European creditors agreed to extend Greece’s $273 billion bailout by four additional months, committing the country to reforming its labor laws and maintaining economic austerity. Ukraine requested that the United Nations help enforce its ceasefire agreement with pro-Russian rebels, an E.U. official identified over 300 incidents of ceasefire violations since the agreement took effect, and a bomb killed two people in Kharkiv during a march marking the anniversary of the overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian ex-president. RAF fighter jets were scrambled after Russian bombers were spotted off the southwest coast of England. “When you have jets being flown up the English Channel,” said the British defence secretary, “it looks to me like it’s warming up.” About 600 Turkish soldiers, accompanied by 39 tanks and dozens of other military vehicles, crossed into northern Syria to retrieve the remains of Suleyman Shah, the thirteenth-century grandfather of the Ottoman Empire’s founder. After a reported affiliate of the Islamic State in Libya distributed a video showing the execution of 21 Egyptian Christians on a Mediterranean beach, Egypt launched an airstrike against the group’s training camps in Darna, killing at least seven civilians. “What will be a relief to me,” said the father of an Egyptian villager executed by the Islamic State, “is to take a hold of his murderer, tear him apart, eat up his flesh and liver.”
As people across the world celebrated the 2015 Lunar New Year, whose title translates in English as both Year of the Goat and Year of the Sheep, Hong Kong’s chief executive urged pro-democracy protestors in the country to “take inspiration from the sheep’s character.” At a Haitian Carnival celebration, 17 people were killed in a stampede following the accidental electrocution of a hip-hop performer, and three people in Brazil were killed when a Carnival float on which they were standing collided with a power line. President Obama complied with a last-minute ruling from a federal judge in Texas and announced he would delay taking executive action on immigration, which would have guarded against the deportation of up to 5 million residents. Hundreds of Jewish graves were vandalized in eastern France, and English soccer fans forced a black man out of a Parisian subway car. “We’re racist,” they chanted, “and that’s the way we like it.” A doughnut shop in Hull, England, canceled its “Krispy Kreme Klub Wednesday” promotion, and an Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.” About 800 applicants were accidentally granted admission to Carnegie Mellon’s elite computer-science graduate program because of a software error, it was reported that 800,000 Americans enrolled in Obamacare were sent inaccurate tax statements about their coverage, and Scottish police admitted that 20,000 stop-and-search records were deleted when a programmer pressed the wrong button.
Sex-toy shops in Yekaterinburg, Russia, saw a spike in sales following the release of the movie, 50 Shades of Grey. In New York, 15 towns angered by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ban on fracking threatened to secede from the state and become part of Pennsylvania. “Everybody over the border has new cars, new four-wheelers, new snowmobiles,” said the supervisor of one of the towns. “They have new roofs, new siding.” Two men in New Jersey were arrested for icing a street after a crash in order to avoid DWI charges. The Reindeer Herders Association in Finland experimented with applying reflective paint to reindeer antlers in order to better avoid traffic accidents, and an elderly Canadian man was extracted from a snowdrift after being initially mistaken for a seal by his rescuer. “On behalf of all seals,” the man said, “I’d like to thank him for his interest.” Residents of Boston were urged by Mayor Marty Walsh not to leap from their windows into snowbanks. “This isn’t Loon Mountain,” said the mayor. “This is the city of Boston.”
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