Friday, December 5, 2014
NEW CEASEFIRE ATTEMPT IN UKRAINE
The Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels in eastern parts of the country agreed yesterday to a new ceasefire starting Dec. 9, under the terms of a deal reached three months ago in Minsk, AFP reports. Under the agreement, Kiev will begin withdrawing heavy weapons from the eastern frontline on Dec. 10. Previous failed attempts at peace suggest any truce is tenuous, especially around the strategically crucial Donetsk airport. More than 4,300 people are believed to have died since the conflict escalated 8 months ago.
OUTRAGE CONTINUES OVER POLICE TACTICS
Demonstrators in Minneapolis shut down the Northbound lanes of I-35W, as thousands of protesters poured out in cities across the country last night in a show of outrage over the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case. The consequences of the Staten Island grand jury's decision not to bring charges against 29-year-old officer Daniel Pantaleo in the July 17 death of 43-year-old African-American Eric Garner continue to be felt nationwide. The jury found no evidence of possible criminal activity in the death of Garner, who was placed in a chokehold, although he repeated "I can't breathe" — a phrase that has become a rallying cry for protesters.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration issued a report yesterday accusing the Cleveland Police Department of using excessive and deadly force against citizens in violation of their constitutional rights, the Washington Post reports.
NOT-SO-NEW TAIWAN CABINET NAMED
Despite suffering their worst defeat in years in last week’s regional and municipal elections, Taiwan’s ruling party reappointed a cabinet very similar to the one that resigned after the elections, Reuters reports.
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Cardinal George Pell, who is leading a thorough review of Vatican finances in the wake of a series of scandals says the Catholic Church's economic situation is in relatively stable, though in need of major reform.
AUSTRALIA PASSES CONTROVERSIAL MIGRANT LAW
The Australian Parliament approved a series of immigration reforms, including allowing temporary visas for asylum seekers, a controversial measure that allows refugees to live and work in Australia but doesn’t grant them permanent protection, newspaper The West Australian reports. Australia currently detains asylum seekers in offshore camps in conditions that have been widely criticized. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison promised to free 100 children detained on Christmas Island by Christmas day, a move supported by charity group Save the Children, though it expressed “deep concern” over other parts of the legislation that it said “ignores the plight of the hundreds of children who remain stuck in mandatory, offshore detention.” In a scathing article, The Guardian writes that the new laws make Morrison the country’s most powerful man, giving him “unchecked control over the lives of other people” and allowing him to “push any asylum seeker boat back into the sea and leave it there.”
For Renaud Laplanche, it all began with a credit card statement that seemed all wrong. Now, after helping to bring banking into the digital era, it's time for a major IPO for his San Francisco-based firm, Le Monde’s Jérome Marin reports. “Laplanche set his sights on becoming the middleman between private individuals with capital and those who needed money,” the journalist writes of the businessman who founded Lending Club. “‘He was determined to impose a new model at a time when almost nobody was talking about a sharing economy,’ recalls Loïc Le Meur, who invested in the company. ‘But he had this ability not to listen to anybody and to go into an environment that was not his.’”
Read the full article, Meet The Frenchman Behind Lending Club, The "Google Of Finance".
INDIANS BLINDED AFTER FREE SURGERIES
In the wake of botched sterilization operations and shocking reports of doctors’ practices, which led to the deaths of at least 15 women, India is waking up to a new health scandal. At least 15 people have lost their sight after undergoing free cataract surgery in the northern district of Punjab. According to The Indian Express, as many as 62 villagers underwent surgery at a camp set up by a medical charity, and there are fears that more in the group could have been left blinded.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
SOUTH AFRICA REMEMBERS MANDELA
One year after Nelson Mandela died, South Africa is honoring his memory today, remembering the legacy of its former leader with “services, blasting of vuvuzelas and a cricket match,” AFP writes. “Although Nelson Mandela is no longer physically with us, his legacy remains to guide us as we continue our journey into the third decade of our new society,” said former president F.W. de Klerk, who shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize with the anti-apartheid leader. South African newspaper Mail & Guardian reports that a growing number of people are getting Mandela tattoos to honor him.
For more on one of the great figures of the 20th century, check out our special Mandela dossier.
THAI KING CANCELS 87TH BIRTHDAY APPEARANCE
Thailand’s citizens celebrated the 87th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej after doctors advised the monarch to cancel a planned public appearance, The Bangkok Post reports. “I come and join the celebrations every year and don't ever want to miss them,” one of the thousands of well-wishers said. “I will come and join in until I die.” King Adulyadej is the world’s longest-reigning monarch, but there’s been growing concern about his health recently. According to the BBC, he hasn’t been seen in public since last month.
COLOR OF THE YEAR
The Pantone gods have spoken and elected Marsala — an earthy, reddish-amber color — as the 2015 Color of the Year.