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Chatter: Bombs over Baghdad, and everywhere else

Iraq is wracked by more sectarian violence, Italy is in shock after its worst road disaster in decades, the Middle East peace process is back in, er, process, and your chance to find out what color sounds like.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

A bad day to be in Baghdad. A series of car bombs in and around Iraq's capital has killed at least 29 people. A dozen more were killed in attacks in the south of the country, making more than 50 deaths today in total — and that was by 2 p.m.

The bombings appeared to target predominantly Shia areas, suggesting that they're the latest instance of the bloody sectarian violence that has killed hundreds of Iraqis this year alone. How has Iraq come to this? Well, it had some help. Here's the path to failure in 49 simple steps — unfortunately, the route back isn't nearly so easy to map. 

Italian bus disaster. At least 38 people are dead after a bus careened off a highway in southern Italy and into a ravine. The bus was bringing pilgrims back from a visit to a Catholic shrine yesterday evening when, for reasons that aren't yet clear, it veered off the overpass and plunged almost 100 feet. Emergency services have spent the night searching for passengers, surrounded by a growing line of coffins.

It's already been confirmed as Italy's worst road accident in decades. Coming just days after Spain's deadliest rail disaster for 40 years, it's enough to make Europeans want to stay at home.

WANT TO KNOW

The Israelis and the Palestinians are talking again. At least they will be, and at least officially: the first direct Middle East peace talks in three years are due to begin this evening in Washington, DC, hosted by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The meeting is the culmination of months of diplomatizing by Kerry — who by now knows the interiors of the region's airports better than anyone — and it took Israel reluctantly agreeing, yesterday, to release more than 100 Palestinian prisoners to finally get a rendezvous confirmed. When it's this hard to get two sides to sit at a negotiating table, don't expect a breakthrough when they do. 

Cambodia's election kerfuffle. Cambodian opposition leaders have rejected the results of yesterday's election, citing serious irregularities in the vote that returned the ruling party to power. Sam Rainsy's Cambodia National Rescue Party alleges that as many as 15 percent of voters were unable to cast their ballot due to "ghost names," duplicated entries and other suspicious occurrences.

For many observers, the surprise wasn't that Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodia People's Party won yet again — it was that it did it by such a small margin, just 68 seats to the opposition's 55. Fresh from his party's best showing in years, Rainsy says he's not satisfied with anything less than "justice."

STRANGE BUT TRUE

The sound of color. How do you experience color if your world's in black and white? For artist Neil Harbisson, born totally colorblind, the answer has come in the form in of an "eyeborg": a sensor attached to a chip attached to his head, which detects colors and converts them into sounds that it then transmits to his ears.

Harbisson is keen for others to extend their senses, too — even if they can already see color the old-fashioned way. Watch — and hear — GlobalPost's video about his invention for a truly multisensory experience.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-bombs-over-baghdad-and-everywhere-else

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