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SPOTLIGHT: PARIS-TO-CAIRO FLIGHT CRASHES

An EgyptAir passenger jet has disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea during an overnight flight from Paris to Cairo. Greek aviation authorities believe the plane crashed off the Greek island of Karpathos in Egyptian airspace. Search and rescue operations are ongoing to try and find the wreckage and potential survivors. There are no immediate clues as to the cause of the crash, and authorities are not excluding terrorism as a possible culprit.

  • Flight MS804 was traveling with 56 passengers, as well as seven crew members and three security personnel. Among those on board were 30 Egyptians and 15 French, including one child and two babies. Egyptians and French officials exchanged condolences.
  • The Airbus A320 aircraft took off from Charles de Gaulle airport yesterday, shortly after 11 pm, local time in Paris. It went missing at around 2:30 am, 45 minutes before it was due to land in Cairo, and shortly after entering Egyptian airspace.
  • There was some confusion as to whether a distress signal was sent from the place. According to the BBC, the Egyptian army denied EgyptAir's early claims that a distress call was sent. Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail later explained there had been no "distress call" but that a "signal" was received from the plane.
  • It is too early at this time to say what caused the crash, but French Prime Minister insisted that "no theory could be ruled out." If experts suggest a technical fault is "improbable," some believe it might have been caused by a bomb, pointing to a terrorist attack as the "most likely scenario," AFP reports.
  • France's interior intelligence agency DGSI had warned only yesterday that France was "clearly the country the most under threat" by ISIS, six months after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris and weeks before the country hosts the UEFA European championship. His comments came ahead of a planned vote in the lower house of Parliament today on whether to extend for a third time a state of emergency first introduced after the November attacks, Le Figaro reports.
  • In the days that followed the Paris attacks in November, investigators had uncovered the presence of potential Islamic extremists known to security services among employees of the Charles de Gaulle airport. Some of them even had access to planes and runways.


WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY



VIOLENT PROTESTS IN VENEZUELA...

Anti-government protesters clashed with the police in Caracas yesterday for a third day this week, after increasingly unpopular President Nicolas Maduro announced a state of emergency for 60 days. The police tried to block the protesters and shot tear gas to disperse the crowds chanting "the government will fall." For more about the ongoing troubles facing Venezuela, read this Worldcrunch wrap-up of Latin American coverage: Maduro Pushes Venezuela To The Brink.


… AND IN FRANCE

What started in France months ago as a mainly peaceful protest against proposed labor reform has escalated into violence and rioting. Young far-left activists attacked and torched a police car with officers in it in central Paris yesterday, while police forces were holding a protest of their own across town against "anti-cop hatred." The public prosecutor's office launched an investigation for voluntary manslaughter and five people have been arrested. In the western city of Rennes, 19 were also arrested this morning after attempting to sabotage the city's metro, Europe 1 reports. More demonstrations, in Paris and across France, are planned for today.


— ON THIS DAY

Apple Stores, Lawrence of Arabia and a famous guitar player from a certain ge-ge-ge-generation: They're all in your 57-second shot of history.


VERBATIM

"What kind of man elbows a woman? It's pathetic! You're pathetic!" Things got pretty heated in the Canadian House of Commons yesterday as MPs were about to vote on an assisted-dying bill, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was accused of elbowing opposition MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau, CBC reports. He later offered his "apologies for my behaviour and my actions, unreservedly."


BAYER-MONSANTO MERGER

German drug and chemical giant Bayer has made a takeover offer for Monsanto, a move that, if it succeeds, would create the world's biggest supplier of seeds and pesticides, The Wall Street Journal reports. Monsanto's current market capitalization stands at $42 billion.


3 SECONDS

Superbugs of the future will kill every three seconds and risk casting medicine "back into the dark ages," a global review claims.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

What if the future of humanity was just a matter of arithmetics? In their quest to build the perfect city of the future, scientists are increasingly turning to applied mathematics, Paul Molga reports in Les Échos. "To predict the future city, they want to create the matrix of a new "urban physique," capable of writing the laws that govern the function of these "urban arrangements."

"The city is a complex form for which there exists no equivalent in nature," explains Luis Bettencourt, a physicist who specializes in complex systems at the Institute of Santa Fe. He doesn't focus on population growth, but on the growth of connectivity between people. "All other properties — the roads we are building to reach each other, the density required to do so, the economic products and ideas we create together — stems from this," he says." Read the full article: Applied Mathematics To Design The Perfect Future City.


GIRL RESCUED FROM BOKO HARAM, NOW MOTHER

Amina Alli, one of the 276 girls abducted by Boko Haram Islamists more than two years ago, was found with a baby, rescued and returned to her family. See more details and today's front page from Lagos-based daily Vanguard.


THE RETURN OF A KING?

With the utter mess that have become Brazilian politics, Dom Bertrand, the heir to Brazil's defunct throne, is patiently waiting for the republic to collapse from his two-bedroom flat in São Paulo. Financial Times has the story.


— MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH


BEHOLD THE WI-FI "GODSPOTS"

Germany's Evangelical Church is planning to equip its 3,000 churches in Berlin and the Brandenburg state with Wi-Fi, to create what it calls "Godspots."

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Along The "New Border" Of Ukraine, Annexation Has Just Doubled The Danger

Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of Ukrainian territories in a ceremony in the Kremlin. In a village just a few kilometers away from what is now the Ukraine-Russia "border" in Putin's eyes, life continues amid constant shelling and the fear of what comes next.

Ukrainian soldiers are stationed in the village of Inhulka, near Kherson.

Stefan Schocher

INHULKA — The trail leads over a gravel road, a rickety pontoon bridge past a checkpoint. Here in the remote village of Inhulka near Kherson in southern Ukraine, soldiers sit in front of the village shop. Inside, two women run back and forth behind the counter, making coffee, selling sausages, weighing tomatoes. "Natalochka, where are the cookies," calls a dark-haired lady across the room.

But Natalochka, her colleague, is about to lose her nerve. "What kind of life is that?" she says, finally reaching up to grab the cookies from the top of a shelf. What kind of life can it be, she asks, when something is constantly exploding next to you and you don't know if you'll wake up in the morning.

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Inhulka is the center of a rural community. 1,587 inhabitants, as the village chief says, one school, one kindergarten, one doctor, two stores. Since March, nothing here is as it used to be. That was when the Russian army came to the village.

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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.

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