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Geopolitics

"Pure Evil" Of ISIS, Japan In Recession, Hip Hop Heals

Thousands took part in Sunday's 19th annual Gay Pride parade on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach.
Thousands took part in Sunday's 19th annual Gay Pride parade on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach.
Worldcrunch

Monday, November 17, 2014

ISIS EXECUTES U.S. AID WORKER
U.S. President Barack Obama confirmed yesterday the killing of American aid worker Peter Kassig, who was executed by ISIS, and described it as an act of “pure evil,” The New York Times reports.

A video released by the terrorist organization shows Kassig’s beheaded body as well as the beheading of 18 Syrian army soldiers, and it comes after a weeklong series of setbacks. According to The Guardian, ISIS “is determined to show that it plays a long game.” Speaking to British newspaper The Independent, a senior Kurdish leader claimed that ISIS has an army of at least 200,000 fighters, a number the CIA has underestimated.

“I went out … trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need,” Kassig wrote to his parents in his last letter to them.

SNAPSHOT
Thousands took part in Sunday's 19th annual Gay Pride parade on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach.

G20 COMMITS TO HIGHER GROWTH
World leaders at the G20 summit in Australia agreed yesterday to focus on boosting economic growth by creating jobs and tackling tax evasion. They vowed to implement a package of reforms that will reportedly add an extra 2.1% to the global economy in five years, ABC quoted Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as saying. The summit was also dominated by talks on security and climate change, with leaders pledging to support energy efficiency and sustainable development. After the summit, Australia and China signed a landmark free trade agreement that follows 10 years of tough negotiations, Reutersreports.

The summit was at times overshadowed by the Ukrainian crisis and Russian President Vladimir Putin. CNN reported that Putin “had been a verbal punching bag for many of the G20 leaders” and that he left Brisbane as soon as possible.

1.884 MILLION EUROS
A beaver fur hat worn by Napoleon Bonaparte during the Battle of Marengo in 1800 sold at auction Sunday for 1.884 million euros ($2.3 million).

JAPAN ENTERS RECESSION
Japan, the world’s third-largest economy and the most indebted of developed nations, announced that its economy had contracted by 1.6% from last year during the third quarter, plunging the country into recession following a 7.3% contraction in the previous quarter, Bloomberg reports. Japanese stocks reacted badly to the news, suffering their biggest daily dropsince August. A significant sales tax hike in April “completely destroyed Japan’s economy,” according to an analyst, and today’s news will likely see Prime Minister Shinzo Abe postpone a new increase planned for October 2015.

Writing in The Guardian after the weekend’s G20 summit, British Prime Minister David Cameron expresses fears that the eurozone is also “teetering on the brink” of a third recession. “Six years on from the financial crash that brought the world to its knees, red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy,” he writes.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
As Die Welt’s Valentin Frimmer reports, a new German dating caters exclusively to people with disabilities. “Specialized dating services like Schatzkiste are a good way to start the search for a partner, says Karl Finke, the state official in charge of issues relating to disabled citizens in the state of Lower Saxony. ‘I am convinced that people with disabilities have greater problems searching for and choosing a partner,’ he says. He believes that specialized dating agencies can help defuse anxieties.”
Read the full article, Love Accessibly.

BURKINA FASO CHOOSES INTERIM PRESIDENT
Michel Kafando, who AFP describes as a “career diplomat,” has been chosen as Burkina Faso’s interim president, just days after military, political and civilian leaders agreed on a transition framework towards civilian rule in the West African country. Speaking after his appointment, the 72-year-old said becoming interim president was “more than an honor, a formidable responsibility” and assured citizens he was aware of the “enormity of the task” ahead of him, news website Le Faso reports. Kafando is now expected to name a prime minister who will lead a transitional government until elections are held next year.

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
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COLOMBIA-FARC PEACE TALKS SUSPENDED
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced the suspension of a new round of peace talks in the Cuban capital of Havana with the FARC rebel group, after an army general and two local officials were abducted, newspaper El Espectador reports. After five decades of intense fighting, which left 220,000 people dead, FARC and the Colombian government initiated talks two years ago, though a long-term ceasefire could never be reached.

FACEBOOK DEVELOPING PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE
Facebook is secretly working on a new website called “Facebook at Work” where users will be able to create professional profiles separated from their personal ones and collaborate with colleagues on documents. The move is aimed at competing directly with both LinkedIn and Google Drive, the Financial Timesreports.

HIP HOP VS. DEPRESSION
A new Cambridge University study shows that listening to hip hop could be a bona fide psychological help for people suffering from depression and other mental illnesses. So here’s a carefully selected list of the world’s finest hip hop tunes to beat the Monday blues.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Paris-Berlin, Warsaw-Kyiv: Europe's Balance Of Power Will Never Be The Same

A new future is unfolding in real time, one that leaders in France, Germany and beyond could not have envisioned even a year ago.

Photo of Bundeswehr soldiers in Lest, Slovakia, with a training anti-tank missile and a G22 sniper rifle.

Bundeswehr soldiers in Lest, Slovakia, with a training anti-tank missile and a G22 sniper rifle.

Kay Nietfeld/dpa via ZUMA
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Quick question: do you know which country is on its way to having the largest army in Europe? The obvious answer would be France, the Continent's only nuclear power since the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, and a military that has been tested in multiple foreign operations in recent years.

But the answer is about to change: if we put aside the nuclear factor, Europe's leading military will soon be that of Poland.

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This is one more direct consequence Russia's invasion of Ukraine: a close neighbor of the conflict zone, Poland is investing massively in its defense. Last year, it concluded a huge arms purchase contract with South Korea: heavy combat tanks (four times more than France), artillery, fighter jets, for 15 billion euros.

Warsaw also signed a contract last month to purchase two observation satellites from France for 500 million euros.

This former country of the Warsaw Pact, today a leading NATO member, intends to be ever more consequential in European affairs. The investments in defense are one way of doing that. Yet this is not the only impact of the war in Ukraine.

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