Sunday Reads

Death Toll Rises In Turkish Protests As ISIS Closes In On Kobani As many as 34 people have died in protests by pro-Kurdish supporters who believe the Turkish government should have intervened to halt the advance of  ISIS in the Syrian town of Kobani.

Almost 200.000 new refugees have come into Turkey – adding to the nearly 2 million Syrian refugees – since ISIS moved on the town along the Turkish-Syrian border, reports the Daily Sabah.

Patrick Cockburn of The Independent argues Kobani symbolizes the failure of US strategy to combat ISIS.

“The US’s failure to save Kobani, if it falls, will be a political as well as military disaster. Indeed, the circumstances surrounding the loss of the beleaguered town are even more significant than the inability so far of air strikes to stop Isis taking 40 per cent of it, he writes.

North Korea and South Korea exchange fire across the DMZ
On Friday, North Korean forces fired machine gun rounds at balloons containing propaganda leaflets sent across the demarcation line by South Korean activists, which resulted in South Korea returning fire.

The incident did not result in any casualties, but it comes after an earlier exchange of warning between the Koreas off the disputed western maritime border. These incidents dampen new hope for inter-Korean dialogue sparked by last Saturday’s unannounced visit of high-ranking North Korean officials to South Korea.

Ebola’s Ripple Effect Impacts Chocolate Production
How interconnected is the world? An example can be seen in the ripple effect of the Ivory Coast closing its borders with nations impacted by the Ebola virus.

The world’s largest producer of cacao, shut down its borders with Liberia and Guinea, which limited the number of workers needed to pick the beans that end up in chocolate bars.

Prices on cocoa futures jumped from their normal trading range of $2,000 to $2,700 per ton, to as high as $3,400 in September over concerns about the spread of Ebola to Côte D’Ivoire. Prices, however, have gone down to $3,030 and then back to $3,155 in the past couple weeks.

Michael Lewis, global head of commodities research at Deutsche Bank, told The Telegraph: “[Ebola] is not only leading to curtailing labour mobility around the region, but it has also led to panic buying and food shortages.”

Meanwhile, Jim Kim, the head of the World Bank, has said the world has “failed miserably” in its response to the Ebola crisis.

Egypt’s Resurgent Authoritarianism Has Become A Way of Life Nathan J. Brown and Katie Bentivoglio of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace write about resurgenet authoritarianism in Egypt.

“Given Egypt’s long authoritarian tradition, many state institutions are already capable of evading the rule of law. But Sisi’s legislative agenda may give official bodies such extensive license as to make it less necessary in the future to resort to extraordinary measures (such as the much despised state of emergency) in order to exercise sweeping powers. The ultimate result may not govern Egypt well, and it is likely to be challenged from below and perhaps even from inside. However, the foundations being laid now may allow state institutions to weather such threats through normal institutional channels, enabling senior officials to act legally and unaccountably at the same time,” they write.

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