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South Korea

South Korean Ferry Capsizes, Pro-Russians In Ukraine, Animal Sounds

A passenger ship with 477 people aboard sank off South Korea's southwest coast Wednesday morning
A passenger ship with 477 people aboard sank off South Korea's southwest coast Wednesday morning

At least five armored vehicles flying Russian banners were reported to have entered the town of Slaviansk, north of Donetsk, as the standoff between Kiev and pro-Russian protesters continues in the eastern part of Ukraine. Although most Western media organizations initially described the vehicles as Russian, Moscow media outlets and Der Spiegel say they are in fact Ukrainian tanks and that a group of soldiers has defected to the pro-Russian side. The German magazine quotes the Ukrainian troops as saying: "We haven't had anything decent to eat for weeks. Kiev has forgotten us." Meanwhile, AFP reports that 20 pro-Russian gunmen entered the mayor’s office in Donetsk, demanding a referendum on Ukraine’s federalization.

  • The Ukrainian security service claims to have intercepted communications that show Russians commanders are controlling pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine and had given them “shoot to kill” orders. This comes as Ukraine’s Interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk accused Russia of “exporting terrorism,” adding that “today's events are starting to endanger Europe and the European Union.” He declared that Moscow has “decided to build a new Berlin Wall and return to the Cold War era.” Read more from RTÉ.

  • In a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin described Kiev’s decision to send troops east as a “sharp escalation” which puts the country “on the verge of civil war.” According to Merkel’s office, the conversation focused on the preparations for tomorrow’s planned four-way meeting in Geneva between Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and the EU.

A passenger ship with 477 people aboard, mostly high school students, sank in waters off South Korea's southwest coast Wednesday morning, leaving at least two dead. Several hours after the disaster, 180 passengers had been rescued, leaving some 290 still missing. According to Korean news agency Yonhap, rescuing operations are being hampered by poor underwater visibility, while many of the people still unaccounted for are feared to be trapped inside the ship.

Israeli police entered the holy site of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to the Jews as temple Mount, to disperse what The Times Of Israel describes as “Palestinian rioters” after they hurled stones and firecrackers, hurting one policeman, and barricaded themselves in the mosque. Ma’an news agency reports however that Israeli soldiers and policemen used stun grenades and rubber bullets, injuring some 25 protesters. According to the pro-Palestinian media, “About 100 Muslim worshipers have decided to stay inside the compound day and night after right-wing Jewish organizations urged Jews to flock to the compound which they believe is the site of a former temple and slaughter their Passover sacrifices inside.” Five people were indeed arrested on Monday for attempting to sacrifice a goat on the holy site. Here’s a recent Le Monde/Worldcrunch reportage on escalating tensions on the Temple Mount.
The latest showdown comes as three Palestinians were killed in a mysterious explosion that left another four injured.

Gunmen suspected to be from Islamist group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 100 schoolgirls in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno late on Monday, just hours after the massive bombing that killed 75 people in the capital of Abuja, the newspaper Vanguard reports. According to witnesses, the gunmen stormed the local council’s headquarters, killing one security guard, and torched residential buildings and shops before fleeing. Some girls were able to escape, but the others were taken in a truck.


The Chinese economy grew by 7.4% in the first quarter of 2014, its slowest pace in 18 months, down from 7.7% compared with the previous quarter,The Financial Times reports. According to the newspaper, “imports and exports have contracted” while Reuters explains that officials believe “the slowdown was an expected consequence of their reform drive, even as some analysts think the economy will lose further momentum.”

Le Monde’s Piotr Smolar talks to a pro-Russian separatist in Donetsk, the eastern Ukrainian city that has become the symbol of anti-Kiev sentiment: “‘I want to live in a country that respects me,” he says. “Kiev won’t be able to reunite the whole population, that’s for sure. At least in Russia, there are people like us. Our lives wouldn’t be better with them but not worse either.’”
Read the full article here: What's Driving Pro-Russian Separatists In Donetsk.

“I’m a refugee like you,” Somalian refugee children write to Syrians. Read more from the BBC.

World’s most expensive instrument on auction. Learn more about it here.

If you’ve never seen anybody do an impression of a fly, a cricket or of a velociraptor, check out this expand=1] guy’s video doing 30 animal sounds.

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Migrant Lives

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

An orchid rehabilitation project is turning a small Mexican community into a tourist magnet — and attracting far-flung locals back to their hometown.

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

Marcos Aguilar Pérez takes care of orchids rescued from the rainforest in his backyard in Santa Rita Las Flores, Mapastepec, Chiapas, Mexico.

Adriana Alcázar González/GPJ Mexico
Adriana Alcázar González

MAPASTEPEC — Sweat cascades down Candelaria Salas Gómez’s forehead as she separates the bulbs of one of the orchids she and the other members of the Santa Rita Las Flores Community Ecotourism group have rescued from the rainforest. The group houses and protects over 1,000 orchids recovered from El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, after powerful storms.

“When the storms and heavy rains end, we climb to the vicinity of the mountains and collect the orchids that have fallen from the trees. We bring them to Santa Rita, care for them, and build their strength to reintegrate them into the reserve later,” says Salas Gómez, 32, as she attaches an orchid to a clay base to help it recover.

Like magnets, the orchids of Santa Rita have exerted a pull on those who have migrated from the area due to lack of opportunity. After years away from home, Salas Gómez was one of those who returned, attracted by the community venture to rescue these flowers and exhibit them as a tourist attraction, which provides residents with an adequate income.

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