SPOTLIGHT: MIGRANT RISKS
Whether fleeing war or poverty, migrants from Africa and the Middle East continue to risk their lives to reach Europe for whatâ€™s been advertised as just one dangerous leap away from a much better life. The latest grim report comes this morning from Morocco where one migrant died attempting to reach the Spanish enclave of Melilla through the sewage system. More often, the tragic ending to these stories feature would-be migrants suffocating in the back of a smugglerâ€™s truck or drowning in the Mediterranean, where this week we learned more than 10,000 migrants have died since 2014.
In a bid to stem the influx of migrants, the European Commission set out partnership plans with several Middle Eastern and African countries earlier this week. This plan, following the model of a much-criticized deal with Turkey, includes trade and visa deals, as well as the creation of a $70-billion investment fund. While being a boon for the countries on the receiving end, whether such a plan would suffice to stop migrants heading north or west, or indeed whether such a plan can even materialize, are both questionable. Demands from voters at home to reduce the arrival combine with calls from human rights groups to save lives. In the more cloistered confines of diplomatic and economic negotiations, Financial Times reporter Duncan Robinson notes, European governments face a very different kind of risk: European Council President Donald Tusk bluntly called it â€œblackmail.â€
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- The secretive Bilderberg meeting starts today at a luxurious hotel in Dresden, Germany. Some 400 police officers are guarding the venue, with 20 protests planned until Sunday.
- Barack Obama meets Bernie Sanders this morning to â€œdelicately nudgeâ€ him towards supporting Hillary Clinton.
- Thailand marks 70 years since King Bhumibol Adulyadej ascended to the throne.
RAMADAN ENTRY PERMITS SUSPENDED AFTER TEL AVIV SHOOTING
Israel revoked the Ramadan travel permits of 83,000 Palestinians, after two Palestinian gunmen opened fire on civilians at a restaurant in a Tel Aviv shopping mall, The Times of Israel reports. The attack killed four Israelis and injured 16.
DOUBLE-BLAST IN BAGHDAD
The Iraqi capital of Baghdad was hit by two separate car explosions this morning, killing 22 people, including seven troops, and wounding 70, Reuters reports. Itâ€™s the latest in a wave of major attacks in the city, while Iraqi troops are battling to retake the ISIS-held town of Fallujah, west of the capital.
â€" ON THIS DAY
Everyoneâ€™s favorite pirate, chocolate maker, murderous barber, emo gardener, etc., was born 53 years ago today! That, and more, in todayâ€™s 57-second shot of History.
FIGHTING IN ALEPPO
At least five people were killed and some 50 injured in an attack carried out by jihadist group al-Nusra at a market in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the Russian Defense Ministry told Interfax.
Palmyra was still among the most impressive historical sites in the Middle East until ISIS jihadists attacked it in August 2015, sacking the museum and packing explosives into a dozen burial towers. Writing for Le Monde, Florence Evin draws parallels with how reconstruction was handled in other war-torn sites: â€œIn this newly liberated city, should we turn the page as soon as possible to erase the devastation wrought by ISIS? Rebuild no matter the cost, with faux sites snuffing the originals out from memory? Or should we preserve this jewel â€"a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1980 â€" exactly as it is, ruins and all? That last option was what was decided in Bamyan, Afghanistan, where all that remains of the giant Buddhas carved into the cliffs are the indentations that once housed them. The Taliban blew these figures up with dynamite in 2001, viewing them as idols from a past they despise, and now, their empty shells are a testament to the brutality of Afghan religious fundamentalists. In the case of Palmyra, on the other hand, political pressure has led some to fear an overly hasty reconstruction.â€
Read the full article, Palmyra, The Politics And Poetry Of Restoring War Ruins.
AL-SHABAB KILLS ETHIOPIAN TROOPS
Jihadist fighters with al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab claimed they killed 43 Ethiopian troops stationed in Somalia as part of the African Union Mission to Somalia, Al Jazeera reports.
Battles over food shortages continue in Venezuela. Leading opposition daily El Nacional features clashes in Caracas on the front page.
â€œWe have halted and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS,â€ United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS that opened yesterday in New York. The UNâ€™s target for ending the pandemic is 2030.
MY GRAND-PEREâ€™S WORLD
Haute Couture â€" Pont-Lâ€™Abbé, 1982
STUDENT PROTESTS BANNED IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA
A court order in Papua New Guinea has banned students from demonstrating after yesterdayâ€™s incidents with the police in which several were wounded, AP reports.
â€" MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH
- Naked And At Peace, Public Art As Cure For Troubled Colombia â€" El Espectador
- "Fake" Paris Attacks Victim Faces Five Years In Jail â€" Le Figaro
- Emergency Psychology: The Burden Of Delivering Bad News â€" Süddeutsche Zeitung
They came in the night, by the hundreds, and they â€œtookâ€ the Spanish town of Huesca.
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.
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.
The traffic police chief recently said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes
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.
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