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Syrian Hospital Hit, Cruz's Last Chance, English Fairytale

Syrian Hospital Hit, Cruz's Last Chance, English Fairytale

ENGLISH SOCCER FAIRYTALE COMES TRUE

Photo: Tolga Akmen/London News Pictures/ZUMA

They were a 5,000-1 longshot to win England's Premier League at the start of the season, but the fairytale came true last night as Leicester City FC clinched the title when Chelsea and Tottenham drew, making it impossible for the latter to overtake Leicester, with two games left. The small club's win is being called the "most unlikely triumph in the history of team sport" for many reasons:

  • In March 2015, the "Foxes" were battling against relegation, after a seven-game spell without victory.
  • Leicester City's budget for this year (132 million euros, $153 million) was four times smaller than what the Big Four (Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City) spend.
  • Since 1996, only these four clubs had successively won the Premier League.
  • In 2008, Leicester City was playing in League One, the third tier in the English soccer system.
  • According to bookmakers at the start of the season, it was more likely that Bono would become the new pope (2,000-1), that Kate Middleton would have triplets (1,000-1) or that Kim Kardashian would become president of the United States (2,000-1).
  • Former England striker, current BBC soccer pundit and longtime Leicester fan Gary Lineker described the event as "the biggest sporting shock of my lifetime." A few months ago, he had promised to host his show, Match of the day, in his underwear if Leicester indeed won the title.
  • Jamie Vardy, the squad's star striker, invited his teammates last night to watch the Chelsea-Tottenham game. Luckily, someone was filming at the final whistle.
  • Before next season, Leicester City's Thai owners will have to try and keep their victorious squad, as richer clubs are expected to make lucrative offers to acquire top players.
  • Here's the front page from the hometown Leicester Mercury daily.

HOSPITAL HIT NEAR ALEPPO, DOZENS FEARED DEAD

Dozens of people were reportedly killed or wounded this morning when a rebel rocket hit a Damascus hospital, according to the AFP, which quoted Syrian state television. Overnight, at least seven other people were killed in government-held areas of Aleppo. Read more details from Reuters.


LAST CHANCE FOR TED

Indiana will vote today in a new round of Republican and Democrat primaries that may be decisive in the two parties' presidential nominations. Ted Cruz is making what is probably his final attempt to stop real estate mogul Donald Trump from reaching the 1,237 delegates that would secure him the nomination. "If we win, it's over," Trump was quoted as saying yesterday by The Washington Post. As for the Democrats, the Indiana primary "will probably do little to loosen Hillary Clinton's tightening grip on her party's nomination," The New York Times wrote.


— ON THIS DAY

The "Godfather of Soul" would turn 83 today. That, and more, in today's 57-second shot of history.


EU COULD GRANT TURKS VISA-FREE TRAVEL

Turkey could be granted conditional visa-free travel to the European Union's Schengen area, as part of a deal in which Ankara takes in refugees who have crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece. The deal must, however, first be approved by the European Parliament and EU member states. More from the BBC here.


REFUGEE SELF-IMMOLATES IN AUSTRALIA NAURU CAMP

A 21-year-old Somali refugee is in critical condition after setting herself on fire yesterday in an Australian refugee detention camp on the island of Nauru, Australian broadcaster ABC reports. This is the second self-immolation by a refugee on the island in a week, after a 23-year-old Iranian died last Wednesday. Refugee advocates have criticized Australia's strict immigration policy, saying it leads to such desperate situations.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

As deadly forest fires are currently raging in northern India, drought and water shortages in the western state of Maharashtra are pitting Indians against each other, Bismillah Geelani reports for KBR: "While every drop of water is a struggle, one local government official had no qualms about wasting 10,000 liters of water just to settle the dust that was blown around by his helicopter as he arrived to assess the situation.

Anger is also brewing against the government for allowing seven matches of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament to be played in the state. Keeping the grounds green requires huge amounts of water."

Read the full article, India's Water Crisis Turning Brothers Into Enemies.


— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

An Island After My Own Heart — Staffa, 1978


SOUTH KOREA FEARS NORTH NUCLEAR TEST

The South Korean defense ministry has warned North Korea could attempt to carry out another nuclear test ahead of or during a rare party congress set to start on Friday, according to The Korea Times. North Korea has recently carried out three failed launches of intermediate-range missiles.


DATE SET FOR SPANISH ELECTION

A new general election in Spain will take place on June 26. The date was confirmed this morning when the country's King Felipe VI signed the documents confirming the dissolution of parliament, El País reports. The country has been without a government since divided results in December's parliamentary elections.


— MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH

BRAZIL BLOCKS WHATSAPP

For the second time in five months, a Brazilian judge ordered the country's main phone operators to block access to the messaging service WhatsApp for 72 hours, as part of an investigation on drug trafficking, the daily Folha reports. Yesterday's decision, which has sparked anger, will affect more than 100 million users.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Paris-Berlin, Warsaw-Kyiv: Europe's Balance Of Power Will Never Be The Same

A new future is unfolding in real time, one that leaders in France, Germany and beyond could not have envisioned even a year ago.

Photo of Bundeswehr soldiers in Lest, Slovakia, with a training anti-tank missile and a G22 sniper rifle.

Bundeswehr soldiers in Lest, Slovakia, with a training anti-tank missile and a G22 sniper rifle.

Kay Nietfeld/dpa via ZUMA
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Quick question: do you know which country is on its way to having the largest army in Europe? The obvious answer would be France, the Continent's only nuclear power since the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, and a military that has been tested in multiple foreign operations in recent years.

But the answer is about to change: if we put aside the nuclear factor, Europe's leading military will soon be that of Poland.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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This is one more direct consequence Russia's invasion of Ukraine: a close neighbor of the conflict zone, Poland is investing massively in its defense. Last year, it concluded a huge arms purchase contract with South Korea: heavy combat tanks (four times more than France), artillery, fighter jets, for 15 billion euros.

Warsaw also signed a contract last month to purchase two observation satellites from France for 500 million euros.

This former country of the Warsaw Pact, today a leading NATO member, intends to be ever more consequential in European affairs. The investments in defense are one way of doing that. Yet this is not the only impact of the war in Ukraine.

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