The UK finally joins the battle against ISIL. Last Friday, parliament approved airstrikes on Iraq, with the strict clause that Syria shall never become a target. Today, the Royal Air Force used that permission to launch two “precision strikes” against an armored pick-up truck and a “heavy weapon position”; the Ministry of Defence says they were “successful”.
EU sanctions on Russia will stay put. Despite the progress made since Russia and Ukraine signed a ceasefire agreement on Sept. 5, an EU spokeswoman said that more needs to be done before sanctions can be lifted. Yesterday was the bloodiest day of fighting since the peace deal was reached—seven Ukrainian troops were killed near Donetsk airport.
Catalonia scraps independence vote marketing blitz. When the Catalonian government scheduled a Nov. 9 referendum on its sovereignty, the Spanish government asked the constitutional court to intervene. Sure enough, it did, prompting Catalonia to stop publicizing the referendum (paywall) for fear of defying the court’s ruling. Private individuals, however, are still free to beat the independence drum.
Kenya magically becomes a middle-income country. After Kenya’s statistics agency rebased GDP figures and tweaked an Excel spreadsheet, the economy “grew” by 25% to an annual GDP of $55.2 billion last year versus a previously reported $44.1 billion. The World Bank now considers the African nation to be a “middle-income” economy instead of a “low-income” one. Even with per capita GDP now $1,246, however, poverty levels remain at 45.9%.
EBay and PayPal to part ways. After years of justifying staying together, eBay announced that it will split from payments provider PayPal next year. Ebay CEO John Donahoe will step down once the auction and payments businesses become separate publicly-traded companies.
Hong Kong’s streets are eerily quiet. Pro-democracy protests have turned the center of the city into a car-free zone, after a night without any significant confrontations between demonstrators and police. The size of the crowd is smaller this morning, but is expected to swell again in the evening, ahead of tomorrow’s National Day holiday celebrating the founding of China. You can follow the action from the “Umbrella Revolution” here.
Sweden’s sewage has an explosive secret. The pipes that run under the homes of Stockholm’s 700,000 residents are being retrofitted with sensors that can detect the chemicals bomb makers use to manufacture their explosives. Members of the UK’s Ministry of Defence and the US Department of Homeland Security have taken an interest in the project, which is known as “Emphasis”.