ISLAMISTS ATTACK SOMALI MILITARY BASE
Gunmen from Islamist group al-Shabaab attacked a remote military base in Somalia, killing at least 61 Kenyan soldiers who were stationed there as part of an African Union force, Reuters reports. The assault, which happened 340 miles west of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, comes amid a week of deadly attacks from Islamist groups across the Middle East and in Indonesia. Al-Shabaab, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS, said they had captured â€œthe entire town and base,â€ but a spokesman for Kenyaâ€™s Defense Forces said that a counterattack was ongoing.
â€œAsylum seekers will learn more about sexual norms,â€ reads the headline of the provocative and creative front page of Danish daily Jyllands-Posten. The national newspaper, based in western Denmark, reports that the Danish Red Cross wants to expand education programs for asylum seekers to include what it calls â€œadult education.â€ It comes on the heels of shocking migrant attacks against women in Germany and reports of similar violence in Sweden. Check out the front page and read more in Le Blog.
JAKARTA SUSPECTS ARRESTED
At least three suspects have been arrested for yesterdayâ€™s ISIS attacks in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, The Jakarta Post reports, and police continue to hunt for other suspects and accomplices. Four of the five dead attackers have also been identified, two of them convicted criminals. According to The New York Times, yesterdayâ€™s violence, which also killed two civilians, raises â€œthe specterâ€ of â€œexpandedâ€ ISIS presence in the region.
â€œNot a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan. Iâ€™m just saying,â€ GOP candidate Ted Cruz said during last nightâ€™s Republican debate, in a jibe aimed at rival Donald Trump that definitively ended their â€œbromance.â€
NEW EBOLA DEATH IN SIERRA LEONE
The World Health Organization has confirmed that one Ebola patient in Sierra Leone has died less than one day after it officially declared the end of the outbreak in West Africa. â€œThis event shows that strong surveillance and response systems will be critical in the months to come as we must be prepared for possible flare-ups of the disease,â€ the WHO said in a statement.
Photo: Prabhat Kumar Verma/ZUMA
A Hindu worshiper prays after taking a ceremonial dip in the sangam â€" the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati â€" on the occasion of the Hindu harvest festival Makar Sankranti.
ASIA STOCKS DOWN SHARPLY
Asian stocks hit their lowest levels in three-and-a-half years today, as sunken oil prices and a Chinese economic slowdown continue to affect equities, Reuters reports. The Shanghai Composite lost 3.4%, ending the week down 8.8%.
Too many wild boars are roaming Germany, causing considerable damage to farms and forests. Their numbers need to be severely reduced, but German hunters have their own code for proper conduct and refuse to resort to certain methods for culling the herd, Eckhard Fuhr writes for Die Welt. â€œHunters and hunting itself provide the solution to the problem. But they also constitute part of the problem. Hunters seem to have psychological difficulty with drastically reducing the wild boar population. Traditional hunters understand their function as being one of preserving wildlife by caring for them and actively keeping numbers at a certain level. They fear for the female wild boar and their offspring under their care and believe that more hunting causes the females to breed more excessively and that wild boar should be left to their own devices, so that the population will regulate itself. Their refusal to adopt new hunting methods, which are taboo or illegal, to control populations is also a problem.â€
Read the full article, When Wild Boars Run Amok, But Hunters Refuse To Slaughter.
ON THIS DAY
The Super Bowl was born on this day 48 years ago. That, and more, in todayâ€™s 57-second shot of history.
TAIWAN TO PICK NEXT PRESIDENT
Voters in Taiwan will choose their next leader tomorrow, and the favored candidate could prove to be a thorn in the side for China, after warming relations over the past eight years, the Financial Times reports. Tsai Ing-wen, chairman of Taiwanâ€™s opposition party, could also become Taiwanâ€™s first female president and the first woman to lead a Chinese-majority nation since Empress Wu Zetian in the 18th century. â€œWhen Jan. 16 comes, a new era begins,â€ she pledged.
MY GRAND-PÈREâ€™S WORLD
Astronomers have discovered the brightest star explosion to date, an incredibly luminous supernova thatâ€™s 570 billion times brighter than our sun, and 20 times more radiant than the entire Milky Way.
ALAN RICKMAN AND THE TORTOISE
Itâ€™s been a brutal week for Britain and the world with the passing not only of David Bowie but also of iconic actor Alan Rickman. In one of his final recordings, Rickman narrated a video of a tortoise eating a strawberry to raise money for a refugee charity, urging viewers to watch and share.
Welcome to Wednesday, where Brazil's senate backs "crimes against humanity" charges against Jair Bolsonaro, the UN has a grim new climate report and Dune gets a sequel. Meanwhile, German daily Die Welt explores "Xi Jinping Thought," which is now being made part of Chinese schools' curriculum.
• Senators back Bolsonaro criminal charges: A Brazilian Senate panel has backed a report that supports charging President Jair Bolsonaro with crimes against humanity, for his alleged responsibility in the country's 600,000-plus COVID-19 deaths.
• Gas crisis in Moldova following Russian retaliation: Moldova, one of Europe's poorest countries, has for the first time challenged Russia's Gazprom following a price increase and failed contract negotiations, purchasing instead from Poland. In response, Russia has threatened to halt sales to the Eastern European country, which has previously acquired all of its gas from Gazprom.
