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Geopolitics

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.
Worldcrunch

Thursday, May 29, 2014

UKRAINE HELICOPTER SHOT DOWN
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 Belarus signed 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.

2.1 BILLION
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.

AL-SISI WINS EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY
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.

SNAPSHOT
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.

4 KIDNAPPED NIGERIAN GIRLS ESCAPED
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.

IRANIAN HACKERS
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.”

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD


IRAQ HAS DEADLIEST DAY IN 7 MONTHS
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.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
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.

VERBATIM
“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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Economy

Why More Countries Are Banning Foreigners From Buying Real Estate

Canada has become the most recent country to impose restrictions on non-residents buying real estate, arguing that wealthy investors from other countries are pricing out would-be local homeowners. But is singling out foreigners the best way to face a troubled housing market?

Photo of someone walking by houses in Toronto

A person walks by a row of houses in Toronto

Shaun Lavelle, Riley Sparks, Ginevra Falciani

PARIS — It’s easy to forget that soon after the outbreak of COVID-19, many real estate experts were forecasting that housing prices could face a once-in-generation drop. The logic was that a shrinking pandemic economy would combine with people moving out of cities to push costs down in a lasting way.

Ultimately, in most places, the opposite has happened. Home prices in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia and New Zealand rose between 25% and 50% since the outbreak of COVID-19.

This explosion was driven by a number of factors, including low interest rates, supply chain issues in construction and shortages in available properties caused in part by investors buying up large swathes of housing stock.

Yet some see another culprit deserving of particular attention: foreign buyers.

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