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On Puppets And Putin

SPOTLIGHT: ON PUPPETS AND PUTIN

There was a third politician on stage at last night's final U.S. presidential debate: Vladimir Putin.The two candidates have taken very different approaches to the prospect of dealing with the mercurial Russian leader, with Hillary Clinton painting Putin as an avowed enemy of American democracy and Donald Trump saying he'd like to buddy up with the man in the Kremlin. Perhaps the most pointed moment of the evening came when Clinton said that, if elected, Trump would be the Russian president's "puppet." Trump shot back, "You're the puppet." It made for good television, and no doubt brought a smile (amused? satisfied? sinister?) to the would-be puppet master's face this morning in Moscow.


In a piece he wrote for Die Welt two days before the debate, and translated by Worldcrunch, senior German journalist Richard Herzinger shares Clinton's worries about the Republican candidate. "Were he to be elected president, Donald Trump would be a perfect tool for Russia's plan to destabilize the West's leading liberal democracies. But even if he loses, Trump's disastrous election campaign alone has opened considerable rifts within American society that won't be easy to bridge," he warns.


Herzinger accuses "the Moscow-Damascus-Tehran axis" of committing "genocide" in Syria, and laments that "the governments and people of the West have yet to grasp the severity of the situation and realize what is really at stake in Syria. Not only morally speaking, but also in terms of global political consequences that a capitulation to Russia's politics of violence could mean."


Even if he seems to favor a hard line, Herzinger does not offer a specific recipe for how to restore the strength of American diplomacy without risking open conflict with Moscow. Clinton, debate "zingers" aside, doesn't either.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY



THREE-DAY HUMANITARIAN TRUCE IN ALEPPO

A three-day humanitarian truce in Aleppo declared yesterday by the Syrian government entered into force this morning. The truce will stand between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. starting today to allow rebel fighters to leave the besieged part of the city. Turkish airstrikes carried out overnight against Syrian Kurdish targets north of Aleppo are believed to have killed up to 200 Kurdish fighters.


— ON THIS DAY

From the Sydney Opera House to Snoop Dogg, here's your 57-second shot of history.


EUROPEAN SPACECRAFT LANDS ON MARS

The European Space Agency's Schiaparelli probe landed on Mars late yesterday, but scientists have lost contact with it and they don't know whether the craft is still intact. NASA's Juno space probe orbiting Jupiter meanwhile went into "safe mode" in whatThe Guardian says was a "bad day for space probes."


TYPHOON HAIMA HITS PHILIPPINES

At least five people were killed as typhoon Haima battered the northern Philippines with winds up to 225 km/h (140 mph) and heavy rains, AP reports. Close to 100,000 villagers were evacuated before the storm made landfall.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

In southern Italy, mob clans have entered into an unlikely alliance with the Islamic terror group, exchanging Kalashnikovs for ancient artifacts pillaged in war. For Italian daily La Stampa, Domenico Quirico went undercover looking to make a deal: "Extremely punctual, the man tells me we cannot stay at the hotel to see the artifacts and negotiate a price. We walk down a narrow side street until we reach a new but seemingly abandoned butcher's workshop. An intense aroma of slaughtered meat overwhelms me as I enter. Large cured hams hang from hooks on the wall.

The man opens the item I've come to ‘purchase' and places it on the butcher's table, lifting a white cloth to reveal a marble emperor's head severed from a statue. The second-century Roman sculpting is exquisite, even if the statue's decapitation is visible and jarring."

Read the full article, How To Buy Antiquities Looted By ISIS From An Italian Mobster.


NORTH KOREAN MISSILE LAUNCH FAILS

North Korea experienced its second missile launch failure in less than a week, after one missile exploded shortly after being launched today, Yonhap reports. More tests in the coming weeks are likely.


— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

La Belle Américaine — Anaheim, April 1988


MORE STORIES, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WORLDCRUNCH

FINNISH PONG

Have you ever thought: Gee, I wonder if I could use this ping-pong ball to blow out a candle? Or open a bottle of Coke? No? Lucky for you, these four expand=1] Finnish table tennis wizards have.

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Geopolitics

How Ukraine Keeps Getting The West To Flip On Arms Supplies

The open debate on weapon deliveries to Ukraine is highly unusual, but Kyiv has figured out how to use the public moral suasion — and patience — to repeatedly shift the question in its favor. But will it work now for fighter jets?

Photo of a sunset over the USS Nimitz with a man guiding fighter jets ready for takeoff

U.S fighter jets ready for takeoff on the USS Nimitz

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — In what other war have arms deliveries been negotiated so openly in the public sphere?

On Monday, a journalist asked Joe Biden if he plans on supplying F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. He answered “No”. A few hours later, the same question was asked to Emmanuel Macron, about French fighter jets. Macron did not rule it out.

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Visiting Paris on Tuesday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksïï Reznikov recalled that a year ago, the United States had refused him ground-air Stinger missiles deliveries. Eleven months later, Washington is delivering heavy tanks, in addition to everything else. The 'no' of yesterday is the green light of tomorrow: this is the lesson that the very pragmatic minister seemed to learn.

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