Tuesday, June 24, 2014
ISIS CLAIMS CAPTURE OF IRAQ OIL REFINERY
Jihadist group ISIS has claimed to have taken control of Iraq’s biggest oil refinery in Baiji, after it offered hundreds of Iraqi soldiers safe passage if they laid down their weapons, Al Jazeera reports. But Iraq’s foreign minister rejected the claims, and New York Times journalist C.J. Chivers quoted an army officer as saying the battle was still unfolding. According to AFP, the Iraqi air force launched air raids around the refinery, killing at least 19 people, including civilians.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held a one-hour meeting with the leaders of Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan. According to The Boston Globe, Kerry urged them to keep taking part in the national political process amid growing rhetoric that the Kurds should seek an independent state.
PEACE TALKS, CEASEFIRE TENSION IN UKRAINE
Volunteers in Kiev said goodbye to loved onesbefore being sent to eastern Ukraine to join the ranks of special battalion Azov. Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma led talks Monday to help end fighting in eastern Ukraine, bringing together the Russian ambassador, pro-Russian rebel leaders and European officials. The negotiations are part of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's peace plan, which started with a unilateral cease-fire Friday to stop the mutiny that has engulfed the nation's industrial east.
Separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine fired grenade launchers and mortar on a military post near Sloviansk despite rebel leaders agreeing to a ceasefire until Friday, a Ukrainian military spokesman claimed. Speaking to Reuters, Vladyslav Seleznyov said “yesterday during the day and in the evening they fired on our positions." In a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama urged Moscow to stop the flow of weapons to Ukraine, threatening to impose further sanctions. Putin, who has repeatedly denied that Russia was arming the rebels, insisted that Kiev must put an end to its military operation and seek dialogue. Read more from USA Today.
MORE ABDUCTIONS IN NIGERIA
At least 91 people, most of them married women and young girls, were abducted by suspected Boko Haram gunmen in villages in northeastern Nigeria, near where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped two months ago, Vanguard reports. The Nigerian army announced yesterday that more than 70 Boko Haram members had been killed in air raids.
As fans worldwide prepare to mark the five-year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death Wednesday, reports show that the King of Pop's estate has earned over $700 million since the "Thriller" singer's untimely death in 2009.
EBOLA VIRUS “OUT OF CONTROL”
The organization Doctors Without Borders says the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa is now “out of control” and that they are “no longer able to send teams to the new outbreak sites.” The charity warns that “with the appearance of new sites in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, there is a real risk of it spreading to other areas.” Last week, the World Health Organization said it had identified 528 cases, with 337 deaths since the epidemic began this year. Ebola is a deadly virus that can kill up to 90% of those infected.
Juliano Alves Pinto hadn't walked since a 2006 car accident. Then two weeks ago, the world watched as he wore a mind-controlled exoskeleton to make the opening kick of the World Cup in Brazil. Now a wheelchair-racing athlete, Pinto spoke with Folha De S. Paulo’s Ramon Barbosa Franco. “The exoskeleton receives information from the brain and transforms it into movements,” Pinto told the journalist. “This was the first prototype, which means that the World Cup opening ceremony wasn’t the end of the exoskeleton, but only the beginning. There is more to do, but the symbolic kickoff marked the opening of a new era in science.”
Read the full interview, Meet The World Cup's Exoskeleton Miracle Athlete.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
RESCUED SOUTH KOREANS TO TESTIFY
The high school students rescued from the South Korean ferry that sank on April 16 are scheduled to testify in court today at the murder trial of the ship’s captain and crew members, Yonhap news agency reports. Earlier today, divers recovered one body from the sunken ferry after two weeks of unsuccessful searches. Eleven bodies are still missing, with the official death toll standing at 293.
Apple will begin producing two larger iPhone models for a possible release in September, Bloomberg quotes insiders as saying.
A SONG OF JAZZ AND FIRE
We all love the Game of Thrones theme song, but could this expand=1] jazzy version of the epic tune be even better than the original?