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Iran prays on 25th anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's death.
Iran prays on 25th anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's death.
Worldcrunch

Thursday, June 5, 2014

G7 THREATENS MORE RUSSIA SANCTIONS
Leaders of the G7 are meeting today in Brussels, and the unrest in Ukraine is expected to be high on the agenda, the BBC reports. Because Russia was kicked out of the G8, Russian President Vladimir Putin is not attending the meeting. He will nevertheless meet with some of the leaders in Paris ahead of tomorrow’s D-Day commemorations, but not with U.S. President Barack Obama. In a statement released yesterday, the G7 condemned “continuing violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” and said it was ready to “intensify targeted sanctions.” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev replied this morning, “The so-called G7 even dares to talk about the ‘restrained actions’ of the Ukrainian army against its own people. Cynicism knows no limit in this case.”

SNAPSHOT
An Iranian woman prays during a mass ceremony at Jamaran Mosque in northern Tehran to mark 25 years since the death of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

PAKISTAN DRONE KILLINGS INVESTIGATION
The Islamabad High Court in Pakistan ordered the police to investigate murder allegations against former CIA station chief Jonathan Banks, who is accused of being involved in a 2009 drone strike that killed innocent family members of a U.S. target, local TV station Dunya News reports. According to British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, human rights campaigners welcomed the decision, which they say could “pave the way for dozens more cases to be brought against the U.S.”

200,000 EUROS
International news agencies have accused French television broadcasters TF1 and France Television of commercializing D-Day commemorations for charging 200,000 euros to access tomorrow’s event coverage.

INTRODUCING NEGATIVE INTEREST RATES
The European Central Bank is expected to announce drastic moves in a bid to boost eurozone growth, amid concerns over low inflation and the strength of the single currency, Deutsche Welle explains. One of the bank’s boldest moves will be to introduce negative interest rates on deposits, meaning that banks would have to pay to keep money at the central bank instead of receiving interest. The ECB hopes it will encourage banks to lend more and help the eurozone recover from the financial crisis.

FAREWELL
Chester Nez, the last of the 29 Navajo "Code Talkers" recruited during World War II to develop secret wartime communication based on their native language, has died in New Mexico at the age of 93.

ISRAEL TO BUILD 1,500 NEW SETTLEMENTS
Israel’s Housing Ministry announced plans to build another 1,500 settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, in a move that Minister Uri Ariel said was a response to the formation of a Palestinian unity government between Hamas and Fatah. “I congratulate the decision to give a proper Zionist response to the establishment of the Palestinian terror cabinet,” Haaretz quotes Ariel as saying. But Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said the decision was counterproductive, as it would “only make it more difficult for us to rally world support against Hamas.” According to The Jerusalem Post, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro expressed Washington’s disapproval, but said that the U.S. “will not work with a government in which Hamas sits.” Meanwhile, the Australian government is coming under intense criticism from its opposition after it condemned the description of East Jerusalem as an “occupied” territory, operating what The Sydney Morning Herald describes as a “dramatic shift.”

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD


ASSAD WINS SYRIAN ELECTION
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was re-elected for a third term in office, gathering 88.7% of the vote in the country’s presidential election, which Western countries branded as a sham.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
Le Monde’s Brice Pedroletti makes a visit to southern China, where there is a movement afoot to openly challenge the Communist regime. Twenty-five years after the Tiananmen Square protest was crushed, it remains a risky affair. “Created in 2011, the Nanfang Street Movement is a real manifestation of democratic rumblings on Chinese social networks, which for a long time were powerless to transform virtual anger into ground action,” the journalist writes. “Our approach is to make the switch from the Internet to the real world," movement co-founder Wang Aizhong tells the reporter. “We want to ward off the fear of taking to the streets. We show people what we do so they'll tell themselves that it's possible.”
Read the full article, The Nanfang Street Movement, Heirs To Tiananmen.

EBOLA KILLS 200 IN GUINEA
According to figures released by the UN’s World Health Organization, at least 328 cases of ebola have been reported in Guinea, and 208 of those infected with the highly contagious virus have died. Neighboring countries Sierra Leone and Liberia are also affected, with over 90 cases in total. “There is no known cure for ebola, which kills up to 90 percent of those who contract the virus,” Al Jazeera writes.

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
Celebrate the 41st World Environment Day by planning your organic vegetable garden or swearing off bottled water for good. And consider reviewing this semi-ironic list of other ways to help.

REWRITING GAME OF THRONES
If you’re a Game Of Thrones fan and wish to erase the end of last Sunday’s episode from your memory, check expand=1] out this alternate version.

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Green

Did Climate Change Cause The Fall Of The Ming Dynasty?

In the mid-17th century, the weather in China got colder. The frequency of droughts and floods increased while some regions were wiped out by tragic famines. And the once-unstoppable Ming dynasty began to lose power.

Ming dynasty painted ceremonial warriors

Gabriel Grésillon

The accounts are chilling. In the summary of his course on modern Chinese history at the Collège de France, Pierre-Etienne Will examined journals held by various individuals, often part of the Chinese administration, during the final years of the Ming dynasty. These autobiographical writings were almost always kept secret, but they allow us to immerse ourselves in the everyday life of the first half of 17th-century China.

In the Jiangnan region, close to Shanghai and generally considered as a land of plenty, the 1640s did not bode well. The decade that had just ended was characterized by an abnormally cold and dry climate and poor harvests. The price of agricultural goods kept rising, pushing social tension to bursting points.

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