Turkish safe zone, China’s stock implosion, Jacko’s 20K glove

Turkish safe zone, China’s stock implosion, Jacko’s 20K glove

Photo: Hamza Turkia/Xinhua/ZUMA


In an emergency meeting in Brussels today, NATO is holding talks to discuss Turkey’s campaign against both ISIS and Kurdish forces across its border in Syria.Reuters reports that both NATO and Turkey are downplaying the idea of a call for military help from the alliance. “Turkey requested the meeting after the recent terrorist attacks, and also to inform allies of the measures it is taking,” a deputy NATO spokeswoman said. ISIS killed at least 32 students in a Turkish town near the Syrian border last week. Turkey has carried out several airstrikes against ISIS and Kurdish positions near its border over the past few days. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also vowed more military operations in the region, Hürriyetreports. The NATO emergency meeting comes a day after Turkey and the U.S. agreed to work together to create a 60-mile, ISIS-free “safe zone” along the Turkish border, as The New York Times reported.


A Libyan court sentenced 43-year-old Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s most prominent son, to death today for war crimes during the country’s 2011 revolution, Le Monde reports. The verdict was passed in absentia since he has been held since 2011 by a former rebel group that opposes the Tripoli government, Reuters adds.


Shares in China continued to fall today, following the Shanghai Composite index’s biggest drop in eight years Monday, the BBC reports. Before the stock markets opened this morning, Beijing vowed it would press on to tame the volatile situation. But shares continued to fall.


“Let’s put an end to the silence,” Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said Monday, referring to the pacts of silence covering up human rights violations committed by Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship from 1973 to 1990, Clarín reports. “There are people who know the truth about many cases that are still unsolved. Chile is asking them to follow the example of the soldier Fernando Guzmán and help to repair so much pain,” she added. Last week, a Chilean judge charged seven former military members for burning two activists alive in 1986, killing one and leaving another disfigured. About 70 military officials have so far been jailed for crimes against humanity and another 800 could face trial, The Guardian reports. Bachelet herself was tortured during Pinochet’s rule.


The national governing body of the Boy Scouts of America voted Monday to lift the group's outright ban on openly gay adult leaders and employees, dismantling a policy that has deeply divided the membership of the 105-year-old Texas-based organization, Reutersreports.


Today marks 101 years since the beginning of World War I. Time for your shot of history.


South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ah today declared a de facto end to the Middle East Respiratory Virus (MERS) outbreak that has killed 36 people in the country since May, the Yonhap news agency reports. “After weighing various circumstances, the medical personnel and the government judge that the people can now be free from worry,” Hwang said. There have been no new infections for more than 23 days. He also apologized for the government’s poor response in the early stages of the outbreak.


A new study from Germany found that not only dogood-looking people have a better chance of finding a job, they also earn as much as 20% more,Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Alexander Hageluken writes. “Interestingly, the ‘beauty-bonus’ doesn't apply equally to all countries. While it is high in Germany and China, where it can result in up to a 20% wage hike (for women), it is significantly lower in Brazil and the United States, and cannot even be proven to exist in Britain. Economist Eva Sierminska chalks the differences up to varying ‘job market cultures.’”

Read the full article, Breaking Down The "Beauty Bonus" â€" Why Attractive People Get Paid More.


Two police officers were killed and eight others injured, including three seriously, in a village on an island south of Bahrain’s capital, Manama, in an explosion that the interior minister described on Twitter as a “terror blast.” No group has yet claimed responsibility.


Submarine wreckage found off Sweden’s eastern coast and first suspected to be a mysterious Russian vessel searched by the country’s military nine months ago “probably” dates from 1916, Swedish tabloid Expressenreports. The Icelandic salvage hunting company Ocean X first said “it is unclear how old the submarine is and for how long it has been at the bottom of the sea, but the Cyrillic letters on the hull indicate that it is Russian.” Sources later told the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheterthe wreckage could be a Russian submarine built in Vladivostok in 1904 and brought to Sweden in 1915.Read more about it in our Extra! feature.



In its annual human trafficking report published today, the U.S. State Department removed Cuba and Malaysia from its list of countries that fail to combat forced labor, child prostitution and related issues. The U.S. had previously accused Cuba, which had been on the list since 2003, of forcing people to travel abroad to work on government-backed projects. “The Government of Cuba does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so,” the report says. This comes one week before the U.S. embassy reopens in Havana next week. Human rights groups have criticized the decision regarding Malaysia, saying the country’s actions to tackle human trafficking haven’t been enough.


Former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam died yesterday at 83, after collapsing as he delivered a lecture in the city of Shillong, The Times of Indiareports. Abdul Kalam served as India’s 11th president from 2002 to 2007. He was popularly known as “Missile Man” after pioneering his country’s military missile program.


One of Michael Jackson’s famous white gloves is set to be sold for $20,000 at the auction house Nate D Sanders Thursday. If this seems excessive even for the King of Pop, consider that the one Jackson wore while debuting the Moonwalk sold for $350,000 in 2009

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Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.


Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

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