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Refugee Standoff, Google's Birthday, U.S. Open Drone

Refugee Standoff, Google's Birthday, U.S. Open Drone


A standoff between refugees, many of them from war-torn Syria, and Hungarian police in the town of Bickse has entered its second day, with Die Welt reporting that some 500 people spent the night in the train station and were refusing to eat or drink until being allowed to travel to Germany. They were allowed on the trains yesterday at a Budapest station, but the trains only took them as far as Bickse, located about 40 kilometers from the Hungarian capital. The Guardian describes it as an apparent "trick" to take them to a refugee camp.

  • Hungarian lawmakers are expected to vote today on whether to send 3,500 military to the border with Serbia, a non-EU country that sits outside of the Schengen Area, in a bid to curb the flow of refugees from the Middle East.
  • The United Nations' High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, meanwhile, urged EU states to come up with a relocation plan for 200,000 refugees, more than yesterday's proposal by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to take 120,000.
  • In an apparent policy shift, British Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday pledged to take more Syrian refugees. Read more from The Independent.
  • The father of Aylan, the little Syrian boy who drowned on his way to Greece, has returned to the city of Kobani to bury the bodies of his two sons and wife, who all died after their boat capsized.


"If you want to stop the deaths, if you want to stop the drownings, you have got to stop the boats," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told ABC Radio in reaction to the "sad and poignant" image of the 3-year-old Syrian boy dead on a beach. "And thankfully, we've stopped that in Australia because we've stopped the illegal boats, we've said to the people smugglers, "your trade has closed down.'" But a New York Times takedown of Australia's "ruthlessly effective" and "brutal treatment of migrants" says it would be "unconscionable" for European leaders to follow its example.


After targeting both the living and the ruins of a distant, glorious past in the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria, ISIS has added tombs to its hit list. According to Syria's antiquities chief, the terrorist group has destroyed three tower tombs, "the best preserved and most beautiful," he said. The tombs were built in the 1st century and were on UNESCO's world heritage list. Read more from AFP.


Photo: Visual/ZUMA

French farmers angry at plunging food prices and soaring costs blocked the streets of Paris with more than 1,500 tractors yesterday.


Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina was taken to a military jail yesterday, hours after he resigned as president, while a judge decides whether to charge him in a massive corruption scandal. Protesters were waiting for him, shouting "Otto, thief, go to jail!" as his car arrived at the prison facility, newspaper Prensa Libre reports. Vice President Alejandro Maldonado was sworn in as interim president ahead of a planned presidential election on Sunday. Read more in our Extra! feature.


Google, which is used for a mind-bending 3.5 billion daily searches, was founded 17 years ago today. Time for your 57-second shot of history.


Delegates are meeting in Bonn, Germany, today for the last day of week-long negotiations aimed at forging a draft ahead of a highly anticipated climate change conference in Paris at the end of the year. But according to Deutsche Welle, a group of oil-producing Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia is resisting agreements to cut carbon emissions. Several experts cite many reasons for that positioning, including the importance of oil in Saudi Arabia's geopolitical influence, but the issue was perhaps best summed up by the director of Climate Action Network. "I don't think the Saudi royals think about climate change or take the issue seriously at all," he said.


Yesterday's military parade in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II saw China flex its muscles. Some 12,000 troops marched in the capital as officials announced it would procure several brand new anti-ship missiles. Among these is the DF-26 missile, capable of targeting "medium-sized ships" up to 4,000 kilometers away, meaning that U.S. ships in the Pacific would be "vulnerable," the Financial Times writes. In an editorial, the newspaper says that the parade and the display of China's military might, coming three weeks before President Xi Jinping's U.S. visit and amid escalating tensions between the world's two largest economies, sends an "unmistakable message."


NSA-style monitoring of our ever-more digital lives is beyond even George Orwell's disturbing vision. It's also less effective in tracking the true enemies of the state, Jacques Henno writes in an essay for Les Echos. "Seventy years after it was published, this extraordinary futuristic novel has become the emblem of ever-widening surveillance measures, increasingly adopted by Western countries after each new Islamist terrorist attack," he writes. "But the worst part of it all is that we, the everyday users, are almost passive accomplices in this, since we're feeding part of these files ourselves with the way we rely daily on digital devices and services."

Read the full article, How 2015 Mass Surveillance Compares To Orwell's 1984 Big Brother.



Drones are everywhere. One was even hovering above the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center yesterday. But the sight of the yellow ball seems to have disturbed the device, which crashed into the stands, interrupting a U.S. Open match. Game, set, drone.

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It's A Golden Era For Russia-Turkey Relations — Just Look At The Numbers

On the diplomatic and political level, no world leader speaks more regularly with Vladimir Putin than his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. But the growing closeness of Russia and Turkey can also be measured in the economic data. And the 2022 numbers are stunning.

Photo of Erdogan and Putin walking out of a door

Erdogan and Putin last summer in Sochi, Russia

Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS via ZUMA
Aytug Özçolak


ISTANBUL — As Russia has become increasingly isolated since the invasion of Ukraine, the virtual pariah state has drawn notably closer to one of its remaining partners: Turkey.

Ankara has committed billions of dollars to buy the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system, and contracted to Russia to build Turkey's first nuclear power plant. The countries’ foreign policies are also becoming increasingly aligned.

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But the depth of this relationship goes much further. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin more than any other leader: 16 times in 2022, and 11 times in 2021. Erdoğan has visited Russia 14 times since 2016, compared to his 10 visits to the U.S. in the same time period (half of which were in 2016 and 2017).

But no less important is the way the two countries are increasingly tied together by commerce.

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