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A Podemos supporter watching poll results in Barcelona
A Podemos supporter watching poll results in Barcelona


Yesterday's national elections in Spain have left more questions than answers today, as two of the country's fledgling political movements made huge gains and the conservative Popular Party lost its majority. "Spain knocks down two-party system and leaves the government high and dry," the front page of conservative newspaper El Mundo reads today after Sunday's general election saw the expected rise of newcomers Podemos on the left and Ciudadanos on the right. It's a "messy" situation for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, one El Mundo columnist writes. Despite coming in first, Rajoy's ruling center-right Popular Party fell well short of securing a majority, meaning it will have to seek support from opponents if it wants to rule. Read more in our Extra! feature.


At least 91 people are missing after a mudslide that buried 33 buildings in an industrial park in southeastern China's Shenzhen City, Xinhua reports. The authorities are blaming the disaster on a man-made mountain of dirt, soil and construction waste piled atop a hill for the past two years. See the shocking aerial pictures of the site here.


The new Star Wars movie The Force Awakens has entered a galaxy of its own, far ahead of the rest of the holiday-release pack, after having the biggest opening weekend of all time, grossing at least $238 million in North America. Worldwide ticket sales earned Disney $517 million, behind record-holder Jurassic World ($524.9 million), though the latter Universal Pictures blockbuster had the advantage of being launched in China at the same time. J.J. Abrams' take on the George Lucas franchise won't open there until Jan. 9.


Toshiba has warned it expects to lose a record 550 billion yen ($4.53 billion) in the fiscal year ending March 2016, the result of a massive accounting scandal in which it overstated profits for years, Reuters reports. As part of a wide restructuring of the Japanese company, some 7,000 employees will lose their jobs.


The Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock and Samuel L. Jackson's birthday — all in today's shot of history.


Prices of brent oil, a type of crude that serves at a global benchmark, fell today to levels unseen since 2004, nearing the $35-dollar-per-barrel mark, The Wall Street Journal reports. Production continues to outpace demand, and major producers such as Saudi Arabia are continuing to boost their levels of production in a bid to preserve their market share, which are threatened by Russia and Iran as well as U.S. shale oil. According to Goldman Sachs, prices could drop even further, to $20 per barrel. Read more from Bloomberg.


Orphaned and forced to live on the streets at just 5 years old, Amporn Wathanavong had a miserable childhood, and was lured to fight in the jungles along the Cambodian border. But as Portal KBR reports, he ultimately got an education and founded an organization to help poor orphans avoid repeating his experience. "Wathanavong says that young poor children with no guidance can easily be recruited into the same kind of nightmare. ‘For these children, you know, it's very easy to lure them to the fighting. If they are in hardship and they have nothing to eat and they have no progress and no income. Society has to understand their situation.'"

Read the full article, How A Thai Orphan Went From Child Soldier To Humanitarian Leader.


Israeli warplanes hit targets in southern Lebanon last night, in response to rocket fire that Lebanese media blamed on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, The Jerusalem Post reports. The exchange of fire came after news that Samir Kantar, a notorious Hezbollah commander who spent 19 years in an Israeli jail, was killed in an Israeli airstrike near the Syrian capital of Damascus. Lebanon's Shia group Hezbollah has been fighting alongside the Syrian government forces.


Yemen's warring parties failed to reach an understanding on Sunday, after six days of closed-door meetings aimed at bringing the nine-month conflict to an end, Al Jazeera reports. A ceasefire that was often violated will be extended for an additional seven days starting today. Both sides agreed however to meet again next month.



FIFA's ethics committee has decided to ban former president Sepp Blatter and wannabe-president Michel Platini from all soccer-related activities for eight years, The Guardian reports. The two are accused of having "abused" their position over a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) made by the Swiss to Platini. They are expected to appeal the decision, and Platini's hopes to become the next FIFA chairman appear dead in the water. Speaking at a press conference after the news, Blatter said he was "sorry that as president of FIFA I am a punching ball."


An overwhelming majority of Slovenian voters rejected gay marriage in a referendum, outvoting supporters by two-to-one, Slovenian news agency STA reports. But civil partnerships for same-sex couples will continue to be allowed.


"I'd like to apologize wholeheartedly to Miss Colombia & Miss Philippines for my huge mistake. I feel terrible," Miss Universe host Steve Harvey wrote on Twitter after an awkward faux pas in which he wrongly crowned first runner-up Miss Colombia instead of the actual winner, Miss Philippines, at the end of Sunday's ceremony. As the pageant ended, a car crashed into a crowd near the Las Vegas hotel where it was taking place, killing one person and injuring 26. Police believe the crash may have been intentional.

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Fading Flavor: Production Of Saffron Declines Sharply

Saffron is well-known for its flavor and its expense. But in Kashmir, one of the flew places it grows, cultivation has fallen dramatically thanks for climate change, industry, and farming methods.

Photo of women harvesting saffron in Kashmir

Harvesting of Saffron in Kashmir

Mubashir Naik

In northern India along the bustling Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Pampore — known as the saffron town of Kashmir —people are busy picking up saffron flowers to fill their wicker baskets.

During the autumn season, this is a common sight in the Valley as saffron harvesting is celebrated like a festival in Kashmir. The crop is harvested once a year from October 21 to mid-November.

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