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Presidential Bids And Baggage

France's former President Nicolas Sarkozy announced his bid to become the Republican party's candidate in next year's presidential election. He did so despite his previous claim that he wouldn't run again. (See our Extra! feature for more) Sarkozy will focus on tax and budget cuts, stopping economic migrants and "organizing Islam," according to French newspaper Le Figaro. But like politicians running for the top job in the U.S., his campaign hardly feels like a fresh start.

Although it was decided last month that no charges would be filed against Hillary Clinton regarding her use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state, the Democratic presidential nominee is still being investigated by the State Department. Just yesterday, a federal judge ordered the release of 15,000 emails uncovered during the investigation. Her Republican rival Donald Trump is also running with a lot of baggage: A New York Timesinvestigation found the real estate mogul had $650 million of debt, twice the amount he's officially stated.

Back in France, Sarkozy, 61, faces a long list of legal proceedings, including two for which he's being investigated and could face trial. There's the Bygmalion scandal, in which he's accused of letting his party exceed the campaign funding limit during the 2012 election. Sarkozy has also been under investigation for corruption and influence peddling since 2014. He is suspected of having put pressure on a judge to obtain private details on another case in which he was implicated.

It's not surprising, then, that even in new elections, we feel like we're seeing more of the same — across both sides of the Atlantic.



The Turkish military launched artillery strikes against terror group ISIS this morning after two mortar shells hit the Turkish border town of Karkamis, CNN Türk reports. It's the second day that Turkish forces shelled ISIS positions. They also struck Kurdish militants in northern Syria yesterday, Al Jazeera reports.


The federal watchdog is set to release nearly 15,000 new emails it uncovered during its investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state. The move, which comes before the U.S. presidential election, could jeopardize Clinton's bid for the White House, The New York Times reports.


Oh, so that's why it's called "Stockholm syndrome"...! Get ready for your 57-second shot of History.


Tourism revenue in the Paris region dropped by 750 million euros ($850 million) in the first six months of 2016 compared to the previous year, Les Échos reports. Terror attacks, strikes and floods are thought to be the main causes behind the loss.


The first hearing of two Chinese Uighurs accused of bombing the Erawan shrine, which killed 20 people and injured 125 others last year, was postponed to next month, The Bangkok Post reports. The defense's appointed translator is on the run after he was arrested on drug charges in June.


A comprehensive new study found that the treatment, which is used for reducing symptoms of menopause, could triple the risk of breast cancer, The Daily Telegraph reports.


The Art Of The Cart — Agrigento, 1964


"I am really sorry," said former jihadist Ahmad al-Mahdi at the opening of his trial for war crimes in The Hague yesterday, The Guardian reports. The 40-year-old is the first defendant to be tried for destroying religious monuments in Timbuktu in 2012, when the ancient Malian city was controlled by Islamist extremists from the Ansar Dine group and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. "Those who forgive me will be rewarded by the almighty. I would like to make them a solemn promise that this was the first and the last wrongful act I will ever commit."


The calorie-rich noodles are more prized than even cigarettes, according to a study led by a researcher from the University of Arizona. The shift indicates a decline in prison food quality and quantity.


Ghana is trying to gradually develop renewable energy sources. The cornerstone of this new policy is the Chinese-owned BXC solar farm — the largest solar plant in West Africa. From Ghana's capital, Accra, Caterina Clerici writes for Italian daily La Stampa that though things are slow, the country is making steady progress: "Ghana has been grappling with a severe energy crisis since 2012, which has, at its worst, caused day-long blackouts across the country. Locals even have a name for the phenomenon: dumsor, which literally means ‘on and off, off and on.' ...

‘Some mornings we arrive and there's no power, we know it will come back but we don't know when,' says Grace Ogrey, owner of a frozen chicken store at the Asafo market in Kumasi, Ghana's second largest city. ... In a country where refrigeration is still a luxury for most restaurants, businesses and households, ‘cold stores' like Grace's are an essential part of daily life. But with dumsor, the lines of people who used to gather outside the shop are no more."

Read the full article, Can Chinese Solar Panels Keep The Lights On In Ghana?



Can't wait for the next Olympics? The 2020 Games in Tokyo will be all about technology from robots and translation gadgets to artificial meteorite showers.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

That Man In Mariupol: Is Putin Using A Body Double To Avoid Public Appearances?

Putin really is meeting with Xi in Moscow — we know that. But there are credible experts saying that the person who showed up in Mariupol the day before was someone else — the latest report that the Russian president uses a doppelganger for meetings and appearances.

screen grab of Putin in a dark down jacket

During the visit to Mariupol, the Presidential office only released screen grabs of a video

Russian President Press Office/TASS via ZUMA
Anna Akage

Have no doubt, the Vladimir Putin we’re seeing alongside Xi Jinping this week is the real Vladimir Putin. But it’s a question that is being asked after a range of credible experts have accused the Russian president of sending a body double for a high-profile visit this past weekend in the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

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Reports and conspiracy theories have circulated in the past about the Russian leader using a stand-in because of health or security issues. But the reaction to the Kremlin leader's trip to Mariupol is the first time that multiple credible sources — including those who’ve spent time with him in the past — have cast doubt on the identity of the man who showed up in the southeastern Ukrainian city that Russia took over last spring after a months-long siege.

Russian opposition politician Gennady Gudkov is among those who confidently claim that a Putin look-alike, or rather one of his look-alikes, was in the Ukrainian city.

"Now that there is a war going on, I don't rule out the possibility that someone strongly resembling or disguised as Putin is playing his role," Gudkov said.

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