Wednesday, August 13, 2014
U.S. SENDS MORE MILITARY ADVISERS TO IRAQ
Washington is sending 130 more military advisers to northern Iraq to assist in the evacuation of displaced people trapped on Mount Sinjar, The New York Times reports. The article quotes U.S. officials as saying that a ground presence is needed to secure the evacuation, although they insisted they “will not be engaged in a combat role.”
Meanwhile, after a meeting with UK officials in London, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he would not rule out sending troops to Iraq. According to The Guardian, this comes as Britain intensifies its involvement in the country, with British helicopters flying Yazidi refugees out of Mount Sinjar and aircraft transporting Jordanian military equipment to the Kurdish region of Iraq.
Iranians officials say they support the nomination of Haider al-Abadi as Iraq’s new prime minister, a crucial endorsement, while ousted Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki yesterday urged the army and security forces to stay out of the political crisis, suggesting a smooth transfer of power is possible.
Protesters held their hands up in the air as crowds gathered Tuesday in Clayton, Missouri, to protest the fatal Saturday shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed at the time, by a police officer in Ferguson.
AS TRUCE NEARS END, GAZA TALKS CONTINUE
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are in Cairo to continue talks on a permanent truce as a 72-hour ceasefire in the Gaza conflict expires tonight. There is no sign of a breakthrough to bring to an end to fighting that has killed 1,945 Palestinians and 67 Israelis, 64 of them soldiers, Reuters reports.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says that if the ceasefire collapses Israel must "take the initiative,” and “finish the story in the shortest time possible." Read more about his comments in our Verbatim feature.
AFP reports that a foreign journalist and four Palestinians were killed as an Israeli missile was being dismantled in Gaza.
Legendary Hollywood actress Lauren Bacall, born Betty Joan Perske, died Tuesday at age 89 after suffering a major stroke.
PUTIN “HUMANITARIAN CONVOYS” BARRED
Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says that Russia’s humanitarian convoys will not be allowed in the Kharkiv region. “First they send tanks, Grad missiles and bandits who fire on Ukrainians, and then they send water and salt,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
A new infographic on the daily caloric intake of various countries shows the United States tops the chart with 3,770 calories per person.
MUBARAK’S RETRIAL BEGINS
The retrial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak began this morning in Cairo without him, as the helicopter that was supposed to deliver him to the court where he was expected to testify was grounded by bad weather, Ahram Online reports. The ex-president is accused of complicity in the killing of some 850 demonstrators in the revolt that ousted him from office in 2011, and it is believed he will plead innocent.
For a bit of lighter fare today, our music blog Hit It! features Berlin-based American musician Anton Newcombe, lead singer of the Brian Jonestown Massacre band, performing a cover of French composer William Sheller's "Philadelphia Story." Although he tweeted that “it’s hard to sing in French,” we found his French crooning quite good. Check out the video here.
CANADA TO DONATE EBOLA VACCINES
Canada has announced plans to donate up to 1,000 experimental Ebola vaccines to the World Health Organization in a bid to halt spread of the disease, which has killed over 1,000 people in West Africa. It came just hours after the WHO said it was ethical to use untested drugs on Ebola patients. Read more from CBC.
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
JAPANESE ECONOMY FALTERS
Japan’s economy shrank 6.8% in the second quarter compared to last year’s, its worst economic contraction since the tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster three years ago, the Financial Times reports.
FIRST WOMAN EARNS MATH’S TOP PRIZE
Iranian-born Stanford University mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani has become the first woman to be awarded the Fields Medal, math’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize.