Xi In The UK, New FIFA Scandal, World's Longest Baguette

XI IN THE UK

Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive in Britain today for his first state visit to the country, a sign of the current "golden era" between London and Beijing, The Guardian reports. In contrast to Xi's recent U.S. visit, which was marked by tensions over cyber security, the two countries are expected to establish closer economic ties, with Britain eager to attract Chinese investment, particularly in its nuclear power plants. Xi's visit, however, comes after news that China registered its slowest growth level in six years during the last quarter — 6.9% — amid growing speculation that the figures are possibly fake.


VERBATIM

"My brother responded to a crisis, and he did it as you would hope a president would do — united the country, he organized the country and he kept us safe," Republican candidate Jeb Bush said yesterday, in an awkward attempt to defend his brother's handling of 9/11, which Donald Trump attacked. The two White House hopefuls have been in a war of words over 9/11 and the Iraq War since Friday, with Trump claiming that his stance on immigration would have prevented the World Trade Center attacks. According to Vox, Trump has found Jeb Bush's greatest weakness.


CANADA VOTES

Canadian voters are called to the polls today in what's shaping up to be a very tight race, as Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper hopes to secure a fourth term in office, The Globe and Mail reports. But Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, could capitalize on the country's thirst for change.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

As Gonul Tol writes for Radikal, Turkish President Erdogan was quick to blame U.S. and French leaders after terror attacks struck those countries, but he has failed to take responsibility for allowing the deadly Ankara attacks to occur. "The judiciary, police, intelligence of this country are all busy keeping track of insults made to Erdogan and his family, columns and messages on social media, while murderers roam free in Diyarbakir, Hatay, Ankara, Mersin and Adana, killing the children of Turkey."

Read the full article, After Ankara: Terrorism, Responsibility And Erdogan's Short Memory.


VIOLENCE CONTINUES IN ISRAEL

An Israeli soldier was killed and 11 people were wounded in an attack last night in Beersheba, Israel, Haaretz reports. The attacker, a 21-year-old bedouin, was shot and killed. In the aftermath of the violence, a security guard tragically shot an innocent Eritrean asylum seeker who was violently attacked by an angry mob believing he was an accomplice. He later died of his wounds.


ON THIS DAY


British novelist and former intelligence officer John le Carré, best known for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, turns 84 today. Check out today's shot of history.


6,000

The number of refugees living in makeshift camps in the infamous "Jungle" in the French city of Calais has doubled in recent weeks to 6,000, Le Figaro reports. According to the region's authorities, their numbers keep growing as tightened security measures have made it more difficult for them to reach the UK. "I do not know what comes next, but 6,000 is the most we can take," an official told Reuters.

For more on this, we offer this Le Monde/Worldcrunch piece, The Anonymous Dead Migrants Of Calais.


MERKEL TO BACK TURKEY'S EU BID

Photo: He Canling/Xinhua/ZUMA

German Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled to Turkey over the weekend and pledged to support the country's bid to join the European Union. She wants to secure the country's help in managing the influx of refugees to the EU, Deutsche Welle reports. But the crisis inside Europe continues. According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, Slovenian police stopped close to 2,000 migrants who were trying to cross from Croatia to enter the Schengen Area.

  • Croatian authorities had reportedly put them on trains bound for Slovenia, despite the country having established clear limits. "Croatia's actions are unacceptable," the Slovenian government said. Slovenia has set a limit of 2,500 asylum seekers per day because Austria, where most of them want to go, will only accept 1,500 daily. Slovenia is now the only route to Europe for migrants stranded in Croatia, after Hungary erected a new fence similar to the one previously created along the border with Serbia, the Budapest Business Journal reports.
  • Meanwhile, Henriette Reker was elected mayor of the German city of Cologne yesterday, one day after being wounded in a knife attack. The assailant, who was later arrested, is said to be a far-right supporter who opposed Reker's pro-refugees stance. Read more about it on Le Blog here.

BLAIR AGREED TO IRAQ INVASION A YEAR AHEAD

A secret U.S. memo found in Hillary Clinton's private email server, which is currently under investigation, shows that then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed a full year in advance to participate in the 2003 Iraq invasion, The Daily Telegraph reports. The memo written in April 2002 by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to President Bush says that "the UK will follow our lead," which suggests Blair lied to the public when he said that he was seeking a diplomatic solution to Saddam Hussein's supposed weapons of mass destruction.


SOUTHERN HEMI RULES AT RUGBY WORLD CUP

The rugby world cup might be happening in Britain, but next weekend's semifinals will be played among Southern Hemisphere nations only for the first time in the history of the competition.


DID GERMANY BUY FIFA 2006 WORLD CUP?

In what could be yet another FIFA corruption scandal, Germany is investigating allegations published in Der Spiegel magazine that the country was chosen to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup after bribing officials.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD

WORLD'S LONGEST BAGUETTE

Meet the latest entry in the Guinness World Records: a 400-foot baguette made by French and Italian bakers at the World's Fair in Milan.

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Geopolitics

Taliban Redux, Cleaned-Up Image Can't Mask Their Cruel Reality

Twenty years later the Islamist group is back in power in Afghanistan, but trying this time to win international support. Now that several months have passed, experts on the ground can offer a clear assessment if the group has genuinely transformed on such issues as women's rights and free speech.

The Taliban have now been in power for almost five months

Atal Ahmadzai and Faten Ghosn

The international community is closely monitoring the Taliban, after the group re-seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

There is legitimate reason for concern. The Taliban are again ruling through fear and draconian rules.

The Taliban’s last regime, in the mid-1990s, was marked by human rights violations, including massacres, mass detentions and rape. The regime collapsed on Nov. 14, 2001, shortly after the U.S. launched its global war on terrorism.

Even after the Taliban officially fell from power, their subsequent two decades of insurgency produced various gross human rights violations, an encompassing term under international human rights law.

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