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Prince Death Probe, Anti-Brexit Obama, Earth Day

PURPLE PAIN

Spontaneous gatherings and tributes continued into the early hours this morning after the sudden death of Prince, the American music icon and virtuoso instrumentalist behind "Kiss" and "Purple Rain." His body was found yesterday at his home in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen. He was 57. Authorities are investigating the death, and an autopsy is planned for later today.

Have a look at front pages from world's newspapers today, bidding farewell to the man born Prince Rogers Nelson.


COP21

Global leaders gather in New York today to sign the Paris COP21 Agreement on climate change that was agreed to by 195 countries in December. Leaders from some 170 of the nations have confirmed that they will be on hand to formally ratify the commitment.


— ON THIS DAY

The COP21 ceremony lands on Earth Day, which began exactly 46 years ago today. See that event, and more, in today's 57-second shot of history.


UN CONFERENCE ENDS WITHOUT POLICY SHIFT

A UN conference on drugs in New York concluded yesterday without a major shift in policy and with deep divisions over core questions such as whether to decriminalize drug use and to legalize marijuana.


UBER SETTLES LAWSUIT

Ride-hailing service Uber announced yesterday evening that it will pay an initial sum of $84 million to settle cases in California and Massachusetts to some 385,000 drivers after reaching a settlement in a class-act lawsuit over the status of their drivers, Los Angeles Times reports. Uber hopes the settlement moves the mutli-billion-dollar company one step closer to getting its way in classifying drivers as independent contractors rather than full-time employees.


OBAMA URGES BRITISH VOTERS TO REJECT BREXIT

U.S. President Barack Obama made an appeal in an op-ed article in Friday's edition of The Daily Telegraph for Britain to remain in the European Union, saying membership had magnified Britain's place in the world and made the bloc stronger and more outward looking.


— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

Napoleonic Trinkets — Portoferraio, 1969


DEATH TOLL AT 24 FROM MEXICO BLAST

The death toll from the blast that hit the facility in the southern city of Coatzacoalcos in Mexico Wednesday climbed to 24, with another 13 seriously wounded, El Universal reports.


RUSSIAN FIRE MISDIRECTED AT ISRAELI AIRCRAFT

Russian forces in Syria have fired at Israeli military aircraft, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek improved operational coordination with Moscow, The Times Of Israel reports today.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Raising shrimp right next to a waste treatment plant: The choice may sound counter-intuitive, as sewage and seafood aren't exactly the most mouth-watering combination. But the facility's location is actually a stroke of genius, Gisela Reiners writes for German daily Die Welt: "As is often the case, it's best not to judge a book by its cover. The sewage plant, it turns out, is a fantastic source of clean water, It is also an ideal place to dispose of shrimp excretions, which can simultaneously be used to generate heat that the little critters need to thrive. The conditions, in other words, are nearly perfect."

Read the full article, Farming Florida-Bred Shrimp In A German Sewage Plant.


ECUADOR TORMENTED BY SECOND QUAKE

Another earthquake measuring 6.0 magnitude hit Ecuador's disaster-stricken coast yesterday, less than a week after a huge 7.8 magnitude quake devastated the area and killed 587 people, El Comercio reports. There have been no reports of further casualties so far.


MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH

LETHAL 2016

David Bowie, Alan Rickman, now Prince … BBC News confirms that there's definitely something wrong with 2016.

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Society

The U.S.-Colombia 'War On Drugs' Has Failed: What Comes Next?

The Biden administration and Colombia's new government seem to agree on the need for a new approach to drugs policy. But will they be able to find support in their countries to forge a new strategy?

Interpol officers accompanying the sister of Colombian drug lord "Otoniel" before her extradition to the U.S.

Luis Carvajal Basto

BOGOTÁ - Some early directives by Colombia's new president Gustavo Petro suggest he sees the 2016 peace accords with the The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as failed or at best unfinished. Founded in 1964, FARC, the armed wing of the Communist Party, have been fighting the longest-running armed insurgency in the Western hemisphere.

Signed in 2016 under former president Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, the accords were meant to bring peace to the country, yet that peace has been patchy. This is not because another communist guerrilla force in the country, the National Liberation Army (ELN), has refused to join the peace arrangements, nor is it because of the last government's failure to implement the accord.

The problem clearly concerns drug trafficking, which has continued unperturbed since 2016. While drug use remains illegal, drug trafficking, which has long helped FARC fund its insurgency, will always be highly profitable and foment violence. So is it time to decriminalize drug use?

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Writing contest - My pandemic story
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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.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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