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Geopolitics

U.S. And Russia Team Up, More Ebola In Texas, Barack O'Bama

At least 50 people have been killed over the past two weeks after Indonesia's Mount Sinabung volcano erupted four separate times.
At least 50 people have been killed over the past two weeks after Indonesia's Mount Sinabung volcano erupted four separate times.
Worldcrunch

Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014

U.S. AND RUSSIA TO TEAM UP AGAINST ISIS
The United States and Russia have agreed to share more intelligence on ISIS, as part of a renewed cooperation on global security and counter-terrorism efforts, Secretary of State John Kerry said after he met with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Paris on Tuesday. The Associated Press quotes Kerry as saying that he had stressed the fact that as world powers, the U.S. and Russia have “major” responsibilities. Speaking separately, Lavrov confirmed the sharing of intelligence and spoke positively about improving ties between the two countries, which had become tense over the Ukrainian crisis. "Mr. Kerry and I don't represent warring sides," Lavrov said.

  • Kerry also confirmed that Russian troops were withdrawing from Ukraine and the border zone, and returning to their permanent bases, French dailyLibérationreports. The Secretary of State added this was a necessary initiative for Western sanctions against Russia to be lifted. "There are four to five principal requirements with respect to lifting the sanctions: release of hostages, release of all prisoners, is one; the withdrawal of troops and equipment is another," he said.

  • Meanwhile, American-led forces have sharply intensified air strikes in the past two days against Islamic State fighters threatening Kurds on Syria's Turkish border after the jihadists' advance began to destabilize Turkey, Reuters reports.

NEW EBOLA CASE IN TEXAS
A second health worker in Texas has tested positive for Ebola, medical officials announced Wednesday, the BBC reports. A 26-year-old nurse is already being treated after she became infected with the virus by a Liberian man who died from Ebola last week at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 48 contacts of the Liberian man and healthcare workers who treated him are currently being monitored.

  • Speaking at a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday, the assistant director general of the World Health Organization Bruce Aylward said the number of new Ebola cases was likely to be between 5,000 and 10,000 by early December, The Guardian reports. Aylward added that according to detailed investigations, only around 30% of people infected with Ebola survived.

  • According to the WHO, at least 4,447 people have died of Ebola, mainly in West Africa, since the beginning of the outbreak earlier this year.

SNAPSHOT
At least 50 people have been killed over the past two weeks after Indonesia's Mount Sinabung volcano erupted four separate times.

HONG KONG TENSION RISES AFTER VIDEO OF POLICE BEATING
A video showing the alleged beating of a Civic Party member by a group of plain-clothes police officers has outraged pro-democracy protesters across Hong Kong, raising tension even further in demonstrations that have now lasted for more than two weeks. Pictures later show the victim, Ken Tsang, with cuts and bruises across his body. According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong authorities have launched an investigation into the beating and the concerned officers are set to be temporarily removed from their duties.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
From biblical times to crusades and jihad, self-proclaimed "holy wars" are not driven by God — but rather by power, territory and economic interests, writes Die Welt. “It is not the belief in Allah, Yahweh or God that unleashes religiously motivated violence. More is needed for that, like excessive striving for power, riches, influence, sexual fulfillment and bloodlust. The religious systems merely provide the mask under which the banality of evil can hide. Killing and robbing are sanctioned by invoking God or Allah.”
Read the full article, What So-Called Religious Wars Are Really About.

DRONE & BRAWL INTERRUPT EURO 2016 QUALIFIER
A Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade had to be abandoned after 41 minutes of play, after a brawl erupted between players and hooligans. The incidents were sparked by a drone flying over the pitch carrying a flag of “Greater Albania”, a nationalist project covering all parts of the Balkans where ethnic Albanians live. A Serbian player grabbed the flag, prompting violent reactions by some Albanian players and scrambles around the Partizan stadium. The riots came a few days before the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama is set to visit Belgrade, a first in almost 70 years. Watch expand=1] a video of the incidents here.

MOZAMBIQUE VOTES
Mozambicans are voting in key presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections today. This is seen as a crucial test for the incumbent Frelimo party, which is however expected to remain in power, according to the French-language pan-African news outlet Jeune Afrique. Mozambique is one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies and is hoping to escape years of poverty and conflicts through these elections.

$25 MILLION
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have made a major donation to fight the outbreak of Ebola.

VERBATIM
Brazil’s incumbent president Dilma Rousseff and her rival Aécio Neves traded accusations of corruption and nepotism during a heated televised debate yesterday, with the center-right candidate branding Rousseff’s campaign as “nothing but lies.”

MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
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BARACK O’BAMA
After visiting this teeny tiny Irish town once in 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama has saved it. Read about in The Irish Times.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Wagner's MIA Convicts: Where Do Deserting Russian Mercenaries Go?

Tens of thousands of Russian prisoners who've been recruited by the Wagner Group mercenary outfit have escaped from the frontlines after volunteering in exchange for freedom. Some appear to be seeking political asylum in Europe thanks to a "cleared" criminal record.

Picture of a soldier wearing the Wagner Group Logo on their uniform.

Soldier wearing the paramilitary Wagner Group Logo on their uniform.

Source: Sky over Ukraine via Facebook
Anna Akage

Of the about 50,000 Russian convicts who signed up to fight in Ukraine with the Wagner Group, just 10,000 are reportedly still at the front. An unknown number have been killed in action — but among those would-be casualties are also a certain number of coffins that are actually empty.

To hide the number of soldiers who have deserted or defected to Ukraine, Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin is reportedly adding them to the lists of the dead and missing.

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Some Wagner fighters have surrendered through the Ukrainian government's "I Want To Live" hotline, says Olga Romanova, director and founder of the Russia Behind Bars foundation.

"Relatives of the convicts enlisted in the Wagner Group are not allowed to open the coffins," explains Romanova.

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