WEST STRENGTHENS ANTI-RUSSIA RHETORIC
In what marks a further escalation of the war of words between the pro-Ukraine and Russian Federation factions, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said Moscow wanted “to start World War III.” The comment came after Russian President Vladimir Putin increased military exercises along the border following yesterday’s deadly fights in Eastern Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also launched a blistering attack against Russia, saying that the country’s leadership had “put its faith in distraction, deception and destabilization.”
Kerry also accused Moscow of “continuing to fund, coordinate and fuel a heavily-armed separatist movement in Donetsk” in order to “actively sabotage the democratic process” ahead of next month’s elections in Ukraine, the BBC reports. Kerry also took a swing at state-backed television network RT: “The propaganda bullhorn that is the state-sponsored RT network has been deployed to promote President Putin’s fantasy about what is playing out on the ground.” His Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov replied that Kerry’s comments on the Russian media organization were “not civilized” and accused the U.S. of “trying to pervert everything that is going on in Ukraine.”
Speaking from Seoul, Barack Obama said he would speak with European leaders later today and reiterated threats of fresh “sectoral” sanctions against Russia, Reuters reports.
The standoff, meanwhile, continues in Ukraine’s eastern regions, as The Kyiv Post reported that the government had decided to blockade access to the city of Sloviansk. RT reports also that Russian journalists were abducted by masked men in Donetsk.
MAOIST ATTACK IN EAST INDIA
At least five police officers and three polling officials were killed in East India yesterday, after the minibus they were travelling in was hit by a blast and targeted by gunfire, The Indian Express reports. The attack is believed to have been carried out by Maoist rebels, who boycotted the ongoing election in India and are responsible for a similar attack last month.
London-based Sicilian novelist Simonetta Agnello Hornby, writing for La Stampa, bemoans modern eating habits and the move away from lovingly prepared family meals with fresh ingredients. “Entire families have forgotten how to cook, and how to eat together at the table,” she writes. “Sitting on sofas around the TV, eyes glued to shows where other people cook, adults and children overeat fries, sausages and canned spaghetti. There are no vegetables, and very little fruit. Obesity has become a national health problem.” Read the full article, Killing The Art Of Cuisine, From London To Palermo.
SEARCH OF SOUTH KOREAN FERRY CONTINUES AS OBAMA VISITS
South Korean search teams have recovered 10 more bodies from the wreck of the ferry that sank last week, bringing the death toll to 181, with 121 people still missing, Yonhap reports. Seoul again tried to mobilize as many resources as possible, with 88 divers involved in the operation, as well as 30 Coast Guard officials, 12 firefighters, 32 naval officers and two dozen civilian experts. Upon arriving in South Korea where he travelled from Japan, U.S. President Barack Obama offered his counterpart Park Geun-hye the American flag that was flying over the White House on the day of the disaster. “As allies, but also friends, we join you in mourning the missing, and especially the young people,"”Obama said.
Read more from AP.
A dozen previously unseen works by American pop art master Andy Warhol have been discovered on 30-year-old Amiga floppy disks.
Portugal celebrates the anniversary of its Carnation Revolution, one of the most peaceful coups in history.
SCAB PEELED FROM UK SPORT TRAGEDY
The British government is finding itself embroiled in a dangerous controversy after local British newspaper The Liverpool Echo revealed that insulting messages on the Wikipedia page of the Hillsborough disaster, during which 96 fans of Liverpool FC soccer team died in 1989, had been posted from government computers. Revisions to the Wikipedia article included changing the club’s motto “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to “You’ll Never Walk Again.” According to The Guardian, the Cabinet Office has launched an investigation into the claims.
TWO POPES TO BE CANONIZED SUNDAY
Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in Rome on Sunday, when as many as three million people are expected to gather for the event, according to website Catholic Online. The ceremony will also see the unprecedented participation of two living pontiffs: Francis and Benedict XVI. John XXIII, who pushed the modernization of the Catholic Church by calling the Second Vatican Council in 1962, is a “tradition-breaking pope like Francis,” AFP writes, a description echoed by French daily La Croix, which sees him as visionary. British newspaper The Daily Telegraphfocuses instead on the “miracle cure” of a woman that earned John Paul II his canonization, while The Guardian asks whether the Catholic Church must dehumanize John Paul II to make him a saint.
TONY BLAIR’S SPEECH REVISITED
Earlier this week, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned during a heavily criticized speech of the growing threat of Islamist extremism. Mashup artist Cassetteboy released an edited version of the address, entitled “I say lies,” which The Guardian asserts shows the real meaning of his speech.
Watch the video here.
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