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Power Of Information, ISIS Attacks In Syria, Skype Vows

SPOTLIGHT: THE POWER OF NOT INFORMING

With the increasing number of terror attacks in France comes an intensifying debate on the role of media coverage of the events. French news outlets have begun to ask whether spreading the identity of terrorists, who often are seeking some twisted sense of glory, feeds the problem. Reporting on the latest attack on a church Tuesday in northern France, where two 19-year-olds killed an 86-year-old priest, some major French newspapers, radios and television networks, including Le Monde, Le Figaro, La Croix, RFI, France 24 or BFM TV have chosen to — parsimoniously — reveal the killers' names and ages, but not their photographs.


"We don't necessarily want to take part in this form of posthumous glorification," Jérôme Fenoglio, the director of Le Monde, was quoted as saying. As for RFI, France 24 and the radio network Monte Carlo Doualiya, they said in a press release yesterday that they will be "making efforts not to pass on terrorist propaganda or systematically call "group" or "organization" terrorist movements that claim to belong to a state that doesn't exist." Not all French news outlets however agree: Libération,Le Parisien, L'Express, 20 Minutes, for instance, just like the BBC, decided to publish pictures of the attackers. Demonstrating the intensity of such a debate, the French secretary of state for assistance to victims Juliette Méadel announced she would make proposals in September to implement a single ethical code for media.


Meanwhile, on the other side of Europe, the Turkish government is reminding us in a very different way the power of information — or lack thereof. A decree last night ordered the closure of no less than three news agencies, 16 television channels, 23 radio stations, 45 daily newspapers, 15 magazines and 29 publishing houses, which the government accuses of having supported the July 15 failed coup attempt. Ankara's deepening authoritarian streak is a blow to freedom of information, even if we know how complicated that freedom can be.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY

  • Hillary Clinton acceptance speech at Democratic National Convention.
  • Lollapalooza festival kicks off in Chicago.
  • World Hepatitis Day, with goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030.


SCORES KILLED IN SYRIA ISIS BLASTS

At least 50 people were killed and dozens wounded in two blasts that struck the predominantly Kurdish town of Qamishli, Syria, yesterday, Al Jazeera reports. The attack was claimed by ISIS.


— ON THIS DAY

From Austria-Hungary to Jerry Lee Lewis, here's your 57-second shot of History!


VERBATIM

"There has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America," U.S. President Barack Obama said in a speech last night at the Democratic National Convention, which also saw speakers focus on national security, foreign policy and harsh criticisms of Donald Trump.


— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

Extra Plump — Kelaniya, 1992


ALL CHARGES DROPPED IN FREDDIE GRAY DEATH

Prosecutors in Baltimore dropped all charges against the three remaining police officers awaiting trial in the case of Freddie Gray, a black man who died while in police custody last year. As The Baltimore Sun writes, this brings "to an end one of the highest-profile criminal cases in the city's history with zero convictions." State attorney Marilyn Mosby acknowledged there was "reluctance" and "obvious bias" among officers investigating the case.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

As part of Worldcrunch's Rue Amelot series of international essays, we present the second episode of Brazil-born travel writer Alex Correa's Palestinian odyssey: "Following a poorly kept path, we reach an oasis with colored Ferris wheels and meters-high slides. And water, loads of water. At the entrance of the swimming pool we're asked where we're from and what our religion is. Samuel is American and Jewish, which doesn't help, and I'm an atheist. We both say we're Catholic (I'm still wondering what's best in Palestine: to say you're an atheist or Catholic) and the workers ask to see our passports. That's unusual in public swimming pools, even here. They want to make sure we're not Israelis."

Read the full essay, Couchsurfing In Palestine, Part 2: Where Are You From?


STARVING VENEZUELA ZOO ANIMALS

Chronic food shortages in Venezuela have left animals in zoos around the South American country starving to death, as Reuters reports. In Caracas, at least 50 animals in the capital's main zoo are reported to have died of hunger these past six months. Government officials have denied these deaths were due to a lack of food.


5.8%

The number of tourists travelling to France has dropped by 5.8% since January, including 11% to Paris, Radio France International quotes officials as saying. The aviation company Air France-KLM warned yesterday that recent terror attacks in the country and in Europe are having an impact. The South China Morning Post reports that Chinese travelers to France, for instance, have dropped 15%.


MORE STORIES, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WORLDCRUNCH

SKYPING THE KNOT

Italy's highest court has ruled that a wedding between a woman near Bologna and a man in Pakistan, which took place over Skype, counts as a valid marriage. La Repubblica reports. Just hope it doesn't lead to a Snapchat divorce.

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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