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Obama/GOP Clash On Iran, Apple Watch, Senior Sprint

GOP, WHITE HOUSE CLASH ON IRAN
Republican senators appear determined to derail a possible deal with Iran on the country’s nuclear program, and their decision to send a letter signed by 47 senators to Tehran has worsened tensions between the GOP and the White House, The Washington Post reports. In the letter, the senators tell Iranian officials that the next U.S. president could revoke any deal “with the stroke of a pen” and that the Congress could also modify its terms. President Barack Obama mocked the move, saying Republicans were forming an “unusual coalition” with Iranian hard-liners, who also oppose an agreement. This comes just one week after Republican lawmakers invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress against a potential deal.

ON THIS DAY
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On this day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell successfully tested his telephone — or was it Chuck Norris? Time for your 57-second shot of history.

OLYMPIANS DEAD IN HELICOPTER CRASH
At least 10 people, including three French Olympic athletes, died in a helicopter crash yesterday in Argentina, where the athletes were taking part in a new reality TV show, newspaper Le Parisien reports. The accident happened when two helicopters collided during the filming. The two Argentine pilots and the five French TV crew members are also among the victims. President François Hollande expressed his condolences to the families and honored the memory of athletes who “made France shine so bright.” Read more in English from CNN.

VERBATIM

Photo above: Jini/Xinhua/ZUMA
“Those who are against us, there's nothing to be done. We need to pick up an ax and cut off his head. Otherwise we won't survive here,” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said of Israeli Arabs who are disloyal to the state. Read more from Haaretz.

U.S. CALLS VENEZUELA NATIONAL THREAT
President Barack Obama signed an executive order yesterday declaring oil-rich Venezuela a threat to national security and slapping seven officials with sanctions, raising already high tensions between the two countries, Reuters reports. This comes weeks after President Nicolas Maduro accused the U.S. of trying to topple him amid a worsening economic crisis fueled in part by falling oil prices. The country’s foreign minister said it would respond soon to the measures.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
As America Economia’s Guillermo Leon Montoya writes, as unlikely as it may sound, many of the countries we closely associate with planning and foresight are turning their attention to Colombia for inspiration on how to address the parallel problems of industry pollution, energy production and food security. “The South American country boasts enviable geographical and climatic conditions, exceptional biodiversity and above all, a varied and preponderant farming sector,” Montoya writes. Together these factors are sparking talk about what some call the ‘new economy’ or ‘bioeconomy.’”
Read the full article, Imagining An Economy Built Around Plants, Not Plastic

EX IVORY COAST FIRST LADY JAILED
Simone Gbagbo, Ivory Coast’s former first lady, has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for undermining state security, disturbing public order and organizing armed gangs after her husband and his supporters rejected the 2010 presidential election result, Le Monde reports. About 3,000 people are believed to have died in the violence that followed the election, won by incumbent Alassane Ouattara. Laurent Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. The trial is expected to open in July.

$17,000
Apple unveiled its Apple Watch yesterday, revealing that prices from the gadget range from $349 to an incredible $17,000, or as Time puts it, “an arm and a wrist.” The primo version features an 18-karat yellow gold case and is the most expensive product the company has ever offered. Yesterday’s event otherwise proved a timely occasion for the publication of more leaked documents from Edward Snowden, this time showing that the CIA has been trying for years to break the security of Apple products. Read more from The Intercept.

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
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UKRAINE REBELS WITHDRAW WEAPONS
In a televised address, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that pro-Russian rebels had withdrawn “a significant amount” of their heavy weapons in eastern Ukraine, the BBC reports. He added that Kiev had also pulled back “the lion's share of its rocket and heavy artillery systems.” Meanwhile, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin admitted yesterday that Moscow’s plan to “return Crimea” was initiated before a referendum on the region’s self-determination was held there, but after the Maidan revolution ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

HIT IT!

With her laid-back attitude, angelic face and Jasmine revolution experience, Deena Abdelwahed carves a perfect image of a modern, forward-looking Tunisia. She will also make you dance. Read more about the DJ with Tunisia at her fingertips here.

SPRINT RECORD
Charles Eugster, an incredible 95-year-young retired dentist from the UK, set a new record for the 200-meter sprint in his age category and a fitness example for us all. Eugster broke the previous record by more than 2 seconds with an impressive 55.48 seconds. Watch his performance here.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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