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Syrian War Crimes, Imelda's Jewels, Bucking Zuck

"WAR CRIMES" ON SYRIAN HOSPITALS, SCHOOLS

France and Turkey have denounced the bombing of five hospitals and two schools in Syria, labeling them as war crimes, the BBC reports. At least 50 people were killed by yesterday's strikes in the Aleppo and Idlib provinces, the UN has said. Different warring parties are blaming one another. Turkey is blaming Russia, while Doctors Without Borders, which ran one of the bombed hospitals, accuses "either the Syrian government or Russia." Meanwhile, Syrian ambassador to Moscow Riad Haddad claims the U.S. was behind the strikes. While Moscow has yet to respond to the allegations, the bombings could seriously hinder an agreed ceasefire set to begin this week. In aTIMEinterview published yesterday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia had no plans to cease bombing rebel positions until Moscow's allies in Damascus could achieve peace on favorable terms.


UN PROBES NEW RAPE CHARGES

Photo: Michelle Shephard/The Toronto Star/ZUMA

The United Nations is investigating new allegations of sexual abuse by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, Jeune Afrique quoted UN spokesman Farhan Haq as saying this morning. Minors are reportedly among the victims. The UN said earlier this month it had already identified seven other cases of sexual abuse by its troops. In December, an independent review panel also accused the UN of grossly mishandling allegations of child sexual abuse in 2013 and 2014, Reuters reports.


VERBATIM

"I feel a sacred responsibility to finish this show," Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes told television network iTélé yesterday. The California band, which was playing at the Bataclan theater in Paris during the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks, is set to perform in the French capital's Olympia theater tonight for its first full concert since the tragedy that left 130 dead, including 90 at the Bataclan. Survivors of the Bataclan attack were given free invitations to tonight's performance. Hughes, a longtime gun rights advocate, also took aim at the country's strict anti-firearm legislation. "Did your French gun control stop a single fucking person from dying at the Bataclan?" he said, adding that he wanted "everyone to have access to them."


CAMEROON KILLS 162 TERRORISTS

Cameroon military forces retook Nigeria's northeastern town of Goshi from the Boko Haram terror group over the weekend, killing 162 of its fighters, AP quoted the country's communications minister as saying. About 100 people the group was holding were also freed. The three-day operation led to the destruction of several bomb factories and two Boko Haram training centers. Two Cameroonian soldiers were killed.


ON THIS DAY


Happy birthday to Valentino "The Doctor" Rossi! That and more in today's 57-second shot of history


BROTHER GEORGE PITCHES JEB IN S.C.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush made a return to the political arena last night, speaking to a South Carolina gathering to back his brother Jeb Bush's presidential campaign. He told a Charleston convention hall packed with more than 1,000 supporters that his brother Jeb, former Florida governor, had the temperament of a head of state, The Washington Post reports. "Americans are angry and frustrated, but we do not need someone in the Oval Office who mirrors and inflames our frustration," the 41st president said, tacitly referring to Republican rival Donald Trump, who has blamed George W. Bush in part for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


$21 MILLION

The Philippine government has agreed to auction the jewelry collection of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' widow Imelda Marcos, which international experts say is worth $21 million, Filipino website Sun Star reports. The collection includes a 25-carat, barrel-shaped diamond worth at least $5 million and a Cartier diamond tiara that is now many times more valuable than the previous estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It was seized when Marcos and his family fled to Hawaii in 1986 from a popular revolt that ended his two decades in power.


BELGIUM ARRESTS 10 IN ANTI-ISIS RAIDS

In a series of raids in Brussels this morning, Belgian police arrested 10 people suspected of being part of an ISIS recruitment ring, Belgian news network RTBF reports. "Our investigation points to several persons having left for Syria to join ISIS," Belgium's federal prosecutors said in a statement. Computers and cellphones seized during the raids are currently being examined.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

India is balking at Mark Zuckerberg's plans to offer free but limited Internet access, which is ultimately aimed at boosting Facebook's numbers. The question is whether the rest of the world will follow, Süddeutsche Zeitung's Johannes Boie reports. "The Californian company is largely deaf to the protests, and keeps repeating that the program is about creating jobs, providing education and expanding communication. It is true, after all, that somebody has to connect the rural areas of India to the Internet, and the sooner the better. India's authorities saw through Facebook's rhetoric, which happened to be missing some important facts: A billion Indians on Facebook would be a major new market for Facebook, whose growth is flattening in the U.S. and Europe."

Read the full article, India To Zuckerberg: We Don't Believe Facebook's Big PR Lie.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD



A COLD BET

Seattle startup Swanluv is betting that more marriages will fail than prosper. The company gives couples up to $10,000 when they marry, but the money must be paid back — with interest — if they divorce. Co-founder Scott Avy told The Washington Post that the aim is to encourage couples to stay together. But with about one in two marriages ending in a divorce, it might just be the perfect way to get rich.

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Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

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