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Ukraine Helicopters Downed, Aleppo Struck, Fat Godzilla

Ukrainian helicopter before being shot down
Ukrainian helicopter before being shot down

The Ukrainian government launched what France24 describes as a “large-scale military operation that included an air assault” to retake the town of Sloviansk in the eastern part of the country. But Pro-Russian militants fought back and shot down at least two helicopters, killing two Ukrainian soldiers, with one dead and one injured among the rebels, The Kyiv Post reported. A sniper fired at a car transporting Russian journalists, news agency Itar-Tass reported.

According to Time correspondent Simon Shuster, separatist ham radio is asking the people of Sloviansk to gather on the city’s main square to record a video appeal for help to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin spokesman said that Moscow considered the attack as “literally destroying the last hope for the viability of the Geneva accords,” RT reports. Meanwhile, Russia’s representative at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe urged the body to act and stop the military assault.

In an interview with the Financial Times yesterday, Ukraine’s Interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk accused Moscow of planning clashes during the May Day holidays.

At least 19 people were killed after a car bomb exploded on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital of Abuja, just 200 meters from the location of a similar blast that killed 75 people two weeks ago, Vanguard reports. According to a local BBC correspondent, it is unclear why this specific area was targeted, as its population is of mixed religion. But the attackers were likely the Islamist group Boko Haram, who claimed responsibility for last month’s attack. The latest attack comes as Abuja is set to host the World Economic Forum on Africa next week, with world leaders expected to attend.

Traffic jams extended as long as 55 kilometers on highways in Beijing, Guangdong and Xian, as millions of Chinese tried to reach vacation destinations on Labor Day, the first day of the national “golden week” holiday.

The New York Times published a graphic report about another air strike on an outdoor market in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo that killed 33 people yesterday. Opposition figures describe it “as another deliberate attack on civilians by President Bashar al-Assad’s military aircraft.” This comes amid troubling reports from Saudi Arabian news network Al Arabiya of footage released by the opposition showing that Jihadist group ISIS, which fights alongside the rebels, have captured a number of aircraft belonging to the Syrian army. The planes were apparently unable to be flown and are being repaired. Meanwhile, another suicide car bomb this morning left 18 civilians dead, including 11 children, in Hama. Read more from AFP.


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry landed this morning in South Sudan where he will meet with President Salva Kiir and is expected to hold a phone conversation with exiled rebel leader and former Vice President Riek Machar, AP reports. Kerry will seek to make both sides agree to a ceasefire, in an attempt to put an end to over four months of civil war that Kerry warned yesterday is showing signs of genocide.

As La Stampa"s Paolo Mastrolilli writes, it's been 40 years since Rubik's Cube inventor ErnÅ‘ Rubik released his brain-and-fingers toy to the world. “For some it has become a mania, to the point of international competitions to see who could solve it the fastest,” the journalist writes. “The current record stands at 5.5 seconds. It’s truly an icon of our time. When Edward Snowden went to meet journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras in the Hong Kong restaurant to leak the NSA documents, he told them they’d recognize him because he’d be holding a Rubik’s Cube.” Read the full article, Rubik's Cube Turns 40: A Conversation With Its Inventor.

Thieves in Australia made off with a sweet haul: a dozen beehives and the 480 kilos of honey inside them, which were worth almost $2,000.

South Korean officials have warned that divers participating in the search of the sunken ferry are facing health risks because of prolonged swimming in cold and murky waters, with several of them subject to decompression sickness, Yonhap news agency reports. This comes after a diver was hospitalized yesterday after falling unconscious during a mission. More than two weeks after the ferry sank, 76 victims have yet to be found, with their bodies believed to be trapped in unexplored parts of the boat.

“It's true that you gain weight in America. It's a calorie monster.” AFP reports that some Japanese Godzilla fans think Hollywood has gone and “super-sized” their beloved monster in a new remake.

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India Higher Education Inferior Complex: Where Are The Foreign University Campuses?

The proposed UGC guidelines are ill-conceived and populist, and hardly take note of the educational and financial interests of foreign universities.

Image of a group of five people sitting on the grass inside of the Indian Institute of Technology campus.

The IIT - Indian Institute of Technology - Campus

M.M Ansari and Mohammad Naushad Khan

NEW DELHI — Nearly 800,000 young people from India attend foreign universities every year in search of quality education and entrepreneurial training, resulting in a massive outflow of resources – $3 billion – to finance their education. These students look for greener pastures abroad because of the lack of quality teaching and research in most of India’s higher education institutions.

Over 40,000 colleges and 1,000 universities are producing unemployable graduates who cannot function in a knowledge- and technology-intensive economy.

The Indian government's solution is to open doors to foreign universities, with a proposed set of regulations aiming to provide higher education and research services to match global standards, and to control the outflow of resources. But this decision raises many questions.

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