Thursday, November 6, 2014
AIRSTRIKES TARGET AL-NUSRA IN SYRIA
The U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition launched airstrikes against the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and another jihadist group, Ahrar al-Sham, in what appears to be the beginning of a wider military operation in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. This came after the al-Nusra Front seized areas previously controlled by Western-backed rebel groups around the city of Idlib, taking their weapons too. President Barack Obama announced during a post-election news conference yesterday that he would seek Congressional backing for the military campaign against ISIS, a move that The New York Times says opens the door to “a lengthy, potentially contentious debate over the nature and extent of American engagement in Iraq and Syria.”
Protests grew tense in front of government buildings in the capital of Mexico’s Veracruz state late Wednesday, as anger grows over the case of 43 missing students.
BURKINA FASO LEADERS AGREE TO TRANSITION
Burkina Faso’s army and political leaders agreed yesterday to a one-year political transition, and elections in November 2015 will go ahead as planned, France 24 reports. The country’s political crisis was initially triggered when President Compaoré wanted to change the constitution to extend his 27-year rule. Though he subsequently resigned, the controversy is far from over because there has yet to be agreement on who would lead the transitional government. After the meeting, which also included West African leaders, the army-backed interim leader Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida said he hopes the parties would be able to “find a solution in order to achieve a civilian transition.”
“My ex-wife gave birth to a man. We shouldn't be cowering in fear," Tom O’Neill, the father of the Navy Seal who killed Osama bin Laden, told The Daily Mail. The newspaper revealed the name of the now-retired US. military operative, Rob O'Neill, ahead of a slated Nov. 11 interview, and the article included an exclusive interview with the decorated soldier's father.
EBOLA CONTINUES TO SLOW IN LIBERIA
The World Health Organization revised down the cumulative Ebola death toll for the second week in a row to 4,818 from a total 13,042 reported cases. The UN agency also confirmed last week’s surprising assessment that the epidemic was slowing in Liberia, the worst-affected country so far, though it insisted the disease was still not under control. Speaking to the BBC, the head of the UN mission charged with fighting the virus said the resources to win the battle were “not here yet.” Meanwhile, President Barack Obama asked Congress for $6.2 billion in emergency funding “to contain and end the outbreak at its source in Africa, enhance domestic preparedness.” This comes amid grim news from Sierra Leone, where a journalist who criticized the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak was allegedly beaten then jailed. Read more from The Guardian.
French flamenco guitar virtuoso Manitas de Plata has died in Montpellier from natural causes at age 93.
Süddeutsche Zeitung journalists Varena Mayer and Charlotte Theile spoke with five Germans from the former East Germany who were born on or near reunification 25 years ago and who talked about how the past is bound to shape the future. “I was born in East Berlin on the day the wall came down, on Nov. 9, 1989,” Berlin social worker Laura Harmsen told them. “My parents' lives changed twofold on that day: They had their first child, and the system they were raised in stopped existing. My birthday is sometimes a bit of a pain. I'm often interviewed and asked to take a position on one thing or another. But there are nice reactions, like when I'm in some administrative situation and have to provide my birth date. People react immediately when they hear the date and tell me what they were doing on that day.”
Read the full article, Born When The Wall Fell, Germany's Transition Generation.
A painting by Impressionist Edouard Manet sold at auction Wednesday, setting a record price of $65.1 million for the artist. Le Printemps, or Spring, was first presented in 1882 and depicts French actress Jeanne Demarsy with a parasol.
FRESH CLASHES IN HONG KONG
Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have clashed with the police in the densely populated district of Mong Kok. It’s the first rekindling of tensions in more than two weeks, Reuters reports. The scuffles broke out in the middle of the night when the police tried to force protesters, some of whom were wearing Guy Fawkes masks, back into a protest site. In an editorial, local newspaper South China Morning Post writes that “people's patience is running out” in Hong Kong after a recent survey showed that 73% of citizens think the protests should end.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
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APPLE MALWARE HITS CHINESE USERS
Non-jailbroken iPhones are being affected for the first time by malware, and the devices of hundreds of thousands of users in China are believed to have been infected with “WireLurker,”The Independentreports. The smartphones seem to have been infected via apps downloaded first on a computer from a third-party app store. The goal of the malware is not clear, but it’s apparently a work in progress. The man who discovered it believes it “heralds a new era in malware attacking Apple’s desktop and mobile platforms.”
After being arrested, AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd appeared in front of a New Zealand court today on charges of hiring a hitman to have two people murdered. The 60-year-old Australian rock star, who was released on bail, was also charged with possessing methamphetamine and cannabis. It’s unclear yet how this will affect the band’s planned world tour following a new album release next month.