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Obama's Kenya visit, Astronauts reach ISS, World Internet map

Obama's Kenya visit, Astronauts reach ISS, World Internet map


Photo: Aubrey Gemignani/Zuma

GREECE APPROVES CRUCIAL REFORMS

The Greek parliament today approved new reforms that will allow negotiations on an EU financial rescue deal worth 68 billion euros to begin, Greek daily Kathimerinireports.

  • The changes focus on Greek banking rules and the justice system. Last week, a first set of reforms on tax hikes and budget discipline led to a rebellion in the governing Syriza party and was passed only thanks to support from anti-EU parties.
  • Despite thousands protesting outside the parliament in Athens, today's package passed easily with the backing of 230 of 300 lawmakers.
  • Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who voted against the first set of measures last week, voted with the government today. He wrote in The Press Project that though he believed the plan from creditors was "designed to fail," it was essential to preserve government unity.
  • Before the vote, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed his displeasure toward the reforms. "We chose a difficult compromise to avert the most extreme plans by the most extreme circles in Europe," Reuters quoted him as saying.
  • Negotiations with representatives of EU creditors are set to begin in Athens tomorrow.


EXTRA!

"Sorry, Panama," the front-page headline in Mexican newspaper Récord reads today after Mexico's chaotic and controversial 2-1 victory over Panama in the semifinals of the Gold Cup soccer competition. Read more about it in our Extra! feature.


BOKO HARAM ATTACKS KILL MORE THAN 50

At least 42 people were killed Wednesday in a series of blasts at two bus stations in Gombe, in northeastern Nigeria, RTL reports. About 11 others lost their lives in two suicide attacks in northern Cameroon's town of Maroua, according to Jeune Afrique.

  • Dozens of people were also injured in the two attacks, which are believed to have been executed by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
  • The Guardian reports that, in Cameroon, two girls aged under 15 were used as suicide bombers in Maroua's central market.
  • Before the attacks, Boko Haram released a video on Twitter threatening countries in the region, including Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin.


ON THIS DAY


Ford Motor Co. sold its first car, a Model A, 112 years ago today. Time for your 57-second shot of history.


OBAMA HEADING TO KENYA

Barack Obama is set to arrive in Kenya's capital of Nairobi tomorrow in what will be his first visit to his father's country as the U.S. president.

  • He is expected to spend 48 hours in Kenya, visiting six to eight locations that have undergone considerable preparation to receive the 44th U.S. president, Radio France Internationale reports.
  • Discussions between Obama and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will include trade agreements and the fight against terror, according to RFI. Topics such as LGBT rights and charges that the International Criminal Court formerly brought against President Kenyatta, related to 2008 election violence, are expected to be avoided.
  • Despite the fact that President Obama's Kenya itinerary was leaked, national security adviser Susan Rice said it would not be changed, The Starreports.
  • In reaction to CNN describing Kenya as a "terror hotbed," Kenyans have taken to Twitter to mock the American news network with the hashtag #SomeoneTellCNN.


ASTRONAUTS DOCK AT ISS AFTER DELAY

A Soyuz capsule carrying a Russian, an American and a Japanese astronaut successfully docked with the International Space Station today, NASA reports. The launch had been delayed for two months after the failure of an unmanned Russian cargo ship in April.


ISIS CLAIMS DEADLY BAGHDAD BLAST

ISIS militants have claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing that killed at least 20 people in a mainly Shia Baghdad district Wednesday, Reuters reports. Other blasts in the Iraqi capital killed at least 19 other people, including four soldiers, Al Jazeera reports. Earlier yesterday, 22 other soldiers and members of the Popular Mobilization Forces were also killed in a double suicide ISIS car bombing in Fallujah.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Female entrepreneur success stories in Tehran are blossoming. "Looking for the tastiest eggplant caviar or the most exquisite chicken with nuts and pomegranate sauce? You can order those at Mamanpaz.com, a website founded by Tabassom Latifi that allows you to order homemade dishes prepared by Iranian cooks," Sophie Fay writes for L'Obs. "Other websites are dedicated to providing parents with the necessary survival kit to raise kids or beauty and cosmetics advice."

Read the full article, Female Entrepreneurs Fuel A Changing Iran.


ISRAELI FORCES KILL PALESTINIAN IN WEST BANK

Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian and wounded two others during a house raid in the occupied West Bank today, Reuters quoted Palestinian medical officials as saying. An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers were attacked by a mob while trying to arrest a suspect in the village of Beit Ummar and opened fire on the main attacker. Le Monde reports that the man is the second Palestinian in the West Bank killed in less than 24 hours.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



MYANMAR JAILS ILLEGAL LOGGERS FOR LIFE

A Myanmar court has sentenced 153 Chinese nationals to life imprisonment for illegal logging, the Bangkok Postreports. The group was arrested in January near the Chinese border during a military crackdown on illegal logging. The border between Myanmar and China has long been a hotbed for the illegal timber trade.


TURKISH INTELLIGENCE IMPLICATED IN KURD DEATHS

In a report obtained by Le Monde on the investigation into the January 2013 killing of three Kurdish PKK activists in Paris, French authorities mention for the first time that Turkish intelligence services could be implicated in what is widely believed to be a political assassination. The report demands the court referral of primary suspect Turk Omer Güney.


WORLD INTERNET MAP

What would the world look like if countries were scaled according to their number of Internet users? Like this, according to Oxford's Mark Graham and Ralph Straumann.

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Geopolitics

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

-Analysis-

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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