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UNESCO Vs. ISIS, Absolved Kirchner, The Dress That Broke The Internet

UNESCO Vs. ISIS, Absolved Kirchner, The Dress That Broke The Internet

UNESCO DENOUNCES ISIS ATTACK ON ANCIENT CULTURE
The head of UNESCO called for an emergency meeting of the UN’s cultural agency after a five-minute video clip yesterday showed a group of ISIS militants destroying large statues and ancient artefacts in a museum in Mosul, Iraq. “This attack is far more than a cultural tragedy — this is also a security issue as it fuels sectarianism, violent extremism and conflict in Iraq,” Irina Bokova said in a statement. This came just days after reports that the terrorist group had bombed the Mosul Central Library, one of the richest libraries in Iraq, according to Al Jazeera. Militants are also believed to have torched bookshops.

VERBATIM
“I think all the families will feel closure and relief once there's a bullet between his eyes,” Bethany, the daughter of British aid worker David Haines, killed by ISIS in one of the group’s gruesome videos, said after learning the real identity of “Jihadi John.” Mrs Haines on the contrary expressed hope that Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born Briton in his mid-20s, “will be caught alive ... He needs to be put to justice but not in that way.” Read more reactions on the BBC.

ON THIS DAY
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One of the greatest movie stars of all time was born on this day. Find out who on your 57-second shot of history.

GERMAN MPS APPROVES GREEK BAILOUT EXTENSION
The German Bundestag has approved with an overwhelming majority a four-month extension of Greece’s bailout program, with 542 votes in favor, 32 against and 13 abstentions, Der Spiegel reports. During the debate, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said that “Germans should do everything in their power to keep Europe together,” Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. But according to Deutsche Welle, other media outlets are already reporting that the relief may be short as Athens will likely require another bailout when the extended program expires.

SNAPSHOT
Photo above: Liu Bin/Xinhua/ZUMA
In Havana, Cuba, a contestant participates in the "longest ash" competition during the annual Habanos cigar festival.

$25,000
The Virginia General Assembly has agreed to pay $25,000 in compensation to each of the 11 surviving victims of a forced sterilization campaign carried out between 1924 and 1979. More than 7,000 people were operated under the Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act, which was aimed at improving “the genetic composition of humankind by preventing those considered "defective" from reproducing" and is believed to have been followed by other U.S. states — as well as Nazi Germany. Read more from AP.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
Victor Gregg, a 95-year-old World War II veteran and the only Briton who was on Dresden soil during the Allied bombings on the German city, believes Churchill "should have been shot." Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Alexander Menden tells his story: “While Gregg and his friend Harry were crammed into a hall in the middle of town, together with other POWs who had been sentenced to death, the sirens started to blare. Through the hall's glass roof, they could see the flares being dropped by warplanes.
Panic reigned, and moments later four incendiary bombs dropped through the glass roof. Gregg and Harry pressed themselves against the wall, managing to avoid the phosphorous and glass shards. Then an air bomb detonated and blew the wall against which they were standing to pieces. It killed Harry instantly. Gregg was buried under the rubble but survived unharmed except for a burn.”
Read the full article, The Singular Tale Of A British Soldier Caught In The Firebombing Of Dresden.

JUDGE DISMISSES CASE AGAINST KIRCHNER
An Argentine judge dismissed yesterday a case against President Cristina Kirchner and her Foreign Minister, accused of conspiring to cover up alleged Iranian involvement in the deadly bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994. Judge Daniel Rafecas ruled that the accusations brought forward by prosecutor Alberto Nisman before he died in suspicious circumstances did not “minimally hold up” and that there was “not even circumstantial evidence” to support his claims.

MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD


CHINA BANS IVORY IMPORTS
China’s State Forestry Administration has imposed a one-year ban on ivory imports with immediate effect, in a bid to protect African elephants, Xinhua reports. The decision comes amid international criticism that elephants could soon be extinct if nothing is done to put an end to poaching. China is the world's largest importer of smuggled tusks.

TRUE COLORS
Is it white and gold or blue and black? That is the question. The internet has been fighting over the color of this dress since yesterday, but there’s a very good (and very detailed) explanation for why nobody agrees on it.

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Coronavirus

Why Making COVID Predictions Is Actually Getting Harder

We know more about COVID than ever before, but that doesn't make it easier to predict what will happen this year. It also remains to be seen if we'll put the lessons we learned into practice.

​A young boy who arrived on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong wears a face mask and face shield at Vancouver International Airport in Canada on Jan. 10, 2023.

A young boy who arrived from Hong Kong wears a face mask and face shield at Vancouver International Airport in Canada on Jan. 10, 2023.

Duncan Robertson

In 2020, we knew very little about the novel virus that was to become known as COVID-19. Now, as we enter 2023, a search of Google Scholar produces around five million results containing the term.

So how will the pandemic be felt in 2023? This question is in some ways impossible to answer, given a number of unknowns. In early 2020, the scientific community was focused on determining key parameters that could be used to make projections as to the severity and extent of the spread of the virus. Now, the complex interplay of COVID variants, vaccination and natural immunity makes that process far more difficult and less predictable.

But this doesn’t mean there’s room for complacency. The proportion of people estimated to be infected has varied over time, but this figure has not fallen below 1.25% (or one in 80 people) in England for the entirety of 2022. COVID is very much still with us, and people are being infected time and time again.

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