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Oregon Militia, Syrian Kurds, Mosquito Strength

OREGON MILITIA MEMBER KILLED AMID ARRESTS

Photo: Mike Albright/ZUMA

Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, an Arizona rancher and one of the leaders of the armed militia that had been occupying a federal wildlife reserve in eastern Oregon since Jan. 2, was killed in a shootout with federal officers Tuesday, The New York Times reports. The militia leader Ammon Bundy and seven other members were arrested. Authorities provided few details about the incident, but Reuters quoted the FBI as saying that gunshots rang out after officers stopped a car carrying protest leader Ammon Bundy and others near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The right-wing militia named "Citizens for Constitutional Freedom" had occupied the wildlife reserve to protest the federal government's regulations of public lands.


DENMARK REPORTS FIRST ZIKA VIRUS CASE

A Danish man who travelled to South and Central America has been tested positive for the mosquito-borne Zika virus, the Jyllands-Posten reports. The virus has been linked to a birth disorder that results in babies being born with severely undersized heads, causing major development issues and even death. There is currently no vaccine against the disease. Three British travellers who travelled to Colombia, Suriname and Guyana have also been reported to have been infected, according to Sky News. South and Central American countries are suffering a major outbreak of the virus, with at least 4,000 cases in Brazil alone since November. Cases have also been reported in the U.S. via infected tourists.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD



FRENCH JUSTICE MINISTER RESIGNS OVER ANTI-TERROR MEASURE

French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira announced her resignation Wednesday morning, amid controversial government plans to strip people convicted of terrorism of their French citizenship if they are dual citizens. Taubira, a frequent target of the center-right opposition, will be replaced by Jean-Jacques Urvoas, French daily Libération reports.


1.2 MILLION

A Paris court has ordered Uber to pay 1.2 million euros to the National Taxi Union to "compensate" for the excesses of the U.S.-founded mobile ride request company, Le Monde reports. This comes as taxi drivers in France went on strike for a second day Wednesday, causing major disruptions in circulation in large cities.


KURDS TO STAY OUT OF SYRIA TALKS

The Kurdish PYD party, which controls a part of the Syria-Turkey border and has been engaged in intense clashes with ISIS, will not attend Syria peace talks set to start Friday in Geneva, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the radio network France Culture on Wednesday. The preparations for the negotiations have been undermined by disputes which groups should be present. Fabius said the United Nations special envoy Staffan de Mistura told him the PYD had caused the most problems and would not be invited. The talks would instead be led by a Riyadh-formed opposition group, with their opponents also present.


ON THIS DAY


From Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Steve Jobs, here is your 57-second shot of history.


ROUHANI IN FRANCE

After three days in Italy, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is set to arrive in France Wednesday for the second leg of his European states visit. In what is the first visit of an Iranian president in France in 17 years, Rouhani is expected to meet some 20 business managers to secure new trade deals following the lifting of international sanctions over Iran's nuclear program, before meeting the French President François Hollande, Le Monde reports. Among the potential trade deals is an agreement with the French airbus manufacturer Airbus for more than 100 aircraft, as well as contracts with the car manufacturers Peugeot and Renault.

On the first leg of his European trip, Rouhani met Tuesday with Pope Francis.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Car-sharing in France has gotten complicated. Though Uber was forced to shut down its amateur driver service UberPop, another app is antagonizing competitors, Lionel Steinmann reports for French daily Les Echos: "Heetch is based on a model similar to that of Uber. It connects clients with non-professional drivers using their own cars, but with a little twist: It only operates between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., and at the end of the ride there is a suggested price that users are free to augment. Heetch was targeted by a national decree that banned Uber's app UberPOP. But the company has refused to be painted with the same brush, continuing its business despite the arrests of some of its hobbyist drivers. And it has built itself a growing customer base that has taxis and other driving services equally worried."

Read the full article, Uber And Taxis Have A Common Enemy: Say Hello To Heetch.


TRUMP TO BOYCOTT IOWA DEBATE

The Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced Tuesday he would boycott a Fox News GOP debate scheduled to take place Thursday, just days before the crucial first Iowa caucuses, The Washington Post reports. Trump said he will instead host a separate event to raise money for wounded war veterans. The Republican frontrunner claimed Fox News and other television networks took advantage of him by selling advertisements during their high-premium debates. A Fox News spokesperson said Tuesday evening the debate would still take place and that Trump was still welcome to participate.


VERBATIM

[rebelmouse-image 27089886 alt=""Mosquito" original_size="360x360" expand=1]

"A mosquito isn't stronger than a whole country" will be the slogan of a soon-to-start nationwide campaign on Brazilian radio, TV and social networks against the virus Zika, which continues to spread with 200 new cases every week, reports O Globo. The mosquito-borne virus has already provoked close to 4,000 cases of microcephaly, a normally rare condition that causes babies to be born with brain damage and abnormally small heads. Health Minister Marcelo Castro described Zika as Brazil's "Number one enemy," but the disease is expected to spread across Latin America, the World Health Organization said. And it may be years until a vaccine is found.


CHATTERBOX

The Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has spent more than 500 hours addressing his country since his election nearly three years ago, demonstrating a loquacity reminiscent of his late predecessor Hugo Chavez, Reuters reports.

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Geopolitics

The West Must Face Reality: Iran's Nuclear Program Can't Be Stopped

The West is insisting on reviving a nuclear pact with Iran. However, this will only postpone the inevitable moment when the regime declares it has a nuclear bomb. The only solution is regime change.

Talks to renew the 2015 pact have lasted for 16 months but some crucial sticking points remain.

Hamed Mohammadi

-OpEd-

Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear inspectorate, declared on Sept. 7 that Iran already had more than enough uranium for an atomic bomb. He said the IAEA could no longer confirm that the Islamic Republic has a strictly peaceful nuclear program as it has always claimed because the agency could not properly inspect sites inside Iran.

The Islamic Republic may have shown flexibility in some of its demands in the talks to renew the 2015 nuclear pact with world powers, a preliminary framework reached between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., the U.K., China, Russia, France and Germany). For example, it no longer insists that the West delist its Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. But it has kept its crucial promise that unless Western powers lift all economic sanctions, the regime will boost its uranium reserves and their level of enrichment, as well as restrict the IAEA's access to installations.

Talks to renew the 2015 pact have been going on for 16 months. European diplomacy has resolved most differences between the sides, but some crucial sticking points remain.

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