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Headway In Hong Kong, Dilma Selfie, Subway Fail

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff in campaign mode
Brazil President Dilma Rousseff in campaign mode

Australia has become the latest country to join the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS. Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s cabinet approved Iraq strikes against the group, the BBC reports. The Turkish parliament also voted yesterday to send troops to Iraq and Syria, and to allow foreign forces to use its territory for operations. But Euronews reports that the terrorist group’s advance towards the Syrian border town of Kobani is so far unaffected by the strikes.

According to the United Nations, more than 5,500 people have been killed since the June start of the ISIS offensive in Iraq, more than half of the total number of victims in the country since the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, the situation in Libya continues to deteriorate, three years after the country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled. According to the BBC, 29 Libyan soldiers were killed yesterday and another 60 were wounded in two car bombings and clashes with Islamist militias in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The last televised debate before Sunday’s first round of the Brazilian presidential election saw some heated exchanges between the candidates, as the latest polls show incumbent Dilma Rousseff ahead with a solid lead. Rousseff came under fire, including from her main rival in the race, Marina Silva, over a corruption scandal allegedly involving members of her government and state-owned oil giant Petrobras. "No one is immune to corruption,” newspaper Folha de S. Paulo quoted Rousseff as saying. She argued that those cases were coming to light only because she has “combated” corruption. “There are corrupt people everywhere, but institutions must be capable of ensuring that all crimes are investigated and punished." Read more in English from AP.

After a week of protests, pro-democracy demonstrators accepted Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying offer of talks, but they are still demanding his resignation, AP reports. Government offices have been closed for the day in the main protest area as barricades prevented civil servants from getting inside the buildings. According to the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, anti-protest sentiments are growing among residents and business owners, as the protesters’ spirit is dampened by heavy rains and increasing clashes.

J.P. Morgan has said that about 76 million households have been affected by this summer's cybersecurity attack on the bank. The breach, first revealed in August, stole customers' contact information — names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses — but did not take account information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers or passwords.

Here I am, alive.” Terrorist group Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau denied Nigerian army claims that he'd been killed, Nigeria's Guardian newspaper reports.

An American cameraman working for NBC in Liberia has tested positive for the Ebola virus and will be flown back to the U.S. for treatment, the network explained on its website. The freelance worker had been hired on Tuesday and came down with symptoms just one day later. This comes amid news that up to 100 people may have been in direct or indirect contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed in the U.S. Four people close to him have been placed in quarantine. Liberian authorities, meanwhile, announced that Duncan will be prosecuted when he returns to Liberia for allegedly lying in an airport questionnaire about whether he had been in contact with the virus. Read more from USA Today.

From Süddeutsche Zeitung comes this hour-by-hour account of the emergencies, medical and otherwise, that crop up at Germany’s Oktoberfest when all the beer-drinking and dirndl-chasing go too far. “At the back entrance a surgeon, an orthopedist and a cardiologist wait for new patients to be brought to them,” journalist Anna Fischhaber writes. “All three have been working here for three years, and they know all the horror stories: about the American who bit off his girlfriend’s whole lower lip” and about what happened just yesterday: the tongue that had to be disentangled from some braces. "It’s great working here. There’s always something going on," a young doctor tells the newspaper. "Personally, I only go to Oktoberfest before 8 p.m. After that it’s just too dangerous."
Read the full article, Achtung! How Oktoberfest Looks From The First-Aid Station.

As many as 16 people are still missing after the eruption of Japan’s Mount Ontake, with searches still hampered by heavy rain and the volcano’s poisonous fumes, The Japan Times reports. Already, 47 bodies have been recovered, but ash up to half-a-meter thick around the peak has raised fears that more bodies may be entombed there.

Halloween is coming, and apparently we all need to keep dieting to fit into sexy costumes. Oh sorry, not all of us — just women. Or so says Subway in the chain’s latest advert. The big question here is whether this will inspire another South Park episode mocking the company.

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A Refuge From China's Rat Race: The Young People Flocking To Buddhist Monasteries

Unemployment, stress in the workplace, economic difficulties: more and more young Chinese graduates are flocking to monasteries to find "another school of life."

Photograph of a girl praying at a temple during Chinese Lunar New Year. She is burning incense.

Feb 20, 2015 - Huaibei, China - Chinese worshippers pray at a temple during the Lunar New Yeat

Frédéric Schaeffer

JIAXING — It's already dawn at Xianghai Temple when Lin, 26, goes to the Hall of 10,000 Buddhas for the 5:30 a.m. prayer.

Still half-asleep, the young woman joins the monks in chanting mantras and reciting sacred texts for an hour. Kneeling, she bows three times to Vairocana, also known as the Great Sun Buddha, who dominates the 42-meter-high hall representing the cosmos.

Before grabbing a vegetarian breakfast in the adjacent refectory, monks and devotees chant around the hall to the sound of drums and gongs.

"I resigned last October from the e-commerce company where I had been working for the past two years in Nanjing, and joined the temple in January, where I am now a volunteer in residence," explains the young woman, soberly dressed in black pants and a cream linen jacket.

Located in the city of Jiaxing, over a hundred kilometers from Shanghai, in eastern China, the Xianghai temple is home to some 20 permanent volunteers.

Unlike Lin, most of them only stay for a couple days or a few weeks. But for Lin, who spends most of her free time studying Buddhist texts in the temple library, the change in her life has been radical. "I used to do the same job every day, sometimes until very late at night, writing all kinds of reports for my boss. I was exhausted physically and mentally. I felt my life had no meaning," she says.

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