AL-QAEDA HAS "COLLAPSED"
The al-Qaeda terror group has been "cut off and ripped apart by ISIS," two of its most important spiritual leaders told The Guardian. Abu Qatada and Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi said that al-Qaeda has been drained of recruits and money because of territorial and influential losses to rival ISIS. Al-Maqdisi said its organizational structure in particular had "collapsed." Divisions between the two organizations have grown in recent years. "ISIS doesn't respect anyone," Abu Qatada said. "They are ruining the wider jihadi movement and are against the whole ummah Muslim nation"
"Resorting to microphone diplomacy, or pointing fingers at each other, will not solve any problems," Chinese embassy official Wu Xi said on Capitol Hill yesterday during a gathering to mark the 10th anniversary of the Congressional U.S.-China Working Group, Reuters reports. Referring to disagreements over Beijing's aggressive pursuit of territorial claims in the South China Sea, Wu insisted the countries needed to address their differences "in a proper way."
Refugees from Somalia protested on a boat Wednesday in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, against EU policies dealing with boat migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.
NUSRA FRONT KILLS 20 SYRIAN VILLAGERS
Fighters from the al-Nusra Front, a group linked to al-Qaeda, have killed 20 members of Syria's Druze community, a branch of Islam viewed as heretical by the organization's Sunni members, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports. The mass killing reportedly followed a confrontation that began when al-Nusra Front members tried to confiscate the house of a villager fighting with Syrian government forces.
ON THIS DAY
Alexander the Great died in Babylon on this day in 323 BC. Time now for your 57-second shot of history.
SAUDI BLOGGER'S FLOGGING SENTENCE UPHELD
Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, whose sentence last year to 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam," may receive the rest of his flogging this week after the country's supreme court upheld the punishment despite international criticism. His sentence also includes 10 years in prison, a 10-year travel ban following his release, an Internet ban and a 230,000-euro fine, Amnesty International reports. Badawi was prosecuted last year after creating a website called Free Saudi Liberals discuss religious and political issues.
Studies show that pesticides such as glyphosate sprayed on crops are poisonous and that we are ingesting these toxins with our food. Perfect examples are the corn and soybeans Colombia imports from Argentina, El Espectador's Alejandra Vanegas Cabrera reports. "In Argentina, where glyphosate is used copiously in farming corn, soy and other products, the debate has been intense and worrying," the journalist writes. "Every year, Argentina exports thousands of tons of various foodstuffs to other countries, including Colombia. ... Colombia recently decided to stop the aerial spraying of glyphosate on illegal coca plantations, but many wonder now about other foods sprayed with chemical pesticides. It's not an easy debate, and arguments abound on both sides.
Read the full article, From Coca To Corn, Latin America's Pesticide Problem.
CHINA OFFICIAL SENTENCED TO LIFE
China's former security chief Zhou Yongkang, at one time one of the country's most powerful men, has been sentenced to life in prison, the BBC reports. He was found guilty of bribery, abuse of power and "intentionally disclosing national secrets."
MERS A "NATIONAL SECURITY PRIORITY"
The outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) entered its third week in South Korea, with nine people dead, 122 declared cases of infection and growing concerns about the consequences of the virus on the economy. South Korean President Park Geun-hye canceled her planned Sunday trip to Washington to oversee efforts to tackle the outbreak. South Korean daily Dong-A Ilbo called it a "national security priority" on the front page of today's edition, accompanied by a photo of medical staff outside the Seoul Medical Center. Read more in our Extra! feature.
HUNDREDS OF SYRIANS CROSS TURKISH BORDER
Turkish authorities have allowed hundreds of Syrian refugees to cross into Turkey, as moderate fighters and Kurdish forces clash with ISIS around the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad, Al Jazeera reports. Thousands of people in the region have fled their homes in the past week due to the violent clashes. On June 4, Turkish authorities allowed hundreds of Syrians past the border.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
SWISS AUTHORITIES SEIZE FIFA MATERIAL
Investigators from the Swiss attorney general's office have seized data and IT equipment at FIFA headquarters in Zurich as part of an agreed exchange of evidence. According to The Guardian, the haul includes material from the offices of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and secretary general Jérôme Valcke. Meanwhile, FIFA has suspended host bidding for the 2026 World Cup, as criminal investigations continue into the awarding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, in Russia and Qatar, respectively.
DAVID CAMERON "ALMOST ILL-MANNERED"
Argentine President Cristina Kirchner described British Prime Minister David Cameron as "almost ill-mannered" following his comments to Argentinian Foreign Minister Hector Timerman in a heated exchange about the Falkland Islands in Brussels yesterday, El Periodico reports. "The prime minister's response was irate, almost ill-mannered," Fernandez said. Timerman had apparently criticized Britain for clinging to "colonialist" policies. But a spokesperson for the British government said Cameron simply "robustly defended the Falklands and the islanders' right to self-determination in response to the Argentine foreign minister raising the issue."
DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE
A rumor that Marge and Homer Simpson would divorce in the 27th season of the television show spread like wildfire this morning. But it was almost immediately denied on the series' Twitter account.