SYRIA SLIDING BACK TO OPEN WAR
Few had dared to consider the five-year-long conflict in Syria over. Yet for the past two months a fragile truce among some, though not all, the warring sides had offered a bit of hope that peace might not be too far off. Casualties were down, diplomats were talking, life was even returning to normal in the capital, Damascus. But recent events appear to be pointing Syria decidedly back toward all-out war. At least 20 civilians were killed yesterday in regime strikes in the country's largest city Aleppo, the latest brutal news on the ground as warring factions intensify attacks. Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy to Syria, said this morning that the the partial truce is "barely alive" pleading with the U.S. and Russia to salvage ongoing peace talks.
- "I really fear that the erosion of the cessation is unraveling the fragile consensus around a political solution, carefully built over the last year," de Mistura said in his early morning briefing obtained by The Associated Press.
- Casualties from the government strikes yesterday on a hospital and nearby residential building in eastern Aleppo included children, a dentist and the only pediatrician left in rebel-held areas of the city, civil defense volunteers told the AFP.
- For a brief but wrenching glance of the human toll of the renewed violence, Al Arabiya has tweeted a video of a mother mourning her dead baby.
IT'S A FACEBOOK WORLD
Mark Zuckerberg's social media behemoth is not only huge, it's hugely profitable — and increasingly mobile. Facebook first-quarter earnings wowed investors yesterday, showing a profit of 77 cents per share on revenue of $5.4 billion for the quarter. Roughly 79% of its revenue came from mobile advertising. Here's the report from the tech website Recode.
— ON THIS DAY
Your 57-second shot of history, today celebrating 15 years of space tourism.
NORTH KOREAN MISSILE FLOP
North Korea fired what appeared to have been an intermediate-range ballistic missile this morning that fizzled and crashed seconds after the test launch, a South Korea's defense ministry official told Reuters. The news marks the latest apparent failure, after a similar missile launched on the April 15 birthday of North Korean national founder, Kim Il-sung, exploded in what the U.S. Defense Department called a "fiery, catastrophic" failure.
Counting down 100 days to the Rio Olympics, today's front page of the Athens-based Kathimerini daily features the torch ceremony in the Greek capital.
PRINCE DEATH: SOURCE CITES PAINKILLERS
Authorities investigating the death of music legend Prince found common prescription opioid medication on his person and in his Minnesota home, a law enforcement official told CNN yesterday. Investigators are awaiting results of the autopsy after the singer's death last week at the age of 57, with reports that he may have overdosed a week earlier on a plane.
— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
Lost In Time — PeÄ‡, 1966
CHINA CLAMPS DOWN ON FOREIGN NGOS
China's parliament has passed a law placing new restrictions on foreign non-governmental organizations, the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reports. Earlier this week, a draft of law seemed to give broad powers to the state to regulate the activities and financing of such foreign organizations, sparking criticism from Western countries and pro-democracy activists.
TERROR ARRESTS IN ITALY
At least six people were arrested this morning during a vast anti-terrorism sweep across northern Italy. Rome-based daily La Repubblica reports that among those arrested was a Moroccan couple near the city of Lecco that was planning to move to Syria to join jihadists, bringing their two small children along.
Rock music, tight spandex bodysuits and staged maneuvers aren't just for audiences in working-class America. As Julien Burri writes for Le Temps, wrestling is thriving in Switzerland and elsewhere across Europe, where it's seen as a different kind of performance art that even inspired French philosophers. "The warriors size each other up, and then the fight starts. The British Stallion taunts Yoshimiro Yamada, loudly thumping his chest, which soon turns bright red. In the audience, a spectator named Nathalie is filled with enthusiasm. "I love it," she says. With the first contact between the fighters, the Stallion sends his opponent to the ground. The bodies fall back heavily on the flooring. Audience members grit their teeth, certain the fighters won't rise up from this, surely their spinal cords have just been smashed. But they do get back up — these spandex-wearing warriors are relentless."
Read the full article, How WWF-Style Pro Wrestling Looks In The Heart Of Europe.
TUSK BONFIRE IN KENYA
Kenyan authorities plan to burn up to 5% of the world's entire ivory supply in a move aimed at undermining illegal elephant poachers. Read more here.
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- In Argentina, Recycling Household Trash Into Design Treasures — Clarin
- Baby Looks In Mirror — Video Quote Of The Day
DON'T SWEAT IT
A new study from Canada says just a wee bit of exercise is enough. How little? A high-impact one-minute workout three times a week can improve your health as much as a single moderate 45-minute session. And what about one session of low-impact lifting-myself-off-the-couch?