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Serena Williams won her third U.S. Open title in a row Sunday.
Serena Williams won her third U.S. Open title in a row Sunday.
Worldcrunch

Monday, September 8, 2014

RUSSIA THREATENS RETALIATION
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned in an interview that further Western sanctions against Russia will see Moscow “respond asymmetrically.” According to news agency Ria Novosti, Medvedev suggested that Russia could decide to close its air space to Western companies, a move that he believes would lead some of them to go bankrupt. This comes as the fragile truce negotiated Friday between Kiev troops and pro-Russian rebels seems to be holding despite some reports of artillery fire, Reuters reports. Both sides accused the other of violating the ceasefire over the weekend.

VERBATIM
"The Queen is a unionist," the Daily Express quoted one Royal source as saying after an opinion poll commissioned by The Sunday Times showed a stunning 51% of Scottish voters in support of a Sep. 18 independence referendum. Royal sources say Queen Elizabeth is worried about an impending constitutional crisis.

UN: ISIS WANTS “HOUSE OF BLOOD”
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the newly appointed chief of the UN Human Rights Council, urged the world in a strong-worded maiden speech to make a priority of ending the “increasingly conjoined conflicts in Iraq and Syria,” AFP reports. He went further and said that any future state governed by ISIS would become a “house of blood, where no shade would be offered.” Meanwhile, the BBC reports that the Iraqi army, backed by U.S. strikes, has cleared ISIS fighters from a strategic dam on the Euphrates river. This comes as U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to outline in a Wednesday speech a strategy to defeat ISIS. According to The New York Times, senior officials believe the campaign could take up to three years.

SNAPSHOT
American Serena Williams won her third U.S. Open title in a row, and sixth overall, after defeating Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-3 Sunday at Flushing Meadows.

POST-9/11 CIA TORTURE
An exclusive report in British newspaperThe Daily Telegraph describes torture methods the CIA has employed in its post-9/11 interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects. It comes as the U.S. Senate is preparing to publish a declassified version of its “Torture Report.” According to a source quoted in the article, the methods used exceed the previously acknowledged “waterboarding” and have brought some suspects close to “death.”

ROYAL BABY
The British royal family has announced that Prince William and Kate are expecting a second baby, just over a year after the birth of Prince George.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has pulled off the political feat of pushing through unprecedented reforms. But they are based on a promise that economic growth will inevitably follow, writes America Economia’s Luis Rubio. “The president's extremely low approval rating may reflect a traditional Mexican skepticism about grand visions of change: They will believe them when they see them,” he writes. “That's when the ratings might turn around. But the more problematic scenario is that the supposed link between reforms and growth is wrong. There is no doubt that an improved economy would solve many problems, create job opportunities and better living standards. Yet it is not obvious that the reforms will resolve basic, structural problems.The population became accustomed to the economy's pathetic performance a long time ago.”
Read the full article, The Blind Spot In Mexico's Sweeping Reforms.

HOPES RISE FOR EBOLA VACCINE
An experimental Ebola vaccine has enabled monkeys to develop immunity to the disease for up to 10 months, raising hopes that the deadly disease that has killed more than 2,100 people since the beginning of the year could be prevented in the near future. Leaders of the African Union have gathered for an emergency meeting in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to discuss a response to the outbreak. President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. military would be deployed in West Africa to provide assistance and equipment. Read more from The Washington Post.

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
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CORRUPTION CHARGES AMID BRAZIL ELECTIONS
Brazil President Dilma Rousseff’s hopes of being re-elected next month have been dealt a heavy blow after a former director of state-run oil company Petrobras accused several politicians, including some in Rousseff’s Workers Party, of corruption, magazine Veja revealed over the weekend. But Socialist candidate Marina Silva, who is currently leading the polls in a potential second round with Rousseff, is also under threat. Among those accused by Paulo Roberto Costa, who is himself in jail and under investigation for his own role in the scheme he denounced, is Eduardo Campos, the former candidate of Silva’s party who was killed in a plane crash last month. Read more from Reuters.
For more on Brazil’s presidential race, we offer this Folha de S. Paulo/Worldcrunch article, Evangelical Passion Drives Brazil Presidential Challenger Marina Silva.

JACK THE RIPPER IDENTIFIED?
It may be that DNA evidence has solved the world’s most mysterious whodunnit. According to a new book, Jack the Ripper was Aaron Kosminski, a Polish Jew who had fled to London with his family in the early 1880s to escape Russian massacres. Read more from The Guardian.

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Economy

Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

in the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading – and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

Protesters on Thursday in the German state of Thuringia carried Russian flags and signs: 'First our country! Life must be affordable.'

Martin Schutt/dpa via ZUMA
Stefanie Bolzen, Philipp Fritz, Virginia Kirst, Martina Meister, Mandoline Rutkowski, Stefan Schocher, Claus, Christian Malzahn and Nikolaus Doll

-Analysis-

In her State of the Union address on September 14, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, issued an urgent appeal for solidarity between EU member states in tackling the energy crisis, and towards Ukraine. Von der Leyen need only look out her window to see that tensions are growing in capital cities across Europe due to the sharp rise in energy prices.

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In the Czech Republic, people are already taking to the streets, while opposition politicians elsewhere are looking to score points — and some countries' support for Ukraine may start to buckle.

With winter approaching, Europe is facing a true test of both its mettle, and imagination.

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Writing contest - My pandemic story
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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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