WHILE YOU SLEPT

Obama’s Hiroshima Words, Video Horror, Two Bees

SPOTLIGHT: BREXIT LANDS IN JAPAN

Why would Shinzo Abe care what British voters think about Europe? The Japanese Prime Minister, currently hosting the G7 summit, joined leaders of the world’s other top economic powers in a surprise declaration today to urge the UK to vote to remain in the European Union in next month’s so-called “Brexit” referendum. “A UK exit from the EU would reverse the trend towards greater global trade and investment, and the jobs they create and is a further serious risk to growth,” the statement said.


By now, the ties that bind the world economy are clear to all â€" the question is whether we are bound for the better. From Brexit supporters in Britain to Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders backers in the U.S. to striking French workers, and a generation of “No Global” demonstrators everywhere, such summits as the current gathering on Kashiko Island are part of the problem. Still, there may be a quieter majority that suggests a certain faith in nations working together. A survey published in Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter found that 76% feared negative consequences for the EU if Britain pulls out, and 56% worry that Sweden itself will suffer. And it’s not just a cynical bet on a relatively strong economy: Polls last year showed that most of Europe was also opposed to Greece leaving the European single currency. Since the global financial crash of 2008, it’s still hard to find open expressions of optimism about our economic future. Perhaps that’s the best reason of all to stick together.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY (& WEEKEND)

  • Elon Musk’s private SpaceX company satellite launch in Florida.
  • Real Madrid v. Atlético Madrid: an all-Spanish (all Madrid) Champions League soccer final Saturday night in Milan.
  • Ceremony in France to mark the Battle of Verdun centenary.


OBAMA IN HIROSHIMA

“The memory of the morning of Aug. 6, 1945, must never fade,” Barack Obama said today in a speech at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, as he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Japanese city targeted by the world’s first atomic bombing 71 years ago. As announced, Obama did not apologize for the WWII atomic bombings â€" a decision Japan’s Asahi Shimbun says two-thirds of Hiroshima survivors accept. As he has done before, Obama called for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, saying: “We must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them."


KEY FIND IN EGYPTAIR CRASH SEARCH

Investigators have located a beacon signal from the EgyptAir flight that crashed last week, killing all 66 aboard. This discovery narrows the search area to a three-mile radius, which should help locate the black box with holds clues to the cause of the crash.


UNION CHIEF SHUTS DOWN NEWSPAPERS

In a chilling free-speech twist to France’s ongoing labor reform demonstrations, striking workers from trade union CGT stopped the printing of all but one national newspaper yesterday, after the publications declined to print an opinion piece by CGT Secretary-General Philippe Martinez. The only newspaper allowed to print was far-left L’Humanité, which had agreed to print Martinez’s piece. Here’s a video of a journalist being grabbed while questioning the CGT chief.


â€" ON THIS DAY

369 years ago on this day, Alse Young was the first person executed for witchcraft in the U.S. That, and more, in today’s 57-second shot of history.


GOOGLE DODGES $9 BILLION BULLET

A San Francisco jury ruled against Oracle software company’s $9 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google, linked to the Android mobile operating system. That would have been big money, even for Google.


RAPE VIDEO SHOCKS BRAZIL

Rio’s police are investigating a report that a 16-year-old girl was gang-raped by more than 30 men in one of the city’s poor neighborhood. The attackers then allegedly posted videos and images of the attack on social media, according to Brazilian magazine Veja.


â€" MY GRAND-PERE’S WORLD

Praying Primate â€" Swayambhu, March 1994


NORTH KOREA LINKED TO CYBER-ATTACKS ON BANKS

Researchers working for the digital security firm Symantec said they had uncovered evidence linking North Korea to attacks at a bank in the Philippines last October, on a Vietnamese bank in December and in Bangladesh in February. The New York Times reports that the security experts were able to trace a piece of code back to two previous North Korean attacks at Sony in 2014 and in South Korea in 2013.


