Wednesday, June 11, 2014
500,000 FLEE IRAQI CITY OF MOSUL
As many as 500,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Mosul, in northern Iraq, after Islamist fighters from the organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant took control of the city, the International Organization for Migration said in a statement. The al-Qaeda-linked group, which also fights in Syria, has extended its grip on northern Iraq, with the BBC relaying reports that they have seized the town of Baiji, home to the country’s largest oil-refinery.
Meanwhile in Washington, the four former employees of security firm Blackwater Worldwide who are accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007 will stand trial today.
UKRAINE-RUSSIA GAS TALKS CONTINUE
Ukraine and Russian representatives started a new round of gas supply talks in Brussels, with Moscow extending a deadline that expired yesterday until next Monday for Kiev to pay its gas bill. Negotiations are revolving around the terms of the contract, with Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announcing that he refused a discount that he saw as a “Russian trap”.
As Kiev’s “anti-terrorist operation” continues in the east, the country’s Health Minister said that at least 210 people, including 14 children, had been killed in recent clashes.
Chilean students protesting against the government’s educational reforms clashed with police in Santiago.
THAILAND HIT BY SLAVERY REVELATIONS
Thailand is facing potential economic sanctions after revelations made yesterday by British newspaper The Guardian of a particularly violent modern-day slavery network linked to the global shrimp supply chain. In the United States, Walmart and Costco said they were taking action in response to the investigation, while the State Department is reportedly intending to launch a review that could lead to Thailand being place on a human trafficking blacklist, triggering economic sanctions and the end of development aid.
TEA PARTY DEALS MASSIVE BLOW TO TRADITIONAL REPUBLICANS
The U.S. House Majority leader Eric Cantor was defeated in Virginia’s 7th district by David Brat, a Tea Party challenger, in what The New York Times describes as “one of the most stunning primary election upsets in congressional history.” Cantor, who had been tipped to succeed John Boehner as Speaker of the House, only got 44.5% of the vote, with his opponent gathering 55.5% after a campaign centered mainly on immigration. For The Washington Post, Brat, an economics professor who campaigned with little more than $200,000, “has just taught Washington — and one of its most powerful leaders — a lesson in humility.”
Writing in Bogota daily El Espectador, Colombian novelist José Luis Garcés González offers a cutting take on soccer’s role in contemporary society around the world.
“In many societies, soccer tends to replace everything, sweeping aside political proposals, religious beliefs, family ties, economic upheaval and social injustice. It represents faith, the mother of all passions, and, in a word, ideology. Perhaps only love supercedes it …”
Read the full article: Soccer, The New Opiate Of The Masses.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
JAPAN-AUSTRALIA TO SEEK CLOSER MILITARY TIES
The Foreign and Defense Ministers from Japan and Australia are due to meet in Tokyo today to discuss increased cooperation in development of defense equipment and a possible submarine deal, Kyodo news agency reports. This comes as Japan is progressively lifting a self-imposed constitutional ban on weapons exports. As AFP explains, the two U.S. allies are also expected to discuss the impact of China’s activities in the East and South China Sea, amid growing tensions between Beijing and its neighbors.
In a Dubai-inspired move, China is reportedly building artificial islands in the disputed waters, which could eventually lead to total control over the area. Read more from Bloomberg.
Scientists have found a way to genetically modify malaria-carrying mosquitos so they produce around 95% of male offspring.
A massive taxi strike has begun rolling out across Europe against the growing ride-sharing app Uber: “More than 30,000 taxi and limo drivers from London to Milan plan to cause traffic snarls in tourist centers and shopping districts.” Bloomberg reports that Uber is now valued at $17 billion.
The English language’s invasion of the French language continues, notably with words that have arrived directly from Silicon Valley. Since Worldcrunch is based in Paris, we asked some of our crew to tell us how to say #hashtag — and other Frenglish words ... Take a look at our video here.