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.
“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.
Photo above: Liu Bin/Xinhua/ZUMA
In Havana, Cuba, a contestant participates in the "longest ash" competition during the annual Habanos cigar festival.
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.
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.
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.
When the world gets closer, we help you see farther
Welcome to Wednesday, where the first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine gets underway in Kyiv, Kim Jong-un slams North Korean officials’ response to the coronavirus outbreak and Mexico’s National Registry of Missing People reaches a grim milestone. Meanwhile, Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg looks at the rise of ethnic separatism across Russia’s federal regions.
[*Choctaw, Native American]
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• Man pleads guilty in first Russia war crimes trial: The first war crimes trial of a Russian soldier begins in Kyiv today. The 21-year-old has pleaded guilty of shooting an unarmed 62-year-old Ukrainian civilian while he spoke on the phone.
• Mariupol defenders fate in limbo: At least 694 Ukrainian fighters who were holed up at the besieged Azovstal plant in Mariupol have surrendered in the past 24 hours. It is unclear what will befall the fighters, 1,000 in total, who were sent to a prisoner camp in Russian-controlled territory in Donbas.
— Read all the latest at War in Ukraine, Day 84 —
• India top court frees ex-PM Rajiv Gandhi's killer: The Indian Supreme Court has released AG Perarivalan, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1991 for taking part in the suicide bombing that killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and 14 others. Perarivalan has always claimed his innocence.
• China Eastern plane crash likely intentional: U.S. investigators suggest that the crash of the China Eastern plane in March was caused by someone in the cockpit who put the plane into a nosedive. The Boeing 737-800 plunged inexplicably into a mountainside in southern China, killing all 132 people onboard. Chinese authorities deny that the crash was deliberate.
• Kim Jong-un blames COVID outbreak on “lazy” officials: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has condemned the negligence and laziness of state officials who did not do enough to contain the spread of the pandemic. The country reported its first ever COVID-19 case last week, which rose to 1.72 million cases and 62 deaths.
• Netflix job cuts: Netflix has decided to let go 150 (2%) of its employees, most of them in the U.S., as the company suffers from a drastic decline in subscribers since the start of the year. The streaming giant has been looking for ways to cope with its slowing revenue growth, including cracking down on password sharing.
• Spain approves menstrual leave bill: The Spanish government cabinet has approved a bill allowing workers with severe period pain to take medical paid leave financed by the state. If the bill is approved by the Spanish parliament, it would become the first country in Europe to grant such leave.
“Wheat, a luxury good,” titles Austrian daily Kleine Zeitung, reporting on prices of wheat that hit a new record high in Europe, jumping to 435 euros ($453) per ton, up from the previous record of 422 euros last week. Prices have soared since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which previously accounted for 12% of global exports.
Mexico has recorded more than 100,000 people as missing or disappeared since 1964, according to new data from the Interior Ministry's National Registry of Missing People — with the figure rising by 20,000 in the past two years alone. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said only 35 of disappearances registered have led to a conviction.
Fall of the empire? Ethnic separatism on the rise in Russia
Far from being a unified state, Russia is full of federal subjects — many of which have spawned separatist movements. Moscow, far from Siberia or the Caucasus and focused on Ukraine, is finding it harder to contain them, writes Pavel Lysyansky in Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg.
🇷🇺➗ The Russian Federation consists of 85 federal subjects. Each one has its own head, a Parliament and Constitutional Court. The system is an attempt made in Soviet times to solve the problem of the country's ethnic and economic diversity by forming national republics. So, the population of the Russian Federation does not consider a federal center or federation as a core value. For that reason, in some territories people may perceive their separation from Russia as quite possible.
🤝 In the Russian regions, traditionally inhabited by Muslim ethnic groups, Islamic radicalism and ethno-national separatism are closely related. For example, in the Russian Altai in southern Siberia, the idea of creating a common ethnic state of all Turkic peoples is widespread. Siberian regional separatism is also actively developing near Russia. It is based on Siberian Russians as a distinct nation suppressed by the federal center and the European part of the Russian Federation.
💥 Since the Kremlin launched the large-scale military aggression against Ukraine, socio-economic and political tensions have been growing in Russia, increasing the probability of a revolutionary situation. Russian political and business elites in the regions are not consolidated in solving general national problems because some of them have long been waiting for the possibility of confederalism or separatism processes with the subsequent secession of some territories.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
We are in total political isolation and the whole world is against us.
— Former Russian colonel and military analyst Mikhail Khodarenov publicly criticized Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Russian state TV and conceded that the country is losing in Ukraine, adding “An armed conflict with Ukraine is not in Russia’s national interest.”
✍️ Newsletter by Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger
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