â€" WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

The legacy of our time will not be our literary or architectural monuments, but all the plastic trash we leave to poison the seas and choke our future. César Rodríguez Garavito writes for Colombia’s El Espectador: “The geologists of tomorrow will scratch their heads trying to understand the voracity with which we consume and dispose of substances that take 500 to 1,000 years to decompose. They will read about the five great islands of trash floating in the oceans today, the gathering points of some eight million tons of synthetic material annually.” But fortunately, Garavito adds, change is in the air: “But they will also note how at some point, humans abandoned their addiction to plastic. When we stopped the nonsense of drinking bottled water when potable tap water was available. Or when supermarkets, shops and drugstores stopped bagging everything, even a single pack of gum, inside plastic.”

Read the full article, Ours Is The Age Of Plastic, And It Needs To End.


MOURINHO IN MAN. U

Portuguese star soccer coach Jose Mourinho has been officially appointed as Manchester United manager. The former Real Madrid and Chelsea coach has signed a three-year contract, the BBC reports.


â€" MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH

TWO BEES

Kjeldahl, Hohenzollern, juamave, groenedael, zindiq, euchologion. Doesn’t matter if you don’t know what any of those words mean â€" can you spell them? Jairam Hathwar and Nihar Janga, co-champions of this year’s National Spelling Bee, sure can. It’s the third year in a row that the contest ends in a tie.

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Migrant Lives

The Other Scandal At The Poland-Belarus Border: Where's The UN?

The United Nations, UNICEF, Red Cross and other international humanitarian organizations seems to be trying to reach the Polish-Belarusian border, where Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko is creating a refugee crisis on purpose.

Migrants in Michalowo, Belarus, next to the border with Poland.

Wojciech Czuchnowski

WARSAW — There is no doubt that the refugees crossing the Belarusian border with Poland — and by extension reaching the European Union — were shepherded through by the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. There is more than enough evidence that this is an organized action of the dictator using a network of intermediaries stretching from Africa and the Middle East. But that is not all.

The Belarusian regime has made no secret that its services are guiding refugees to the Polish border, literally pushing them onto (and often, through) the wires.


It can be seen in films made available to the media by... Belarusian border guards and Lukashenko's official information agencies.

Tactics of a strongman

Refugees are not led to the border by "pretend soldiers" in uniforms from a military collectibles store. These are regular formations commanded by state authorities. Their actions violate all rules of peaceful coexistence and humanitarianism to which Belarus has committed itself as a state.

Belarus is dismissed by the "rest of the world" as a hopeless case of a bizarre (although, in the last year, increasingly brutal) dictatorship. But it still formally belongs to a whole range of organizations whose principles it violates every day on the border with Poland.

Indeed, Belarus is a part of the United Nations (it is even listed as a founding state in its declaration), it belongs to the UNICEF, to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and even to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Photo of Polish soldiers setting up a barbed wire fence in the Border Zone near Krynki, Belarus

Polish soldiers set up a barbed wire fence in the Border Zone near Krynki, Belarus

Maciej Luczniewski/ZUMA

Lukashenko would never challenge the Red Cross

Each of these entities has specialized bureaus whose task is to intervene wherever conventions and human rights are violated. Each of these organizations should have sent their observers and representatives to the conflict area long ago — and without asking Belarus for permission. They should be operating on both sides of the border, as their presence would certainly make it more difficult to break the law.

An incomprehensible absence

Neither the leader of Poland's ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczyński nor even Lukashenko would dare to keep the UN, UNICEF, OSCE or the Red Cross out of their countries.

In recent weeks, the services of one UN state (Belarus) have been regularly violating the border of another UN state (Poland). In the nearby forests, children are being pushed around and people are dying. Despite all of this, none of the international organizations seems to be trying to reach the border nor taking any kind of action required by their responsibilities.

Their absence in such a critical time and place is completely incomprehensible, and their lack of action raises questions about the use of international treaties and organizations created to protect them.

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