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Turkish Strongmen, Western Weakness

Turkey has grown silent. Since the failed military coup in July, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's crackdown across Turkish society has featured a particular focus on journalists working for opposition newspapers. According to Reporters Without Borders' Julie Majerczak: "Turkey has become the world's biggest prison for journalists."

But the crackdown goes well beyond press freedom. Two leaders of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party HDP have been arrested for failing to respond to a summons for questioning, in what some say is an attempt by Erdogan to push the party out of parliament. Ertugrul Kurkcu, a Turkish member of parliament who is currently out of the country, said the government is "heading towards a Nazi-style dictatorship," Turkey's soL news website reports. Hours after the arrests of the Kurdish politicians, a suspected car bomb exploded in Diyarbakir, stronghold of Kurds in southeastern Turkey, killing eight people and injuring dozens, according to Hürriyet.

Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp have reportedly been blocked in recent hours, following up on past shutdowns by the government of social networks. But the silence inside of Turkey is echoed by the silence of the West. Worried about harming their common interests in the region (including refugees, oil and air bases in the fight against ISIS), the U.S. and Europe keep mum on Erdogan's domestic moves. Former Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar asked Deutsche Welle whether the recent refugee deal signed between Brussels and Ankara — a deal Turkey is now threatening to cancel — had "led Europe to turn a blind eye to democracy."

Jailed since August, Turkish writer Aslı Erdoğan summed it up, in a letter penned from prison: "Europe, currently concentrated on its ‘refugee crisis,' seems to underestimate the perils of total loss of democracy in Turkey," she writes. In recent years, the West has learned that trying to "export" democracy with force can backfire. But that doesn't mean we should simply ignore it either.


  • Chicago parade today to celebrate the Cubs' World Series win.
  • President Daniel Ortega looking for third term in Nicaragua election. (Sunday)
  • Vendée Globe round-the-world solo sailing race kicks off. (Sunday)


British Prime Minister Theresa May will not alter her timetable for activating the UK's exit from the European Union despite yesterday's High Court ruling that "Brexit" could not happen without Parliament's support, BBC reports. May is expected to tell European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker today that she will not let the court derail her plans to begin the exit process by March.


As we're about to bid Barack adieu, On This Day remembers Obama's 2008 election. That, and more, in your 57-second shot of history.


As the long campaign comes down to the wire, polls are showing Donald Trump gaining momentum, closing in on Hillary Clinton in surveys of both nationwide preferences and key state contests. Meanwhile, American voters are expressing their general disgust at the campaign and political system in general. The New York Times reports that more than 8 in 10 voters say they feel repulsed rather than excited for the election on Tuesday.


The Nov. 5, 2015 rupture of a mining dam in Mariana, Brazil destroyed lives and entire towns. One year later, there is no end in sight to the toll on a region decimated by the toxic disaster. Writing from Barra Longa for Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo, José Marques and Avener Prado report: "In the days that followed the floods, 14-year-old Bruno Henrique Faustino helped clean the toxic mud off the streets. A few weeks later, dark stains started to appear on his skin. Still in Barra Longa, Simone Silva's eight-month-old baby Sofya started having respiratory problems, something a medical report found to be connected to the inhalation of dust from the toxic waste.

Both families claim they asked Samarco for help, to no avail. ‘I went to Samarco several times and they kept telling us: "If you have a medical report that proves that she's sick, we'll help you." So I took the report with me, and their response was: "No, you should go to the health services.""

Read the full article, Year Of Mud, The Heavy Toll Of Brazil's Worst Ever Ecological Disaster.


Park Guen-hye, South Korea's president, was on the brink of tears in a nationally televised address this morning in which she apologized and said she was willing to accept an independent prosecutor into a spiraling abuse of power scandal, the Korea Times reports.


Sting announced last night he'll be performing at Le Bataclan on November 12 during the iconic Parisian venue's re-opening after the deadly shooting that occurred there a year earlier. Le Monde reports that money from the evening will be donated to the associations Life For Paris and 13 Novembre: Fraternité et Verité.


Bridging The Times — Postbridge, 1976


The Harvard University administration has suspended the men's soccer team after the school's newspaper uncovered a document rating the attractiveness of the women's soccer team, which included sexually explicit comments. Reports indicate this may be a yearly tradition for the male soccer players, first discovered in 2012. The Boston Globereports that Harvard president Drew Faust called the revelations: "appalling."



Haven't had enough of the U.S. presidential campaign, now, have you? From space voting to "idiots ban", here are 10 weird facts about the election.

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food / travel

Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

Photo of the Cervi family.

Photo of the Cervi family, whose seven children were shot by the Fascists on December 28, 1943, at the Reggio Emilia shooting range.

@comunisti_alla_ribalta via Instagram
Jacopo Fontaneto

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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