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Sheep grazing near Paris' Eiffel Tower as part of protests by French farmers
Sheep grazing near Paris' Eiffel Tower as part of protests by French farmers
Worldcrunch

Friday, November 28, 2014

OIL PRICES CONTINUE TO FALL
Oil prices continued their slide today after OPEC member states refused yesterday to cut their output to force higher prices, Reuters reports. “It was a great decision,” Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said after yesterday’s talks. Iran and Venezuela, whose economies are badly hurt by the low prices, had backed the idea to slash production. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he considered $100 per barrel a fair price, a figure far from the current $72.

SNAPSHOT
Some 250 sheep were grazing at the Champ de Mars near Paris' Eiffel Tower, during a protest yesterday by French farmers demanding measures to fight against a rising number of wolf attacks on their flocks.

EGYPT BRACES FOR ISLAMIST PROTESTS
Egypt security forces are on alert today in preparation for possible violence as Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafi Front, have called for a day of protests today after dawn prayers, Mada Masr reports. Security authorities have warned that they will use violence if necessary to calm demonstrations. According to Al Jazeera, one senior army officer was killed while security forces arrested more than 100 people ahead of the protests. They also reportedly defused seven bombs in different governorates around Egypt.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
Le Temps’ Christophe Catsaros has penned a scathing review of the new Paris modern art museum designed by Frank Gehry. The Louis Vuitton Foundation, as it is called, is a new high-profile cultural offering for the city of lights, but he writes that art's higher calling becomes just a tool of luxury promotion for the ultra-privileged. “Using a cultural project to sell handbags and shoes would not be reprehensible per se if apologists didn't turn it into an ideological act,” the journalist writes. “But that's what's starting to happen. A social mix, education, making knowledge available to the many — all of which are essential components of public cultural policy — are swept aside here in favor of the promotion of splendor and luxury for the ultra-privileged.”
Read the full article, Deconstructing Gehry's Awful New Paris Art Museum.

MEXICO PROMISES POLICE REFORM
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced plans to overhaul local policing in a bid to end rife corruption and to bring calm after the disappearance of 43 students two months ago, The New York Times reports. “These acts of violence demand that we redouble efforts to achieve the full application of rule of law,” Peña Nieto said in a televised address. Hours before, 11 mutilated corpses were found in the same state where the 43 students disappeared and were allegedly massacred.

FAREWELL
Phyllis Dorothy James White, better known as "the queen of crime" for the novels she wrote as P. D. James, died peacefully at her home yesterday in Oxford, England, at the age of 94.

THAI PARLIAMENT BANS SURROGACY
Thailand lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to ban commercial surrogacy, a first step to rein in the country’s largely unregulated surrogate baby industry, AFP reports. The decision comes after a series of scandals involving foreign would-be parents. The most publicized was the story of an Australian couple who left one of two babies born from a surrogate mother because the child had Down’s syndrome.
For more on this topic, we offer this Le Nouvel Observateur/Worldcrunch piece, Brave New World: Inside India's First Bonafide Baby Factory.

BY THE NUMBERS

Pakistani actress and Bollywood star Veena Malik has been sentenced to 26 years in prison for "blasphemy" against Islam, after she acted in a scene loosely based on the marriage of the prophet Muhammad's daughter.

NAMIBIA ELECTION FIRST E-POLL IN AFRICA
Namibian voters go to the polls today to choose a new president and parliament, in what will be the first electronic poll in Africa, the BBC reports. Despite protests from opposition parties arguing that the method could encourage vote rigging, the country’s High Court backed the use of e-voting machines. The current prime minister, 73-year-old Hage Geingob, is widely expected to become the new president.

BEHOLD, THE HORIZONTAL ELEVATOR
Germany’s steel conglomerate ThyssenKrupp has unveiled a new technology that would allow it to build cable-free elevators, which could radically change the design of skyscrapers in the future, the Financial Times reports. By using magnetic linear motors instead of cables, the company will be able to build elevators that move horizontally as well as vertically. Check out this expand=1] video to see how the concept works.

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD


BLACK FRIDAYYY
The Black Friday craze has hit Britain, and not in a good way. Police officers have been called to supermarkets across the country today, as the American tradition of mass consumerism makes it way across the ocean. “People were behaving like animals,” a 56-year-old woman told The Guardian. “It was horrible.” This series of Vines says it all.

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 224: Russia Says U.S. Is Now "A Participant Of The Conflict"

The warning comes after Washington's latest military aid package to Ukraine.

In Stavropol, Russia

Anna Akage, Sophia Constantino, Jeff Israely and Bertrand Hauger

Washington’s new $625 military aid package to Kyiv has increased the likelihood of a direct military clash between the Russia and the West, warned Anatoly Antonov, Moscow’s ambassador to the U.S.

"We perceive this as an immediate threat to the strategic interests of our country," Antonov said early Wednesday via a post on Telegram. "The supply of military products by the U.S. and its allies not only entails protracted bloodshed and new casualties, but also increases the danger of a direct military clash between Russia and Western countries.” Antonov said the U.S. is now considered a “participant of the conflict.”

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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The United States announced this week that it is sending $625 million to Ukraine in additional weaponry, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers.

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday, emphasizing Washington’s continued support for Kyiv “as it defends itself from Russian aggression for as long as it takes,” a statement from the White House said.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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