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Taliban Attacks Kabul, Putin "Owns" Russia, Trump Or Kim?

KABUL SUICIDE ATTACK KILLS DOZENS

A powerful explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, killed at least 28 people this morning, AP quotes a government official as saying. According to the BBC, the suicide blast from a vehicle injured at least 329 people, some critically. Gunmen then stormed the area, and some news outlets are reporting that a gunfight is still ongoing. The Taliban claimed the attack, and has promised to launch a "spring offensive" with "large-scale attacks." This morning's bombing happened during rush hour in the busy neighborhood of Pul-e-Mahmud.


ECUADOR DEATH TOLL TOPS 400

The death toll from Saturday's earthquake in Ecuador stood at 413 by last night, with more than 2,000 injured. More on the coverage from the local press in our Extra! item.


VERBATIM

Photo: Valter Campanato/Planet Pix/ZUMA

"I will fight," embattled Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said yesterday while speaking to the lower house of Congress, which voted to begin impeachment proceedings against her on Sunday, Brazilian daily O Globo reports. "This is not the beginning of the end — it's the beginning of the fight," added the country's first-ever female president, who was narrowly re-elected in late 2014 for a second term. Rousseff is accused of manipulating government accounts, which she denies, instead accusing the opposition of carrying out a "coup" against her and her Workers' Party. The impeachment process now goes on to the Brazilian Senate, which is expected to vote next month on whether to start an impeachment trial.


JERUSALEM BUS BLAST WAS "TERROR ATTACK"

Israeli security services last night confirmed that yesterday's Jerusalem bus explosion was caused by a bomb and was a "terror attack," Haaretz reports. This is the first bombing attack in Jerusalem since the end of the second Intifada in 2005. It wounded at least 20 people, including two seriously. Local authorities say they are "checking to find out where the explosive device came from and who placed it on the bus."


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

The act of sending cheeky texts to one's partner is, admittedly, nothing new. Sexting has been around as long as texting (starting in the 1990s), just as pornographic movies arrived with the advent of cinema. "And yet it's never too late to get with the program, so to speak," Camille Destraz writes for Swiss daily Le Temps. "A 2015 study presented during a psychology convention in Toronto suggested that couples who ‘sext' have a happier sex life."

Read the full article, How Sexting Can Spice Things Up For Couples In A Rut.


CLINTON, TRUMP LEAD IN TODAY'S NY PRIMARY

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are expected to strengthen their respective leads in the presidential race as New York voters cast ballots in today's primary, The Washington Postreports. Clinton, a former U.S. senator from New York, has a 99% chance of beating her Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders, according to the analytical website FiveThirtyEight, which gives her a 12.5-point lead. The website predicts the same chances for New York businessman Trump to vanquish his rivals in today's GOP primary.


ON THIS DAY

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, recently suspended from the game for testing positive for the banned drug meldonium, turns 29 today. That and more in today's shot of history.


493

Since last year, some 493 Chinese students have fallen ill with serious illnesses such lymphoma and leukemia, but also from headaches, nosebleeds, coughs and rashes after attending a school built on a toxic waste dump in the eastern city of Changzhou. A report about the afflictions was broadcast Sunday on state television network CCTV, sparking major public anger. According to the report, of 641 students seen by doctors, 493 of them were affected by some kind of illness related to the school's location. Soil tests have revealed hazardous levels of toxins, including chlorobenzene, a poisonous solvent that causes damage to the liver, kidneys and nervous system.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

Mending The Nets — Concarneau, 1950


MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH

DONALD TRUMP OR NORTH KOREA?

The Guardian has created this interesting quiz featuring provocative comments, giving readers the chance to guess whether they were uttered by U.S. GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump or North Korean officials.


— Crunched by Patrick Randall

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Geopolitics

How To Welcome Russians Fleeing Conscription? Europe Should Be Careful

Europe should welcome the exodus of conscientious objectors from Russia. But the conditions vary across the continent, and there needs to be some security precautions.

Russian nationals entering Georgia at the Verkhny Lars checkpoint on the Russian-Georgian border.

Jacques Schuster

-Analysis-

BERLIN — Russia's President Vladimir Putin is currently suffering his greatest defeat in the battle for terrain, but also public opinion.

The Kremlin may spread as much propaganda as it likes, but the pictures of kilometer-long lines of cars at the borders and thousands of young men fleeing abroad to avoid the draft with hastily packed bags show clearly what the Russian population thinks of Moscow's war of aggression.

In this sense, one can only hope that the stream will continue to flow for a long time.

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

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But how should European governments deal with the mass of fleeing conscientious objectors?

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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