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U.S.-Iraq Ultimatum, Long Live Felipe VI, Assange's 729 Days

Clashed erupted Wednesday in Bahrain.
Clashed erupted Wednesday in Bahrain.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

U.S. officials are increasing pressure on the Iraqi government, warning that the U.S. won’t intervene militarily to stop the barbaric ISIS fighters until Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki steps down, British newspaper The Independent reports. Speaking to the BBC this morning, Maliki’s spokesman rejected calls for his resignation, arguing that the PM had won parliamentary election just two months ago. He also drew comparisons between the situation in Iraq and “the Nazi occupation of Europe,” describing “a similar situation to Rwanda, where there is going to be genocide, and we are having mass killings already.”

This comes one day after the Iraqi government requested U.S. air strikes against the Sunni extremists and an escalation in the war of words between Maliki and Saudi Arabian officials, which Maliki accuses of supporting ISIS. According to Al-Arabiya, the Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said this morning that Maliki had exacerbated “sectarianism” in Iraq. This echoes U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s accusations yesterday that Maliki, a Shia Muslim, had failed to “bring a unity government together with the Sunnis, the Kurds, and the Shia.” Follow The Guardian’s blog for live updates.

Clashes erupted Wednesday in northern Bahrain's Abu Saiba over the regime's refusal to release the body of Abdul-Aziz al-Abbar, a protester killed by security forces two months ago.

Felipe VI has been officially sworn in as the new king of Spain during a ceremony the media described as “low-key,” matching the country’s austerity period amid a deep economic crisis. Royalists hope that Felipe will revive the monarchy and keep the country united, as Catalonia threatens to break apart. The new king promised “a renewed monarchy for a new era,” and said that “in this united and diverse Spain, there is room for everybody.”

It has been two years — 729 days — since Julian Assange took diplomatic refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In a conference call late Wednesday night, the Australian editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks marked the anniversary by announcing another impending leak of information affecting 50 countries.

At least nine people are missing after a boat carrying 27 Indonesian migrants capsized off the coast of Malaysia, the second such incident in the region in two days, AP reports. Though 62 people were rescued, 25 people are still missing after yesterday’s accident, and 10 have been confirmed dead.


As Die Welt’s Henryk M. Broder writes, the growing tendency to say “there is no just war” is just a way to keep one's hands clean, while leaving it to others to pay the consequences for freedom. “The German peace movement is an offshoot of German nationalism, a late Nazi retaliation against the World War II Allies,” Broder writes. “The Gestapo lives on at Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib is the new Auschwitz, and the NSA has taken over where the Reich Security Head Office left off.”
Read the full article, How Pacifism Has Become A Lifestyle (Not Moral) Choice.

A Chinese court sentenced two anti-corruption activists to six and a half years in jail and a third one to three and a half years after finding them guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and “using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement,” South China Morning Post reports. The three are part of an organization called the New Citizens Movement, which calls for government officials to declare their assets.
For more on the subject, we offer this Economic Observer/Worldcrunch piece, Off-Duty Reporters Are China's Newest Whistleblowers.

Horace Silver, an American composer and pioneer of the jazz subgenre known as hard bop, has died at his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. at age 85.

Thousands of pedophiles around the world are using the “deep web,” a hidden part of the Internet that can’t be found on search engines and can only be accessed via specific software, to browse through countless images and videos of child pornography, a BBC investigation has found. The founder of one site admitted that it sometimes receives as many as 500 page views per second, as an increasing number of pedophiles turn to this method, believing the police can’t catch them because of the software’s numerous layers of encryption.

UNESCO announced it would grant Australiaanother 12 months before deciding whether to place the Great Barrier Reef on its List of World Heritage in Danger. The organization expressed its concern about federal government plans to expand a coal terminal and develop liquefied gas facilities. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest marine park and home to 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. Read more from News.com.

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Photo of U2 performing at Las Vegas’ new $2.3-billion Sphere venue over the weekend.

U2 performing at Las Vegas’ new $2.3-billion Sphere venue over the weekend.

Emma Albright, Valeria Berghinz, Michelle Courtois, Laure Gautherin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Ello-hay!*

Welcome to Monday, where Turkey strikes Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq hours after a suicide blast hit Ankara’s interior ministry, a UN mission arrives in Nagorno-Karabakh and the Nobel Prize season kicks off. Meanwhile, Wiktoria Bielaszyn, in Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, reports on the suspected spy network operated by the Russian Orthodox Church through its clergy members abroad, particularly in the U.S.

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