December 14, 2016

Agreement Reached In Aleppo, Fights Continue Over Greek Austerity


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 Syria: Agreement Reached, Survivors Wait To Evacuate

Turkish and rebel officials announced that an agreement was reached to evacuate civilians and oppositions fighters from the besieged eastern Aleppo. Negotiated between Turkish intelligence and the Russian military, a ceasefire was put into effect at 6pm local time, and it couldn’t have come a moment sooner. The United Nations called what happened on Monday a “meltdown of humanity” where Syrian government forces allegedly rampaged the newly reclaimed districts and carried out extrajudicial killings. But under the terms of this deal, military action is over and evacuations will begin as soon as possible. A rebel group spokesman said the evacuations would begin on Tuesday night, though a Syrian military official predicted Wednesday morning. Both Turkey and Russia will act as guarantors of the agreement, whereby “civilians and moderate rebels with light weapons” will leave Aleppo for Idlib.


 It’s Last Call At Gambia’s Elections, But President Jammeh Won’t Leave

We were optimistic when President Yahya Jammeh initially conceded defeat to Adama Barrow… before he changed his mind. Several West African leaders have met with President Jammeh in hopes to persuade him to concede the election and finally step down after 22 years in power. But Jammeh doesn’t seem to catch the hint, and instead decided to send armed security forces to take over the headquarters of the electoral commission. Security forces seized the election headquarters around the same time that Jammeh’s ruling APRC party asked the Supreme Court to annul the election decisions, making it a highly convincing strategy. Still, Electoral Commissions Chief Alieu Momar Njai maintains that Barrow won with 43.3% of the vote.

Greece: Mom And Dad Fight Over Austerity

An internal debate between the IMF and the Euro Zone spilled out into the open this week when the IMF published an article saying that Greece should get less austerity than what the Euro Zone and the Greek left-wing government had been discussing. Think about it: the traditionally neoliberal IMF wants less austerity than the far-left Greek government has accepted from the Euro Zone… what a plot twist. The IMF argues that more austerity will kill whatever nascent recovery is taking place in Greece and instead of focusing on top-line austerity numbers, it would behoove the government to focus on overhauling its tax regime and what it chooses to spend the money on. The Euro Zone was quite peeved that the IMF made public their internal dispute, and hoped that they could return to being upset with each other quietly and “in private.”

Poland: Conservatives Really Don’t Like Being Called Communists

Marking the 35th anniversary of the imposition of martial law by the Communist regime, thousands marched in anti-government demonstrations across Poland to protest the rightwing Law and Justice Party, or PiS. “History has come full circle,” a former anti-Communist dissident told protestors at the beginning of the demonstration. Leaders of the Committee for the Defense of Democracy, or KOD, organized the “citizens’ strike” to compare ruling rightwing PiS to the Communists, arguing that both have attempted to dismantle the country’s independent democratic institutions. The comparison is particularly biting, since many members of the PiS party were part of the opposition Solidarity movement, which the Communist regime tried to crush under martial law. For that reason, KOD was successful in grabbing their attention, and took the opportunity to highlight Poland’s planned setbacks for women’s rights this year, as well as reforms to education.


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Alan Thicke: The beloved TV dad from “Growing Pains” and other hit shows died yesterday at age 69. Fans are shocked and mourning the celebrated actor, author and composer.

Ohio: After national outcry, Governor John Kasich vetoed the “heartbeat” abortion bill that would have banned abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Instead, Kasich signed a 20-week abortion ban, similar to restrictions that exist in 15 other US states.


British Airways Tried To Ban A Passenger From Using More Than One Teabag

The British are very particular about their tea. That’s why one traveler was offended when a British Airways hostess told him he couldn’t use two teabags for his cup of tea in the airport lounge. The traveler’s complaint reached blogs in the UK, sparking outrage at the airline’s restrictions on complimentary airport tea. British Airways had to apologize, realizing that impeding on a passenger’s “perfect cuppa” made them look as rude as a 1773 Bostonian.

Yes, I want to sound marginally more intelligent: