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ISIS Recruits, NY Homelessness Grows, Scary Clowns Ban

A dragon parade marks the start of the Wat Saket temple fair in Bangkok
A dragon parade marks the start of the Wat Saket temple fair in Bangkok

Friday, October 31, 2014

Months-long talks between Moscow, Kiev and Brussels ended with a deal yesterday for Russia to resume supplying gas to Ukraine at least until March 2015, Reuters reports. The agreement is also good news for EU countries that rely on Russian gas because it ensures that gas supplies via Ukraine are secure. CEO of Russia’s Gazprom also said a discount for Ukraine is also nearly finalized, meaning that gas deliveries could resume as soon as Kiev pays $1.45 billion in debt it owes the Russian company. According to the BBC, the total package is worth $4.6 billion, with money coming from the International Monetary Fund and the EU, which will act as a guarantor for Kiev.

Russia’s central bank is expected to raise its key interest rate in an attempt to support the ruble after weeks of weakening against the dollar.

Grim news keeps coming from eastern Ukraine, where sporadic fights continue around Donetsk. Prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic announced this morning that 286 bodies of women aged between 18 and 25 were discovered, adding that another 400 were still missing in a town previously occupied by government forces. Read more from Ria Novosti.

"I don't want her within three feet of anybody," Maine governor LePage said after nurse Kaci Hickox breached her 21-day Ebola quarantine. He said he would "exercise the full extent of his authority allowable by law" to keep her away from public places.

Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore refused to step down amid protests that saw demonstrators storm the Parliament in the capital Ouagadougou yesterday. The events led the army to declare a state of emergency and create an interim government for the next 12 months. According to the BBC, at least one person was killed in yesterday’s protests, but the main opposition leader claimed that dozens were dead, denouncing a “barbaric escalation of violence” from the country’s security forces. The protests began after Compaore attempted to extend his 27-year rule. He has been accused of killing his close friend and predecessor Thomas Sankara, known as “the African Che Guevara.”

A dragon parade marks the start of the Wat Saket temple fair in Bangkok.

The number of homeless people in New York has risen to 67,810 in 2014, according to a report released Thursday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This contrasts with a general decline of the homeless population across the country, which has dropped by 10% since 2010, when the Obama Administration introduced its "Opening Doors" plan to prevent and end homelesness.

Israeli authorities have reopened the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in response to Arab and U.S. calls for worshippers to be allowed inside the third holiest Muslim site for Friday prayers, Ma’an news agency reports. The decision was also motivated by fears of unrest after Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called for a “Day of Rage” to defend the compound, located on the sensitive Jerusalem site known to the Jews as Temple Mount. Afters weeks of escalation in East Jerusalem, AFP reports that Palestinian youths are ready for a new revolt as they feel abandoned, even from Palestinian institutions. “We only have God on our side,” one young man said.

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U.S. officials believe that more than 1,000 foreign fighters are joining ISIS by crossing into Syria every month, a figure unaffected by more than a month of airstrikes from the U.S.-led coalition, The Washington Post reports. A UN Security Council report obtained by The Guardian shows similar findings and explains that 15,000 soldiers from more than 80 countries have now joined ISIS or similar groups in Syria and Iraq. “Numbers since 2010 are now many times the size of the cumulative numbers of foreign terrorist fighters between 1990 and 2010 — and are growing,” the report says. On the battleground, The Daily Telegraph writes that “for the 9.5 million Syrians — almost half the population — now driven from their homes by the civil war and the threat of regime bombardment, there is no guarantee of safety anywhere inside the country.”

As Jasvinder Sehgal writes for PortalKBR, having a full-bodied moustache has long been a symbol of masculinity for Indian men and once was also an indicator of caste status. In 2010, 61-year-old Ram Singh Chauhan was awarded a Guinness World Record for having the world's longest mustache, which now measures 18 feet long. "I use mustard oil, coconut oil, native butter and almond oil to massage it," he told the journalist. "Often I use olive oil too. The secret of such a long moustache is that I have never used soap to wash it. Instead I use mud."
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Read the full article, Movember Glory: Meet The Indian Man With A 14-Foot Moustache.

The Burma Parliament is reportedly considering a constitutional change that would allow opposition leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to run in next year’s presidential election, according to AFP. The constitution currently bars anyone whose spouse or children are overseas citizens from becoming president, and her two children, like her late husband, are British citizens. Aung San Suu Kyi also met yesterday with current President Thein Sein for unprecedented talks amid calls from Barack Obama, who will visit Burma in two weeks, for “an inclusive and credible process for conducting the 2015 elections.” Read more from The Guardian.

The scary clown trend, which is believed to have started in California, has spread to Europe in recent days, particularly France, where armed pranksters disguised as evil clowns have been terrorizing and beating people in the run-up to Halloween. A small town in southern France has even imposed an “absolute” ban on clown costumes, and some people have begun anti-clown vigilante groups. Here’s a list of the 10 scariest on-screen clowns.

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Is Disney's "Wish" Spreading A Subtle Anti-Christian Message To Kids?

Disney's new movie "Wish" is being touted as a new children's blockbuster to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. But some Christians may see the portrayal of the villain as God-like and turning wishes into prayers as the ultimate denial of the true message of Christmas.

photo of a kid running out of a church

For the Christmas holiday season?

Joseph Holmes

Christians have always had a love-hate relationship with Disney since I can remember. Growing up in the Christian culture of the 1990s and early 2000s, all the Christian parents I knew loved watching Disney movies with their kids – but have always had an uncomfortable relationship with some of its messages. It was due to the constant Disney tropes of “follow your heart philosophy” and “junior knows best” disdain for authority figures like parents that angered so many. Even so, most Christians felt the benefits had outweighed the costs.

That all seems to have changed as of late, with Disney being hit more and more by claims from conservatives (including Christian conservatives) that Disney is pushing more and more radical progressive social agendas, This has coincided with a steep drop at the box office for Disney.

Keep reading...Show less

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