MIGRANTS DROWN OFF GREEK COAST
Eight children were among at least 21 migrants who drowned early this morning after their boats sank off the Greek coast, AFP reports. Dozens more are reported missing, but 48 survivors managed to reach the shore. The tragedy comes amid renewed debate about the European Unionâ€™s borders. â€œIf Europe is not capable of protecting its own borders, itâ€™s the very idea of Europe that will be questioned,â€ French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told the BBC. In comments aimed at German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her open-door policy, he added that the EU canâ€™t â€œsay or accept that all refugees, anyone fleeing the terrible war in Iraq or Syria, can be welcomed in Europe.â€ His Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte said that the EU had â€œsix to eight weeksâ€ to save the EUâ€™s Schengen system of border-free travel.
ISLAMISTS ATTACK IN MOGADISHU
Photo: Feisal Isse/Xinhua/ZUMA
Somali troops have captured the leader of an al-Shabaab terrorist attack on a Mogadishu restaurant that killed at least 20 people, the BBC reports. The attackers stormed a beachside restaurant late yesterday, opening fire and detonating bombs. Somali troops then besieged the building for eight hours. Itâ€™s not clear how many terrorists were captured or killed. The violence came one week after al-Shabaab gunmen killed more than 100 soldiers at a Somali military base.
- Gunmen in Burkina Faso, which was also the target of a terrorist attack last week, stormed an army armory in the capital of Ouagadougou. Suspected loyalists of deposed President Blaise Compaore are believed responsible, Le Monde reports.
- ISIS, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for yesterdayâ€™s Cairo bombing that killed nine people, including six police officers.
â€œMaybe the black actors didnâ€™t deserve to make it to the last leg,â€ British actress and Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling told French radio Europe 1, weighing in on the controversy over this yearâ€™s lack of diversity among Academy Award nominees. She added that filmmaker Spike Leeâ€™s call to boycott the ceremony was â€œracist against whites.â€ Read more here.
U.S. EAST COAST BRACES FOR BLIZZARD
The U.S. East Coast is bracing for what could be the winterâ€™s biggest storm yet, with high winds and up to 30 inches of snow expected in Washington D.C., CNN reports. A state of emergency has been declared in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.
APPLE CASHES IN ON GOOGLE PAYMENTS
Google paid its rival Apple $1 billion in 2014 to keep its search bar on iPhones, Bloomberg reports, quoting court proceedings. Under the deal between the two tech giants, Apple gets a percentage of the revenue Google generates on the Apple device.
Even as Belgium has emerged as a hub of Islamic terror networks, a Belgian Muslim is the theatrical toast of the town as he tackles jihad, racism and culture wars with humor, Marie-Béatrice Baudet writes for Le Monde. â€œThe second of five siblings, Ismael Saidi was able to observe how his parents, who arrived from Morocco in the late 1960s, made Belgium home, despite the discrimination they endured and still endure as Muslims,â€ Baudet writes. â€œIn Saidiâ€™s play, weâ€™re made to laugh about everything: racism, prejudice, ignorance, dogmatism, stupidity. Nobodyâ€™s spared, especially not Muslims.â€
Read the full article, â€œJihad,â€ The Belgian Play Leaving Audiences In Stitches.
NORTH KOREA ARRESTS U.S. STUDENT
An American college student from the University of Virginia has been arrested in North Korea under suspicion that he entered the country on orders from Washington to engage in a â€œhostileâ€ act, NBC News reports. North Korea has yet to specify the nature of the alleged crime, saying only that Otto Frederick Warmbierâ€™s actions were aimed at â€œbringing down the foundation of North Koreaâ€™s single-minded unity at the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation.â€
ON THIS DAY
Todayâ€™s shot of history features, among other moments, the 42nd anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the death of Queen Victoria and St. Petersburgâ€™s Bloody Sunday.
ZIKA VIRUS THREATENS LATIN AMERICA
Zika, a mosquito-borne virus thatâ€™s believed to have caused severe brain damage in Brazilian babies and is feared to cause paralysis, is rapidly spreading across Latin America and the Caribbean, The New York Times reports. Itâ€™s unclear how the virus reached Brazil in the first place, where it affected some 4,000 people last year, but some experts believe it could have happened during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
MY GRAND-PÈREâ€™S WORLD
WASHPO SCRIBE RETURNS TO THE U.S.
Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian is expected to fly from Germany to the U.S. early today with his family, less than a week after he was released from an Iranian jail.
HAITI GOES TO THE POLLS
A runoff vote to choose Haitiâ€™s next president will proceed as planned Sunday despite boycott threats from the opposition amid fraud allegations, Haiti Libre quotes outgoing President Michel Martelly as saying. But The Miami Herald opines that the Caribbean islandâ€™s election will â€œfail to produce a government that Haitians deem credible and legitimateâ€ and that it should be postponed.
A computer at the University of Central Missouri has found a new largest known prime number, with an astounding 22,338,618 digits. Thatâ€™s more than 5 million more than the previous record-holder.
Welcome to Wednesday, where Brazil's senate backs "crimes against humanity" charges against Jair Bolsonaro, the UN has a grim new climate report and Dune gets a sequel. Meanwhile, German daily Die Welt explores "Xi Jinping Thought," which is now being made part of Chinese schools' curriculum.
• Senators back Bolsonaro criminal charges: A Brazilian Senate panel has backed a report that supports charging President Jair Bolsonaro with crimes against humanity, for his alleged responsibility in the country's 600,000-plus COVID-19 deaths.
