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Scottish Sprint, ISIS Trailer, Gerard Drinks

Scottish Sprint, ISIS Trailer, Gerard Drinks

While You Slept

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pro-independence and pro-union militants are campaigning for the last day in Scotland, with the latest polls ahead of tomorrow’s referendum giving the “No” to independence a slight lead, although more than 8% are still undecided, according to The Daily Mail. Newspapers across the UK are trying to weigh in on the final hours of debate, with The Daily Telegraph claiming that Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond “bullied” a university principal who had criticized the effects of a pro-independence vote. Rupert Murdoch’s Scottish Sun meanwhile stopped short of positioning itself and tells its readers that it’s “your voice, your choice your vote.”

Terrorist group ISIS has responded to last week’s statement by Barack Obama that Washington would “degrade and ultimately destroy” with a 52-second video clip that, according to The New York Times, “looks like a Hollywood trailer.” In the video, ISIS warns that “fighting has just begun” and suggests it will kill American ground forces, if any should be sent to fight them in the Middle East. The newspaper describes the timing of the video’s release as “curious,” coming just hours after Army Gen. Martin Dempsey raised this very possibility and suggested that Obama, who has so far dismissed this option, could be persuaded to change his mind, The Washington Post reports.

The sinking of two boats carrying hundreds of migrants over the last week have focused the attention on the worrying fact that thousands of Palestinians from Gaza have joined Syrian and African refugees fleeing for Europe, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports. Using a network of smugglers, who demand as much as $4000 per person, they flee Gaza via small tunnels that lead them to Egypt, where they are first transported to Port Said and then to Europe. One recent shipwreck off of Malta, which may have cost 500 lives, most of them Palestinians, does not seem to dissuade would-be refugees. “They say clearly it’s better to die at sea than die of despair and frustration in Gaza,” one resident told the newspaper.

Katie the labrador leaps after her toy into the Savannah River in Georgia, as summer 2014 winds down in the Northern Hemisphere.

China’s Central Bank is injecting $81 billion into the country’s five largest banks in the form of three-month loans in a bid to address an economic slowdown, The Wall Street Journal reports. This comes as Janet Yellen, chairwoman of the Federal Reserve is expected to announce another $10 billion cut in its quantitative easing program, moving instead for higher interest-rates.

Sixty volunteers in Oxford are taking part in a first trial of a vaccine, developed by GlaxoSmithKline and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, against the Ebola virus. According to the BBC, the vaccine could be used to immunize health workers in areas affected by the virus by the end of this year if the trial is successful. Yesterday, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that Ebola represented a “global threat,” while the United Nations estimated that nearly $1 billion is needed to contain the epidemic in West Africa.

Noted new media professor and proselytiser Clay Shirky has a new policy in class: turn off your devices!

In an interview with a French magazine, Gérard Depardieu quantified just how much and what kind of booze he downs each day, typically starting before 10 a.m….with champagne.

Crunched by Marc Alves

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

And If Ukraine's Fate Was In The Hands Of Republican Senators And Viktor Orban?

In the U.S., Republican senators called on to approve military aid to Kyiv are blackmailing the Biden administration on an unrelated matter. In Europe, French President Macron will be dining with the Hungarian Prime Minister, who has threatened to block aid to Ukraine as well.

photo of viktor orban walking into a room

Orban will play all his cards

Sergei Savostyanov/TASS via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — Make no mistake: military aid to Ukraine is at risk. And to understand why, just take a look at the name of French President Emmanuel Macron’s dinner guest Thursday at the Elysée palace in Paris: Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Prime Minister, and Europe’s No. 1 troublemaker.

Orban is threatening to veto a new 50 billion euro aid package for Ukraine at a European Council meeting next week. He could also block Ukraine’s negotiations to enter the European Union, an important issue that has provided some hope for this war-torn country. These are votes on which the unanimity of the "27" EU member states is required.

But this is not the only obstacle in the path of Western aid: the United States is also immersed in a political psychodrama, of which Ukraine is the victim. A new $60 billion aid package from the Biden administration has stalled in Congress: Republicans are demanding legislation to shut down the border with Mexico to stop immigration.

What does this have to do with Ukraine? Nothing, besides legislative blackmail.

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