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Terror In Germany, Russia's Rio Relief, Shawshank Tree


Though Germany has been at the center of Europe's debate over refugees, it had largely been spared the kind of terrorist attacks that have struck neighboring France.

But now, in the span of just a few days, Germany suddenly finds itself struggling to make sense of a string of violent attacks — three of them involving asylum seekers — in various southern cities. (Here's this morning's front page of Berlin-based Die Tageszeitung)

The latest took place late last night in Ansbach, where a Syrian man blew himself up, wounding a dozen people outside a restaurant. The suicide bomber, 27, had reportedly tried to enter a nearby music festival, but was turned away for not having a ticket. "It's terrible ... that someone who came into our country to seek shelter has now committed such a heinous act," Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told reporters.

Earlier in the day, another Syrian refugee, 21, used a machete to attack and kill a Polish woman near Stuttgart, similar to an axe attack last week on a train near Würzburg, by a 17-year-old Afghan man.

The highest toll came late Friday afternoon when a teenage gunman went on a shooting rampage in a Munich shopping center, killing nine before turning the gun on himself. That attack had no links to any terrorist group, and appeared more inspired by U.S.-style mass shootings.

Still, the spree of attacks appears to have gotten at least inspiration from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) and other radical Islamist groups. After Sunday night's attack, whose perpetrator was reportedly set to be deported, Herrmann said: "We must do everything possible to prevent the spread of such violence in our country by people who came here to ask for asylum." A true test for a healthy democracy like Germany is to remember that immigration and terrorism are two fundamentally different issues, even if they are bound to sometimes cross paths in the public debate, and in our lives.



At least two people were killed and 16 wounded on Sunday night in a nightclub shooting in Fort Myers, Florida, the News-Press reports. Police have detained three "people of interest." The attack took place exactly six weeks after a gunman opened fire at a nightclub in Orlando, also in Florida, killing 50 people, including himself.


A suicide car bomb this morning killed at least 21 people and wounded more than 32 at the entrance to a town northeast of Baghdad, security sources told Al Jazeera. The attack came just one day after a suicide bombing in the capital's Kadhimiya neighborhood killed at least 15. Earlier in the month, nearly 300 people died when a car bomb exploded outside a Baghdad shopping mall. The July 3 attack was the deadliest in Iraq since 2003.


Bob Dylan went electric 51 years ago today! That, and more, in your 57-second shot of History.


Russian athletes can let out a sigh of relief after the International Olympic Committee decided yesterday to ban only the country's track and field team from the Rio Games over state-sponsored doping allegations.


Two wildfires in California — one near Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles; the other in the Angeles National Forest — have killed at least one man and forced thousands to flee their homes, USA Today reports.


How should we react in the face of the threat of Islamist terrorism? It's a fine line to walk between the double threat of jihadism and our own worst instincts, Dominique Moïsi writes for French daily Les Echos: "France cannot become the Wild West where the state was virtually absent. To fall into this trap would be giving the terror groups like the Islamic State (ISIS) the victory they are looking for. But contrary to pernicious, defeatist and, undoubtedly, wrong-headed recent speeches, ISIS has not won. Still, the road to our victory is long. From Baghdad to Orlando, from Istanbul to Nice and Dhaka, ISIS can keep winning bloody battles, proving it still seduces and attracts men ready to sacrifice their lives for its cause. But ISIS is bound to lose this war, as long as we remain united, mobilized and act together on the external as well as the internal fronts."

Read the full article, Terrorists Take Our Lives, Populists Steal Our Souls.


Turkish authorities have issued arrest warrants against for at least 42 journalists "associated with the July 15 coup attempt," according to CNN Türk.


Telecom giant Verizon is set to buy the core assets of Internet pioneer Yahoo! for just over $4.8 billion, Bloomberg reports. The deal, which will be announced today before markets open, ends Yahoo's quest to remain a stand-alone company and will likely see Marissa Mayer removed as the company's chief executive officer.


Alas, Aleppo — Syria, 1996


Nintendo shares, which had skyrocketed 96% since releasing the augmented reality app Pokémon Go, plunged 18% at the close of Tokyo's stock exchange Monday. This comes after the Japanese company warned Friday that the financial impact from the worldwide hit Pokemon Go would be "limited," according to Bloomberg.



The iconic white oak tree that stars at end of the 1994 classic Shawshank Redemptionhas been felled in Mansfield, Ohio, after being knocked down by strong winds Friday. No word yet on a potential posthumous Academy Award.

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Smaller Allies Matter: Afghanistan Offers Hard Lessons For Ukraine's Future

Despite controversies at home, Nordic countries were heavily involved in the NATO-led war in Afghanistan. As the Ukraine war grinds on, lessons from that conflict are more relevant than ever.

Photo of Finnish Defence Forces in Afghanistan

Finnish Defence Forces in Afghanistan

Johannes Jauhiainen


HELSINKI — In May 2021, the Taliban took back power in Afghanistan after 20 years of international presence, astronomical sums of development aid and casualties on all warring sides.

As Kabul fell, a chaotic evacuation prompted comparisons to the fall of Saigon — and most of the attention was on the U.S., which had led the original war to unseat the Taliban after 9/11 and remained by far the largest foreign force on the ground. Yet, the fall of Kabul was also a tumultuous and troubling experience for a number of other smaller foreign countries who had been presented for years in Afghanistan.

In an interview at the time, Antti Kaikkonen, the Finnish Minister of Defense, tried to explain what went wrong during the evacuation.

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“Originally we anticipated that the smaller countries would withdraw before the Americans. Then it became clear that getting people to the airport had become more difficult," Kaikkonen said. "So we decided last night to bring home our last soldiers who were helping with the evacuation.”

During the 20-year-long Afghan war, the foreign troop presence included many countries:Finland committed around 2,500 soldiers,Sweden 8,000,Denmark 12,000 and Norway 9,000. And in the nearly two years since the end of the war, Finland,Belgium and theNetherlands have commissioned investigations into their engagements in Afghanistan.

As the number of fragile or failed states around the world increases, it’s important to understand how to best organize international development aid and the security of such countries. Twenty years of international engagement in Afghanistan offers valuable lessons.

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