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Reproaching N. Korea, EU Divide, New Billionaire Capital

Reproaching N. Korea, EU Divide, New Billionaire Capital

U.S., CHINA AGREE ON N. KOREA RESOLUTION

The United States and China agreed yesterday on a United Nations draft resolution containing “very tough measures” against North Korea over its nuclear “provocations,” AFP reports. Both countries have bristled at the hubris of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The draft resolution will now be presented to the other UN Security Council members and a diplomat said it could be adopted “in the coming days.”


VERBATIM

“We should make a Guantanamo-like camp for them. Without torturing them,” said Mayor Leopold Lippens of Belgian town Knokke, when asked by Sud Presse journalists about illegal migrants. More refugees could enter Belgium amid neighboring France’s efforts to dismantle the notorious Calais “jungle.” Lippens argued that migrants without permission to stay should eventually be “sent back to their countries,” adding that the migrant issue was “starting to piss me off.” A French court blocked the government’s plans to raze the Calais “jungle” on Tuesday as it postponed a decision. Belgium, meanwhile, has reestablished border controls.


EU DIVIDE GROWS AMID MIGRANT CRISIS

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has threatened to block any EU decisions made at a meeting today if all countries don’t agree to accept their share of refugees. It represents yet another escalation among EU nations over the year-long crisis, Kathimerini reports. This came after Austria and nine Balkan states (three of them EU members) decided to take measures of their own at the expense of Athens to “choke off the flow of refugees from Greece,” The New York Times writes. Tsipras, who described Austria’s behavior as “unacceptable,” said his government “will not accept turning the country into a warehouse of souls,” saying the decision threatens to effectively leave tens of thousands of asylum seekers stranded in cash-strapped Greece. According to official figures, more than 100,000 refugees entered Greece in the first six weeks of this year, more than the total for the first half of 2015.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD



$1.76 BILLION

French authorities are demanding Google pay 1.6 billion euros ($1.76 billion) in back taxes after evading payments via a “double Irish, Dutch Sandwich” tax optimization technique, Le Monde reports. Unlike its British counterpart, the French tax office is unwilling to negotiate the figure. Italy is also seeking more than 200 million euros ($220 million) from the U.S. Internet search giant.


ROMNEY VS. TRUMP

Is there “a bombshell” waiting to be found in Donald Trump’s tax records? Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney seems to believe that’s the reason the billionaire hasn’t yet released his tax records. The Republican front-runner’s response came in the form of a scathing tweet: “Mitt Romney, who totally blew an election that should have been won and whose tax returns made him look like a fool, is now playing tough guy.” Read more from The Hill.


SNAPSHOT

Photo: European Southern Observatory

The European Southern Observatory, an intergovernmental astronomy research organization, has released a spectacular new image of the Milky Way to mark the completion of its Chile-based APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL).


STUDENTS TORCH S. AFRICAN UNIVERSITY

North-West University in Mahikeng, South Africa, has been evacuated and closed indefinitely after a group of protesting students went on a rampage last night, torching buildings and looting property, newspaper The Star reports. Students were demonstrating over the dissolution of a student council group, in the process “completely” destroying the administration building, “along with all official records,” the university’s spokesman said. The damage is expected to run “in the millions.”


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

As part of our Rue Amelot essay series, a South American writer rethinks the soundtrack of his teenage revolution, concluding that his aversion to culturally significant genres was a youthful indiscretion that deprived him of musical riches. “Given all of my teenage wisdom, I thought that people who listened to traditional and popular genres such as pagode, axé, sertanejo or funk were ignorant,” writes Fred Di Giacomo. “I’d also decided that white classical music and black jazz that my dad used to listen to at home were an utter drag. I had no idea that, translating lyrics from AC/DC or Elvis, I'd be left with something close to carioca funk about ‘blue suede shoes,’ ‘whole lotta’ women, picking up girls and other deep philosophical questions for humankind. I also had no idea that playing songs from the Sex Pistols or Green Day was actually a lot easier than a guitar solo from calypso guitarist Chimbinha.”

Read the full article, Rock, Rebellion And My Misguided Shame Of Brazilian Culture.


APPLE WORKS ON HACK-PROOF IPHONE

Apple is trying to develop a new security system that would better protect iPhones from government attempts to hack into devices, The New York Times reports. This comes amid antagonism between the Cupertino giant and the FBI, after the latter requested Apple help it unlock the phone of one of the two San Bernardino shooters. CEO Tim Cook has refused to comply, saying such a move would be “bad for America.”


