 57-second shot of history.

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Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski


PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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