• New UN climate report finds planned emission cuts fall short: The Emissions Gap Report 2021 concludes that country pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions aren't large enough to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 °C degrees this century. The UN Environment Program predicts a 2.7 °C increase, with significant environmental impacts, but there is still hope that longer term net-zero goals will curtail some temperature rise.
• COVID update: As part of its long-awaited reopening, Australia will officially allow its citizens to travel abroad without a government waiver for the first time in more than 18 months. Bulgaria, meanwhile, hits record daily high COVID-19 cases as the Eastern European's hotel and restaurant association is planning protests over the implementation of the vaccination "green pass." In the U.S., a panel of government medical advisors backed the use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for five to 11-year-olds.
• U.S. appeals decision to block Julian Assange extradition: The United States said it was "extremely disappointed" in a UK judge's ruling that Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, would be a suicide risk of he traveled across the Atlantic. In the U.S., he faces 18 charges related to the 2010 release of 500,000 secret files related to U.S. military activity.
• Deposed Sudan prime minister released: Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has been released from custody, though remains under heavy guard after Sudan's military coup. Protests against the coup have continued in the capital Khartoum, as Hamdok has called for the release of other detained governmental officials.
• Dune Part 2 confirmed: The world will get to see Timothée Chalamet ride a sandworm: The second installment of the sci-fi epic and global box office hit has officially been greenlit, set to hit the screens in 2023.
Canadian daily National Post reports on the nomination of Steven Guilbeault, a former Greenpeace activist, as the country's new Environment minister. He had been arrested in 2001 for scaling Toronto's CN Tower to unfurl a banner for Greenpeace, which he left in 2008.
Chinese students now required to learn to think like Xi Jinping
"Xi Jinping Thought" ideas on socialism have been spreading across the country since 2017. But now, Beijing is going one step further by making them part of the curriculum, from the elementary level all the way up to university, reports Maximilian Kalkhof in German daily Die Welt.
🇨🇳 It's important to strengthen the "determination to listen to and follow the party." Also, teaching materials should "cultivate patriotic feelings." So say the new guidelines issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education. The goal is to help Chinese students develop more "Marxist beliefs," and for that, the government wants its national curriculum to include "Xi Jinping Thought," the ideas, namely, of China's current leader. Behind this word jam is a plan to consolidate the power of the nation, the party and Xi himself.
📚 Starting in September, the country's 300 million students have had to study the doctrine, from elementary school into university. And in some cities, even that doesn't seem to be enough. Shanghai announced that its students from third to fifth grade would only take final exams in mathematics and Chinese, de facto deleting English as an examination subject. Beijing, in the meantime, announced that it would ban the use of unauthorized foreign textbooks in elementary and middle schools.
⚠️ But how does a country that enchants its youth with socialist ideology and personality cults rise to become a world power? Isn't giving up English as a global language the quickest way into isolation? The educational reform comes at a time when Beijing is brutally disciplining many areas of public life, from tech giants to the entertainment industry. It has made it difficult for Chinese technology companies to go public abroad, and some media have reported that a blanket ban on IPOs in the United States is on the cards in the next few years.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
"I'm a footballer and I'm gay."
— Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo said in a video accompanying a tweet in which he revealed his homosexuality, becoming the first top-flight male professional player in the world to do so. The 21-year-old said he was tired of living "this double life" and hoped his decision to come out would help other "players living in silence."
Why this Sudan coup d'état is different
Three days since the military coup was set in motion in Sudan, the situation on the ground continues to be fluid. Reuters reports this morning that workers at the state petroleum company Sudapet are joining a nationwide civil disobedience movement called by trade unions in response to the generals' overthrow of the government. Doctors have also announced a strike.
Generals in suits At the same time, the military appears firmly in control, with deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok allowed to return home today after being held by the coup leaders. How did we get here? That's the question that David E. Kiwuwa, a professor of international relations at the University of Nottingham, takes on in The Conversation:
"Since the revolution that deposed Omar el-Bashir in 2019, the military have fancied themselves as generals in suits. They have continued to wield enough power to almost run a parallel government in tension with the prime minister. This was evident when the military continued to have the say on security and foreign affairs.
Economy as alibi For their part, civilian officials concentrated on rejuvenating the economy and mobilizing international support for the transitional council. This didn't stop the military from accusing the civilian leadership of failing to resuscitate the country's ailing economy.
True, the economy has continued to struggle from high inflation, low industrial output and dwindling foreign direct investment. As in all economies, conditions have been exacerbated by the effects of COVID-19. Sudan's weakened economy is, however, not sufficient reason for the military intervention. Clearly this is merely an excuse."
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
471 million euros
Rome's Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, better known as Villa Aurora, will be put up for auction in January for 471 million euros ($547 million). The over-the-top price tag is thanks to the villa having the only known ceiling painting by Renaissance master Caravaggio.
✍️ Newsletter by Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
Who wants to start the bidding on the Caravaggio villa? Otherwise, let us know what the news looks like from your corner of the world! firstname.lastname@example.org!
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