Friday, August 8, 2014
OBAMA AUTHORIZES IRAQ AIRSTRIKES
Marking the most significant intervention in Iraq since American troops were withdrawn in 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes against Islamist extremists there and aid to desperate civilians a day after the country’s largest Christian town was seized, forcing thousands to flee.
“Earlier this week, one Iraqi cried that no one is coming to help,” the president said from the White House Thursday night. “Well, today America is coming to help.”
Obama added that the U.S. will not send troops back to the country but that it had already made humanitarian air drops for the Iraqis under threat, including the 50,000 Yazidi people trapped on Mount Sinjar, The Washington Post reports.
The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has been gaining ground in the region for the past several months. According to UN figures, around 200,000 Christians are thought to have fled their homes in fear of the terrorist group, and most of them are thought to have gone to the autonomous Kurdistan Region. Read more fromThe New York Times.
Fresh clashes erupted Thursday in Kiev’s Maidan Square, as police tried and failed to dismantle protester camps.
EBOLA DECLARED INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Friday that the Ebola epidemic that has killed almost 1,000 people in West Africa now constitutes an international health risk and appealed for global aid to help the afflicted countries, Reuters reports. "The outbreak is moving faster than we can control it,” WHO Director General Margaret Chan said after a two-day emergency session in Geneva.
GAZA FIGHTING RESUMES
Israel has resumed airstrikes in Gaza in response to Palestinian rocket fire aimed at southern Israel, AP reports. This comes after a three-day truce between Israel and Hamas expired this morning, and signals the failure of talks to extend the ceasefire.
Israel Defense Forces told the BBC that more than 35 rockets had been fired at Israel this morning. The country’s anti-missile defense system Iron Dome reportedly intercepted three rockets, while the others landed in open fields.
An Israeli air strike killed a 10-year-old Gaza City boy, Al Jazeera reports, and at least six others were wounded. Witnesses also reported that thousands of Palestinians are fleeing their homes in eastern Gaza City amid the renewed Israeli attacks.
At least 1,890 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed a month into the conflict. Three civilians in Israel have been killed by Hamas rockets, and at least 64 soldiers died in the fighting.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
TAKEOVER OF MALAYSIAN AIRLINES
The Malaysian state investment firm Khazanah Nasional plans to take over Malaysia Airlines in what it characterizes as a “complete overhaul,” The Guardian reports. In recent months, the airline has been hit by two devastating tragedies — the crash of flight MH17 in Ukraine and the disappearance of flight MH370.
As Le Monde’s Martine Picouët writes, the Aeolian Islands — a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily — are not a destination for the average vacationer. “Over the course of just a few years, all of these islands, long ignored by tourists, have become prized little gems, best discovered in the spring or fall,” Picouët writes, describing stunning views of volcanoes that continue to rumble, smoke and spit fire as they have for hundreds of years. Of one of the islands, the journalist writes, “In winter, the blinds are closed and only a couple of hundred inhabitants remain on the island, with no more than a few boats still bringing fresh water and food from the mainland. Houses reopen in April, when the first visitors and sailboats arrive.”
Read the full article, Far Off The Beaten Path, The Aeolian Islands' Stunning Volcanoes.
HAPPY HEADLINE FOR A CHANGE
Ten years after a 4-year-old Indonesian girl was swept to sea in a tsunami and feared dead, she has been found alive and reunited with her family. Read more from The Guardian.