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Hong Kong

Turkey Versus ISIS, Aiding Gaza, Economics Nobel

A moment of rest for Hong Kong's "Occupy Central" protesters
A moment of rest for Hong Kong's "Occupy Central" protesters

Monday, October 13, 2014

Turkey has agreed to allow the U.S.-led coalition to use its military bases as part of the campaign to fight the ISIS terrorist group, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice told NBC in an interview Sunday. Rice said the White House welcomed this “new commitment,” as Turkey is also set to let Syrian opposition forces be trained there. One of the key points of the agreement is the use of the Incirlik Air Base near the Syrian border. A Defense Department team is expected to arrive in Turkey this week to finalize the plans, The Washington Post reports.

In the NBC interview, Rice said ground troops would be part of the global anti-ISIS campaign but insisted they would not be U.S. troops. “It’s got to be the Iraqis,” she said. “This is their fight. This is their territory.” Rice added that combat against ISIS would be long-term. “It's not going to be quick. It's not going to be easy. But this is the only way to accomplish taking back territory, preventing a safe haven in Iraq in a sustainable way.”

ISIS advanced in Kobani, Syria, over the weekend and are currently in control of certain areas of the town, the BBC reports. Though the jihadists are striking parts of the town with heavy fire, Kurdish forces are putting up strong resistance. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 36 ISIS and 8 Kurdish fighters were killed Saturday.

Meanwhile, ISIS has boasted about enslaving and selling Yazidi men, women and children, a Human Rights Watch report reveals. An English-language ISIS propaganda magazine called Dabiq described how Yazidi women and children were considered spoils of war after they were captured by the jihadists in Iraqi Kurdistan in August. According to the report, a teenage girl who managed to escape from ISIS said a fighter had bought her for $1,000. The number of Yazidis captured by the terrorist group is said to be around a thousand, but according to VICE News, it could be as high as 2,500.

Hundreds of opponents to the Occupy Central pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, some wearing surgical masks and armed with crowbars and cutting tools, tore down protest barriers in the heart of the city’s business district today, scuffling with protesters who have occupied the streets for two weeks, Reuters reports.

U.S. health officials said Sunday they were deeply concerned by a “protocol breach” after it was confirmed that a nurse had become the second person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with Ebola. The Texas Health Presbyterian hospital employee had previously cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from the virus in an isolation unit last week in Dallas. In a media briefing Sunday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thomas Frieden said an unknown breach in protocol led to what is the first case of Ebola transmission in the U.S., The Washington Post reports.

The Ebola outbreak is "the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times," World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan said today.

Meanwhile, medical staff in Liberia have threatened to go on a national strike, demanding an increase in monthly pay, personal protective equipment and insurance, the BBC reports. Liberian Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah has appealed to medical staff not to go ahead with the strike, stressing that such a decision would seriously diminish the progress made so far in the fight against the deadly virus.

So far 4,033 have died from Ebola, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A donor conference in Cairo yesterday ended with $5.4 billion in pledges to aid Gaza, Norway's Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said.

Bolivian voters have elected President Evo Morales for a third consecutive term. With at least 60% of the votes, according to the most recent election data, it was an easy win. At the presidential palace in La Paz, where he claimed victory, the former farmer told his cheering supporters, "This win is a triumph for anti-imperialists and anti-colonialists.” Since he was first elected in 2006, Morales has overseen strong economic growth and reduced poverty.

New research in Germany shows that something triggers personality changes in people when they get older. And no, it's not retirement or being grandparents that explains the changes, Die Welt’s Wiebke Hollersen reports. “Among those over 70, on the other hand, all sorts of things began to happen. Their personalities changed in all possible directions. They were less controlled, lived more impulsively, or they achieved greater self-esteem and inner peace. Others turned into ‘over-controlled’ personalities. All this applied to older Australians and Germans, men and women alike ... The researchers were surprised by the changes in character traits in older people, and so far have been unable to determine what drives these changes. After having tested for the influence of several different factors, they are only sure about what doesn't explain the changes.”
Read the full article, Old Dogs, New Tricks: Why Personalites Change After 70.

Oscar Pistorius arrived at Pretoria’s High Court this morning for the hearing that will determine whether he will serve jail time for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He was found guilty of the culpable homicide last month but was cleared of murder. Pistorius faces up to 15 years in jail, but the BBC reports that Judge Thokozile Masipa could suspend the sentence or impose a fine.

French economist Jean Tirole has won the Nobel Prize in economics for his work on how governments should deal with mergers and cartels, and regulate monopolies, The Guardian reports.

Rescue teams have begun their relief operations on India’s east coast after Cyclone Hudhud hit there over the weekend. At least eight people were killed and as many as 400,000 were forced to flee to relief camps. The cyclone also wrecked homes, roads and crops across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.


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Influencer Union? The Next Labor Rights Battle May Be For Social Media Creators

With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor.

​photograph of a smartphone on a selfie stick

Smartphone on a selfie stick

Steve Gale/Unsplash
David Craig and Stuart Cunningham

Hollywood writers and actors recently proved that they could go toe-to-toe with powerful media conglomerates. After going on strike in the summer of 2023, they secured better pay, more transparency from streaming services and safeguards from having their work exploited or replaced by artificial intelligence.

But the future of entertainment extends well beyond Hollywood. Social media creators – otherwise known as influencers, YouTubers, TikTokers, vloggers and live streamers – entertain and inform a vast portion of the planet.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

For the past decade, we’ve mapped the contours and dimensions of the global social media entertainment industry. Unlike their Hollywood counterparts, these creators struggle to be seen as entertainers worthy of basic labor protections.

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