ON THIS DAY


Which famous French Impressionist painter was born on Feb. 25? Find out in today's shot of history!


BEIJING BECOMES BILLIONAIRE CAPITAL

Bye-bye New York. Beijing is now the world’s city of choice for billionaires, with 100 of them now living in the Chinese capital, compared to 95 in the Big Apple.

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food / travel

The True Horrors Behind 7 Haunted Locations Around The World

With Halloween arriving, we have dug up the would-be ghosts of documented evil and bloodshed from the past.

Inside Poveglia Island's abandoned asylum

Laure Gautherin and Carl-Johan Karlsson

When Hallows Eve was first introduced as a Celtic festival some 2,000 years ago, bonfires and costumes were seen as a legitimate way to ward off ghosts and evil spirits. Today of course, with science and logic being real ghostbusters, spine-chilling tales of haunted forests, abandoned asylums and deserted graveyards have rather become a way to add some mystery and suspense to our lives.

And yet there are still spooky places around the world that have something more than legend attached to them. From Spain to Uzbekistan and Australia, these locations prove that haunting lore is sometimes rooted in very real, and often terrible events.

Shahr-e Gholghola, City of Screams - Afghanistan

photo of  ruins of Shahr-e Gholghola,

The ruins of Shahr-e Gholghola, the City of Screams, in Afghanistan

Dai He/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire


According to locals, ghosts from this ancient royal citadel located in the Valley of Bamyan, 150 miles northwest of Kabul, have been screaming for 800 years. You can hear them from miles away, at twilight, when they relive their massacre.

In the spring 1221, the fortress built by Buddhist Ghorids in the 6th century became the theater of the final battle between Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu, last ruler of the Khwarezmian Empire, and the Mongol Horde led by Genghis Khan. It is said that Khan's beloved grandson, Mutakhan, had been killed on his mission to sack Bamyan. To avenge him, the Mongol leader went himself and ordered to kill every living creature in the city, children included.

The ruins today bear the name of Shahr-e Gholghola, meaning City of Screams or City of Sorrows. The archeological site, rich in Afghan history, is open to the public and though its remaining walls stay quiet during the day, locals say that the night brings the echoes of fear and agony. Others claim the place comes back to life eight centuries ago, and one can hear the bustle of the city and people calling each other.

Gettysburg, Civil War battlefield - U.S.

photo of rocks and trees in Gettysburg

View of the battlefields from Little Round Top, Gettysburg, PA, USA

Unsplash/@nemo23


Even ghosts non-believers agree there is something eerie about Gettysbury. The city in the state of Pennsylvania is now one of the most popular destinations in the U.S. for spirits and paranormal activities sight-seeing; and many visitors report they witness exactly what they came for: sounds of drums and gunshots, spooky encounters and camera malfunctions in one specific spot… just to name a few!

The Battle of Gettysburg, for which President Abraham Lincoln wrote his best known public address, is considered a turning point in the Civil War that led to the Union's victory. It lasted three days, from July 1st to July 3rd, 1863, but it accounts for the worst casualties of the entire conflict, with 23,000 on the Union side (3,100 men killed) and 28,000 for the Confederates (including 3,900 deaths). Thousands of soldiers were buried on the battlefield in mass graves - without proper rites, legend says - before being relocated to the National Military Park Cemetery for the Unionists.

Since then, legend has it, their restless souls wander, unaware the war has ended. You can find them everywhere, on the battlefield or in the town's preserved Inns and hotels turned into field hospitals back then.

Belchite, Civil War massacre - Spain

photo of sunset of old Belchite

Old Belchite, Spain

Belchite Town Council


Shy lost souls wandering and briefly appearing in front of visitors, unexplainable forces attracting some to specific places of the town, recorded noises of planes, gunshots and bombs, like forever echoes of a drama which left an open wound in Spanish history…

That wound, still unhealed, is the Spanish Civil War; and at its height in 1937, Belchite village, located in the Zaragoza Province in the northeast of Spain, represented a strategic objective of the Republican forces to take over the nearby capital city of Zaragoza.

Instead of being a simple step in their operation, it became the field of an intense battle opposing the loyalist army and that of General Francisco Franco's. Between August 24 and September 6, more than 5,000 people were killed, including half of Belchite's population. The town was left in rubble. As a way to illustrate the Republicans' violence, Franco decided to leave the old town in ruins and build a new Belchite nearby. All the survivors were relocated there, but they had to wait 15 years for it to be complete.

