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The Latest: Haiti President Murder Aftermath, Tokyo COVID Emergency, Sandcastle Record

Waiting for free food in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as the new strict nationwide lockdown was extended following record highs in new COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Waiting for free food in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as the new strict nationwide lockdown was extended following record highs in new COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Welcome to Thursday, where four suspects are killed following the assassination of Haiti's president, Tokyo is placed under a state of emergency two weeks before the Olympics and a sandcastle breaks a record in Denmark. Persian-language magazine Kayhan-London takes a close look at how Iran has changed its mind on the Taliban, following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.


• Four people killed after Haiti president's assassination: Police have killed four people suspected of assassinating Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse. Two others have been detained, while other suspects still remain at large in the nation's capital. The 53-year-old Moïse was fatally shot on Wednesday when attackers stormed his home.

• Japanese Prime Minister declares state of emergency in Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga formally declared a state of emergency in Tokyo to respond to a sharp increase in coronavirus infections, putting restrictions in place until August 22. The measure increases the likelihood that the Olympic Games will be held without spectators.

• Zuma in custody: South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma has handed himself over to the authorities to begin serving a 15-month jail sentence. Zuma was sentenced on 29 June for contempt of court, which sparked an unprecedented legal drama in the country, and initially refused to hand himself in.

• Climate crisis may put 8 billion at risk of malaria and dengue: According to a new study, more than 8 billion people could risk getting a mosquito-borne disease, like malaria or dengue fever, by 2080 if greenhouse gasses continue to rise. Dengue, which has no specific treatment, already kills about 20,000 every year and malaria kills more than 400,000 people every year, most of whom are children.

• Global experts urge Johnson to delay opening: More than a 100 scientists and doctors have called on the UK government to delay the reopening of the country until more people are vaccinated. The reopening, scheduled for 19 July, was announced on Tuesday, while on Wednesday, the UK reported more than 30,000 new cases for the first time since January. Lifting the remaining restrictions is "dangerous and premature," according to the experts.

• Explosion in Dubai: An explosion inside a container on a ship docked at Dubai's Jebel Ali port caused a large fire and was felt across the city, as far as 15 kilometers away from the port. According to the authorities, the fire is under control and there were no reported deaths or injuries.

• New plant species found in Antarctica: Indian scientists have discovered a new plant species in the unlikeliest of places. They stumbled upon a piece of moss during an exhibition to the ice-covered continent in 2017. It took five years to determine the novelty of the moss since such identifications are laborious. The new species was named Bryum Bharatiensis, after the Hindu goddess of learning Bharati.


Weekly newspaper Haiti Liberté devotes its front page to the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse, who was fatally shot by attackers in his home on Wednesday. A manhunt is still underway while the police announced four suspects were killed and two detained.

Why Iran is actively backing the Taliban for the first time

Iran's clerical Shiite regime has seemingly overturned its long-held hostility to the Taliban, and may be readying itself to welcome the "enemies of America" as Kabul's new masters, writes Hamed Mohammadi in Persian-language magazine Kayhan-London.

There can be no doubt the situation in Afghanistan is critical. As U.S. and allied troops depart, the Taliban are exploiting the Kabul government's weakness to capture districts and towns, especially in the north. In some areas, conditions seem normal by day but as darkness falls, armed motorcades attack villages, patrols or army posts, firing on any Afghan citizen trying to resist. A UN report from May listed 50 of Afghanistan's 400 regions as being in Taliban hands. And that progression appears relentless.

There are accusations from Afghan politicians that certain foreign powers, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan, were helping the insurgents. Abdulsattar Husseini, a legislator, has accused the Iranian Revolutionary guards and Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency of helping the Taliban, saying arms have been smuggled in from Iran. In the past 20 to 30 years, Afghanistan has, like Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, entered the Iranian regime's "resistance" map of regions where it sought to extend its ideological sway at the West's expense.

Some years ago, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, denounced the Taliban as sworn enemies of Shia Muslims, describing them as "hard-hearted," criminal and "creatures' of the United States. But after the United States toppled them in 2001, he not only sheltered them but is now veering Iranian foreign policy toward closer ties with them. And it is the task of various figures in Tehran to start rehabilitating the terrorists. The legislator Ahmad Naderi has called the Taliban "one of the region's essential movements," with whom "we have shared enemies."

