Obama In Poland, Syria Votes, She-Hurricanes
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
HEAVY FIGHTING IN SLOVIANSK
At least one Ukrainian soldier was killed and 13 more were injured in the eastern city of Sloviansk overnight in what the country’s interim Interior Minister described as an “active offensive phase of the anti-terror operation,” The Guardian reports. There were also victims among the insurgency. This comes after another day of deadly fighting in the region, especially in the border town of Luhansk, where a representative of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic said eight people had died in an airstrike and another five in fights with Ukrainian armed forces.
U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Poland, where he will meet top officials for security talks believed to be focused on Ukraine. According to Interfax, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will travel to Warsaw to meet with his American and Polish counterparts. Meanwhile, NATO defense ministers are gathered in Brussels for two days of meetings focused on “how to react long-term to Russia's new military capabilities and its willingness to use them,” according to AP.
“We’ll never have good news about Michael Schumacher,” former Formula One doctor Gary Hartstein writes on his blog, expressing little hope that the German racing champion will recover from the ski fall five months ago in Grenoble, France, during which he suffered grave head injuries.
SYRIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Syrians are voting today in the country’s presidential election, which the West has denounced as a sham, more than three years after the beginning of a civil war that has killed more than 160,000 people and displaced millions. President Bashar al-Assad is widely expected to win a third seven-year term. BBC correspondent Paul Wood explains that voting will only take place in government-controlled areas, as rebels and their supporters “would regard casting a vote while the regime's bombs are falling as an act of treason.” Syria’s Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said today was a “historic day” and would pave the way for a new stage of recovery and reconstruction, state-backed news agency Sana reported.
Hundreds of people participated in the eighth annual Tomatina in Sutamarchan, north of Bogota. This Colombian event, which celebrates the tomato harvest, is inspired by the well-known festival in Bunol, Spain.
JAPAN BEGINS FUKUSHIMA ICE WALL
The operator of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant TEPCO has begun constructing a 1.5-kilometer underground ice wall around the site hit by a devastating tsunami in 2011, The Japan Times reports. The aim of the government-funded project is to limit the risk of leaks by inserting 1,550 pipes into the ground, preventing groundwater from seeping into the plant’s reactors and mixing with contaminated water inside. But according to the BBC, some experts have expressed doubts about the project’s success.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
CHINA TO CAP CARBON EMISSIONS
China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, has for the first time pledged to limit its total carbon emissions, following in the footsteps of the United States after American officials announced a similar move yesterday. Beijing will start introducing its absolute cap in 2016. Read more from Reuters.
AsDie Welt reports, the popular German docu-series entitled Make Love is making a reprisal on German TV this fall, and will in its second installment explore sexual issues among seniors. “The cross-media format asserts that ‘making love is something you can learn,’ and it deals with subjects like ‘good arguments, bad arguments’ and ‘advertising to find personal happiness,’” the newspaper writes.
Read the full article, German TV Explores Sex Among Seniors.
POSSIBLE LEADS IN MH370 SEARCH
Australian scientists are set to release data about a strange recorded noise that they believe could be the ocean impact of missing flight MH370, The New York Times reports. According to one of the researchers, there’s a 25% to 30% chance that the “dull oomph” sound is related to the aircraft, although its location is outside the zone where the plane was believed to have run out of fuel. A British woman who was sailing across the Indian Ocean when the flight went missing March 8 has provided another potential lead. She claims to have seen a burning plane near Thailand. Read more from the Phuket Gazette.
The Catholic church in Portugal is faced with a difficult challenge, with as many as 400 priests applying for dispensation so they can marry.
AS IF HURRICANES AREN’T DISTURBING ENOUGH
A new scientific study shows that more people die in female-named hurricanes because people don’t take them as seriously as those given male names. “Our model suggests that changing a severe hurricane’s name from Charley to Eloise could nearly triple its death toll,” the study says. Read more from The Washington Post.