PUTIN TO PARDON KHODORKOVSKY
After his annual press conference, Vladimir Putin stunned reporters by saying he will sign a pardon for jailed ex-Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky “in the nearest time,” RT reports.
European and Asian stocks were on the rise this morning after the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it would reduce its $85 billion monthly stimulus to $75 billion, Bloomberg reports. The price of gold and some Asian currencies were dropping.
EU MOVES CLOSER TO BANKING UNION
The Finance Ministers of the European Union have reached an agreement on further banking integration, ahead of a two-day summit of EU heads of state, The Daily Telegraph reports. This complex pact will have to be validated by the leaders.
According to a BBC correspondent, the deal also represents “the biggest centralization of power in the European Union since the launch of the euro.”
For French newspaper Le Figaro, the pact is a victory for Germany and a defeat for French leadership as it was signed on Angela Merkel’s terms.
SOUTH SUDAN REBELS SEIZE MAJOR TOWN
Army defectors in South Sudan have taken control of Bor, a key town in the center of the country, as the fighting continues between rival army factions after Sunday’s alleged coup attempt, Sudan Tribune reports.
PALESTINIANS KILLED IN ISRAELI MILITARY OPERATION
Two Palestinians were killed in separate arrest raids by the Israeli army early this morning, Al Jazeera reports. One of the victims was a member of the Palestinian security forces and a known gunman who had fired first on Israeli soldiers according to an official statement, though locals quoted by news agency Ma’an said the man was shot “in cold blood.”
11 PILGRIMS DEAD IN SUICIDE ATTACK IN IRAQ
At least 11 Shiite pilgrims were killed in a suicide attack in Baghdad, as they were on their way to the holy city of Karbala, south of the capital, AP reports. Police officials said that 22 people were also injured in the attack.
MAN SETS HIMSELF ON FIRE ON ST PETER’S SQUARE
A 51-year-old man poured gasoline over himself and set himself on fire this morning on St Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Italian news agency ANSA reports. The man was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. Authorities don’t yet know the motive of the act.
ARNIE’S KILL COUNT
Ever wondered how many people Arnold Schwarzenegger has shot down, strangled or freeze-lasered in his acting career? This YouTuber did the math.
The owner of a popular Japanese dumpling restaurant chain was shot dead outside his company’s headquarters.