Wednesday, June 25, 2014
UKRAINE CEASEFIRE TEETERS
Following yesterday’s request by President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Senate repealed a law, passed when tensions with Kiev were at their highest, that allowed Putin to use military intervention in Ukraine, RT reports. Despite this step towards a political solution, there are growing doubts over the temporary ceasefire between Ukrainian government troops and separatists in eastern parts of the country, as both sides accuse each other of not respecting the truce. Rebels shot down a military helicopter yesterday, killing nine.
IRAQ PM RULES OUT UNITY GOVERNMENT
In a televised address, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected calls from the U.S. and other Western countries to form a unity government, dismissing them as a “coup against the constitution” that would “eliminate the young democratic process and steal the votes of the voters,” AFP reports. ISIS fighters meanwhile have attacked one of Iraq’s largest air bases, located 90 kilometers north of Baghdad, as the 300 U.S. military advisers arrived in the Iraqi capital. This comes amid reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that the jihadist organization had “made an oath of loyalty” with the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front in Syria, ending months of internal fighting between the two groups.
The Philippines celebrates its annual “Mud People” festival.
GENERAL ELECTION IN LIBYA
Libyans are called to the polls today as the country holds its third general election since former leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011. But amid political chaos and growing violence from jihadist groups who fought in the uprising, only 1.5 million people registered to vote among 3.5 million eligible, AFP reports.
CHINA 1: A CHALLENGE TO WORLD BANK
China is pushing ahead with its plans to establish a global rival of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which according to the Financial Times Beijing sees as overly influenced by the U.S. and its Asian allies, including Japan. The potential financial institution is said to have drawn interest from 22 Asian and Middle East countries, with Beijing initially seeking to build a 21st century version of the “silk road.”
CHINA 2: BLOWING CASH ON WINE
In other news from China, the state auditor published its annual report, showing that two companies spent $43 million worth of government funds to buy 14 French vineyards instead of overseas technologies.
SOUTH AFRICAN MINERS RETURN TO WORK
Thousands of miners returned to work this morning after five months of protests over wages and work conditions, ending South Africa’s longest strike, Reuters reports. Under the agreement reached by platinum producers and trade unions, the lowest paid workers will see their wage rise by 18% to $750. The President of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union said that he still remained committed to push for a minimum wage of $1,200 by 2017. According to newspaper Mail & Guardian, a local company is however planning on future protest movements and has developed a drone designed to “shower pepper spray on unruly crowds.”
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
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SPAIN’S PRINCESS CRISTINA CHARGED WITH TAX FRAUD
A Spanish court confirmed charges of tax fraud and money laundering against Princess Cristina, sister of newly-crowned King Felipe VI, and her husband Inaki Urdangarin, accused of embezzling millions of euros of public money. According to El País, the Royal Household reacted to the news saying it “respected the independence of the Judicial power,” but the decision is another blow for the monarchy, which is faced with intense criticism in Spain.
For more on the Spanish Royal family, we offer this Clarín/Worldcrunch piece, King Juan Carlos, Charlie Chaplin And Calling It Quits.
After the verdict sentencing three Al Jazeera journalists to prison, Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Tomas Avenarius writes that it is difficult to consider Egypt’s court system independent: “The verdict is more than just scandalous. Unfortunately, it could be an indication of the way the new Egypt handles freedom of the press. The judge was bent on showing all Egyptians what they could expect where diversity of opinion is concerned. Equally as important is the message Egypt apparently wants to send to its international partners: The regime in Cairo clearly places not the least bit of value on how the outside world reacts to such a huge abuse of national and international legal culture.”
Read the full article here, Al Jazeera Verdict, A Farce Of Egyptian Justice.
A Norwegian man won $915 Tuesday after betting that Luis Suarez would bite someone during the Italy-Uruguay match in the World Cup.
American actor Eli Wallach, best known for his villainous roles in films such as The Magnificent Seven and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, has died at age 98.
TEA AND TERROR
Wimbledon bans tea flasks, because potential terrorism ...