Paris Conference On ISIS, Back To School In Gaza, Texting Lanes

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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