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Obama's ISIS strategy, Pistorius verdict, Drowsy thief

Catalan separatists in Barcelona
Catalan separatists in Barcelona

Sept. 11, 2014

On the eve of today’s 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks, President Barack Obama vowed to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Mideast’s ISIS terror group, also known as ISIL. Saying he had authorized air strikes against the jihadist group in Syria and the deployment of 475 more military advisers to Iraq, he outlined a $500 million plan to train and arm “moderate” Syrian rebels in a base in Saudi Arabia.

“We will degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy,” Obama said during the televised speech to the nation last night. Read more here.

Although the president was careful to stress that this would not be a ground war like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, The New York Times notes that his decision extends the “legacy of war,” that he may “pass his successor a volatile and incomplete war, much as his predecessor left one for him.”

Haaretz columnist Chemi Shalev says that yesterday’s speech showed Obama is not “George Bush the cowboy” but that “he also made clear, without admitting as much even to himself, that he is no longer the old Obama either.”

South African Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled this morning that paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius is not guilty of premeditated murder in the killing of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine Day’s in 2013, citing a lack of evidence. She also appeared to rule out second-degree murder, explaining that he could not have “reasonably foreseen” that the shot fired through the toilet door would kill the victim. The full verdict hasn’t been read yet, but BBC correspondent Andrew Harding wrote on Twitter that a verdict of culpable homicide is “likely.” Follow CNN’s blog for live updates.

More than half of Chinese people think their country could go to war with Japan in the future, a poll by Genron NPO and China Daily shows. Read more here.

The Yemeni government and the Shia Muslim Houthi rebels have reached an agreement, Reuters reports, ending weeks of bloody protests in the capital of Sanaa. As part of the deal, a new government will be formed within 48 hours. This comes just days after the crisis escalated dramatically when hundreds of rebels tried to storm the government headquarters.


Richard Kiel, the 7-foot-tall actor best-known for his role as the (literally) steel-toothed villain Jaws in James Bond films, has died at the age of 74. Kiel had been admitted to a hospital in Fresno, California, though the cause of death was not immediately known.

The ozone layer that protects the earth from cancer-causing ultraviolet rays is showing its first signs of thickening in years, according to a UN report. Scientists say that the ozone hole that appears every year over Antarctica has stopped growing bigger and will start shrinking in a decade. Read more from Reuters.

Almost a month after she attacked a mushroom forager in the Italian mountains of Trentino while protecting her 8-month-old cubs, Daniza the bear is dead. She was captured by a task force of rangers that had been deployed to capture her, but she did not survive the anesthesia she was given. Read more about Daniza’s ordeal from Worldcrunch’s Zoo’d blog.

Royal Bank of Scotland has announced plans to relocate its head office to London if voters support Scottish independence in next week’s election. It’s a move that Lloyds Bank could also imitate, the BBC reports. The Times explains that the Scottish referendum is inspiring separatist movements around the world.

After all, a life of crime can be really exhausting.

Crunched by Marc Alves.

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Kleptomania, How A "Women's Pathology" Was Built On Gender And Class Bias

Between 1880 and 1930, there was a significant rise in thefts in department stores, mostly committed by women from the middle and upper classes. This situation brought with it the establishment of a new pathology: kleptomania. A century later, feminist historians have given new meaning to the practice as a protest against the social structures and oppressions of capitalism and patriarchy.

Photo of a hand in a pocket

A hand in a pocket

Julia Amigo

Kleptomania is defined as the malicious and curious propensity for theft. The legal language tends to specify that the stolen objects are not items of necessity; medically, it is explained as an uncontrollable impulse.

What seems clear is that kleptomania is a highly enigmatic condition and one of the few mental disorders that comes from the pathologization of a crime, which makes it possible to use it as a legal defense. It differs from the sporadic theft of clothing, accessories, or makeup (shoplifting) as the kleptomaniac's impulse is irresistible.

Studies have shown that less than one percent of the population suffers from kleptomania, being much more common among women (although determining exact numbers is very difficult).

The psychiatric disorders manual, DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has included kleptomania since 1962. Previously, it had already received attention from, among others, Sigmund Freud. Like nymphomania or hysteria, kleptomania became an almost exclusively female diagnosis linked to the biology of women's bodies and an “inability” to resist uncontrollable desire.

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