S.C Church Massacre, Pope Goes Green, Colombia Beats Brazil

GUNMAN KILLS 9 AT SOUTH CAROLINA CHURCH

A man opened fire in a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, last night, killing nine people, according to local authorities.

  • "I do believe this is a hate crime," The Washington Post quoted the Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen as saying.

  • Police said on Twitter that they were searching for a slender, clean-shaven, white male in his early twenties, wearing a grey sweatshirt, blue jeans and Timberland boots.

  • The massacre happened at around 9 p.m. during a Bible study session at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

  • Although the identities of the victims haven't been released, church pastor Clementa Pinckney is believed to be among those killed.

  • Eight people were dead when police arrived on the scene,and a ninth person later died in the hospital. At least one other person was injured.

  • A woman who survived the shooting told her family the gunman said he was letting her live so she could report what happened, according to the Charleston Post and Courier.

60 MILLION

The number of people displaced by war, conflict and persecution around the world reached a record high of almost 60 million in 2014, a UN report released today reveals.

HONG KONG REJECTS BEIJING-BACKED REFORMS

Hong Kong lawmakers have voted against controversial Beijing-backed reforms that sparked mass demonstrations in 2014. The proposal would have granted direct elections for Hong Kong's five million voters, but only after a pro-Beijing committee had vetted each candidate, The Guardian reports. But Reuters reported that China's parliament would still enforce its decision on the reforms.

EXTRA!

"Victory and revenge," reads the front page of today's El Tiempo newspaper, after Colombia enjoyed a dramatic victory over Brazil at the Copa America last night, its first win over the rival since 1991. Read more in our Extra! feature.

SOMALIA SUICIDE ATTACK FOILED

Somali security forces foiled an attempted suicide attack by al-Shabab militants during a political conference today in the town of Adado, killing three gunmen and the driver of a car packed with explosives, Reuters reports.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

To the chagrin of climate change deniers, the pontiff's anticipated environmental encyclical says there are no reasonable doubts that global warming is caused by human activity. "Not surprisingly, the powers representing oil companies have not been sitting idly," Ignacio Zuleta writes for El Espectador. "They have sent representatives to lobby the Vatican, while other detractors of the pontiff's style and agenda try to minimize his influence. For example, Maureen Mullarkey, a critic and contributor to the influential theological review First Things, accuses the pope of being a dogmatist driven into geopolitical meddling by his own megalomania."

Read the full article, Why Pope Francis Refused To Stay Silent On Climate Change.

ISIS CLAIMS DEADLY YEMEN BOMBS

An ISIS-linked terror group in Yemen has claimed responsibility for a series of suicide attacks against at least three mosques and the headquarters of the country's dominant Houthi group in the war-torn country's capital Sanaa yesterday, the SITE intelligence group reports. Dozens of people were reportedly killed and others injured in the attacks. The group described the violence as "revenge" on Shia Houthis who have overrun the region this past year.

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD

DENMARK VOTES

Danes go to the polls today to decide a tight general election between incumbent Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt's center-left coalition and former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen's center-right opposition, the daily Jyllands-Posten reports. Voters in Greenland and the Faroe Islands could be deciders in the polling.

CHINA "BANS" RAMADAN FASTING IN MUSLIM REGION

Photo: Liu Xia/Zuma

Chinese authorities have banned the Muslim Uighur minority in the Xinjiang region from fasting during the month of Ramadan that begins today. Local officials were told not to "engage in fasting, vigils or other religious activities" during the holy month, a time during which Muslims worldwide abstain from eating and drinking during the daytime, Al Jazeera reports. All restaurants in the region have been ordered to remain open.

POPE'S NEPHEW MUGGED AT GUNPOINT

José Ignacio Bergoglio, the nephew of Pope Francis, was attacked last night by a band of armed thieves as he and his girlfriend were about to enter their home in the Argentine capital. Read more about it on our blog.

NEW $10 BILL TO FEATURE A WOMAN

The U.S. Treasury Department announced yesterday that a redesigned $10 bill will feature a woman, replacing the image of founding father Alexander Hamilton, The Wall Street Journal reports. The woman has yet to be determined and the treasury will seek the public's opinion. Women have briefly appeared on U.S. currency in the past, but women's groups have recently pressed for more representation.

ON THIS DAY

Happy Birthday to actress Isabella Rossellini, who turns 63 years old today. Time for your 57-second shot of history.

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Coronavirus

Why U.S. Vaccine Diplomacy In Latin America Makes "Good" Sense

Echoing its cultural diplomacy of the early 20th century, the United States is gifting vaccines to Latin America as part of a renewed "good neighbor'' policy.

Waiting to get the vaccine in Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico

Andrea Matallana

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — Just before and during World War II, the United States' Good Neighbor policy proved a very effective strategy to improve ties with Latin America. Initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the policy's main goal was non-interference and non-intervention. The U.S. would instead focus on reciprocal exchanges with their southern neighbors, including through art and cultural diplomacy.

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