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After a summer of war, students in Gaza return to school this week.
After a summer of war, students in Gaza return to school this week.

PARIS HOSTS IRAQ/ISIS CONFERENCE
French President François Hollande opened an international conference in Paris this morning on the subject of battling Iraq’s ISIS terror organization, warning that “there is no time to lose” in fighting the jihadist group. At the same time, France announced it had joined Britain in carrying out reconnaissance flights over Iraq.

  • The conference comes after ISIS released another video purportedly showing the execution of British hostage David Haines and threatening another British citizen. According to The Daily Telegraph, Prime Minister David Cameron will order airstrikes against the terrorist group, but not until after Thursday’s Scottish independence referendum.

  • Iran, meanwhile, has rejected a U.S. request to take part in a coalition against ISIS. “I said no, because they have dirty hands,” the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei said. This comes after a report form Iranian news network Press TV that the EU ambassador to Iraq admitted some European countries had bought crude oil from ISIS.

NEW FIGHTS IN UKRAINE
Heavy fighting erupted in and around the airport in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, 10 days after a fragile ceasefire was negotiated. According to The New York Times, six people were killed and the airport was on fire with Ukrainian troops surrounded by rebel fighters. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed his concern in a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and said he would continue to work on a peaceful settlement.

VERBATIM
“We are sitting on a time bomb of an imminent epidemic outbreak," P M Kabui, a medical commandant in Srinagar, told The Times of India. After the worst flooding in decades, which triggered landslides in Indian-controlled Kashmir and Pakistan, officials are bracing for an outbreak of water-borne diseases, the BBC reports.

MIGRANT BOAT SINKS OFF LIBYA
A boat carrying up to 250 Europe-bound migrants has sunk off the Libyan coast, with most passengers feared dead, as only 26 were rescued, Reuters reports. The incident is the latest in a series of similar tragedies and comes weeks after 100 migrants drowned near the Libyan coast. Since the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, the civil war-torn country has been the departure point for African and Middle East migrants. Last month, Italy saw its 100,000th migrant since the beginning of the year reach its shores.

180 MILLION
Online streaming giant Netflix launched the second phase of its European expansion plan today, entering France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg and expanding its potential market to 180 million more homes.

QUEEN ON SCOTTISH REFERENDUM
Breaking her usual protocol, Queen Elizabeth II weighed in on the national debate about Scottish independence, just days ahead of the vote that could see Scotland break away from the rest of the United Kingdom. The unionist monarch told a well-wisher outside church that she hoped the Scots would “think very carefully about the future,” The Daily Telegraph reports. Former soccer superstar David Beckham also voiced his support for the union, urging Scotland to preserve the “historic bond.” Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, The Simpsons’ Groundskeeper Willie also offered his view on the matter.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
As Le Temps’ Stéphane Bussard writes, Square Books is a melting pot of America's contemporary literature, a crossroads between the Mississippi capital of Jackson and the Mississippi Delta. And just an hour away is the city of blues and barbecue, Memphis, in neighboring Tennessee. Virtually all of the most important and successful writers in the United States — from Toni Morrison, Jim Harrison and Allen Ginsberg to Richard Ford, Barry Hannah and John Grisham — have visited Oxford's bookstore, whose owner describes it as “a place that reinforces the feeling of belonging to a community, that wants to be open to the world and culture.”
Read the full article, A Utopian Mississippi Bookstore, Where Faulkner Lives On.

THERE’S A LANE FOR THAT
Texting and walking at the same time can be dangerous. Except in Chongqing, China, where the authorities have introduced lanes especially for pedestrians glued to their cellphones, an idea inspired by a behavior experiment in Washington, DC.

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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