Good morning. Two babies were swapped at birth due to a hospital error. The mixup was discovered when the toddlers were 3. Rather than rip the families apart, the collective parents found a way to raise their daughters together—under one roof.
Yeah, the truth can be stranger than fiction.
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Canada. “Get back to work.” That seems to be the message voters sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s party on Monday night, analysts said, as the Liberals retained power but failed to secure a majority in results that were nearly identical to the last federal election in 2019.
China. President Xi Jinping has said that China would no longer fund the construction of new coal-fired power projects overseas, surprising the world on climate for the second straight year at the United Nations General Assembly. Xi’s announcement on Tuesday followed similar moves by South Korea and Japan earlier this year.
Burundi. The government has promised a thorough investigation into a series of deadly “terrorist” grenade blasts that hit the country’s economic capital, Bujumbura. The attacks late on Monday followed a deadly grenade explosion in a bar in the capital, Gitega, on Sunday and a series of mortar shells fired on Burundi’s international airport on Saturday night.
Namibia. Hundreds of people have protested outside parliament in capital Windhoek against an agreement with Germany, in which Germany acknowledged it committed genocide in colonial-era Namibia against Herero and Nama people between 1904 and 1908 and promised 1B euros ($1.3bn) in financial support to descendants of the victims. Activists have rejected the offer as insufficient.
The Story Nigerian authorities imposed a communications blackout on Monday in several parts of Sokoto state as a crackdown against armed kidnappers in the country’s northwest region spreads.
Has the bandits' hideout been traced there? The state earlier this month closed some roads to motorists, suspended animal trades and prohibited the transportation of more than three people on motorcycles as part of efforts to curb banditry, Bello said. Sokoto shares a border with Zamfara state, which has been one of the worst-hit states in a wave of mass abductions of students from schools by gangs of ransom seekers operating from remote camps. Zamfara was the first to impose a communications blockade earlier this month and officials there said some bandits escaping from an army crackdown had sought refuge in Sokoto.
Is the communication blockade applying to the whole state? Muhammad Bello, Sokoto state’s special adviser for media and publicity, said the state governor, in collaboration with the country’s Communications Ministry, had blocked communications services in 14 local government areas. Gangs of armed men seeking lucrative ransom payments, known locally as bandits, have spread across northwestern Nigeria over the past year, kidnapping more than 1,000 students from schools and taking others from hospitals, homes and roads.
Katsina implemented similar measures in 13 local government areas for the same reason. The network ban is effective in Dange Shuni, Tambuwal, Sabon Birni, Raba, Tureta, Goronyo, Tangaza and Isa local government areas amongst others in the state. Isa local government area shares boundaries with Shinkafi LGA in Zamfara State, while Goronyo and Sabon Birni from west and north respectively have borders with the Republic of Niger in the east. SOURCE
Obasanjo Blows Hot About Debt
The Story Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted the federal government’s plan to source fresh external loans.
Is the government taking another loan? President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday submitted a request for approval to obtain fresh external loans of $4.054B and €710 million to the national assembly. The request was in a letter read by Senate President Ahmad Lawan on the floor of the red legislative chamber. Obasanjo said the FG was accumulating debts for the next generation, describing it as “criminal.
Why's the government taking the loan? In the letter, Buhari explained that owing to “emerging needs,” there is a need to raise more funds for some “critical projects”. Speaking to Channels TV, Obasanjo expressed worries over the existing debt - which is already beyond what the country's dwindling revenue can sustain. Obasanjo said if left unserviced or unpaid, it might become a problem for successive administrations.
What's the country's current debt portfolio? According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria’s total public debt climbed to N35.46t at the end of the second quarter (Q2) of 2021.While noting that borrowing is not really the problem, the former president said that what could be a problem would be the purpose of the borrowing and the plan or capacity to pay back, adding that borrowing for recurrent expenditure is the “height of folly”. SOURCE
The Story One week ago, the Taliban announced the members of its new caretaker government now in control of Afghanistan. All are hard-liners.
Hardliners? The Haqqanis, a faction known for their close ties to Pakistan and belief in global jihad, were particularly well represented in the cabinet. Five men receiving top posts were released from Guantanamo Bay last year. 27 others given key posts have been members of the Taliban since it emerged in the 1990s. All spent the past 20 years hiding in Pakistan. The absence of any officials from the Western-backed government of former president Hamid Karzai made for a somber mood in Delhi, 600 miles away.
What's Delhi's interest in Afghanistan? For India's leaders, any hope was dashed that the Taliban's new government would be different than before. Also chilling was the reinforced connection to Pakistan, India's arch-enemy. "It’s a massive strategic victory for Pakistan to have a Taliban administration over which they have quasi-control," said Kabir Taneja, an academic in Delhi. A former Indian ambassador to Pakistan noted that Islamabad's involvement in Afghanistan and its interference in the new Taliban regime had become "very visible," and that "if the whole process becomes ISI-driven and ISI-controlled, then this is a huge cause of concern for India."
