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FIFA Under Fire, New Delhi Fever, Human A.I.

Shimon Peres, Pope Francis and Mahmoud Abbas gathered Sunday for "A Prayer For Peace" in the Vatican garden.
Shimon Peres, Pope Francis and Mahmoud Abbas gathered Sunday for "A Prayer For Peace" in the Vatican garden.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Newly inaugurated Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said violence in the country must end “this week,” as he took part in peace talks with the Russian ambassador to Kiev and a representative for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, theFinancial Times reports. Meanwhile, fighting continued yesterday in the eastern city of Sloviansk and officials from the Russian region of Rostov said that more than 7,300 Ukrainians had crossed the border into Russia on Sunday alone.

Israel President Shimon Peres, Pope Francis and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas gathered Sunday for "A Prayer For Peace" in the Vatican garden. The unprecedented meeting represents hope for a new journey towards peace in the Middle East.

The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for an attack on the airport of the country’s largest city, Karachi, which left at least 28 people dead, including 12 terrorists, after a 12-hour fight, according to The Express Tribune. Some of the gunmen were dressed in army uniform and carried grenades and rocket launchers while at least three others were wearing suicide vests, AFP reports. According to a spokesperson for Pakistan International Airlines, no airline passengers were affected.


At least 14 people were killed and 50 injured after a suicide bomber driving a truck attacked a police checkpoint in northern Iraq this morning, in the latest spate of violence in the country. This comes after a series of attacks across the country left 69 people dead and 99 others injured yesterday. According to the website World Bulletin, Iraqi troops have killed 37 fighters from terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in an operation in the northern city of Mosul.

As Gazeta Wyborcza’s Igor T. Miecik reports, Poland's newly elected European Parliament member Janusz Korwin-Mikke is an offensive, misogynistic and divisive political figure, yet many young people — even young women — are among his unlikely supporters. “The controversial 72-year-old right-wing leader has said the Paralympics were like ‘chess matches for morons,’” the journalist writes. “And there was this one: ‘If you knew something about women, you would realize that men always rape a bit.’ … So what has attracted Poland's young people to an elderly man who is a declared monarchist? The members of the party's youth from Warsaw and Krakow are all different and yet seem remarkably the same. They speak quickly, with an unshakeable self-confidence, and are more than keen to meet a reporter to talk politics.”
Read the full article, How A Controversial 72-Year-Old Seduces Poland's Youth.

Four of FIFA’s main sponsors have called on the football governing body to deal “appropriately” with the ongoing allegations of corruption surrounding the vote that awarded Qatar the 2022 World Cup, Reuters reports. FIFA’s longest serving partner, Adidas, said in a statement that “the negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners.” In a Le Monde/Worldcrunch article, journalist Stéphane Mandard explains that “Qatargate” could be related to an internal fight for power at FIFA.
Former U.S. prosecutor Michael Garcia is due to wrap up his investigation today, with the organization hoping that the scandal won’t overshadow the World Cup in Brazil that begins Thursday. Meanwhile, in São Paulo metro workers enter their fifth strike day today, paralyzing Brazil’s largest city. The state’s governor threatened to dismiss workers who don’t show up to work.

Extremely high temperatures hit India over the weekend, with thermometers hitting a record 47.8 °C (118 °F) in New Delhi, causing energy consumption to surge.

In a statement published online, China’s Foreign Ministry accused Vietnamese vessels of “attempting to break through China's cordon and ramming the Chinese government ships a total of 1,416 times” near a drilling rig in the South China Sea. Last week, Vietnam released a video showing a Chinese ship colliding with a small Vietnamese fishing boat, apparently confirming Hanoi’s version of the May 26 incident. Beijing’s decision to deploy an oil rig in disputed waters sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries as well as anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam, in which four people died.
For more about the dispute, we offer this Caixin/Worldcrunch piece, Vietnam Will Pay A Price For Its Anti-Chinese Violence.

Meet Eugene Goostman, the first computer program to have duped enough humans over its true nature to pass the Turing Test, an achievement that some critics warn could be used for cybercrime.

Donald Fauntleroy Duck turns 80 today, which will give you a great excuse to rewatch some of his best cartoons.

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Migrant Lives

A Train Journey With Bengal Migrants Looking For A Living Far Away

Finding a seat on the Karmabhoomi Express is close to impossible. A closer look at why so many migrant workers travel on it, and out of Bengal, offers a grim picture.

image of a train

The Karmabhoomi Express runs from Kamakhya to Mumbai in a 3 day journey.

India Rail Info
Joydeep Sarkar

WEST BENGAL — Welcome aboard the 22512 Kamakhya-LTT Karmabhoomi Express — a metaphor, if any, of the acuteness of Bengal’s unemployment problem.

It is 10.28 pm at north Bengal’s Alipurduar Junction and the crowd has swollen to its peak. This is when the Karmabhoomi Express appears at the station. It is bound for Mumbai. Finding a seat on it is close to impossible. It is always chock full and there are always hundreds struggling to get a spot in the unreserved general compartment.

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