Wednesday, December 3, 2014
DID IRAN STRIKE ISIS IN IRAQ?
Iran denied claims made by Al Jazeera and confirmed by the Pentagon that Tehran’s warplanes had launched strikes against ISIS in eastern Iran. Reuters reports that the unnamed senior Iranian official also said that “any cooperation in such strikes with America is also out of question for Iran.” Iraq’s Interior Ministry meanwhile also denied yesterday’s reports that a wife of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was being detained in Lebanon, saying instead that the woman is in fact the sister of a man convicted of bombings in southern Iraq.
UN CONVOY ATTACKED IN SOMALIA
A new attack believed to have been carried out by the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab targeted a UN convoy near the airport in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, killing at least four people, AFP reports. Following the group’s recent deadly attacks in neighboring Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta replaced his interior minister and police chief. But opposition leaders have urged Kenyatta to “perform his duty” or resign, according to newspaper The Nation.
UKRAINIAN P.M. REVEALS NUCLEAR ‘ACCIDENT’
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said a recent accident had occurred at the Zaporizhye nuclear power plant in the southeast part of the country, Reuters reports. Yatsenyuk offered few details, indicating that the incident was more of a threat to Ukraine’s ongoing energy problems than to the health of nearby residents, and called on the energy minister to hold a news conference. History’s worst nuclear power accident, measured in both costs and casualties, occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in northern Ukraine.
And more disturbing predictions from another scientific field, as Professor Stephen Hawking is warning us of the danger of creating "thinking machines."
Swiss daily Le Temps reports on an unusual global “convention” held secretly last month in Geneva. “The three-day meeting convened by Geneva Call was discreet enough that it wasn't reported on until days later, once the participants had already left Switzerland...the only real possible location for such a complicated encounter, as it is the only Western country that has not listed any of these groups as terrorist organizations.”
Read the full article: Inside Geneva's Secret "Guerrilla Convention."
Some 700 frames, each filled with dozens of stamps from more than 300 international collectors, are on display at the world’s biggest stamp exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.
ISRAEL TO VOTE IN MARCH
Early elections in Israel have been fixed for March 17. The national vote was triggered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to fire two top minister from centrist parties after days of escalating tensions inside his coalition, The Jerusalem Post reports. The daily Haaretz writes that the vote will be tantamount to a referendum on Netanyahu and whether he should be allowed to continue as the country’s leader for a fourth term.
Tzipi Livni, who was fired from her post of Justice Minister yesterday, reacted to the upcoming election by saying that it’s “a problem that the Prime Minister lies” and accused him of being “hysterical and afraid.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he hoped that whatever government is formed will “negotiate and move towards resolving the differences between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Following in the recent footsteps of other Western countries like Sweden and Spain, the French lower house of Parliament passed yesterday a non-binding vote urging the government to recognize a Palestinian state. Israel’s Foreign Ministry criticized the symbolic vote, arguing that it “will only distance the chances of reaching an agreement” between both parties.
Bobby Keys, the Texas-born musician best known as the main saxophone player for the Rolling Stones, died Tuesday at age 70.
HONG KONG PROTEST LEADERS SURRENDER, RELEASED
The three co-founders of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central movement and dozens of their supporters have been released without charges by the police after they surrendered as planned, the South China Morning Post reports. Opponents of the protest movement waited for the three activists outside the police station when they surrendered and booed them, chanting “go to jail immediately! Rubbish! Shameless! Sinners!”
Christmas came early this year: Amazon mistakenly delivered $5,600-worth of gifts to a 22-year-old British student. He may keep everything.
EGYPT CONDEMNS 188 TO DEATH
A criminal court in Giza, Egypt, has condemned 188 alleged Muslim Brotherhood members to death, sentencing them over the deadly attack of a police station outside Cairo in August 2013, Mada Masr reports. As by Egyptian law, the Grand Mufti, the highest Muslim authority in the country, will have the last word on the death sentences. The final verdict will be pronounced on January 24, after which defendants will have the possibility to appeal. The sentences came hours after the country’s public prosecutor announced he would appeal Saturday’s decision to drop charges against former President Hosni Mubarak, his Interior Minister and six of his aides.
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
ANTARCTICA MELT RATE ACCELERATING
The melt rate of glaciers in the fastest-melting region of Antarctica is three times higher than it was just a decade ago, a 21-year study by NASA and the California Institute of Technology reveals.
THE ONLY UN
Kim Jong-un doesn’t like namesakes. In the latest show of what is perhaps the pinnacle of the North Korean leader’s cult of personality, a South Korean official said that Pyongyang had forbidden anybody from using Kim Jong-un’s name.