Taiwan Survivors, Europe Stocks Nosedive, Eagles Vs. Drones

Taiwan Survivors, Europe Stocks Nosedive, Eagles Vs. Drones


Photo: Zhang Guojun/Xinhua

Taiwan rescuers have found two survivors in the rubble after Saturday’s magnitude 6.7 quake in which at least 37 people were killed, Xinhua reports. The two rescued victims were both found today, the beginning of the Chinese New Year. One of them, a woman, was found under the dead body of her husband and was said to be “conscious but in critical condition.” Authorities have warned that the death toll could exceed 100, as many more people are believed to be buried under the rubble of a 17-story building.


“I would bring back waterboarding, and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” a typically alarming Donald Trump said at the GOP debate in New Hampshire Saturday, ahead of tomorrow’s primaries. The real estate mogul continues to lead the polls comfortably.


The Syrian army, backed by Russian airstrikes, continued to gain ground north of Aleppo, and in other parts of the country, “eliminating the last terrorist positions,” state-backed news agency SANA reports. According to weekend reports, some 35,000 people have fled the areas near Aleppo and have tried to enter Turkey, which kept its borders closed, the BBC says.

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara today for talks expected to focus on the refugee crisis and solutions to stem the flow. The Turkish government believes that the $3.35 billion in EU aid for its cooperation in helping Europe protect its external borders won’t be sufficient.
  • The United Arab Emirates said it would be ready to send ground troops to Syria, echoing similar statements from Saudi Arabia, but explained such an intervention would need to be led by the United States. But such a move, officially to fight ISIS, would have huge ramifications, with Saudi-backed fighters likely to face Iran-backed troops, The Independent explained.

The 15 countries that comprise the United Nations Security Council “strongly condemned” North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket yesterday, what Venezuelan Ambassador Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno called a “a serious violation.” The United States made it clear it wanted to impose “serious consequences” for the launch, which came weeks after North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test, Reuters reports. As The New York Times reports, Kim Jong-un’s actions place China, a traditional ally for Pyongyang, in a difficult and “humiliating” position.


"What a rush!" the punny front page of today’s Denver Post reads, featuring a photo of outside linebacker Von Miller whose rushing of the Carolina Panthers quarterback helped the Denver Broncos to a defensive-minded 24-10 win to claim the team’s third Super Bowl title. Read more about it on Le Blog.


European shares reached their lowest level since October 2014 this morning amid continuous worries over global growth prospects, Bloomberg reports. “Investors can’t make up their minds about the global economy, but the risk of recession and deflation is rising,” a Geneva-based investor said. Among the worrying signs, the Financial Times highlights the “record low prices for transporting coal, iron ore and other dry bulk commodities by sea,” which the newspaper says “have pushed shipping companies into severe financial distress.”


There was a time not long ago when imperfect produce was discarded for its aesthetic shortcomings. But now concerns about food waste are giving some not-so-pretty products a new lease on life, Le Monde’s Laurence Girard reports. “Experiments with ‘ugly products’ date back a few years. In 2014, French supermarket chain Intermarché, in collaboration with the Marcel advertising agency, tested displays of imperfect (but perfectly tasty) fruits and vegetables. The concept and the marketing campaign that went along with it proved to be ‘an immediate success with the public and journalists,’ says Blandine Mercier, an associate director with Marcel.”

Read the full article, The Growing Appeal Of “Ugly Food.”


Today we remember with nostalgia the 2005 truce between the Palestinians and Israelis. There’s more in your video shot of history.


Almost 4,000 people have been placed in evacuation centers across several districts in western Malaysia after heavy rains caused flash floods, New Straits Times reports. At least one person, a 14-year-old boy, has died.


Chinese citizens who report online “terrorism” will receive rewards of up to 100,000 RMB ($15,200) per tipoff as part of Beijing’s crackdown on virtual terrorist networks that “spread extremist religious ideas, provoke ethnic conflicts and advocate separatism.”



Haiti President Michel Martelly left office yesterday at the end of his five-year term, leaving the country with no real successor after last month’s runoff election was postponed amid fraud allegations, Haiti Libre reports. An interim government will take over until the election, now scheduled for April 24.


Scotland Yard is hoping to add another feather in its cap by using a rather traditional approach against drones operated by criminals.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

Iran To Offer Master's And PhD In Morality Enforcement

For those aiming to serve the Islamic Republic of Iran as experts to train the public morality agents, there are now courses to obtain the "proper" training.

Properly dressed in the holy city of Qom.

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.

A woman in Tehran walks past a mural of an Iranian flag

The traffic police chief recently said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes

Rouzbeh Fouladi/ZUMA

New academic discipline

Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.

Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."

Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.

Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!