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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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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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Kosovo, A New Theater For Russia's War With The West?

After meeting with the Russian ambassador, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has now demanded NATO take over security in northern Kosovo, days after a deadly shootout between Serbian gunmen and Kosovar police. The violent clash has raised tensions in the Balkan region, with some Russian authorities drawing parallels with another European conflict — the one in Ukraine.

image of Wagner and Russian flags

In May, the Wagner Group announced on Telegram that they were deploying to Kosovo.

Michal Kubala

The deadly clash in northern Kosovo on Sunday is reverberating far beyond the Balkans. At first glance, distant histories seem to be repeating: World War I starting in Sarajevo, the breakup of Yugoslavia drove 1990s geopolitics.

Yet there may be much more recent history at play: is the conflict linked to the war in Ukraine?

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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The latest incident began with ethnic Serb gunmen blocking a bridge with armored vehicles and opening fire on approaching Kosovar policemen, killing one officer. The gunmen then barricaded themselves in a monastery, where at least three were killed by sniper fire. The incident has escalated tensions between Kosovo and Serbia that have been festering for years.

Indeed, Kosovo has long accused Serbia of receiving Russian support to destabilize the Balkans. Belgrade meanwhile has alleged ethnic cleansing of Serbians in Kosovo, and has refused to recognize Kosovo’s unilateral proclamation of independence, withome of the rhetoric has harkening back to the prelude to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Is Russia behind the latest incident? If the situation blows up in the Balkans, could there be spillover that escalates the showdown between Moscow and NATO?

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