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Syria Deadlock, Snowden Tweets, Pope Meets Kim Davis

Syria Deadlock, Snowden Tweets, Pope Meets Kim Davis

NEW MOVES ON SYRIAN WAR CHESSBOARD

The diplomatic deadlock over how to end the bloody civil war in Syria is growing deeper by the hour. The upper house of the Russian Parliament has voted unanimously in favor of allowing the use of Russian troops in Syria, paving the way for the Russian air force to carry out airstrikes against ISIS, in support of Syrian troops, Tass reports. According to international law, such a move can be authorized either by a United Nations Security Council vote or following a request from the country's authorities. After the vote, the Kremlin's chief of staff Sergey Ivanov announced that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "has addressed the leadership of our country with a request of military assistance."

  • Details about France's first airstrikes in Syria have been published by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. According to their report, the destruction of an ISIS training camp in Deir ez-Zor killed 30 fighters, including 12 "children soldiers." Read more from French news agency AFP.
  • French prosecutors have launched a preliminary probe into Syrian President Assad and alleged crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian government between 2011 and 2013. AFP cites official diplomatic sources as saying the investigation focuses on a series of infamous pictures taken by a former Syrian army photographer who called himself Caesar.
  • Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters at the UN General Assembly that "there is no future for Assad in Syria," and said that if there's no transition of power, "the other option is a military option, which also would end with the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power." Read more from The Guardian.
  • The threat of ISIS poses a question that the West may not be prepared to face. Read French philosopher Roger-Pol Droit in Les Echos.

PALESTINIAN FLAG TO BE RAISED AT UN

The Palestinian flag will be raised for the first time at the UN headquarter later today, after leader Mahmoud Abbas' speech at the UN General Assembly. "The sense of pride among the Palestinian people was overwhelming the day the world voted in favour of this landmark initiative," Abbas wrote in the Huffington Post. "The U.N. must give my people more than hope."


IRAN SANCTIONS: ALREADY OVER?

Though the recent agreement over Iran's nuclear program is not yet a done deal, the Iranian Transportation Minister says "sanctions via the sea are effectively over," Tehran daily Shargh reports.


ON THIS DAY


A famous castaway, an Italian actress, a rebel icon … All in your 57-second shot of history.


VERBATIM

"Can you hear me now?," whistleblower Edward Snowden wrote in his first tweet yesterday after joining the platform. Snowden has so far only been following one other Twitter account: the NSA's.


BATTLE FOR KUNDUZ RAGES ON

Heavy fighting between the Taliban and Afghan troops in the northern city of Kunduz is still ongoing, two days after the Taliban took control of the strategic town, the BBC reports.


30 MIN

Photo: Peter Bauza/ZUMA

Crime is on the rise in Brazil and statistics for last year show that a murder took place every half-hour on average in the country's regional capitals. The report, published by NGO Forum on Public Safety and commented by Folha de S. Paulo, shows that the Northeast Region (Nordeste) is the most dangerous. The city of Fortaleza tops the list with 77.3 killings per 100,000 inhabitants. São Paulo, one of the world's most populous cities, has the lowest rate, with 11.4 killed for every 100,000 inhabitants.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Writing for Kommersant, Vladimir Solovev reports on the recent protests that have driven tens of thousands in the streets of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, a country where politicians have typically found it easier to fight among themselves than work on the important issues: "The reasons driving people to protest are familiar: corruption, consumer price increases, electoral fraud and government employees who break the law. The classic cake has its own, particular icing: Last year around 1 billion euros disappeared from three major Moldovan banks. For a small, poor country like Moldova, that's a huge amount of money."

Read the full article, The Limits Of Anti-Corruption Protests In Moldova.


VW ADDS BLACKMAIL TO DIESELGATE

German car manufacturer Volkswagen, via media agency MediaCom, has allegedly blackmailed French national and regional newspapers and magazines to stop them from publishing any content related to the ongoing VW scandal. The claims, published in satirical paper Le Canard Enchaîné alongside an email sent to editors, show that the latter were threatened to lose more than 1 million euros in "investments" if they published stories on the "Dieselgate" in issues featuring advertising for VW and Audi. But according to the paper, several editors of regional publications "told them to get lost."


CHINA ARRESTS TWO JAPANESE FOR SPYING

Two Japanese citizens have been arrested in China over alleged spying, a move that could dent rapprochement efforts between the two countries. According to official Japanese sources who spoke to news agency Kyodo, the two men were arrested separately several months ago. Japan "has never done such a thing" as sending spies to its neighbor country, the official said.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



UBER EXECUTIVES TO APPEAR IN FRENCH COURT

Thibaud Simphal and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, two Uber executives, are expected to appear in a Parisian court today over charges of deceptive commercial practices, providing illegal taxi services and illegally storing personal data, Les Échos reports. The two face a two-year prison sentence and a fine of more than $330,000 under France's taxi legislation.


POPE MET SECRETLY WITH ANTI-GAY MARRIAGE ICON

In a postscript to Pope Francis' recently completed trip to the United States, reports have emerged that the pontiff met privately in Washington with the local official from Kentucky who served jail time rather than issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Read more in the The Washington Post.

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Society

NFTs Are Not Dead — They May Be Coming Soon To A Theater Near You

Despite turbulence in the crypto market, NFT advocates think the digital objects could revolutionize how films and television series are financed and produced.

NFTs Are Not Dead — They May Be Coming Soon To A Theater Near You

Mark Warshaw's series, The Bureau of Magical Things

Fabio Benedetti Valentini

PARIS — Advocates of a "participatory internet" (or Web 3.0) dream of an NFT future for cinematic works and animated films, despite the fact that Bitcoin (and cryptocurrency generally) is struggling. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital assets based on blockchain technology.

NFT converts say that digital objects could profoundly change the link between the general public and creators of cinematic content by revolutionizing the way animated films and TV series are financed. Even if, by their own admission, none of the experiments currently underway have so far amounted to much.

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