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Aftermath of Mount Sinabung volcano's eruption in Karo, Indonesia
Aftermath of Mount Sinabung volcano's eruption in Karo, Indonesia
Worldcrunch

LIBYA’S CHEMICAL WEAPONS DESTROYED
Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s lethal arsenal of chemical weapons have quietly been destroyed over the last three months, The New York Times reports. The U.S. and Libya used a transportable oven technology to destroy hundreds of bombs and artillery rounds filled with a deadly mustard agent that American officials feared could be used by terrorists. The technology may also be used in disposing of Syria’s chemical arsenal.

UKRAINE PRESIDENT TO RETURN TO WORK
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is expected to return to work today after a four-day sick leave, and he will find that protesters demanding his resignation haven’t gone anywhere. His return comes just after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton discussed a loan to debt-strapped Ukraine during a security conference in Munich over the weekend. The BBC quotes a U.S. official as saying that the credit would be conditional on Kiev embracing “real reform and a real transition.”

BOMB KILLS 5 IN PAKISTAN
A bomb attack in a cinema in the northwestern city of Peshawar has killed five people and wounded 30, the AP reports. The attacker was apparently in the audience before throwing two hand grenades in the darkened theater. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Pakistani Taliban earlier nominated five well-known political and religious figures to represent them in peace talks with the government.

MOSCOW STUDENT TERRORIZES SCHOOL, KILLS 2
A secondary student at a school just outside Moscow brandished a gun and took 20 hostages today, ultimately killing a police officer and a biology teacher before being captured by police. Read more from AFP.

ISRAEL TALKS TOUGH
Israel’s rhetoric has reached a high pitch, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made an urgent call over the weekend for renewed Middle East peace efforts. Read the harsh words from Israel’s minister of strategic affairs.

BY THE NUMBERS
See how many times the coin (to determine who kicks off) has landed heads — and tails — over the course of the Super Bowl’s 48-game history.

VOLCANO AFTERMATH
Rescue teams search for victims after a Mount Sinabung volcano eruption Saturday in Karo, Indonesia.

CRIME INT’L
A woman whose body was found in a Venice canal over the weekend was identified this morning as an Iranian, La Repubblica reports. Police believe the killers were her two flatmates, who allegedly traveled to Venice with her body via train and back to Milan via a 500-euro cab ride.

HOFFMAN’S DEADLY DOSE OF HEROIN
As officials prepare to perform an autopsy today on Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was found dead in his Manhattan apartment Sunday morning with a needle sticking out of his arm, they are also investigating whether he may have been the victim of a batch of heroin linked to a rising number of deadly overdoses in recent days. The heroin in question is believed to have caused more than 80 deaths along the East Coast in recent weeks and contains both heroin and fentanyl, an opiate used to soothe the pain of cancer patients, The Daily Mail reports.

MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
Check out Grand-Père's latest slide here...

“I COME OVER FOR THE SUPER BOWL AND YOU DON’T PUT OUT A CHIP?”
Everyone has their favorite Super Bowl commercial, but ours is definitely the Seinfeld expand=1] reunion of Jerry and George at Tom’s Restaurant in New York. No, George didn’t get invited back to the Wassersteins. Just in case you missed it.


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Geopolitics

Bulgaria And Hungary: Risks Of A Pro-Russian Alliance Inside The EU

Bulgaria had sworn off Russian gas imports, but then its government collapsed. Now pro-Russian politicians are in power, which for the European Union means there is much more at stake than just energy supply.

Bulgarians are split between pro-Western and pro-Russian politics.

Philip Volkmann-Schluck

The letter Z, a symbol of support for Putin’s war in Ukraine, has appeared on Bulgarian government buildings in Sofia. Last week, demonstrators fixed a Z in black tape to the entrance of the Ministry of Energy’s headquarters.

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

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They were protesting their government’s announcement that it would reopen negotiations with Russia about importing gas – although Bulgaria had declared public support for Kyiv and subsequently stopped all Russian imports. “Putin’s gas is a trap,” one of the placards reads.

These scenes have been growing more common in the Bulgarian capital since the reformist government led by Prime Minister Kiril Petkov was ousted last month in a no-confidence vote. Petkov had pledged to tackle corruption and taken a strong stance against Russia's invasion. But his coalition government fell after just seven months in office when an ally quit.

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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.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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