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SPOTLIGHT: REAL LIFE ARMAGEDDON?

The stuff of disaster films, an asteroid could strike Earth causing death and destruction in the next 200 years. Asteroid 101955 Bennu is currently barreling through space at 63,000 mph and is expected to slip through the moon and Earth in 2135. But a "return trip" later that century could see the asteroid, which is larger than the Empire State building, pummeling our planet with a force 200 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.


The good news? There's only a 2,700-in-1 chance that Bennu will meet Earth. Moreover, NASA has invested in a laboratory that can map the route of dangerous asteroids in our solar system. The space agency will also launch a spacecraft to study Bennu on Sept. 8. Unfortunately, Ben Affleck or Bruce Willis will not be on said spacecraft.


If all else fails, humanity always has nuclear weapons at its disposal to stave off Armageddon.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY

  • Funeral for murdered French priest Jacques Hamel to be held in Rouen.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to meet foreign investors in Ankara to reassure them about country's stability after coup attempt.


U.S. AIRSTRIKES HIT ISIS IN LIBYA

American warplanes yesterday targeted the locations of the Islamic State in the Libyan city of Sirte, the terror group's last remaining stronghold in the North African country. Prime Minister Fayez Serraj requested foreign air strikes after local forces had cornered the militants to a small area of the city during months of fighting.


VENEZUELAN REFERENDUM MOVES FORWARD

Venezuela's national electoral council accepted initial signatures gathered by the country's opposition for a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro. El Nacionalreports that the opposition will now proceed to the next step of a long-drawn process, which involves collecting millions more signatures in just two days.


— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

Stubborn Surfer — Grand-Baie, 2000


TYPHOON NIDA SHUTS DOWN HONG KONG

Typhoon Nida swept through Hong Kong after making landfall in southern China, putting the city on a storm alert and shutting down the stock market. According to the South China Morning Post, Nida is the region's largest storm this year and represents the biggest threat to the city since Typhoon Vicente in 2012.


TOXIC GAS ATTACK IN SYRIA?

Rescuers in the Syrian rebel-held town of Saraqeb said a helicopter dropped barrels of toxic gas overnight affecting 33 people, mostly women and children, Reuters reports. The rescuers, who describe themselves as a neutral group, suspected chlorine was used. Hours earlier, a Russian military helicopter was shot down near the site of the gas attack, killing all five people on board.


CRISIS IN CONGO DEEPENS

Tensions are rising in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where national elections are scheduled for late November. Rallies in support of and against the candidacy of President Joseph Kabila, whose mandate ends in December, drew tens of thousands of demonstrators over the past few days. Read more in Le Monde.


— ON THIS DAY

This British-Irish actor who played T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia would have turned 84 today. Remember him? Check it out, and more, in your 57-second shot of History.


VERBATIM

"She's the devil," said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, referring to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.


TAIWAN PRESIDENT APOLOGIZES TO ABORIGINES

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen offered a historic apology to the country's aboriginal population yesterday for 400 years of mistreatment during a ceremony celebrating Indigenous People's Day. Fulfilling a key campaign promise, Tsai also launched a commission for transitional justice, the Taipei Timesreports.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

In 2002, the third-biggest Chinese city gave developers a decade to revitalize 138 old villages as part of China's rapid urbanization. Almost 15 years later, only four have been revamped, and the last holdout residents still refuse to leave. Writing for French daily Les Echos from Guangzhou, Alain Ruello reports: "In the nearby village of Xiancun, cranes that have been idle for a year and collapsed houses make the scene look like Beirut during the civil war. A barber says: ‘It has been at least seven years since the developer wanted to level the area.' On the opposite side of the street, a poster on a wall warns that blocking demolition is like being ‘heartless towards one's parents.' Still, no one pays it much attention anymore.

This is a country where more concrete has flowed in the last 30 years than all the concrete used in the United States in the 20th century."

Read the full article, Guangzhou, How Villages Get Swallowed Into A Megacity.


1.5%

The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its interest rate to 1.5%, a record low for the country. Glenn Stevens, the Bank's governor, cited slow growth and declining business investment as reasons for the new policy. Read more in the Sydney Morning Herald.


MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH

JUNCKER'S "LITTLE BLACK BOOK"

In an unusual personal revelation, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Le Soir in an interview that he keeps a "little black book" where he writes the names of all the people who've betrayed him. As if that wasn't bizarre enough, the 30-year-old book even has a name: "Little Maurice."

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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