U.S. PLANS MORE SOUTH CHINA SEA PATROLS
The U.S. will continue conducting patrols near artificial Chinese islands in the disputed South China Sea, Reuters quoted a U.S. defense official as saying yesterday. The official said patrols would happen about twice a quarter, describing that as "the right amount to make it regular but not a constant poke in the eye. It meets the intent to regularly exercise our rights under international law and remind the Chinese and others about our view." These comments come a week after a U.S. warship sailed close to a Chinese island in the region, sparking tension and harsh words between Beijing and Washington.
"The speculation that this plane was brought down by a missile is off the table," a U.S. Defense official told NBC News late Monday about the Russian aircraft that crashed Saturday in the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 passengers on board. This comes as a U.S. infrared satellite detected a "heat flash" above Egypt's Sinai at the time of crash. The satellite imagery reportedly rules out the possibility of a surface-to-air missile attack. Another official said "there was an explosion of some kind." Meanwhile, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the BBC that ISIS claims that it had brought down the plane were "propaganda."
GERMAN SOCCER FEDERATION RAIDED
German police raided the headquarters of the German Football Association (DFB) today in Frankfurt as well as the homes of the organization's president Wolfgang Niersbach and his predecessor Theo Zwanziger over tax fraud allegations linked to the 2006 World Cup, Die Weltreports. This follows claims last month that the association's World Cup organizing committee transferred 6.7 million euros to FIFA to secure votes. The DFB denied the accusations.
Snoopy, the world's favorite beagle, now has a star on the Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame, right next to that of his creator, Charles M. Schulz.
TWO INDIAN SOLDIERS DEAD IN KASHMIR CLASH
The Pakistani military killed two Indian soldiers Monday in Kashmir's Bandipora district, along the de facto border between the two countries, The Hindureports. The two soldiers could have been hit by mortar or a rocket fired at an Indian army installation, but BBC reports said Pakistani troops may have fired machine guns or grenades. Pakistan and India have both claimed Kashmir for more than 60 years, with the sides often accusing the other of unprovoked firing along the border, despite a 2003 ceasefire. Monday's incident came days before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was set to visit the disputed.
VW SCANDAL INCLUDES PORSCHE, AUDI MODELS
High-end Porsche and Audi diesel cars were also equipped with devices designed to cheat emissions tests, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada claim in a report published Monday. Cars with 3.0-litre engines from the years 2014 to 2016 were apparently affected, including the 2014 VW Touareg, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne, the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L and Q5.
When the landfill servicing Beirut closed, garbage collection stopped. Now the suburbs have been left quite literally holding the bag, and government solutions aren't coming, Laure Stephan reports for Le Monde. "More than three months after Beirut's garbage crisis began, Baabda — also home to the Presidential Palace, which has been empty for almost 18 months because of the country's political crisis — is one of the capital's many suburbs that can't get rid of its trash. In mid-July, the landfill that serviced Beirut closed. The government planned no solution, so Sukleen, the private company contracted to collect the garbage and whose contract was about to end, simply stopped its activities. The streets in the capital were instantly filled with trash, at the peak of summer heat."
Read the full article, Beirut Garbage Crisis, When Bad Politics Begets Bad Ecology.
RWANDA MANIPULATED POVERTY FIGURES
Rwandan authorities manipulated the country's latest official poverty statistics, making them appear to go down, sources have told France 24. According to the Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey, poverty levels have decreased significantly in the country. But Filip Reyntjens, a Belgian expert on Rwanda, claims the poverty rate actually increased by 6%.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
PISTORIUS MURDER APPEAL BEGINS
South African prosecutors launched an appeal hearing this morning on whether athlete Oscar Pistorius should be convicted of murder instead of culpable homicide, the Daily Sun reports. Pistorius was released under house arrest last month after serving one year of his five-year prison sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
ON THIS DAY
Anna Wintour and Godzilla, side by side in today's 57-second shot of history.
VETERAN IRAQI POLITICIAN AHMED CHALABI DIES
Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi politician who played a key role in the lead-up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and who headed the parliament's finance committee, died today of a heart attack at his home in Baghdad at the age of 71, Al Jazeera reports.
BURNING YOUR PARACHUTE
Sometimes skydiving just isn't enough and you have to get out your flare gun and set fire to your parachute like expand=1] this Arizona flight instructor did. Fortunately, she had a second parachute and landed safely.