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Nuclear Deal Deadline, ISIS In Africa, Eiffel Tower's Birthday

Nuclear Deal Deadline, ISIS In Africa, Eiffel Tower's Birthday

Iran and six world powers (United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China) are trying to overcome their remaining differences and agree to a framework deal on Iran’s nuclear program. They are gathered in Lausanne, where their self-imposed deadline will come tonight.

  • There is total uncertainty around the success of the negotiations. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday he was leaving the talks and would return today if there was a realistic chance of a deal, Al Jazeera reports.
  • Voice of America quoted State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf as saying the talks had just a 50-50 chance of success.
  • There are three major obstacles, Le Temps reports: the duration of the framework agreement, the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran, and a mechanism that guarantees the agreement isn’t breached.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of trying to “conquer” the entire Mideast. “The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity, and must be stopped,” he said. “This deal, as it appears to be emerging, bears out all of our fears, and even more than that.”

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The Eiffel Tower opened 126 years ago today. Time for your 57-second shot of history.

A Saudi-led coalition carried out airstrikes against the Houthi militia in Yemen Monday night, marking the offensive’s sixth consecutive day. The raid hit targets in the group’s stronghold of Saadah, the capital Sanaa and the city of Yarim, Reuters reports. A renegade Republican Guard military base as well as a weapon storage facility outside Sanaa are believed to have been hit overnight, causing huge blazes and fires.
Photo: Hani Ali/Xinhua/ZUMA

  • At least 40 people have been killed by a Saudi airstrike on the al-Mazraq refugee camp in northern Yemen, in what could be one of the deadliest attacks yet since the beginning of the Saudi-led “Decisive Storm” operation. According to Yemen’s state news agency, under Houthi control, several refugee women and children were killed in the strikes. But Saudi Arabia insisted they were killed by Houthi artillery fire, according to Al Jazeera. Witnesses told the AP that the camp formerly housed displaced people, but was now occupied by Houthi forces and that those killed were mostly fighters. Agencies such as the UNHCR have confirmed the strikes and the deaths but aren’t able to say who caused them.
  • The Iranian Red Crescent has reportedly sent medical aid and food to Yemen, according to AP.
  • Iran also denied sending weapons to Houthi fighters in Yemen. The Fars news agency quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham as saying that “the allegations about sending weapons by the Islamic Republic of Iran to Yemen are completely fabricated and sheer lies.”

The ISIS terror group has devoted the cover of its official propaganda magazine Dabiq to its ambitions in Africa — Tunisia in particular, as the photo of Tunis' Great Mosque of Kairouan suggests. See the cover and read more on our 4 Corners blog.

Nigeria’s presidential opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari held a significant lead over President Goodluck Jonathan as counting resumed this morning, Nigerian daily Vanguard reports.

  • General Buhari, who first came to power as a military dictator from 1983 to 1985 after a coup, was leading with a advantage of 2 to 3 million votes against Jonathan.
  • If this continues, President Jonathan would be the first incumbent to lose at the ballot box in Nigeria’s history, The Guardian reports.
  • The election comes amid a bloody insurgency by anti-democracy terror group Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria, where at least 15 people were shot dead on election day, Reuters reports.
As Le Temps’ Olivier Dessibourg reports, Zurich has adopted a system that feeds past criminal information into an algorithm that city officials believe can help predict when and where crimes will occur. Early indications are that it may actually be reducing crime rates. “Its name, Precobs, sounds an awful lot like ‘Precogs,’ those special beings in Steven Spielberg's 2002 Minority Report (based on the Philip K. Dick short story of the same name) who have premonitions of offenses to come. The inventors of this system, at the German Technical Institute for Prevision by Modelizing of Oberhausen, admit they were inspired by the movie. But their product is far from science fiction.”
Read the full article, This Data-Driven Tool May Be Able To Prevent Crimes.

NSA officials say Monday’s incident in which the driver of a vehicle tried to crash through the spy agency’s gates wasn’t linked to terrorism. Officials said drugs could have been involved in the attack, in which one suspect was killed and another injured along with a police officer.

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Rescue workers have pulled 15 bodies from two houses hit by a landslide triggered by three days of incessant rain and floods in Indian-controlled Kashmir. This comes just six months after the worst floods in half a century devastated the Himalayan region, the AP reports.

Germanwings insurers have set aside $300 million to compensate victims’ families after last week’s Airbus A320 crash killed all 150 people on board, Deutsche Welle reports.

It’s time again for the Eurovision Song Contest, that annual European musical event that no one really understands. Tune in daily to the Worldcrunch Hit It! blog to discover this year’s 40 contestants, one-by-one, starting with Albania.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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