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Geopolitics

Weighing Syria, Gaza Rebuilding, Fake Panda Pregnancy

Urgent rebuilding in Gaza is estimated to cost at least $367 million, according to the UN.
Urgent rebuilding in Gaza is estimated to cost at least $367 million, according to the UN.
Worldcrunch

Thursday, August 28, 2014

UKRAINE DENOUNCES “RUSSIAN TROOP DEPLOYMENT”
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko cancelled a trip to Turkey over what he described as “Russian troop deployments” in eastern Ukraine. His decision comes amid reports of a Russian “invasion” and the gathering of special OSCE meeting in Vienna. Writing on Twitter, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt claimed that “an increasing number of Russian troops are intervening directly in fighting on Ukrainian territory.” The latest development suggests that the “roadmap to ceasefire” Poroshenko promised after his meeting with Putin two days ago is off the table.

In an interview with Russian media, a Donetsk rebel leader said that 3,000 to 4,000 volunteer “Russian civilians” have joined them to fight against Ukraine government forces and. He also characterized claims of a Russian invasion as an attempt to justify military defeats. Read more from RT.

$367 MILLION
Urgent rebuilding in Gaza is estimated to cost at least $367 million, according to the United Nations, following weeks of bombings by Israeli forces.

THE WEST WEIGHS SYRIA
European leaders are considering their options in Syria, as White House officials in Washington insist that President Barack Obama wouldn’t need Congressional approvalto strike ISIS terrorists there.

This morning, French President François Hollande called on the international community to “arm opposition forces who are fighting ISIS,” adding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “cannot be a partner in the fight against terrorism” because “he is the de facto ally of jihadists.” In a speech to foreign ambassadors, Hollande also called for “exceptional support” for Libya, where ongoing fighting between militias has plunged the country into chaos.

Meanwhile, the British press published conflicting reports on Prime Minister David Cameron’s position, with The Times suggesting he is “reluctant to be drawn deeper” into the Syrian conflict. The Guardian, however, reported that at next week’s NATO summit in Wales Cameron will tell Obama that he’s keeping Britain’s options open.


MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD


PAKISTAN PROTESTS CONTINUE
The Pakistani capital of Islamabad is preparing for what a protest leader has called a “deciding day” in their bid to bring down Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after talks between the government and opposition leaders collapsed, Reuters reports. For two weeks, the country has seen mass protests against Sharif, who is accused of fraud in last year’s elections. According to Pakistani newspaper Dawn, the prime minister cancelled a planned visit to Turkey to deal with the crisis at home.

VERBATIM
“I haven’t got mad, but I’m going to get even,” The Independent quoted bitter Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone as saying. He vowed revenge after being forced to pay a $100 million settlement to have bribery charges against him dropped.

DENGUE FEVER HITS JAPAN
Japanese health officials confirmed that three young people have contracted dengue fever, the country’s first cases in almost 70 years. They believe that the infections originated from a mosquito in a central Tokyo park, and authorities said they would disinfect the areas where the patients were bitten. Read more from AFP.

HIT IT!
Here’s a little Baltimore soul and funk to start your day.

AN OFF SWITCH FOR BAD MEMORIES?
Neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered how the brain associates emotions with memories. In experiments on mice, they were able to erase feelings of fear using a laser light. Read the full story from Wired.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
As Die Welt’s Von Holger Kroker reports, Nepal has commissioned meteorologists and geologists to remap the wind systems, mountains and valleys on the “Roof of the World” to help predict natural disasters. “Improved protection is absolutely vital as evidenced by the events of May 5, 2012,” the journalist writes. “A gigantic rock slide from the face of the 24,688-feet Annapurna IV made its way into the valley and into Seti River, causing a chain of tidal waves that killed 72 people. Even 50 kilometers further downstream, in Pokhara, boulders and uprooted trees were washed ashore.”
Read the full article, A High-Tech Map Of The Himalayas Could Save Your Life.

NO PLATINI FIFA CANDIDACY
French football legend Michel Platini has announced he won’t run against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency and will instead seek a new term as head of European football governing body UEFA. This comes months after Platini insisted he was the only man who could bring a “breath of fresh air” to FIFA, which Blatter has led for the past 16 years, a tenure marked by multiple corruption scandals. For more on those, we offer this Le Monde article translated by Worldcrunch.

ZOO’D
The world's first live broadcast of a panda cub delivery was canceled this week — not because something went wrong, but because Mama Panda wasn't actually pregnant. She faked it.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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