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Russians In Syria, Migrant Quota, Trippy Seminar

EU UNVEILS "BOLD" MIGRANT QUOTA PLAN

In his first State of the European Union speech, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled a plan to deal with the ongoing migrant crisis and urged EU member states to take "bold, determined action." Among his proposals were the emergency relocation of 120,000 migrants now in Italy, Greece and Hungary, with binding quotas.

  • Juncker also called for EU countries to adopt a common refugee and asylum policy and the reinforcement of the Schengen Area's external borders with increased security but warned this "will cost money."
  • The former Luxembourg prime minister, who took over the top Brussels job last November, said he was "strongly in favor of allowing asylum seekers to work and earn their own money while their applications are being processed." He indicated that the so-called Dublin system, which forces asylum seekers to register in the first EU country they reach, could be scrapped. "Migration must change from being a problem to be tackled to being a well-managed resource," he said.
  • Meanwhile, 200 of the refugees who recently arrived in the German city of Munich have been relocated to France, near Paris, after travelling by bus overnight, Le Monde reports.
  • Australia will take an extra 12,000 Syrian refugees permanently by the middle of next year, with first ones arriving before Christmas, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. This comes on top of the country's yearly humanitarian intake of 13,750.
  • How do images of desperate immigrants coming to your country make you feel? Here's are some thoughts by French philosopher Roger-Pol Droit in Les Echos daily.

U.S.-RUSSIA TENSIONS RISE OVER SYRIA

The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused Washington of "boorishness" after American requests to Bulgaria and Greece to close their airspace to Syria-bound Russian planes, amid media reports that Moscow is preparing to provide direct support to President Bashar al-Assad against jihadist groups, Reuters reports. According to The New York Times, Bulgaria has already barred Russian aircraft from entering its airspace, but Greece is yet to announce a decision publicly. Should Greece refuse to let Russia use its airspace, Moscow would be left short of options, with the alternatives being NATO-member Turkey and Iraq, where the U.S. and other Western countries have been carrying airstrikes for a year.

  • Russian daily Kommersant reports that Moscow has turned to Iran as an alternative to carrying out its support for the Assad regime.
  • Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced his country's warplanes will begin strikes against ISIS in Syria this week, following a similar decision Monday by France.
  • Jihadists, including fighters with the local al-Qaeda branch the al-Nusra Front, have meanwhile seized a key military airbase that was also the last stronghold of the government's forces in the northern Idlib province, the BBC reports, quoting Syria's state TV.

BRITISH AIRWAYS PLANE CATCHES FIRE

Photo: Gene Blevins/ZUMA

At least 13 people were injured as a London-bound British Airways Boeing 777 caught fire Tuesday on the runway at Las Vegas's McCarran International Airport.


23,227 DAYS

Queen Elizabeth II becomes the UK's longest reigning monarch today, overtaking her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria's reign of 63 years, seven months and two days.


TURKEY'S PRO-KURDISH PARTY ATTACKED

A group of ultranationalist Turkish protesters attacked the headquarters of the Pro-Kurdish HDP party in Ankara and torched shops owned by Kurdish people, as tensions between Turkish forces and the Kurdish militant party PKK continue to rise, Hürriyet reports. According to the HDP party's co-leader Selahattin DemirtaÅŸ, there have been more than 400 attacks in the past two days on workplaces, seasonal workers, newspaper offices and political party buildings. The rise of HDP was one of the main factors for President Erdogan's party AKP losing its majority in Parliament in June and after parties failed to reach a coalition agreement, a new vote will take place on Nov. 1.


ON THIS DAY


Today's video will please Hugh Grant lovers and haters alike … Get your 57-second shot of history here!


VERBATIM

"As I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts. One for personal, one for work-related emails. That was a mistake. I'm sorry about that. I take responsibility," Hillary Clinton told ABC News yesterday, in comments that are the closer to showing remorse so far in the controversy that has been hampering her campaign for months. Meanwhile, Jeb Bush, another embattled White House hopeful, will host a fundraising event in Hong Kong expected to earn this campaign $100,000. Read more from the Financial Times.


VATICAN NEWSPAPER ON DIVORCE CHANGES

The Catholic world is reacting to Tuesday's news that Pope Francis has made it easier for divorced Catholics to remarry within the Church. Here's Wednesday's front page of Vatican daily Osservatore Romano.


CHILD MORTALITY HALVED IN LAST 25 YEARS

Child mortality around the world has fallen by 53% since 1990, a report by the World Health Organization and Unicef shows, but the figure is well below the UN target of a two-thirds reduction. According to the report, 16,000 children under the age of five still die every day.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Syria Deeply's Lara Abu Ramadan sat down with Wareef Kaseem Hamdeo, a chef from Aleppo who found refuge from the Syrian civil war in Gaza, who became a local celebrity after opening a Syrian restaurant there: "I came to Gaza with my Palestinian friend through a tunnel. It was an adventure. After we got through the tunnel and came to the beach road near Rafah city, the view took my breath away and reminded me of Syria. The air was clean, and it wasn't nearly as crowded as in Egypt. I felt comfortable again. The next day my friend took me to his place, Izmir Restaurant. He showed me the place and told me where he wanted me to work."

Read the full article, After Fleeing Aleppo, Syrian Chef Makes It Big In Gaza.


WHAT'S IN A FINGERPRINT

New technologies can identify whether you're a smoker or drug user, and can even tell your gender, all from your fingerprints. And it's already making police investigations a lot easier.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



HOMEOPATHIC TRIP

A seminar on homeopathy and other alternative medicines near Hamburg, Germany, ended abruptly when some of the visitors started to have hallucinations, after they took a banned psychedelic drug.

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Society

The Guiyang Zero-COVID Bus Crash: A Chinese Tragedy In Three Acts

The city in southern China was put under harsh lockdown earlier this month after just a few positive COVID tests. Then a bus carrying quarantined residents crashed, killing 27. The senseless accident left residents more fearful and suspicious of each other than ever.

Mass testing in China’s city of Guiyang

Jian Fu, Shuyue Chen, Xiao Lin

GUIYANG — Two weeks before the tragic Sep. 18 bus crash in this southern Chinese city, a local resident named Jin was anxiously driving out of her neighborhood. The police officers on duty were blocking the intersection and the area was closed off. Even though her employer had demanded she come to work, the local neighborhood committee had forbidden her from going out. That same evening one of Jin's colleague had been asked twice to get out of a taxi, and had to walk home.

The details of how China's latest lockdown disrupted Guiyang residents sound pointless after Sunday's crash of a bus transporting quarantined residents crashed, killing 27, and sparking a new round of outrage over the country's strict zero-COVID policy. And yet it is worth reviewing what had already happened to life in the city of 4.3 million after just a few cases of the virus were detected.

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Writing contest - My pandemic story
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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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