Friday, June 6, 2014
D-DAY COMMEMORATIONS TODAY
This morning, French President François Hollande launched commemorations for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, describing the Normandy landings as a day that “began in chaos and fire, would end in blood and tears, tears and pain, tears and joy at the end of 24 hours that changed the world.” Speaking alongside him, U.S. President Barack Obama honored veterans, praising those who "gave so much for the survival of liberty at its maximum peril." America’s claim to liberty “is written in blood on these beaches, and it will endure for eternity,” Obama said.
Today’s newspapers are filled with coverage of D-Day, but a particularly notable piece comes fromThe New York Times, which published the poignant memories of four veterans who recall their experiences on the longest day.
Former WWII paratrooper Frederick Glover, 88, of the 9th Parachute Battalion from Brighton watches a landing by paratroopers in Ranville, Normandy, during events commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
MORE UKRAINE VIOLENCE
Fighting in eastern Ukraine is continuing, with attacks by separatists on border posts, which were repelled by air strikes, killing 15 pro-Russians. Ukrainian troops have reportedly resumed artillery strikes around Sloviansk one day before the planned inauguration of President Petro Poroshenko. He has vowed to immediately present “a plan for the peaceful resolution of the situation in the east.” Yesterday, Obama said he had urged France to "press the pause button" on delivering two helicopter carriers to Russia, but French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius replied this morning on Twitter: "The contracts were agreed in 2011, they represent many jobs and they will be carried out."
A Russian poll conducted last month suggests 71% of Russians have negative feelings towards the U.S., the highest figure since such polls started in 1990.
As Sylvie Barot and Andrew Knapp write for Le Monde, an estimated 2,500 French civilians were killed during the first 24 hours that followed the dawn of D-Day. “Most were killed by Allied bombs,” they write. “Hundreds lost their lives in Caen, Saint-Lô, Lisieux, Condé-sur-Noireau, Vire, Flers, and Argentan — towns devastated by rains of fire and steel. “... The Allies' bombing of France is still remembered, and with good reason, by those who lived it as an indelible trauma, by the descendants of victims and by regional historians. But it is still too often marginalized in the ‘grand narrative’ of France's dark years under Nazi occupation from 1940 until the end of the war.”
Read the full article, Innocent French Civilians, D-Day's Forgotten Victims.
SEATTLE UNIVERSITY SHOOTING
One student was killed and at least two others were wounded after a gunman opened fire late yesterday afternoon at Seattle Pacific University, before being pepper-sprayed by a student while reloading his weapon, The Seattle Times reports. The suspect was arrested by the police and questioned, but his motive is still unclear.
Meanwhile in Canada, the police arrested a suspected gunman who killed three police officers Wednesday.
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
AFRICAN MIGRANTS DROWN
Sixty migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia and two Yemeni crew members drowned last week in “the largest single loss of life this year of migrants and refugees attempting to reach Yemen,” AFP quotes the United Nations’ Refugee Agency as saying. The news comes as Italy announced it had rescued more than 2,500 migrants from 17 boats since early Thursday.
WHY SLEEP IS GOOD FOR MEMORY
A team of researchers in China and the U.S. have discovered that the reason why sleep improves learning and memory formation is that the brain forms new connections between neurons while we sleep.
$16 BILLION BNP PARIBAS FINE
Sources close to negotiations between U.S. authorities and BNP Paribas told Reuters that the former are considering a record penalty of $16 billion on France’s largest bank over its evasion of U.S. sanctions. The figure is $6 billion more than previously expected. In an article translated and published by Worldcrunch, French business daily Les Échos wrote that the fine was “a declaration of war” and that the figure amounted “to the proverbial nuclear option.”
ITALY’S SINGING NUN WINS THE VOICE
Suor Cristina, Italy’s singing nun who became a worldwide sensation after performing expand=1] Alicia Keys’ "No One" and Bon Jovi’s "Livin’ expand=1] on a Prayer" on the Italian version of The Voice, won the television contest yesterday and a record contract with Universal Music. "My presence here is not up to me. It's thanks to the man upstairs!" she said after her victory.