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Geopolitics

Scotland Stays, French ISIS Strikes, IPhone Launch

A Bangladeshi laundry worker during a nationwide strike by the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami.
A Bangladeshi laundry worker during a nationwide strike by the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami.

SCOTLAND SAYS “NO” TO INDEPENDENCE
Scotland voted to stay in the United Kingdom with 55.3% of voters rejecting independence. The results from all 32 council areas show the "No" side won with 2,001,926 votes to the 1,617,989 "Yes" votes. The independence campaign did score four big successes, though, winning 53% in the largest city of Glasgow, 54% in West Dunbartonshire, 57% in Dundee and 51% in North Lanarkshire. Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond spoke shortly before 6 a.m. local time, when he acknowledged the result but called for more power to be given to the Scottish Parliament. Prime Minister David Cameron spoke this morning from London, saying that he wanted "to pay tribute to Yes Scotland for a well-fought campaign and to say to all those who did vote for independence: ‘We hear you.’" Watch The Guardian"s live coverage here, and see the BBC's analysis of how the "No" side won here.

FRANCE STRIKES ISIS IN IRAQ
France launched its first airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq this morning, Le Monde reports. The move comes one day after President François Hollande announced at a press conference that France would join the U.S. in carrying out airstrikes in Iraq, but not in Syria. U.S. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, hailed the Senate’s decision to back its $500 million plan to arm and train “moderate” Syrian rebels, but The Washington Post reports about a widening rift between Obama and military leaders over whether to deploy troops on the ground to fight ISIS. The president has made clear he doesn’t support a ground war.

IPHONE LAUNCH
People in major cities across the world are queuing outside Apple stores as the Cupertino giant’s latest iPhone models go on sale today. A little advice for those trying to get one today: Learn from this early Australian customer and don’t drop it.

EBOLA WORKERS KILLED IN GUINEA
The bodies of eight Ebola workers who went missing after traveling to southeast Guinea to raise awareness about the disease were found yesterday, apparently killed in cold blood by angry villagers, Los Angeles Times reports. The UN Security Council described the Ebola outbreak as “a threat to international peace and security,” with 2,622 people from 5,300 reported cases so far this year.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
As Die Welt’s Christoph B. Schlitz reports, Greek translator Ioannis Ikonomou may be the European Union’s most accomplished translator, having mastered 32 languages, including a couple of dead ones. “He learned English at age five, German at seven (‘Frau Rosi, a German lady on Crete, taught me’), Italian when he was barely 10 (‘a school friend started to take it, and I wanted to be better than he was’), Russian at 13 (‘I loved Dostoyevsky’), East African Swahili at 14 (‘just for fun’) and Turkish at 16,” the journalist writes. "I didn’t want enemies," Ikonomou told Schlitz. "I wanted to be able to talk to people." Because there were no Turkish textbooks in Greece, "My parents found Mrs. Ayse, an architect who had emigrated from northern Cyprus. She was strict."
Read the full article, Hyper-Polyglot, Greek Translator Speaks 32 Languages.

UKRAINE GETS MORE U.S. SUPPORT
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wrote on Twitter that he was promised an extra $1 billion “in financial guaranties” after his meeting with Barack Obama in Washington yesterday when he also given $53 million in assistance, Reuters reports. But Poroshenko was unsuccessful in his bid to obtain lethal arms for the Ukrainian military and special status as a non-NATO ally.

GOLDMAN SACHS INVESTIGATED FOR GADDAFI TIES
U.S. regulators are investigating perks that Goldman Sachs allegedly offered to Libya’s sovereign wealth fund to win business from the Gaddafi regime before the 2011 uprising, The Wall Street Journal reports. These include the internship the bank offered to the brother of a former fund official. In January, the Libyan Investment Authority sued the Wall Street bank, claiming that it exploited a position of trust in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis by encouraging it to invest $1 billion in derivative trades that ended up being worthless, while Goldman Sachs made a profit of $350 million.

DON’T CALL HIM "ELEVEN"
A television personality in India had the misfortune to read the Xi in Chinese President Xi Jinping's name as a roman number. She lost her job.

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Geopolitics

China v. India: A New Twist In Asia's "Billion Club" Rivalry

The news that China's population has shrunk for the first time in 60 years, comes as India appears to be outperforming its giant neighbor on a number of fronts. But this would be reversal of fortune still has too many variables to predict the demise of one or the rise of the other.

Photo of a crowded street in Hyderabad, India

Street scene in Hyderabad, India

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — China and India have at least one notable feature in common: the Asian giants are the only two countries in the world with a population above one billion. Yet Beijing announced this week that China has registered its first decline in number of inhabitants after 60 years of continuous expansion. This comes as India’s population continues to grow — on the path to overtake China as the world's most populous country.

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