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

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


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.


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."


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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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food / travel

Legalizing Moonshine, A Winning Political Stand In Poland

Moonshine, typically known as “bimber” in Poland, may soon be legalized by the incoming government. There is a mix of tradition, politics and economics that makes homemade booze a popular issue to campaign on.

Photo of an empty vodka bottle on the ground in Poland

Bottle of vodka laying on the ground in Poland

Leszek Kostrzewski

WARSAWIt's a question of freedom — and quality. Poland's incoming coalition government is busy negotiating a platform for the coming years. Though there is much that still divides the Left, the liberal-centrist Civic Koalition, and the centrist Third Way partners, there is one area where Poland’s new ruling coalition is nearly unanimous: moonshine.

The slogan for the legalization of moonshine (known in Poland as "bimber") was initially presented by Michał Kołodziejczak, the leader of Agrounia, a left-wing socialist political movement in Poland that has qualified to be part of the incoming Parliament.

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”Formerly so-called moonshine was an important element of our cultural landscape, associated with mystery, breaking norms, and freedom from the state," Kołodziejczak said. "It was a reason to be proud, just like the liqueurs that Poles were famous for in the past.”

The president of Agrounia considered the right to make moonshine as a symbol of "subjectivity" that farmers could enjoy, and admitted with regret that in recent years it had been taken away from citizens. “It's also about a certain kind of freedom, to do whatever you want on your farm," Kołodziejczak adds. "This is subjectivity for the farmer. Therefore, I am in favor of providing farmers with the freedom to consume this alcohol for their own use.”

A similar viewpoint was aired by another Parliament member. “We will stop pretending that Polish farmers do not produce moonshine for their own use, such as for weddings,” the representative said, pointing out the benefits of controlling the quality. “Just like they produce slivovitz, which Poland is famous for. It's high time they did it legally.”

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