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Geopolitics

Germany Joy, Gaza Exodus, Darker Than Black

Team captain Philipp Lahm lifts up the World Cup trophy after winning the FIFA World Cup 2014 final soccer game.
Team captain Philipp Lahm lifts up the World Cup trophy after winning the FIFA World Cup 2014 final soccer game.
Worldcrunch

Monday, July 14, 2014

GAZA STRIKES CONTINUE AS OFFENSIVE ENTERS 7TH DAY
The Israeli army continues to launch air strikes in Gaza, while more rockets are fired towards Israel, as the open conflict reaches its seventh day. At least 172 Palestinians are reported killed with more than 1,100 wounded. The United Nations said that 17,000 Gazans had fled their homes, seeking refuge in the organization’s headquarters. The spokesman for the UN’s Relief and Works Agency wrote on Twitter that their compound in Gaza was hit in a strike. Israel shot down a drone which it said came from Gaza, in what Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said was "an example of the continued attempts to target us in any way possible."

The Foreign Minister of the Arab League will meet later today in Cairo for talks “aimed at finding a solution to stop the shedding of Palestinian civilians' blood and to formulate a common Arab stance on the issue," the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Meanwhile, Haaretz reported that the three main suspects in the alleged revenge killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir “will probably claim temporary insanity.”

RUSSIA CONSIDERING “TARGETED STRIKES” ON UKRAINE
Russian authorities are considering launching “targeted strikes’ on Ukraine in response for the shelling of a Russian village yesterday, which was blamed on the Ukrainian army, AFP reports citing Russian media. The country’s Foreign Ministry warned yesterday that the shelling, which killed one man, the first in Russian territory, could have “irreversible consequences.”

The latest developments suggest the situation might escalate further, as the fights in Eastern Ukraine intensified over the weekend. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko meanwhile accused Russia of attacking Ukraine troops and said he would show documented proof that Moscow has been supplying military equipment to separatists in Eastern Ukraine.

GERMAN JOY
Germany won its fourth World Cup title with a 1-0 victory over Argentina. See our collection of newspaper front pages around the world — naturally very different images in Buenos Aires and Berlin.

NO DEAL AS IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS DEADLINE NEARS
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif for a second consecutive day of talks on Monday, amid fears that an agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program won’t be reached before the July 20 deadline. According to a U.S. official, Kerry is trying to “gauge Iran's willingness to make the critical choices it needs to make.” Read more from The Wall Street Journal.

NEW BRICS BANK HQ: DELHI OR SHANGHAI
The leaders of the BRICS countries are to meet in Brazil for the annual meeting, which will start tomorrow, with the creation of a “New Development Bank” as an alternative to the World Bank expected to be high on the agenda. According toThe Indian Express, recently elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will push for the new common bank, which should be initially capitalized at $50 billion, to be headquarted in Delhi. The newspaper warns however that Modi will face “a strong challenge” from China, which is hoping to see the bank’s headquarters in Shanghai. Just a quick reminder of the BRICS countries, in order of the acronym: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa.

COSTA CONCORDIA REFLOATING OP BEGINS
An unprecedented operation to refloat shipwrecked Italian vessel Costa Concordia began this morning, the La Stampa reports. The boat, which capsized off the coast of Italy in January 2012 killing 32 people, will first be raised by 2 meters. This phase is expected to last six or seven days. The vessel will then be towed to the port of Genoa, where it will be scrapped.

FAREWELL
Legendary conductor Lorin Maazel has died at age 84.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
In the Iraqi capital, the jihadist group ISIS is virtually everywhere, Le Monde’s Benjamin Barthe writes: “In the shade of a eucalyptus tree, Abdel Rassoul Mansour is waiting patiently for the women of his family to be done washing the body of his cousin. The 50 year-old taxi driver was shot dead the previous evening as he was coming out of a mosque in Dora, a Sunni district in southern Baghdad. Located in the ‘Triangle of Death,’ where the fights between U.S. troops and al-Qaeda militants were concentrated during the 2000s , the site is locked down by security forces and Shia militias, who think it is infested with sleeping cells of the Islamic State — the jihadist militant group previously known as ISIS. When asked about the murderer of his cousin, Abdel Rassoul gives a wry smile. ‘You know better than me,’ he replies.”
Read the full article, In Baghdad, Shia Militias Strike As Much Fear As ISIS.

VERBATIM
Five-time Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe came out about his sexuality after years of denying he was gay.

HIT IT!
With his raw, dark and diabolical blues, Sweden’s Bror Gunnar Jansson, suspenders over his bow-tied shirt, hair slicked back, seems to be possessed by the same devil that met up with Robert Johnson one night at a Mississippi crossroads. Check him out on our Hit It! feature here.

MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
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DARKER THAN BLACK
Scientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it.

— Crunched by Marc Alves.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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