ABDESLAM EXTRADITED TO FRANCE
Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the terrorist group that carried out the Paris attacks last November in which 130 people were killed, was extradited this morning from Belgium to France. He will be tried by French courts for participation in terrorist murder and the activities of a terrorist organization, Le Monde reports. The 26-year-old was arrested in Brussels during a police raid on March 18. The Belgian federal prosecutor said Salah Abdeslam had been "surrendered to the French authorities this morning.â€ In an interview with another French daily, Libération, Abdeslamâ€™s Belgian lawyer Sven Mary described him as having â€œthe intelligence of an empty ashtray.â€ Mary said of his client: â€œHe and his friends managed to make a whole religion seem unlikeable. I asked him if he had read the Koran and he told me he had read an interpretation online. For simple minds, the Internet is perfect, itâ€™s the maximum of what they can understand.â€
TRUMP, CLINTON BOOST LEADS
Photo: Ricky Fitchett/ZUMA
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the two favorites for the Democrat and Republicans presidential nominations, increased their respective leads after yesterdayâ€™s five primaries in the northeastern states of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Trump won all five states and now has 949 delegates, short of the 1,237 that would automatically make him the GOP candidate, The New York Times reports. Clinton, who needs 2,383 delegates to be the official Democrat candidate, has passed the 2,000 mark after winning four of the five states, while challenger Bernie Sanders took home Rhode Island.
â€" ON THIS DAY
Good luck getting Beethovenâ€™s â€œFür Eliseâ€ out of your head after watching todayâ€™s 57-second shot of history!
SPANISH PARLIAMENT DISSOLVED
King Felipe VI of Spain announced last night â€œthere is no candidate with the necessary supportâ€ to replace Mariano Rajoy, leader of the Popular Party (PP) and caretaker prime minister since the countryâ€™s two-party system came to an end last year, El País reports. In December 2015, general elections led to a fragmented, four-party parliament, with the conservative Popular Party, the Socialist Party, and the anti-austerity parties Podemos and Ciudadanos. After these parties failed to form a coalition in a final round of talks, Spain is set for new general elections in the hope to reach a parliamentary majority. The vote is scheduled to take place on June 26.
DOZENS KILLED IN ALEPPO FIGHTING
Violent clashes between Syrian government forces and rebel groups in the northern city of Aleppo and its outskirts yesterday killed at least 36 people, including eight children and five rescue workers, Al Jazeera reports. Rebel shelling reportedly killed 19 people and 11 people died in government airstrikes. The renewed clashes further undermine an already shaky ceasefire between the Syrian regime and rebel groups.
Trying to think about the world differently and developing a critical mindset are commendable undertakings. But to Les Echosâ€™ Jérôme Lecoq, we may have gotten just slightly ahead of ourselves with this newfound intellectual enthusiasm. For starters, it requires real training: â€œWhy on Earth are we expecting to do with our thoughts something we'd never be asked to do with our bodies? We know full well that in order to learn, we need to practice, to train, to face the real world. Want to learn judo? Put on your kimono, step on the tatami and start by falling on your back without putting your arms out. Do that a thousand times and you'll begin to grasp the need for the rigor and learning this martial art requires. The same goes for philosophy.â€
Read the full article, Learning To Philosophize Is Like Learning To Swim.
â€œSadly, crushing freedom of peaceful assembly and violating other rights is entirely in keeping with the Egyptian governmentâ€™s response to any kind of criticism,â€ Amnesty Internationalâ€™s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Magdalena Mughrabi said in a statement published yesterday. On Monday, Egyptian authorities carried out mass arrests â€" at least 238, including foreigners, activists and journalists, according to the human rights organization â€" to prevent protests against Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
TWO-DAY WORK WEEK
Venezuelan public workers woke up this morning to newspaper headlines telling them to stay home. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced in a televised address yesterday that the government is slashing additional working hours for the countryâ€™s 2.8 million public workers, in a bid to save energy. Read more in our â€œExtra!â€ feature.
â€" MY GRAND-PEREâ€™S WORLD
Not Nobel Yet â€" Oslo, 1960
American technology giant Apple reported its first ever drop in iPhone sales yesterday, Bloomberg reports. Its latest quarterly sales amounted to only $50.56 billion, down from $58 billion last year. Following the announcement, Apple shares fell 8%, after falling nearly 20% this past year. The iPhone however remains the most successful tech product in history.
â€" MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH
- Egyptâ€™s Shady World Of Amateur Porn Videos â€" Mada Masr
- Nuclear Past, Radioactive Future: In Chernobyl, 30 Years Later â€" Le Monde
- Through Thick And Skin: In China, Rebellious Couples Say "I Do" To Naked Weddings â€" Oriental Daily News
An article published in Psychology Today indicates that hugging your dog raises its stress and anxiety levels. Try high-fiving Rex instead.
