You'd want to be just about anywhere but the Indian capital of New Delhi today. Smog choked the city and triggered warnings that even healthy people were at risk of respiratory problems. Air pollution typically peaks in Delhi at this time of the year, driven in part by firecrackers burned to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, which fell on Sunday this year.
But it's not just India that has an air pollution problem. A report published today by the United Nations Children's Fund found that 300 million children in the world breathe highly toxic air, many of them based in South Asia. That's almost one in seven children inhaling air that has pollution levels six or more times higher than what international guidelines consider safe. UNICEF's report comes a week before the UN's COP 22 climate conference in Morocco, where the agency is calling for world leaders to cut air pollution in their countries.
"Air pollution is a major contributing factor in the deaths of around 600,000 children under five every year — and it threatens the lives and futures of millions more every day," UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake noted in a preview of the report.
A looming US election that keeps getting dirtier, the nuclear potential of North Korea, wars in the Middle East and Ukraine are no doubt worthy of the loud headlines you'll read today. But we should read and reread these two UN statistics: 300 million kids poisoned by the air they breathe, 600,000 facing death. Pollution is an insidious killer that too long has gone by unnoticed.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- Lebanon Parliament tries to elect a president for the 46th time in two years.
- Pope Francis in Sweden to commemorate 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's Reformation.
- French electrician accused of stealing 271 Picassos to appear before court of appeal.
FBI OBTAINS WARRANT TO REVIEW NEW EMAILS IN CLINTON PROBE
The FBI has obtained a warrant to search the emails discovered on the computer of Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Hillary Clinton's top aide Huma Abedin, in connection to the federal investigation into the Democratic candidate's handling of classified information, USA Today reports. FBI agents became aware of the possible emails' relevance a few weeks ago, and questions are being raised as to why the information wasn't disclosed earlier, The Washington Post reports. With just eight days before the election, Clinton now leads Trump by just 1% in the latest Washington Post/ABC poll, and a professor who has successfully predicted presidential races for the past 30 years says the Republican candidate will win.
EARTHQUAKES CONTINUE TO ROIL ITALY
The earth shook again yesterday in central Italy. At magnitude 6.6, the quake was the strongest yet to hit the country in 36 years. The tremors were felt in Rome, where cracks have appeared on St Paul's Basilica. Twenty people were injured but no deaths have been reported so far, according to Corriere Della Sera. Some 40,000 people had to flee their homes, many of which were entirely destroyed. There have been dozens of aftershocks since yesterday, including one of 4.2 magnitude during the night, Ansa reports. In August, quakes killed nearly 300 people in Italy.
— ON THIS DAY
Happy Birthday to Mount Rushmore and Peter Jackson. That, and more, in your 57-second shot of history.
"The civilians of both sides of Aleppo have suffered enough due to futile but lethal attempts of subduing the city," Staffan de Mistura, UN special envoy for Syria said in a statement yesterday, adding he was "appalled and shocked" by the number of rockets rebels fired at civilians in government-controlled areas of Aleppo. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 41 civilians, including 17 children, were killed and scores more were wounded over the past three days.
EU AND CANADA SIGN LANDMARK TRADE DEAL
After seven years of negotiations, Canada and the European Union signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement yesterday, two days after the Belgian region of Wallonia finally decided to support the deal.
TURKEY DETAINS NEWSPAPER EDITOR AND JOURNALISTS
Turkish police detained the editor-in-chief and several journalists from Cumhuriyet, an opposition newspaper and Worldcrunch partner. The move is the latest in a crackdown against the media after a failed coup in July. Over the weekend, more than 10,000 civil servants were dismissed and 15 media outlets were shut down, AP reports.
Britain's decision to leave the EU is having a ripple effect on the island nation of Cyprus, where expats and tourism operators are already feeling the pinch. But there may be a more long-term windfall in the finance industry, reporter Fabrice Nodé-Langlois writes in Le Figaro. "Expats aren't the only ones concerned over Brexit. For the 12,000 Cypriots who are studying in the UK, it could mean losing the European rate and having to pay tuition fees of 20,000 pounds ($30,000) per year instead of 9,000. There's are also government grants and subsidized loans specific to EU citizens that could disappear. Many hope that Cyprus' status as a member of the Commonwealth will guarantee them a better deal than other EU students, but nobody knows for sure.
With regards to the economy, the big concern is tourism, which represent more than a quarter of Cyprus' GDP, according to Angelos Loizou of the Cyprus Tourism Organization. True, more and more Russians are visiting the island, which includes several Orthodox Christian destinations. But of the record-high three million foreign visitors expected this year, 40% of them are likely to be British."
Read the full article, When Brexit Hits Cyprus, Isle Of Offshore Banking And British Expats.
Kim Jong-un's wife, Ri Sol-ju, hasn't been seen in public for more than seven months so, naturally, everybody's wondering what's going on. The speculation? Her absence involves a pregnancy, security concerns or a marital rift.
SOUTH KOREANS PROTEST AGAINST PRESIDENT PARK GUEN-HYE
Thousands of protesters marched in the streets of Seoul on Saturday calling for President Park Geun-hye to resign, amid allegations that she let a close friend interfere in state affairs, news agency Yonhap reports. Approval ratings of Park, whom protesters now call "shadow president," have sunk to an all-time low of 17%.
— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH
- Russia's Other War, On The Front Lines In Eastern Ukraine — La Stampa
- China, From Shrinking Exports To Currency Devaluation — Economic Observer
- Nationalist Settlers, Germany's Far-Right Environmentalists — Die Welt
A patient at a Tokyo hospital got seriously burned after she flatulated during a laser operation.