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Trump's World, Rio Threat, Sad Polar Bear


Every four years, people around the world get a glance at those odd political spectacles, typically hosted in some mid-sized American city they'll never visit. The U.S. national party conventions tend to get slightly bemused coverage abroad: candidates' family values on full display, gray-haired delegates dancing to Dixie bands and far too many balloons for something as serious as choosing what's still sometimes called the leader du monde libre.

This week, the circus became frighteningly real for that free world. The Republican Party officially nominated Donald Trump yesterday as its presidential candidate. The nominee's children painted a picture of their billionaire father as a champion for the working man, and Trump himself offered a rather tame (and scripted!) few words by video conference. But amid all the staging and self-congratulation, we should not forget that in the past 12 months, Trump has called for a blanket ban on all Muslims entering the U.S., described Mexicans as "rapists" and called Belgium a city. And more.

But now a new phase has begun in what has been an ever eventful American campaign season amid an ever troubling world. Will Trump, who makes his acceptance speech tomorrow night, try to reassure undecided voters with a more statesman-like approach? Or will he double down on the fear-mongering and vitriol in attacking his Democratic party opponent Hillary Clinton? A world that does indeed still look to America for leadership — and entertainment — will certainly be watching.


  • $130 billion mega merger between chemical giants Dow and DuPont.
  • New UK PM Theresa May to face Parliament for first time. May will then head to Berlin to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  • Day 3 of Republican Convention. Scheduled speakers include Ted Cruz and Trump's vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence.


An extremist Brazilian group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State jihadist group, local newspaper O Globo reported, citing SITE Intelligence Group that monitors the Internet for terrorist activities. "If the French police failed to stop the attacks in France, the training given to the Brazilian police will not be of any use," the extremist group — which apparently calls itself Ansar al-Khilafah Brazil — wrote on the Telegram messaging app, the paper noted. The declaration comes ahead of the Aug. 5 opening of the Rio Olympics.


Turkish leaders vowed to root out the allies of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom they hold responsible for a failed coup in the country last weekend. Authorities suspended or detained 50,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and teachers since the attempted military takeover, widening a purge that now includes schools, universities and the intelligence agency.


Man set foot on the Moon for the first time 47 years ago today. That, and more, in your 57-second shot of History!


Director, producer and writer Garry Marshall, known for movies such as Pretty Woman and The Princess Diariesdied yesterday from complications of pneumonia after a stroke. He was 81. He was also behind such hit television sitcoms as The Odd Couple and Happy Days.


France is not only a target for ISIS. The country must also admit that terrorism profits from its internal fractures, Richard Werly writes for Le Temps, in the wake of the Nice attack: "The brutal truth is that 230 people have been killed by terrorists since January 2015. And that shows an increasingly disturbing reality, after six months of living in a state of emergency: If France is indeed a priority target for ISIS, because of its military commitments in Africa and the Middle East, it is also a victim of the fractures and blindness within its own society. The first fracture is the abandonment of too many neighborhoods where Muslim youth are prey to Islamist recruiters. ... The second fracture is around security and politics. Like it or not, Marine Le Pen is right in saying that in other countries, the Interior Minister would have offered his resignation after such a string of tragedies."

Read the full article, France's Twin Threat From Within: Angry Youth, Cynical Politics.


Roger Ailes, 76, the man who built Fox News from scratch 20 years ago into the leading cable news network for conservative politics, is negotiating his exit from the company as chairman, The New York Times reported. The move follows sexual assault lawsuit against Ailes by Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson.


There are still many unanswered questions two days after a teenager claiming to belong to ISIS attacked passengers on a commuter train with an axe in southern Germany, seriously injuring at least four. Check German daily Die Tageszeitung's enigmatic front page today, here on Le Blog.


"Today we received information that some users of the Pokémon Go app in Bosnia were going to places which are a risk for (unexploded) mines, in search of a Pokémon," the charity Posavina bez mina said on its Facebook page, referring to the wildly successful augmented reality game. "Citizens are urged not to do so, to respect demarcation signs of dangerous minefields and not to go into unknown areas." Mines were planted during the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995.


A Mormon State — Salt Lake City, 1994



Nearly 300,000 people in China have signed a petition to close an aquarium that houses the world's saddest polar bear named Pizza. Despite the bear's mournful expression, the deputy manager of the theme park where the doleful creature is on display, says "the polar bear in the aquarium is very happy."

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Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

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