North Korea protests China mocking Kim: Discontented with an endless stream of ridicule from mainland China over his girth, North Korean protests have forced Beijing to block Chinese Internet queries for “Kim Fatty the Third,” a reference to Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.
Commenting on news reports the phrase was banned from leading Internet search engines in China, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed a disapproval of its citizens mocking foreign leaders.
Beijing-based web portal Baidu said it balances providing search results while observing established Chinese law.
Russia re-starts Aleppo bombing: Following weeks in which no Russian aircraft attacked opposition-held sections of Aleppo, Syrian and Russian aircraft resumed its bombing campaign targeting rebel-held quarters of the besieged city on Tuesday.
As reported by rights group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Syrian aircraft dropped barrel bombs into opposition-held areas of Aleppo and Russia conducted air attacks supported by missile strikes from warships in the Mediterranean Sea.
The attacks are viewed as part of a wider offensive expected to come on the ground with a combination of Russian and Syrian troops against rebel-held parts of Aleppo.
Cuba frees 787 prisoners: Following a global appeal by Pope Francis I, Cuba has freed over 700 prisoners as part of an act of clemency consistent with Francis’ call for mercy in 2016, recognized by the Vatican as the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy year.
Rights groups say no political dissidents were freed; Havana said the clemency exempted violent felons, drug offenders and child abusers.
Rights groups estimate over 100 political prisoners remain in Cuban prisons and Havana continues to targets dissidents.
Assange questioned by Swedish authorities: Wanted in Sweden for questioning over allegations he assaulted two females six years ago, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was interrogated inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London by Swedish Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren early last week.
Through an Ecuadorian prosecutor, Isgren posed questions to Assange, who is similarly wanted by American authorities for his role in publishing documents on his whistleblowing platform.
Assange’s answers are expected to be evaluated in Sweden and if he agrees, his DNA may also be included in the inquiry. Assange has denied all charges leveled against him.
ISIS leader interviewed: In a first, Islamic State (ISIS) leader Rachid Kassim submitted for an interview with jihadist academic and expert, Amarnath Amarasingam.
Not unexpectedly, Kassim, the 29-year-old jihadist, expressed no remorse for his actions or the activities of his group, but did lament the loss of his pet cat when forced from Syria.
In this unprecedented meeting Kassim revealed he relished beheading “enemies of Allah,” fleeing Syria, contemplating a terror attack and mocking police surveillance during his stay in France, and vowed the fall of Mosul will not deter the terror group from carrying out further atrocities in the future.
[AP] [The Guardian] Reuters] [RT News] [The Mirror]