If nothing particular happens in new Belchite, home to around 1,500 residents, the remains of old Belchite offer their share of chilling ghost stories. Some visitors say they felt a presence, someone watching them, sudden change of temperatures and strange sounds. The ruins of the old village have been used as a film set for Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen - with the crew reporting the apparition of two women dressed in period costumes - and Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. And in October 1986, members of the television program "Cuarta Dimensión" (the 4th dimension) spent a night in Belchite and came back with some spooky recordings of war sounds.

Gur Emir, a conquerer’s mausoleum - Uzbekistan

photo of Gur Emir (Tomb of Timur) i

Gur Emir (Tomb of Timur) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Chris Bradley/Design Pics via ZUMA Wire


The news echoed through the streets and bazaars of Samarkand: "The Russian expedition will open the tomb of Tamerlane the Great. It will be our curse!" It was June 1941, and a small team of Soviet researchers began excavations in the Gur-Emir mausoleum in southeastern Uzbekistan.

The aim was to prove that the remains in the tomb did in fact belong to Tamerlane — the infamous 14th-century conqueror and first ruler of the Timurid dynasty who some historians say massacred 1% of the world's population in 1360.

Still, on June 20, despite protests from local residents and Muslim clergy, Tamerlame's tomb was cracked open — marked with the inscription: "When I Rise From the Dead, The World Shall Tremble."

Only two days later, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, with the people of Samarkand linking it to the disturbing of Tamerlane's peace. Amid local protests, the excavation was immediately wrapped up and the remains of the Turkish/Mongol conqueror were sent to Moscow. The turning point in the war came with the victory in the Battle of Stalingrad — only a month after a superstitious Stalin ordered the return of Tamerlane's remains to Samarkand where the former emperor was re-buried with full honors.

Gamla Stan, a royal massacre - Sweden

a photo of The red house of Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden

The red house of Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden

Unsplash/@hkblind


After Danish King Kristian II successfully invaded Sweden and was anointed King in November 1520, the new ruler called Swedish leaders to join for festivities at the royal palace in Stockholm. At dusk, after three days of wine, beer and spectacles, Danish soldiers carrying lanterns and torches entered the great hall and imprisoned the gathered nobles who were considered potential opponents of the Danish king. In the days that followed, 92 people were swiftly sentenced to death, and either hanged or beheaded on Stortorget, the main square in Gamla Stan (Old Town).

Until this day, the Stockholm Bloodbath is considered one of the most brutal events in Scandinavian history, and some people have reported visions of blood flowing across the cobblestoned square in early November. A little over a century later, a red house on the square was rebuilt as a monument for the executed — fitted with 92 white stones for each slain man. Legend has it that should one of the stones be removed, the ghost of the represented will rise from the dead and haunt the streets of Stockholm for all eternity.

Port Arthur, gruesome prison - Australia

a photo of ort Arthur Prison Settlement, Tasmania, Australia

Port Arthur Prison Settlement, Tasmania, Australia

Flickr/Eli Duke


During its 47-year history as a penal settlement, Port Arthur in southern Tasmania earned a reputation as one of the most notorious prisons in the British Empire. The institution — known for a brutal slavery system and punishment of the most hardened criminals sent from the motherland— claimed the lives of more than 1,000 inmates until its closure in 1877.

Since then, documented stories have spanned the paranormal gamut: poltergeist prisoners terrorizing visitors, weeping children roaming the port and tourists running into a weeping 'lady in blue' (apparently the spirit of a woman who died in childbirth). The museum even has an 'incidence form' ready for anyone wanting to report an otherworldly event.

Poveglia Island, plague victims - Italy

a photo of Poveglia Island, Italy

Poveglia Island, Italy

Mirco Toniolo/ROPI via ZUMA Press


Located off the coast of Venice and Lido, Poveglia sadly reunites all the classical elements of a horror movie: plagues, mass burial ground and mental institute (from the 1920's).

During the bubonic plague and other subsequent pandemics, the island served as a quarantine station for the sick and anyone showing any signs of what could be Black Death contamination. Some 160,000 victims are thought to have died there and the seven acres of land became a mass burial ground so full that it is said that human ash makes up more than 50% of Poveglia's soil.

In 1922 a retirement home for the elderly — used as a clandestine mental institution— opened on the island and with it a fair amount of rumors involving torture of patients. The hospital and consequently the whole island was closed in 1968, leaving all the dead trapped off-land.

Poveglia's terrifying past earned it the nickname of 'Island of Ghosts'. Despite being strictly off-limits to visitors, the site has been attracting paranormal activity hunters looking for the apparition of lost and angry souls. The island would be so evil that some locals say that when an evil person dies, he wakes up in Poveglia, another kind of hell.

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