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Kharkiv Mayor Shot, Midwest Tornadoes, Banana Throw

Jerusalem stands still on Holocaust Remembrance Day
Jerusalem stands still on Holocaust Remembrance Day

The Mayor of Ukraine’s northeastern city of Kharkiv, Gennady Kernes, was shot in the back and admitted to a hospital where “doctors are fighting for his life,” The Kyiv Post reports. It is unclear who shot him, with the newspaper explaining that although Kernes was a supporter of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, he has since “flip-flopped under pressure from EuroMaidan activists and the new Kiev government in order to remain in office.” RT journalist Irina Galushko wrote on Twitter that Kernes had “enemies on both sides.” Yesterday, RT reported that “peaceful anti-government” demonstrators clashed with violent football fans in the city, leaving 14 injured.

  • This came after news that pro-Russian gunmen had seized the police headquarters and the town hall in the eastern town of Kostyantynivka after another group of unarmed protesters in Donetsk stormed the Regional State Broadcasting Company to complain of media bias. According to The Kyiv Post, the protesters were “non-violent” and an agreement was eventually reached, with the organization agreeing to “more voice to those who support a referendum to break away from Ukraine.”

  • U.S. President Barack Obama said that new sanctions against Russian individuals and companies would be announced later today, warning that “we don't yet know whether it’s going to work.” Meanwhile in Kiev, acting President Olexandr Turchynov signed a bill approved by Parliament earlier this month that declares Crimea an “occupied territory.”

An Egyptian court in Minya sentenced to death all 683 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi who were on trial, including the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, after finding them guilty of murdering a police officer and attacking both police and public property, Al Jazeera reports. The court also upheld the death sentences of 37 of the 529 people convicted in March, while the others saw their sentences lowered to 25 years in prison. The death sentences must, however, be approved by Egypt’s Grand Mufti, the highest Islamic law official.

“If you don't have Internet order, how can you have Internet freedom?” China's Communist Party newspaper The People’s Dailywrote Monday, defending the government’s decision to pull four U.S. television shows from Chinese video sites. Read more here.

At least 17 people have died after several fierce tornadoes swept across the central and southern United States, leaving many buildings destroyed and tens of thousands without power. The states of Arkansas, where at least 16 have died, and Oklahoma were the worst hit, but the tornadoes also touched down in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri. According to The Weather Channel, the outbreak of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes is expected to last through Wednesday. Speaking from the Philippines, President Barack Obama offered his deepest condolences to the victims and said federal emergency officials would work with local officials. “Your country will be there to help you recover and rebuild, as long as it takes,” AP reported him as saying.

As Tomasz Kwasniewski reports for Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, so-called “laughter yoga” is, well, a thing, and it’s giving people an important and healthy outlet in an increasingly complicated world. “Laughing oxygenates your body, it shifts your energy and opens you up,” the journalist quotes one enthusiast as saying. “But when they do, they are relieved.” Read the full article, Laughter Yoga, Seriously.

Israelis solemnly stand bowing their heads to remember Holocaust victims. A two-minute siren pierces the silence in the whole country, marking Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day.

At least 22 people, including three members of Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), were killed in an attack carried out by Muslim Seleka rebels on Saturday in the Central African Republic, France 24 reports. According to a former local MP, the gunmen entered the MSF-run clinic looking for money and opened fire on local village chiefs, killing 15 of them. This comes as 1,200 Muslims were escorted by peacekeepers out of the capital city Bangui, where they had been trapped by Christian groups. The United Nations said earlier this year they believed that almost 1 million people — more than one-fifth of the country’s population — had fled their homes since the violence began in March 2013.

This is the number of demonstrations policed by Greek authorities in four years, since austerity measures were introduced by the government in May 2010.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has officially declared his re-election candidacy for the planned June 3 election in Syria, AP reports. At least four others have already submitted their applications to run in the election, state-backed news agency Sana reported. The fights, however, continue on the battleground, with 28 civilians killed in rebel mortar strikes, including 24 in the northern city of Aleppo alone. In a scathing report, the BBC says it “witnessed the devastating effects of air bombardment on Syrian civilians after gaining rare access to rebel-held areas of Aleppo.” Meanwhile, The New York Timesexplains that although Syria missed yesterday’s revised deadline to rid the country of its chemical stockpile, it may be “only days away from finishing the job,” as the first U.S. war missiles have reached rebel fighters.

The Nigerian army said yesterday they were closing in on those who abducted 190 schoolgirls two weeks ago, newspaper Vanguard reports. This comes after reports that the families of the missing girls were losing hope of seeing their daughters again. Women all over Nigeria are expected to take to the streets on Wednesday in the capital Abuja to demand their release.

Brazilian soccer star and FC Barcelona player Daniel Alves offered the perfect response to racist supporters who had thrown a banana at him during his team’s game against Villareal yesterday. See the video here expand=1].


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U.S., France, Israel: How Three Model Democracies Are Coming Unglued

France, Israel, United States: these three democracies all face their own distinct problems. But these problems are revealing disturbing cracks in society that pose a real danger to hard-earned progress that won't be easily regained.

Image of a crowd of protestors holding Israeli flags and a woman speaking into a megaphone

Israeli anti-government protesters take to the streets in Tel-Aviv, after Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defence Minister Yoav Galant.

Dominique Moïsi

"I'd rather be a Russian than a Democrat," reads the t-shirt of a Republican Party supporter in the U.S.

"We need to bring the French economy to its knees," announces the leader of the French union Confédération Générale du Travail.

"Let's end the power of the Supreme Court filled with leftist and pro-Palestinian Ashkenazis," say Israeli government cabinet ministers pushing extreme judicial reforms

The United States, France, Israel: three countries, three continents, three situations that have nothing to do with each other. But each country appears to be on the edge of a nervous breakdown of what seemed like solid democracies.

How can we explain these political excesses, irrational proclamations, even suicidal tendencies?

The answer seems simple: in the United States, in France, in Israel — far from an exhaustive list — democracy is facing the challenge of society's ever-greater polarization. We can manage the competition of ideas and opposing interests. But how to respond to rage, even hatred, borne of a sense of injustice and humiliation?

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