SPOTLIGHT: TURKEY AND RUSSIA, REUNITED AGAINST THE WEST
Russia and Turkey have historically straddled East And West, often in different ways and with different degrees of influence over the centuries. Right now, both countries appear crucial — and unpredictable as ever, each in the hands of imperious rulers. Thus all eyes today are on a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin today in Saint Petersburg to "reset" ties between "friends."
The fact that Erdogan's first official visit to a foreign country since the failed coup in Turkey last month is to Russia undoubtedly carries a strong symbolic impact. Putin was notably among the first world leaders to call Erdogan and voice his support after the attempted takeover — in contrast with most Western countries, which Ankara has accused of withholding support in the crucial hours after the attempted July 15 putsch.
In an interview with the French daily Le Monde yesterday, the Turkish president slammed Western leaders for their lack of support and even accused the U.S. of supporting terrorism. Russia, too, has accused the West of supporting terrorism in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine. There is plenty that still stands in the way of a true Ankara-Moscow partnership, most notably Syria itself. But if the beginning of any good alliance is a common adversary, then Putin and Erdogan will have had plenty to talk about in Saint Petersburg.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- Fourth day of the 2016 Rio Olympics: more swimming, more tennis, more basketball, also water polo, archery, canoeing and sailing.
- Two-year anniversary of Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.
DOZENS KILLED IN ETHIOPIA PROTESTS
Dozens of people have been killed by security forces in Ethiopia's Oromia and Amhara regions during anti-government protests. According to an Amnesty International report late yesterday, up to 97 people were shot dead during the weekend protests. State media mentioned "illegal protests" brought by "anti-peace forces," but did not refer to any casualties.
PAKISTAN BOMBING DEATH TOLL RISES
The toll has risen to at least 70 people killed, almost half of them lawyers, in the suicide attack that targeted a hospital in Pakistan's Quetta yesterday morning, The Express Tribune reports. The local government announced three days of official mourning following what is one the deadliest attacks in the country's history. The bombing was claimed by both the Pakistani Taliban faction Jamaat-ur-Ahrar and ISIS.
— ON THIS DAY
Construction for the Tower of Pisa began 843 years ago on this day. That, and more, in your 57-second shot of History.
SYRIAN REBELS PUSH TO RECAPTURE ALEPPO
A day after it broke a government siege on Aleppo, the Syrian rebel alliance "Army of Conquest" said it would "double the number of fighters" to recapture the entire city, Al Jazeera reports.
Frenchman Paul Pogba has reunited with his youth soccer club Manchester United for a world-record fee of $116.4 million.
TRUMP DUMPED BY REPUBLICAN NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERTS
An open letter signed by 50 Republican national security experts, including former CIA director Michael Hayden, warned that Donald Trump would be "the most reckless president in American history." Meanwhile, Trump promised to cut taxes and end government regulations in a speech delivered last night in Detroit that aimed to shift his campaign's focus on economic issues. Read more in The Washington Post.
Robots have always fascinated us. In fiction or in real life, they crossed our path, for better or for worse. But where do they really come from? Follow Swiss daily Le Temps' Nicolas Dufour on his robotic quest through History: "There were the superb 18-century automatons, such as those created by Jaquet-Droz, true masterpieces of clockwork precision from the Neuchâtel territory. In a 1774 advertisement for an automaton called â€˜La Musicienne,' an exposition hall boasted of the number of tasks the beauty in the blue dress could complete, noting that â€˜her throat rises and falls so regularly that you would think she's breathing.' This thirst to sow confusion over what is alive and what is inanimate, or artificial, has never been quenched: Consider the trickery in the case of the Baron of Kempelen's chess-playing robot, which hid a real human being inside."
Read the full article, The Sly History Of Robots, Pre-Frankenstein To Post-Tesla.
INDIAN HUNGER STRIKER TO END 16-YEAR FAST
Irom Chanu Sharmila, a 44-year-old Indian campaigner, is expected to end her 16-year-fast today, as The Guardian reports. Irom started fasting in November 2000, after 10 people were reportedly killed by a government-controlled paramilitary force in a small village on the outskirts of Imphal. She vowed to continue her hunger strike until the government ceased to grant unchecked military forces special powers to quash insurgencies.
— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
Fresh Coat Of Paint — Valletta, 1990
SIGNS OF CHINESE MILITARIZATION ON DISPUTED ISLANDS
The director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative told The New York Times there were signs of apparent reinforced aircraft hangars built by China on the disputed Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea. "They're reinforced to take a strike," suggesting the presence of Chinese militarization in the region.
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THE DARK SIDE OF LEMON
In an interview with The Guardian, Charlie Gilmour, the adopted son of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, reveals that he recently made his father sit by the fire and cover Beyoncé's latest record Lemonade from start to finish on the guitar.