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Ukraine Copter Shot Down, Al-Sisi Wins, 2.1 Billion Obese

Frustrated defending champion Serena Williams crashed out of the French Open Wednesday.
Frustrated defending champion Serena Williams crashed out of the French Open Wednesday.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pro-Russian militants near the eastern Ukrainian town of Sloviansk shot down a military helicopter, killing 14 soldiers, acting President Olexandr Turchynov said. This came after local media reported intense shooting around Sloviansk and Kramatorsk and the shelling of the two cities. Media described the situation as a “full-scale military operation.” Earlier, Sloviansk’s self-declared “people’s mayor” said that four hostages from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe were “fine” and that they could be released tomorrow, Interfax reported.

Elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he would sign an economic deal with the European Union “within a very short period of time” after being sworn into office. Meanwhile, Russia, Kazakhstan And Belarussigned an agreement to set up a Eurasian Economic Union starting in January 2015. "Today we are creating a powerful center of gravity for economic development, a large regional market that unites more than 170 million people," Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the ceremony.

There are more than 2.1 billion obese or overweight people in the world, according to the latest figures published in the Lancet, and not a single country is successfully dealing with the issue. Read more here.

Former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won the country’s presidential race as expected, with an overwhelming 93% of the vote, leaving opponent Hamdeen Sabahi with only 3%. But although the two-day vote was extended until last night, turnout was a disappointing 46%, raising questions about al-Sisi’s credibility. Read more from the BBC.

Defending tennis champion Serena Williams lost her match — and her temper — in the second round of the French Open, her earliest exit from a Grand Slam tournament in 16 years.

Four girls that were among the estimated 223 abducted by Islamist group Boko Haram six weeks ago managed to escape their captors and have been reunited with their parents, Nigerian Tribune reports. It’s unclear when the girls returned to their families. The state education commissioner was informed only last week and is apparently furious that the families didn’t alert authorities sooner. This good news of the girls’ escape came as suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed at least 51 people in separate attacks in the northeastern state of Borno.

A group of Iranian hackers allegedly used fake social media accounts and bogus news websites to spy on military and political leaders in the United States, Israel, Britain and other countries, Reuters reports, citing a Dallas-based cyber intelligence company. According to ISight Partners, the company that uncovered the three-year operation, “It was the most elaborate cyber espionage campaign using ‘social engineering’ that has been uncovered to date from any nation.”


At least 74 people were killed yesterday in attacks across Iraq that included car bombings in the capital of Baghdad, making it the bloodiest day in the country in more than seven months, according to AFP.

In his Die Welt op-ed, Alain Posener says that the European establishment has a decade-long listening problem, and that it won't be solved by shaming the anti-EU populist parties that scored big in this week's election. “In view of the strength of the anti-EU populists, say parties on both sides of the spectrum, we will have to work even more strongly together,” he writes. “What that means is: The establishment is closing ranks and turning a deaf ear. The European Parliament wants to prevail over national governments, and national governments see the delegitimization of the EU with more than a little schadenfreude.”
Read the full article, Something Is Rotten In Europe.

“In the music business everyone is desperately insecure, but the guys in Silicon Valley seem to be overconfident,” Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine said at a Wednesday conference about Apple’s acquisition of his headphone and music streaming company.

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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