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Wilfires in New Mexico.
Wilfires in New Mexico.
Worldcrunch

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

POROSHENKO TO ISSUE CEASEFIRE
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko announced after a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that he would order shortly a “unilateral ceasefire” by government troops engaged in fights with pro-Russian groups in Eastern Ukraine, The Kyiv Postreports. According to RT’s live blog, fighters in the Luhansk region were exchanging dead bodies, suggesting the cease-fire has already begun.

ISIS ATTACKS IRAQ’S MAIN OIL REFINERY
Islamists fighters with the organization Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant have attacked Iraq’s biggest oil refinery with mortars and machine guns and are now in control of 75% of the facility, The Guardian reports on its live blog. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal expressed concern over the events unfolding in Iraq, saying it "carries warning signs of a civil war with unpredictable consequences for the region," according to AFP. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meanwhile accused the Saudi monarchy of supporting ISIS “financially and morally, and for the outcome of that, which includes crimes that may qualify as genocide,” as hundreds of Shiite Iraqis were killed since the Sunni group’s offensive last week.

In a chilling article, the Financial Times explains that ISIS have been keeping detailed records of their deadly operations over the past few years, leading experts to say that the organization “is not so much the ragtag terrorist band depicted by Iraqi officials but more of an organised military structure with a clear political strategy to set up a Sunni sectarian state.”

BLAST TARGETS WORLD CUP FANS IN NIGERIA
A suicide bomber believed to be linked with Boko Haram blew himself up outside a public venue in northeastern Nigeria yesterday where people were gathered to watch the World Cup’s Brazil v. Mexico game. At least 21 people were killed and another 27 injured, according to AFP.

SNAPSHOT
Fast-moving wildfires that have been raging since Friday are now threatening a Native American community northwest of Albuquerque in New Mexico.

ARRESTS CONTINUE IN ISRAEL
Israel arrested 65 more Palestinians overnight, including 51 former prisoners who had been released as part of swap deal in 2011, as the search for three missing students continues, Reuters reports. The Israeli government decided at a cabinet meeting yesterday to harden the jail conditions of prisoners from Hamas, in a bid to increase the pressure on the organization, which they believe is behind the abductions. This morning, the municipality of Jerusalem greenlighted a construction project for 172 settlements in the occupied area of East Jerusalem. Yosef Pepe Alalu, a city councilor opposed to settlements told AFP: "This is the final stage before construction, and is the continuation of a policy that harms the peace process."

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
Israeli daily Calcalist looks into how the current hostage crisis played out across social media, despite a gag order by the military. “So if the objective of the gag order was to prevent the information from getting out to the Palestinians, it failed miserably. Besides, a Palestinian can just stick his head out of the window to see that something unusual is going on, and look it up on the Internet and get the whole picture in a matter of minutes.”
Read the full article, Israeli Hostages, Gag Orders And Social Media.

JAPAN 1: 3D IMAGES TO BOOST FUKUSHIMA CLEANUP
The cleanup operations at Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant Fukushima are likely to get some high-tech help in the near future thanks to a new technology that will provide engineers with 3D images of the reactor cores, enabling them to assess with precision the damage inside, The New York Times reports.

JAPAN 2: NEW CHILD PORN LAW EXEMPTS MANGA
After years of resistance, Japan has finally made possession of child pornography images a criminal offense. But the bill approved Wednesday by parliament exempts such content in the form of manga and anime, Japan Times reports.

MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD


39 KILOS
Uruguayan soccer fans have attributed their national team's 3-1 loss against Costa Rica Saturday on a lack of caramel spread. Brazilian officials said they confiscated 39kg of the sweet confection from the South American squad upon their arrival at the Confins airport for the World Cup last week.

3D SMARTPHONE
Amazon is expected to announce later today the launch of a smartphone with a 3D interface and rumor has it there could be more to come soon.

100 YEARS TIME LAPSE
Around Europe, countries and cities are marking 100 years since World War I began. This video offers a fascinating photographic look at how the city of Antwerp has (and hasn’t) changed in the century that has passed.

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Economy

Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

in the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading – and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

Protesters on Thursday in the German state of Thuringia carried Russian flags and signs: 'First our country! Life must be affordable.'

Martin Schutt/dpa via ZUMA
Stefanie Bolzen, Philipp Fritz, Virginia Kirst, Martina Meister, Mandoline Rutkowski, Stefan Schocher, Claus, Christian Malzahn and Nikolaus Doll

-Analysis-

In her State of the Union address on September 14, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, issued an urgent appeal for solidarity between EU member states in tackling the energy crisis, and towards Ukraine. Von der Leyen need only look out her window to see that tensions are growing in capital cities across Europe due to the sharp rise in energy prices.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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In the Czech Republic, people are already taking to the streets, while opposition politicians elsewhere are looking to score points — and some countries' support for Ukraine may start to buckle.

With winter approaching, Europe is facing a true test of both its mettle, and imagination.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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