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Russia

Sochi Games Begin, Al-Sisi's Future, In Praise Of "Camelatte"

Australian Scotty James during a qualifying run at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Australian Scotty James during a qualifying run at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

U.S. WARNS OF BOMB THREAT ON SOCHI

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned airline companies to watch out for explosive materials that could be hidden in cosmetic tubes, including toothpaste, CNN reports. Republican Congressman Michael McCaul said that according to the bulletin, the explosives could be used during flights to or in Sochi, where qualifying events for the Winter Olympics began today.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon calls for an “Olympic truce” around the world during the Sochi Games.

As journalists arrived in Sochi, they shared with Twitter followers the often funny, though sometimes disgusting, reality of their hotel rooms, suggesting that Sochi was unprepared.

This comes amid reports that hundreds of stray dogs have been killed by the authorities, who have said the animals can be wild and dangerous. There is also a movement afoot to save the remaining animals. Read more from The New York Times.

Check out the air that Australian snowboarder Scotty James managed during a qualifying run today.

MYSTERY CONTINUES AROUND AL-SISI’S FUTURE
It is still unclear whether Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will run for president in the election later this year. Reports in a Kuwaiti newspaper of al-Sisi saying he would be a candidate were dismissed as having been “misinterpreted.” Should he decide to run for president, his popularity and lack of opposition would likely give him an easy victory. Read more from the BBC. For more on the Egyptian army leader, we offer this Le Temps/Worldcrunch portrait.

DEADLY ACCIDENT IN S. AFRICAN GOLD MINE
Rescuers in South Africa have recovered eight bodies from a gold mine near Johannesburg after a fire broke out, apparently triggered by a small earthquake, news agency SAPA reports. Nine miners were rescued yesterday evening, but one remains missing.

POST-FIRE MOURNING IN ARGENTINA
The Argentine government declared two days of mourning following the deaths of nine emergency services workers in a warehouse fire in southern Buenos Aires, Infobae reports. The warehouse belongs to a U.S. based company called Iron Mountain, specializing in documents and data management. An investigation is ongoing to find out what caused the fire.

SONY TO CUT 5,000 JOBS
Technology giant Sony announced it would cut 5,000 jobs as it revised its growth forecast from an initial $295 million profit to a loss of over $1 billion for the financial year ending in March, Bloomberg reports. The Japanese firm will also sell its Vaio PC unit and split its television division.

BY THE NUMBERS
Hookahs are being banned in establishments in Jordan, where the practice of smoking from the water pipes has been a staple of the culture since the days of the Ottoman Empire.

MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD

IN PRAISE OF … ‘CAMELATTE’
If you’re looking for an alternative to cow’s milk that’s both rich in Vitamin C and low in fat, maybe you should try camel milk.

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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