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


69.4 ft

The world's tallest sandcastle, standing at 21.16 meters (69.4 feet) in height, has been completed in Denmark. The Guinness World Records certified that the sandcastle is 3 metres taller than the previous record holder, built in Germany in 2019. The 4,860 tons of sand used to make the castle were sculpted by Dutch creator Wilfred Stijger, assisted by 30 of the world's best sand sculptors. On top of the sandcastle is a model of the coronavirus wearing a crown, representing the power the virus held over the world.

Singing cactus toy in Taiwan raps in Polish about cocaine and suicide

If not for a Polish shopper, it might have remained lost in translation for all the Taiwanese parents who've bought their kids the popular toy cactus that raps in some exotic language.

But a Polish mother living in the city of Taichung was doing some grocery shopping with her baby at the local Carrefour when she heard something that made her ears perk up: a foul-mouthed Polish rap song referencing cocaine and suicide. It turned out that the source of the obscene music was the singing cactus.

It was just "cocaine and suicide attempt, repeated over and over again. It is really shocking," the Polish woman recounted. She contacted another Polish friend of hers in Taiwan, Ela Sobczak who took the matter of the rude cactus very seriously and notified Taiwan News.

"The song itself is definitely inappropriate to play in front of children," said Sobczak.

The 32-centimeter-high cactus, which moves and grooves along to the tune, is programmed to sing a number by the Polish rapper, Cypis. Here is a video of the cactus doing its thing, along with a cat that apparently has heard it all before.

➡️ Keep up with all the planet's police reports and plot twists on Worldcrunch.com


The possibility of someone still alive is near zero.


— Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said during a news conference, as the rescue mission to find survivors in the rubble of the collapsed apartment building in Florida switches to a recovery effort. Fifty-four victims have been found and 86 are still missing. "While there seems to be no chance of finding life in the rubble," the mayor added, "a miracle is still possible."

✍️ Newsletter by Genevieve Mansfield, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Meike Eijsberg and Bertrand Hauger

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Reuters is an international news agency headquartered in London, UK. It was founded in 1851 and is now a division of Thomson Reuters. It transmits news in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Urdu, and Chinese.
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TAIWAN NEWS
Taiwan News is an English-language newspaper based in Taiwan, which also publishes the Mandarin-language news weekly of the same name.
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CNN
CNN (Cable News Network) is a multinational news organization and TV channel. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, it is part of the Warner Media group and was founded in 1980 by Ted Turner and Reese Schonfeld.
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KAYHAN-LONDON
Kayhan is a Persian-language, London-based spinoff of the conservative daily of the same name headquartered in Tehran. It was founded in 1984 by Mostafa Mesbahzadeh, the owner of the Iranian paper. Unlike its Tehran sister paper, considered "the most conservative Iranian newspaper," the London-based version is mostly run by exiled journalists and is very critical of the Iranian regime.
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BBC
The BBC is the British public service broadcaster, and the world's oldest national broadcasting organization. It broadcasts in up to 28 different languages.
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THE GUARDIAN
Founded as a local Manchester newspaper in 1821, The Guardian has gone on to become one of the most influential dailies in Britain. The left-leaning newspaper is most recently known for its coverage of the Edward Snowden leaks.
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Geopolitics

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023

Before heading to South Sudan to continue his highly anticipated trip to Africa, the pontiff was in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he delivered a powerful speech, in a country where 40 million Catholics live.

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — You may know the famous Joseph Stalin quote: “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” Pope Francis still has no military divisions to his name, but he uses his voice, and he does so wisely — sometimes speaking up when no one else would dare.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (the former Belgian Congo, a region plundered and martyred, before and after its independence in 1960), Francis has chosen to speak loudly. Congo is a country with 110 million inhabitants, immensely rich in minerals, but populated by poor people and victims of brutal wars.

That land is essential to the planetary ecosystem, and yet for too long, the world has not seen it for its true value.

The words of this 86-year-old pope, who now moves around in a wheelchair, deserve our attention. He undoubtedly said what a billion Africans are thinking: "Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered!"

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