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Ukraine Truce Talks, Global Suicide, Bigger Than T. Rex

A policeman looks at a masked protester Thursday during the first day of the 2014 NATO Summit held in Newport, Wales.
A policeman looks at a masked protester Thursday during the first day of the 2014 NATO Summit held in Newport, Wales.

All eyes are on Minsk where Ukrainian, Russian and OSCE envoys have begun another round of talks that could lead to an imminent ceasefire in eastern Ukraine after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s said at the NATO summit yesterday that he would agree to a truce. Rebel leaders also said they would stop the fighting, as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s seven point plan, if an agreement is reached with Kiev.

The European Union was still preparing for a next round of sanctions against Moscow. According to the Financial Times, these could directly target Russian state-controlled oil companies. Documents leaked earlier this week by the newspaper suggested the European Commission was looking at excluding Russia from sporting events.

Fights between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian rebels were still ongoing this morning, with reports of heavy shelling near the port of Mariupol and gunfire and artillery fire in Donetsk. Read more from Reuters.

Hundreds of civilians are fleeing their homes in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri as Boko Haram fighters gain regional ground and have managed to capture several towns in their bid to emulate ISIS and carve out an Islamic caliphate,The New York Times reports. According to the BBC, fierce fights in the neighboring city of Bama have forced up to 26,000 people to flee. “So many bodies litter the streets, and people are not allowed to even go and bury the dead ones,” a local senator told the BBC.

American comedy legend and TV host Joan Rivers died yesterday afternoon at age 81 in a New York hospital, a week after suffering cardiac arrest during a medical procedure. The world also lost Argentinian singer-songwriter Gustavo Cerati, who died Thursday in Buenos Aires at age 55, four years after a stroke put him in a coma.

After seeing tourism figures fall dramatically since the beginning of what has been a troubled year, Thailand’s junta is offering Chinese tourists free visas, Reuters reports. According to The Bangkok Post, the number of tourists from China fell 21% since January, but tourism officials expect the measure to help return to positive growth this month. Tourism accounts for about 10% of the Thai economy.

As Die Welt’s Josephine Pabst reports, Dutch aerospace student Boyan Slat, 20, has an idea that could conceivably remove millions of tons of toxic trash from the world's waters. “The model itself looks like a bird's-eye view of a gigantic V,” the journalist writes of Slat’s brainchild. “Its two hose-like arms, each 50 kilometers (31 miles), would lie on the ocean's surface. Every 4 kilometers (2.5 miles), they would be weighted and attached to the ocean floor. Filters would be attached to the hoses that would catch garbage but pose no danger to marine creatures.”
Read the full article, Has A 20-Year-Old Found A Cheap Way To Clean The Planet's Oceans?

Canadian author Margaret Atwood will become the first contributor to a new project called the Future Library, meaning that her next work will not be printed until 100 years from now. According to The Guardian, the manuscript will be locked away until 2114, when the Future Library will print the book using trees it planted this summer in Norway. Until then, one writer will be invited each year to participate in the project.

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A recent study by researchers in Singapore finds that bilingual babies show signs of developing better cognitive abilities,The Independent reports. Using a method called “visual habituation,” scientists found that babies raised in bilingual households recognize familiar images faster and pay more attention to novel images, both possible signs of a higher IQ later in life.

The first-ever comprehensive report on suicide by the United Nation's World Health Organization finds that someone in the world takes their own life every 40 seconds.

Meet Dreadnoughtus, the newly discovered dinosaur that scientists believe was more than seven times heavier than a T. rex. And though its name may suggest otherwise, its skeleton was found in Argentina, not Jamaica.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Putin's "Pig-Like" Latvia Threat Is A Chilling Reminder Of What's At Stake In Ukraine

In the Ukraine war, Russia's military spending is as high as ever. Now the West is alarmed because the Kremlin leader is indirectly hinting at a possible attack on Latvia, a NATO member. It is a reminder of a growing danger to Europe.

Photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Pavel Lokshin


BERLIN — Russian President Vladimir Putin sometimes chooses downright bizarre occasions to launch his threats against the West. It was at Monday's meeting of the Russian Human Rights Council, where Putin expressed a new, deep concern. It was not of course about the human rights of the thousands of political prisoners in his own country, but about the Russian population living in neighboring Latvia, which happens to be a NATO member, having to take language tests.

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