How? The regional and domestic security concern that a Taliban regime poses is clearly seen in Kashmir, where India’s Muslim-majority region has been embroiled for decades in a separatist insurgency allied with Islamabad. Two of the main Islamic militant groups operating in Kashmir have historical ties to the Taliban; Indian officials fear the Taliban's victory will embolden similar Islamist groups and individuals across the region. "That entire geography, from the Afghan-Iran border stretching up to the border of Kashmir, is now susceptible to jihadist groups,” said Taneja. "This outcome in Afghanistan is very detrimental to India’s security."
What's Kabul saying about these concerns? Taliban leaders have vehemently pledged they won't allow Afghan soil to be used for any foreign terrorist groups. But a former CIA counter-terrorism chief said he had little faith in Taliban pledges to prevent militant Kashmiri separatist groups from operating on Afghan soil. "In an unfortunate way, the Taliban is in a much better position today than it was before 9/11 to provide support to any of the regional jihadist groups it wishes to," he said.
Monday morning, a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane from Islamabad touched down in Kabul. It was Pakistan's first flight to Afghanistan since the withdrawal of U.S. troops. A PIA spokesman said the service was a "special flight" to create "goodwill" with the people of Afghanistan and to "strengthen humanitarian efforts." But he was quick to clarify that this was "not an aid flight." SOURCE
World's Safest Cities
The Story From Nigeria to Niger, Libya, Venezuela, Mexico, Afghanistan and other such places across the world, one factor that comes to mind is security. And as the world recovers from the impact of the pandemic, a list of the safest cities in the world has been released, and will aide international travelers in choosing travel destinations.
How's the list made? The Economist Intelligence Unit's Safe Cities Index (SCI,) ranks 60 international destinations on digital security, health security, infrastructure, personal security, as well as environmental security, a new category for this year. And while Asian cities like Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka have continuously occupied the top spots year after year, it's a European destination that holds the number one position for 2021.
Which European city? Copenhagen has been named the world's safest city for the first time, scoring 82.4 points out of 100 in the annual report. Denmark's capital jumped from joint eighth place in 2019 to the top of the list, largely thanks to the introduction of an environmental security section, which the city scored particularly well in, along with personal security. Canada's Toronto missed out on the top spot, taking second place with 82.2 points, while Singapore was third with 80.7 points.
How about American cities? New York was the highest US city on the list, sharing the 11th spot with Spain's Barcelona (both received 77.8 points). Washington DC was close behind in 14th place, while London and San Francisco tied at 15th. Although Sydney came fourth, with 80.1 points, the Australian city topped the digital security category, while 2019 champion Tokyo was awarded 80.0 points, putting the Japanese city in fifth place.
The Netherlands' Amsterdam was sixth with 79.3 points, followed by New Zealand's Wellington at number seven with 79.0 points. Asia Pacific cities Hong Kong and Melbourne scored joint eighth place after receiving 78.6 points each, while Sweden's Stockholm rounded off the top 10 with 78.0 points. SOURCE
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Can you spot the the grammar/style errors in the following WSJ sentences?
1. A new legislation would allocate competitive grants to colleges and universities to analyze, digitize and map historic housing discrimination records.
2. Born in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, Ms. Popal’s life had tracked the tumultuous four decades for women in her country.
3. The insertion of a SWAT team like this did not diffuse the situation—it exacerbated it.
4. The suspect was transported to a hospital and expected to survive.
QUESTION & ANSWER
What are some incredible facts about humans?
Some humans have trained themselves to bear unimaginable pain.
I saw something online that really shocked me: it was a video of a shaolin monk bathing and meditating in hot boiling oil.
I did some more research and found out that these monks have the ability to calm themselves in the face of excruciating pain and train their brains to not react to it at all through some breathing control and meditation.
Obviously, I had some serious doubt until I remembered the story of a Vietnamese monk named Thich Quang Duc, who, in an act of protest against his government for the maltreatment of his fellow monks, set himself on fire:
Source; Thích Quảng Đức - Wikipedia
A witness said “he was very calm, he never moved a muscle or uttered any sound, he was still for about 10 minutes until his body finally collapsed”. This happened on the 11th of June, 1963.
So, yeah, I don't think boiling oil would be too hot to handle for these guys.
If you're in doubt, you could watch the video here—12 Moments If Not Filmed No one Would Believe - NYKS—and tell me what's wrong with the video and why you think it's fake. Honestly, I would really appreciate it. SOURCE
1. Historical, not historic. Historic refers to an important moment in the past.
2. This is a dangling participle. The subject should just be Ms. Popal, not her “life.”