• Gas crisis in Moldova following Russian retaliation: Moldova, one of Europe's poorest countries, has for the first time challenged Russia's Gazprom following a price increase and failed contract negotiations, purchasing instead from Poland. In response, Russia has threatened to halt sales to the Eastern European country, which has previously acquired all of its gas from Gazprom.
• New UN climate report finds planned emission cuts fall short: The Emissions Gap Report 2021 concludes that country pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions aren't large enough to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 °C degrees this century. The UN Environment Program predicts a 2.7 °C increase, with significant environmental impacts, but there is still hope that longer term net-zero goals will curtail some temperature rise.
• COVID update: As part of its long-awaited reopening, Australia will officially allow its citizens to travel abroad without a government waiver for the first time in more than 18 months. Bulgaria, meanwhile, hits record daily high COVID-19 cases as the Eastern European's hotel and restaurant association is planning protests over the implementation of the vaccination "green pass." In the U.S., a panel of government medical advisors backed the use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for five to 11-year-olds.
• U.S. appeals decision to block Julian Assange extradition: The United States said it was "extremely disappointed" in a UK judge's ruling that Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, would be a suicide risk of he traveled across the Atlantic. In the U.S., he faces 18 charges related to the 2010 release of 500,000 secret files related to U.S. military activity.
• Deposed Sudan prime minister released: Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has been released from custody, though remains under heavy guard after Sudan's military coup. Protests against the coup have continued in the capital Khartoum, as Hamdok has called for the release of other detained governmental officials.
• Dune Part 2 confirmed: The world will get to see Timothée Chalamet ride a sandworm: The second installment of the sci-fi epic and global box office hit has officially been greenlit, set to hit the screens in 2023.
Canadian daily National Post reports on the nomination of Steven Guilbeault, a former Greenpeace activist, as the country's new Environment minister. He had been arrested in 2001 for scaling Toronto's CN Tower to unfurl a banner for Greenpeace, which he left in 2008.
Chinese students now required to learn to think like Xi Jinping
"Xi Jinping Thought" ideas on socialism have been spreading across the country since 2017. But now, Beijing is going one step further by making them part of the curriculum, from the elementary level all the way up to university, reports Maximilian Kalkhof in German daily Die Welt.
🇨🇳 It's important to strengthen the "determination to listen to and follow the party." Also, teaching materials should "cultivate patriotic feelings." So say the new guidelines issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education. The goal is to help Chinese students develop more "Marxist beliefs," and for that, the government wants its national curriculum to include "Xi Jinping Thought," the ideas, namely, of China's current leader. Behind this word jam is a plan to consolidate the power of the nation, the party and Xi himself.
📚 Starting in September, the country's 300 million students have had to study the doctrine, from elementary school into university. And in some cities, even that doesn't seem to be enough. Shanghai announced that its students from third to fifth grade would only take final exams in mathematics and Chinese, de facto deleting English as an examination subject. Beijing, in the meantime, announced that it would ban the use of unauthorized foreign textbooks in elementary and middle schools.
⚠️ But how does a country that enchants its youth with socialist ideology and personality cults rise to become a world power? Isn't giving up English as a global language the quickest way into isolation? The educational reform comes at a time when Beijing is brutally disciplining many areas of public life, from tech giants to the entertainment industry. It has made it difficult for Chinese technology companies to go public abroad, and some media have reported that a blanket ban on IPOs in the United States is on the cards in the next few years.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
"I'm a footballer and I'm gay."
— Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo said in a video accompanying a tweet in which he revealed his homosexuality, becoming the first top-flight male professional player in the world to do so. The 21-year-old said he was tired of living "this double life" and hoped his decision to come out would help other "players living in silence."
Why this Sudan coup d'état is different
Three days since the military coup was set in motion in Sudan, the situation on the ground continues to be fluid. Reuters reports this morning that workers at the state petroleum company Sudapet are joining a nationwide civil disobedience movement called by trade unions in response to the generals' overthrow of the government. Doctors have also announced a strike.
Generals in suits At the same time, the military appears firmly in control, with deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok allowed to return home today after being held by the coup leaders. How did we get here? That's the question that David E. Kiwuwa, a professor of international relations at the University of Nottingham, takes on in The Conversation:
"Since the revolution that deposed Omar el-Bashir in 2019, the military have fancied themselves as generals in suits. They have continued to wield enough power to almost run a parallel government in tension with the prime minister. This was evident when the military continued to have the say on security and foreign affairs.
Economy as alibi For their part, civilian officials concentrated on rejuvenating the economy and mobilizing international support for the transitional council. This didn't stop the military from accusing the civilian leadership of failing to resuscitate the country's ailing economy.
True, the economy has continued to struggle from high inflation, low industrial output and dwindling foreign direct investment. As in all economies, conditions have been exacerbated by the effects of COVID-19. Sudan's weakened economy is, however, not sufficient reason for the military intervention. Clearly this is merely an excuse."
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
471 million euros
Rome's Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, better known as Villa Aurora, will be put up for auction in January for 471 million euros ($547 million). The over-the-top price tag is thanks to the villa having the only known ceiling painting by Renaissance master Caravaggio.
✍️ Newsletter by Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
Who wants to start the bidding on the Caravaggio villa? Otherwise, let us know what the news looks like from your corner of the world! email@example.com!
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