UK Vote On Syria, NATO Expansion, Grohl v. Animal

UK TO VOTE ON SYRIA AIRSTRIKES

Photo: Andrew Parsons/i-Images/ZUMA

British Members of Parliament are set to vote on whether the United Kingdom will join the United States, France and Russia and several other countries in carrying out airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. The vote is expected late Wednesday after a long debate in the House of Commons. These British airstrikes would "exclusively" target ISIS positions, according to the government motion published yesterday.

  • UK Prime Minister David Cameron sparked controversy Tuesday by reportedly warning a Conservative committee against voting alongside "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and a bunch of terrorist sympathizers," according to The Guardian.
  • Corbyn indeed opposes British airstrikes in Syria, saying it risked repeating the mistakes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 14 years, though he gave Labour MPs the freedom to vote their conscience on the issue, as the BBC reports.
  • U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Tuesday the Pentagon will deploy a new force of special operations troops in Syria and Iraq to conduct raids against ISIS, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture leaders of the terrorists group, The Washington Post reports. Carter also said this "specialized expeditionary targeting force" will be carried out in coordination with the Iraqi government and would aid security forces as well as Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
  • Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi said Tuesday after Carter's announcement that his government did "not need foreign ground combat forces on Iraqi land," according to Al Jazeera. He insisted that such a deployment could not happen without the approval of Iraqi authorities.

MONTENEGRO INVITED TO JOIN NATO

Sixteen years after bombing Montenegro, when it was still part of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo war, NATO invited the Balkan country to join its military alliance, the organization reports Wednesday. If accepted, this would be NATO's first expansion in six years, after Albania and Croatia joined in 2009. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the move "makes clear that NATO keeps its door open, to complete our vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace." Russia, which has repeatedly warned against such a decision, said through a foreign ministry spokesperson last week that Montenegro joining the alliance would send a "powerful confrontational message."


ON THIS DAY


Are you more Maria Callas or Britney Spears? Let today's 57-second shot of history help you decide.


PAKISTAN HANGS FOUR OVER PESHAWAR MASSACRE

Pakistan hanged four men Wednesday for involvement in the Peshawar military school massacre that killed 141 people, including 134 children, on Dec. 16, 2014, in the northwestern city of Kohat, The Express Tribune reports. The four men, identified as part of the Pakistani Taliban faction Toheedwal Jihad Group, had been sentenced to death earlier this week. The massacre, which left the Pakistani nation shocked, prompted a crackdown on Islamist militants, the establishment of military courts for terror suspects and the resumption of capital punishment after a six-year moratorium.


907,712

Since January, more than 900,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe, according to the International Organization for Migration. Among them, 878,495 (97%) arrived by sea. The organization also says at least 3,563 people drowned or went missing in the process.


DADDY ZUCKERBERG GIVE-AWAY

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, who gave birth to the couple's first baby last week, have pledged to donate 99% of their Facebook shares — currently valued at $45 billion — to charity. Read more on our Extra! feature.


3 KILLED IN NORTHERN CAMEROON BLASTS

At least three people were killed overnight by two suicide blasts in the northern Cameroon town of Waza, Reuters quoted official sources as saying. The bombings were carried out by two young women suspected of being Islamist Boko Haram militants. A third suicide bomber was killed by security forces before she was able to detonate her bomb.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

To both improve cities and conquer markets, companies are turning to urban simulators with the interactive power and graphics of video games, Laetitia Van Eeckhout and Martine Valo report for Le Monde: "One click and you land in 2030, strolling along the green streets of Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan since 1998, discovering the new areas located along the Ishim River, stepping into the cable car that criss-crosses the city … Another click and you're in Santiago, where the Panamerica highway no longer draws a monstrous 100-meter-wide scar in the center of the Chilean capital of 7 million inhabitants."

Read the full article, French Tech Imagines New Cities With 3D Simulations.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



THE GREAT DRUM OFF

Watch Foo Fighter's Dave expand=1] Grohl battle The Muppets' Animal at the end of this week's episode of ABC's Muppets reboot.

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Coronavirus

Why U.S. Vaccine Diplomacy In Latin America Makes "Good" Sense

Echoing its cultural diplomacy of the early 20th century, the United States is gifting vaccines to Latin America as part of a renewed "good neighbor'' policy.

Waiting to get the vaccine in Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico

Andrea Matallana

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — Just before and during World War II, the United States' Good Neighbor policy proved a very effective strategy to improve ties with Latin America. Initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the policy's main goal was non-interference and non-intervention. The U.S. would instead focus on reciprocal exchanges with their southern neighbors, including through art and cultural diplomacy.

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