Monday, June 30, 2014
ISIS DECLARES CALIPHATE IN IRAQ AND SYRIA
Jihadist group ISIS has renamed itself “Islamic State” and declared the areas it occupies in Syria and the territories conquered in recent weeks in Iraq as an Islamic “Caliphate,” promising “a new era of international jihad.” According to The Independent, the move “has huge ideological and theological significance,” as it tries to establish the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, proclaimed Caliph, as “the spiritual leader of all Islam.” The Iraqi army meanwhile remains engaged in fights in the city of Tikrit, as second-hand Russian planes arrived in Iraq.
CALLS TO EXTEND CEASEFIRE IN UKRAINE
Russia, Germany and France have called on Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko to extend for a second time a temporary ceasefire due to expire tonight, Deutsche Welle reports. Despite the truce, fights seem to be ongoing in Eastern Ukraine with five Ukrainian soldiers killed and 17 injured in the last 24 hours, according to an army spokesman. Meanwhile, Moscow launched a criminal case over the killing of a cameraman from a Russian state broadcaster reporting from Donetsk.
DOZENS DEAD AS GUNMEN ATTACK CHURCHES IN NIGERIA
Suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed at least 51 people in northeastern Nigeria yesterday, in another violent attack during which they set fire to five churches and several houses, Vanguard reports.
Read more about today’s Snapshot of the World, featuring this amazing shot of the Gay Pride Parade in Caracas, Venezuela.
RECORD FINE FOR FRENCH BANK
BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank (and by some measures No. 4 in world) has reportedly accepted terms to pay a record $8.9 billion fine, and is expected to plead guilty to accusations that it broke U.S. economic sanctions against Sudan, Iran and Cuba, the Financial Times reveals. The U.S. Justice department is due to announce the settlement today.
Just a slap? Argentina is the patriarchal latecomer to basic norms to outlaw any physical violence inflicted on children, according to daily Clarin: “Argentine parents of all socio-economic and educational backgrounds continue, even today, to see hitting their children as part of their day-to-day education. The kid won't clear his or her toys, eat, bathe or sleep. That may first to lead to shouting, which often winds up with some form of physical reaction.
Read the full article, Argentina's Old Ideas On Child Discipline.
PISTORIUS, NO MENTAL ILLNESS
The murder trial of South African paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius resumed this morning in Pretoria, after his month-long mental health evaluation. Presenting their report, medical experts said that “Mr Pistorius did not suffer from a mental illness” and that he “was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act,” according to The Times. This means that he was criminally responsible for his actions on Valentine’s Day in 2013, when he allegedly murdered his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
FACEBOOK USERS AS LAB RATS
Revelations that Facebook carried out a vast psychological experiment, which consisted in secretly filtering the news feeds of almost 700,000 people to expose them to either positive or negative posts to study a phenomenon called "emotional contagion," has led to angry reactions around the world. Upon learning that the move could actually change people’s moods, some even asked whether the manipulation could be used for political gain before elections or to boost ad revenue. Read more from The Guardian.
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
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23,000 SQ MILES
For the first time, Indonesia has overtaken Brazil as the country with the most forest losses.
Soul music legend Bobby Womack has died at age 70.
Australian astronomers have discovered an exoplanet they named Gliese 832c, which is among the most Earth-like planets found so far. Plus, it’s just 16 light-years away.