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Men dressed as Phi Ta Khon take part in Bangkok's "happiness party" organized by the Thai military.
Men dressed as Phi Ta Khon take part in Bangkok's "happiness party" organized by the Thai military.
Worldcrunch

Friday, July 25, 2014

NO ALGERIAN FLIGHT SURVIVORS
French President François Hollande confirmed in televised comments today that French soldiers reached the wreckage of Algerian Airlines flight AH5017 in Mali, and retrieved one of the plane's two black boxes. None of the 110 passengers and six crew members survived.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told RTL Radio that the government was considering the possibility the plane had been shot down by Islamists who have been fighting French troops in Mali. “We think the plane went down due to weather conditions, but no hypothesis can be excluded as long as we don't have the results of an investigation.” Cazeneuve said. “Terrorist groups are in the zone. ... We know these groups are hostile to Western interests.”

The Telegraph has pieced together heart-breaking details about many of the victims on the flight.

KERRY PROPOSES WEEKLONG GAZA TRUCE, MORE CIVILIAN DEATHS
After more than 800 deaths in Gaza in 18 days of fighting, including a deadly attack on a school yesterday in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is proposing a weeklong humanitarian truce beginning Sunday, The New York Timesreports.

Among the key sticking points: Hamas wants economic blockades on Gaza lifted, while Israel wants to be able to maintain its forces in Gaza during any negotiated ceasefire.

Yesterday’s elementary school attack came after hundreds of Palestinian evacuees seeking shelter in a UN-run school came under heavy fire, leaving 16 people dead and more than 100 wounded. Among the casualties were women, children and infants, The Washington Post reports.

Violence has spread to the West Bank where demonstrations were held in response to the UN school bombing. At least two protesters were killed Thursday night in clashes with Israeli police in Ramallah city, just north of Jerusalem, Al Jazeera reports. Palestinians have called more demonstrations for today.

In an air strike today in Gaza, two women, one of them pregnant, were killed.

Hamas also said today that it had fired three rockets at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport.

International concerns continue to grow over the war’s impact on civilians, which rights groups estimate account for about 80% of the casualties so far. One-quarter of those are children. UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has said it’s “almost impossible" for Palestinians to shelter from Israeli air strikes in the densely populated territory.

SNAPSHOT
Thailand’s military is doing its best to “return happiness to the people” by organizing a six-day street festival in Bangkok.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
Turkish daily Radikal’s Fehim Tastekin reports on the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) in Syria, and what it means for the Assad regime and its opponents in the war-torn country. “The opposition groups hope the new situation will pave the way for more weapons to come their way,” Tastekin writes. “However, the outside supporters of these opposition groups, the United States foremost, wants them to direct all their energy to the battle against ISIS.” Will a rising division among rebels mean less credibility for the Syrian opposition?
Read the full article, From Syria To Iraq, Can Allies Of Circumstance Take Down Jihadists?

A MOTHER IN GAZA
This video captures the emotion of a Palestinian mother, who finds her son in a clinic after thinking he had been killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza.

EUROPE MAY FINALLY GET TOUGH WITH RUSSIA
Amid criticism of its mostly toothless reaction to Russian aggression, European governments decided to “turn the screw on Russia a notch tighter Thursday in response to Moscow's actions in Ukraine,” The Wall Street Journal writes. EU officials are considering sanctions that “would disrupt Russian financing and imports of energy and defense-related products, a significant shift in Europe's approach so far of mainly penalizing individuals.” Read more here.

464
It has been a black week in aviation history, possibly one of the worst in terms of deaths, as 464 people have died in airliner disasters over the past seven days. The question of civilian aviation safety above war zones is the subject of this Süddeutsche Zeitung piece in English via Worldcrunch: MH17, Costs And Consequences Of Open Air Space.

ONE MORE REASON TO AVOID MCNUGGETS
Reuters reports that McDonald’s has stopped selling chicken nuggets in Hong Kong after realizing that its Shanghai supplier, a U.S.-owned company in China, was implicated in a Chinese food scandal. A TV report Sunday showed workers at the company, Shanghai Husi Food, using long-expired meat and using food that had fallen on the floor.

MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
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GECKOS GETTIN’ IT ON IN SPACE
A Russian satellite with five mating geckos, some plant life and insects — all put on board for experimental purposes — has, perhaps not shockingly, ceased responding to mission control, The Washington Report reports. It is unclear if a Barry White CD is on board.

— Crunched by Liz Garrigan.

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Geopolitics

The West Must Face Reality: Iran's Nuclear Program Can't Be Stopped

The West is insisting on reviving a nuclear pact with Iran. However, this will only postpone the inevitable moment when the regime declares it has a nuclear bomb. The only solution is regime change.

Talks to renew the 2015 pact have lasted for 16 months but some crucial sticking points remain.

Hamed Mohammadi

-OpEd-

Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear inspectorate, declared on Sept. 7 that Iran already had more than enough uranium for an atomic bomb. He said the IAEA could no longer confirm that the Islamic Republic has a strictly peaceful nuclear program as it has always claimed because the agency could not properly inspect sites inside Iran.

The Islamic Republic may have shown flexibility in some of its demands in the talks to renew the 2015 nuclear pact with world powers, a preliminary framework reached between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., the U.K., China, Russia, France and Germany). For example, it no longer insists that the West delist its Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. But it has kept its crucial promise that unless Western powers lift all economic sanctions, the regime will boost its uranium reserves and their level of enrichment, as well as restrict the IAEA's access to installations.

Talks to renew the 2015 pact have been going on for 16 months. European diplomacy has resolved most differences between the sides, but some crucial sticking points remain.

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