ECUADOR INTRODUCES REBUILDING TAX
The death toll in Ecuador after Saturday's magnitude-7.8 earthquake continues to rise and now stands at 570, with hundreds more still missing and as many as 4,000 wounded. And with the extensive damage the quake caused, estimated at $3 billion, authorities unveiled yesterday a new series of measures aimed at financing the reconstruction work. Among the measures introduced by President Rafael Correa is a one-time 0.9% tax for people who own more than $1 million in assets. "This is how a modern society responds to this kind of disaster and the way each Ecuadorian, within his ability, contributes to the recovery of his own motherland," Correa said.
EXPLOSION AT MEXICO OIL PLANT
A significant explosion rocked a petrochemical plant on the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, killing three workers and wounding at least 105 people, including 58 workers. According to AP, the blast was felt as far as six miles away. About 2,000 people living in the surrounding areas have been evacuated.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, QUEEN ELIZABETH
The Yorkshire Post wished Queen Elizabeth II a "happy birthday ma'am" on today's front page as the monarch turns 90. The Leeds-based daily chose one of three pictures taken for the occasion by acclaimed American photographer Annie Leibovitz. The queen is standing on the steps of Windsor Castle with four of her dogs. See the images here.
ON THIS DAY
And happy 69th, Iggy! That, and more, in your 57-second shot of history.
ANOTHER MIGRANT TRAGEDY
The United Nations' Refugee Agency said yesterday that up to 500 migrants died in the Mediterranean Sea last week. If the death toll is as high as believed, it is the worst such tragedy of the last 12 months. According to some of the 41 survivors, who were sailing from Libya, smugglers were transferring the migrants onto a larger boat when it went down. The survivors drifted at sea until they were rescued by a merchant ship, possibly three days later. Read more from The New York Times.
An international team of scientists have shown that close to 2.2 billion people living in tropical and subtropical regions around the globe are at risk, as their environments favor the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
OBAMA HEADS TO LONDON
After his tense visit to Saudi Arabia yesterday. U.S. President Barack Obama will now travel to London, where he is expected to urge British voters to stay in the European Union ahead of the country's June 23 referendum. A victory for Brexit, Obama will argue, would jeopardize the special relationship between Britain and the U.S as well as diminish the country's influence. It's an argument that London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is campaigning to leave the EU, recently described as an "outrageous and exorbitant hypocrisy."
OLYMPIC FLAME BEGINS JOURNEY TO RIO
The flame of this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro was lit this morning in Athens. Over the next week, athletes will carry the torch around Greece, before it heads to Brazil on April 27. As many as 12,000 runners will relay the flame across Brazil before it reaches Rio for the opening ceremony on Aug. 5. Read more about the Olympic flame's history here.
In America Economia, a Latin American consultant argues that excellence is an end unto itself, something that often gets lost in the pursuit of business. "The reality is that a truly awful carpenter makes tables, a mediocre carpenter makes tables, and an excellent carpenter makes excellent tables, typically with the same supplies in the same amount of time and with the same restrictions," Daniel Mordecki Pupko writes. "Excellence is not the result of the amount of effort or intensity of effort — not even the suffering that produces the effort, even if it reaches heroic levels."
Read the full article, A Rumination On Excellence (Or Why Mediocrity Often Wins).
"We would never leave our parents, country and leader Kim Jong-un," a tearful North Korean waitress told CNN, having returned to Pyongyang after she and her colleagues were apparently tricked by their manager into defecting to South Korea.
JAPAN RAIDS MITSUBISHI OFFICES
Japanese officials raided the offices of Mitsubishi Motors, sending the national carmaker's shares plunging after the company admitted that employees had falsified fuel-efficiency data. The manipulation affects about 600,000 vehicles and four different models sold in Japan under the Nissan brand. The carmaker has suspended manufacturing and sales of the models. Read more from The Japan Times.
MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
Entrance Examination — Bangkok, 1993
NEW DOLLAR BILLS
The U.S. Department of Treasury unveiled the new faces of the future $5, $10 and $20 bills yesterday, finally giving women a place in the lineup. But the replacement of Andrew Jackson by former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has some Tennesseans concerned.
MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH
- Be Sad, Move On: Mourning In The Modern Era — Le Monde
- ISIS Radio Tries To Lure Young Afghans To Jihad — PortalKBR
- Russia Aims To Build A Base On The Moon — With 3D Printers — Kommersant
WHEN ANGRY BIRDS BECOME REALITY
Even in the small Danish town of Holbæk, officials have resorted to taking out their enemies with a campaign of drone strikes. The target: the eggs of pooping seagulls.