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Wilfires still rage in California's San Diego County
Wilfires still rage in California's San Diego County
Worldcrunch

Friday, May 16, 2014

UN WARNING ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN EASTERN UKRAINE
In its monthly report on the Ukrainian crisis, the United Nations warned of an “alarming deterioration” in eastern regions of the country, the BBC reports. The organization denounces violent attacks on “peaceful demonstrations, primarily by supporters of Ukraine's unity,” adding that local police forces did nothing to prevent those attacks or sided with pro-Russian militants. The reaction from Moscow came promptly, with the Russian Foreign Ministry accusing the UN of “double standards” and of “carrying out a political order to whitewash” the actions of the Kiev government.

VERBATIM
“India has won,” Indian opposition leader and prime minister candidate Narendra Modi tweeted today after it became clear his party won a landslide victory against the ruling Indian National Congress party. The INC, led by the Gandhi family, looks to have registered their worst-ever performance in the country’s general election, The Indian Express reports.
For more about the reasons behind the collapse of the Congress party and the toppling of the Gandhi dynasty, we offer this
Le Monde/Worldcrunch piece, Why India's Gandhi Dynasty May Be About To Crumble.

SNAPSHOT
San Diego County, California, has been battling an unprecedented number of wildfires over the past three days, and possible arson is being investigated. See our Snapshot here.

18 MINERS IN TURKEY STILL MISSING
Eighteen workers are still missing and believed to be trapped in Soma, Turkey three days after a fire caused a mine to collapse, killing at least 284 people, Hurriyet quoted Energy Minister Taner Yildiz as saying. According to the BBC, 122 miners were injured in the incident and 363 managed to escape safely. The mine’s operator denied any negligence, although it admitted that there was no refuge chamber in the mine, which could have saved lives. “Legally, we don't have an obligation to build a refuge chamber. But we would have completed it in three-four months if this accident hadn’t happened," the company’s chief said. More controversy is piling up on Prime Minister Erdogan after he was accused of having slapped a protester during his visit to the site.

$25
Switzerland could soon boast the world’s highest minimum wage, as the country is scheduled to vote Sunday on a referendum that would guarantee workers a minimum $25 an hour.

CHINA AND VIETNAM MINISTERS TO MEET
The Chinese and Vietnamese commerce ministers will meet later today to discuss ongoing anti-Chinese riots, which Beijing says left at least two Chinese people dead and more than 100 injured, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, China’s state-run newspaper Global Times reportedly wrote that a “forced war would convince some countries of China’s sincerely peaceful intentions,” as protesters also demonstrated in the Philippine capital of Manila. A Chinese official, however, said that Beijing would continue drilling for oil in disputed waters of the South China Sea.

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD

BRAZIL PROTESTS AHEAD OF WORLD CUP
Thousands of anti-World Cup protesters gathered in Brazil’s main cities yesterday, clashing with police in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo just 27 days before the competition’s kick-off, O Globoreports. In São Paulo, where about 1,200 people were demonstrating, eight were arrested after a small group attacked shops and bank branches and threw stones at police officers, who replied with tear-gas, Folha de São Paulo reports.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
As Le Monde’s Alain Salles writes, European politicians have been hailing an economic uptick in the troubled Greek economy, but Greeks themselves have yet to see any real signs of rebound. “In the streets of Athens, this so-called success story doesn’t seem to be trickling down to the people,” the journalist writes. “The unemployment rate is slightly decreasing, but a staggering 26.5% of the workforce and 57% of young people are still unemployed. A quarter of residents are excluded from public health care, and poverty affects 23.7% of the total population.
Read the full article,
The Myth Of The Greek Recovery.

ISRAELI SANCTIONS AGAINST PALESTINE
Israel has launched financial sanctions against Palestinian banks, preventing them from making deposits in shekels, the Israeli currency, in its banks in response to the collapse of peace talks, Haaretzreports. This comes after the Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem and the West Bank were hit by power cuts, following a decision from the state-owned Israel Electric Corporation to cut electricity supplies by half twice a day. The newspaper explains, however, that Israeli settlements are unaffected because they were provided with generators.

LIKE A BIRD
Some people aren’t scared of pulling crazy stunts. Check out this expand=1] incredible video of paragliding pilot Dave Edwards around New Zealand’s Mount Maunganui.

BUZZ KILL
If Zeppelin ripped off “Stairway to Heaven,” Businessweek just destroyed your teenage memories.

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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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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