Welcome to Wednesday, where chaos hits Syria, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is accused of crimes against humanity and a social media giant plans to rebrand itself. For Spanish daily La Razon, reporter Paco Rodríguez takes us to the devastated town of Belchite, where visitors are reporting paranormal phenomenons.
🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• Syrian violence erupts: Army shelling on residential areas of the rebel-held region of northwestern Syria killed 13 people, with school children among the victims. The attack occurred shortly after a bombing killed at least 14 military personnel in Damascus. In central Syria, a blast inside an ammunition depot kills five soldiers.
• Renewed Ethiopia air raids on capital of embattled Tigray region: Ethiopian federal government forces have launched its second air strike this week on the capital of the northern Tigray. The air raids mark a sharp escalation in the near-year-old conflict between the government forces and the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) that killed thousands and displaced over 2 million people.
• Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity: A leaked draft government report concludes that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro should be charged with crimes against humanity, forging documents and incitement to crime, following his handling of the country's COVID-19 pandemic. The report blames Bolsonaro's administration for more than half of Brazil's 600,000 coronavirus deaths.
• Kidnappers in Haiti demand $17 million to free a missionary group: A Haitian gang that kidnapped 17 members of a Christian aid group, including five children, demanded $1million ransom per person. Most of those being held are Americans; one is Canadian.
• Putin bows out of COP26 in Glasgow: Russian President Vladimir Putin will not fly to Glasgow to attend the COP26 climate summit. A setback for host Britain's hopes of getting support from major powers for a more radical plan to tackle climate change.
• Queen Elizabeth II cancels trip over health concerns: The 95-year-old British monarch has cancelled a visit to Northern Ireland after she was advised by her doctors to rest for the next few days. Buckingham Palace assured the queen, who attended public events yesterday, was "in good spirits."• A new name for Facebook? According to a report by The Verge website, Mark Zuckerberg's social media giant is planning on changing the company's name next week, to reflect its focus on building the "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
"Oil price rise causes earthquake," titles Portuguese daily Jornal I as surging demand coupled with supply shortage have driven oil prices to seven-year highs at more than $80 per barrel.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
For the first time women judges have been appointed to Egypt's State Council, one of the country's main judicial bodies. The council's chief judge, Mohammed Hossam el-Din, welcomed the 98 new judges in a celebratory event in Cairo. Since its inception in 1946, the State Council has been exclusively male and until now actively rejected female applicants.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
Spanish civil war town now a paranormal attraction
Ghosts from Spain's murderous 1930s civil war are said to roam the ruins of Belchite outside Zaragoza. Tourists are intrigued and can book a special visit to the town, reports Paco Rodríguez in Madrid-based daily La Razon.
🏚️ Between August 24 and September 6, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, more than 5,000 people died in 14 days of intense fighting in Belchite in north-eastern Spain, and the town was flattened. The fighting began on the outskirts and ended in house-to-house fighting. Almost half the town's 3,100 residents died in the struggle. The war annihilated centuries of village history. The town was never rebuilt, though a Pueblo Nuevo (or new town) was built by the old one.
😱 Belchite became an open-air museum of the horror of the civil war of 1936-39, which left 300,000 dead and wounds that have yet to heal or, for some today, mustn't. For many locals, the battle of Belchite has yet to end, judging by reports of paranormal incidents. Some insist they have heard the screams of falling soldiers, while others say the Count of Belchite wanders the streets, unable to find a resting place after his corpse was exhumed.
🎟️ Ordinary visitors have encountered unusual situations. Currently, you can only visit Belchite at set times every day, with prior booking. More daring visitors can also visit at 10 p.m. on weekends. Your ticket does not include a guaranteed paranormal experience, but many visitors insist strange things have happened to them. These include sudden changes of temperature or the strange feeling of being observed from a street corner or a window. Furthermore, such phenomena increase as evening falls, as if night brought the devastated town to life.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
We still cling to the past because back then we had security, which is the main thing that's missing in Libya today.
— Fethi al-Ahmar, an engineer living in the Libyan desert town Bani Walid, told AFP, as the country today marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The leader who had reigned for 42 years over Libya was toppled in a revolt inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings and later killed by rebels. Some hope the presidential elections set in December can help the country turn the page on a decade of chaos and instability.
🇮🇷🎓 IN OTHER NEWS
Iran to offer Master's and PhD in morality enforcement
Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.
Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.
The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.
Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.
Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."
Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
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