SPOTLIGHT: HOW TO AVOID A RELIGIOUS WAR
A spate of terror attacks across western Europe continued yesterday as two assailants took hostages in a church in the northern French town of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, killing an 86-year-old priest and injuring three others. The two men, who declared allegiance to the Islamic State, were shot and killed by local police.
While Catholic nuns and missionaries have been targeted by terror groups like the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaeda abroad, such brazen attack on Christians in Europe have been extremely rare. The killing of a priest during morning mass in a small town, reportedly forced to his knees by the terrorists, represents an assault on religious freedom and daily life in France, still reeling from the tragedies of Nice and Paris.
Already known for singling out Jews as a specific enemy, ISIS now seems bent on opening a new front in its religious war, instilling a medieval-like fear in churchgoers. Vatican spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi called the attack an act of "absurd violence."
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, urged French Christians to "not lose the sense of their faith." It is an interesting turn of phrase from this leader of the Catholic Church hierarchy in France, in the face of a brutal assassination of his fellow clergy member. By "sense" of their faith, Vingt-Trois explained, he means that the Catholic gospel calls on them to avoid violence as a response. But beyond the Christian "turn-the-other-cheek" teachings, the cardinal also seems to be saying that the only practical (i.e. sensible) way to fight the extremist enemy is by avoiding the trap of religious war that they seek. The French have another term for that: sang-froid. Keep your cool.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to headline Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention.
- Pope Francis arrives in Krakow, Poland for the Catholic World Youth Day. (See the front page from Dziennik Polski in our Extra! feature)
HISTORIC NOMINATION FOR HILLARY CLINTON
Hillary Clinton was officially nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate yesterday, as delegates cast their votes at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Clinton becomes the first female nominee from a major party in U.S. history, and was fully endorsed by her primary opponent Senator Bernie Sanders despite a walkout from some of his supporters, reports the Los Angeles Times.
CATALONIA MOVES FORWARD WITH INDEPENDENCE
The government in the Spanish region of Catalonia, controlled by separatist parties since last November, will pass a resolution this week to ignore Spain's constitutional court and move forward with independence. According to El Periódico de Catalunya, the resolution will approve a report that recommends a unilateral process towards independence, while pro-Madrid parties are considering abandoning parliament for the rest of its term.
— ON THIS DAY
It's been 20 years since the bombing in Atlanta's Olympic park. That, and more, in your 57-second shot of History.
ISIS LEADER IN AFGHANISTAN KILLED
A prominent leader of the Islamic State in Afghanistan, Saad Emarati, was killed by the Afghan military during an operation in the eastern province of Nangarhar. A former commander of the Taliban, Emarati was a founder and key leader of the Afghan branch of ISIS since early 2015.
AMAZON TO LAUNCH DRONE DELIVERY TRIAL IN UK
American tech giant Amazon gained approval from British regulators to launch a trial for its long-awaited drone delivery service in the United Kingdom, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Summer has arrived, and with it, an infinity of selfies, #foodporn pics, Snapchat postcards, etc. For French daily Les Echos, philosopher Roger-Pol Droit writes: "There was a time, in the history of mankind, when there were a lot more humans than pictures on Earth. They were rare, precious, magical, possessing powers of good or evil. They've since proliferated, become emancipated, uncountable — and common. Maybe not common as such, considering the way they have quietly taken over culture. This transformation deserves to be explored.
At first, there was distrust. Plato had great contempt for images, and this fueled a long tradition. For him, nothing is further away from reality than images."
Read the full article, Why Plato Would Hate Instagram.
"Anything's possible," U.S. President Barack Obama told NBC , when asked if Russia was behind a recent leak of Democratic National Committee emails that appeared to show a bias against Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign.
PARDON FOR FORMER PERU PRESIDENT FUJIMORI REJECTED
Peru's outgoing President Ollanta Humala rejected a pardon for his predecessor Alberto Fujimori, convicted in 2009 of embezzlement and human rights violations. El Comercio reports that president-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who defeated Fujimori's daughter Keiko by a razor-thin margin in a presidential run-off in June, also declared he was unlikely to extend a pardon.
— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
Roses And Chirps — Paris, 1967
PALESTINE PLANS TO SUE BRITAIN OVER 1917 DECLARATION
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced his intention today to sue the United Kingdom over the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which then Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour endorsed a "national home for the Jewish people" in the British-controlled territory of Palestine. According to Haaretz, Abbas asked Arab states to aid in preparations for the lawsuit, which will be filed in international court.
BRITISH AND IRISH PMs PLEDGE TO KEEP COMMON BORDER
After meeting at 10 Downing Street, British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Irish counterpart Enda Kenny pledged to not reinstate a "hard border" between the two countries in the wake of last month's Brexit vote. Read more from the Irish Times.
MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH
- Why China's Middle Class Is Suddenly Being Squeezed — Caixin
- How The Sudden Uptick In Terror Attacks May Change Germany — Die Welt
- Opticale, Pokemon Go Rival Pops Up In Neutral Switzerland — Le Temps
SNAKES FROM SEOUL
In its latest bizarre accusation, North Korea blamed its southern neighbor for the high number of snakes found near its northern border with China. Pyongyang asserted the snakes are part of a "cunning plot" by Seoul to infiltrate the North with the reptiles, which are rumored to have killed several people near the Yalu river.