Need To Know
Day 15. No good news out of Israel and Gaza. The fighting continues and so do the efforts toward truce. Israel targeted 70 sites early today, including five mosques. Al Jazeera's Gaza bureau reported being attacked. Militants hit back with rocket fire and fierce attacks against soldiers on the ground.
Israel reportedly rejected a proposed five-hour humanitarian truce this morning, saying Hamas would use it to reinforce positions, and the Israeli soldier Hamas said it captured has been confirmed dead. Israel's ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, said Israeli should be given the Nobel Peace Prize for its “unimaginable restraint” in Gaza.
Talk about sanctions. Since the downing of MH17, Britain's David Cameron has emerged as the loudest voice calling for a tougher EU approach toward Russia, joining hawks such as Poland, Sweden, the Baltic states and now the Netherlands. There are doubts, however, over how far others are prepared to go in taking Putin on. It has oh a little something to do with the tens of billions of Russian dollars flowing through various EU countries. Nevertheless, EU officials try again today, with several leaders pushing for meaningful action against Putin's regime.
Want To Know
Make time for beauty. For decades, the oil-rich city of Kirkuk has been the epicenter of a territorial dispute between the Iraqi central government and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Today, Sunni militants surround the city from two sides, cutting off its land borders from the central government. But between the police roadblocks and front lines, the generosity and welcoming nature of the people of Kirkuk give hope for the future of this extraordinary city. Check out these gorgeous photos.
It just looks like candy. Pure heroin is usually white or beige. But some current batches out of Myanmar look more like ground-up Pez. They are canary yellow, cotton-candy pink and pumpkin orange. These crazy colors are the result of chemicals which dilute the drug — and also make it a lot more dangerous. Yet increasing demand is what makes the rules in Asia's heroin heartland.
Strange But True
Not so tiny dancer. Kim Jong Un and his cronies in Pyongyang have terrible senses of humor. That makes them really easy to troll. Like remedial-photoshop-easy to troll. And with such ease comes such glory as this video, which, according to the government in Pyongyang, "seriously compromises Kim's dignity and authority."
Extra credit. Some 40 Catholic bishops in Mexico are attending an "intensive" training to learn how to perform exorcisms this week. The man leading the course, a bishop from Italy, has personally conducted exorcisms on 150 people and says he has succeeded 50 times. So that's like 1 in 3 odds he'll get the demons out.