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ISIS tried to destroy one of the most important temples in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.
The 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel lays “at the heart of the complex of ruins that had made Palmyra one of Syria’s most significant archaeological and tourist attractions,” the Washington Post writes. Palmyra, which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was seized by ISIS in May.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says militants detonated explosives around the site, possibly destroying it, but that the extent of the damage was unclear. Syria’s antiquities chief confirmed to the BBC that the basic structure of the temple are still intact.
However, it’s “impossible to independently confirm the reports because of the lack of telephone connections and Internet service in Palmyra,” the Post writes. But similar reports of another, smaller temple nearby being destroyed ended up being true.
And a little extra.
These rare pictures capture the former beauty of ISIS’s latest target. “The Syrian town of Palmyra, which means ‘the city of palms,’ is home to the monumental ruins of an ancient oasis city that predates the first century A.D.,” BuzzFeed News’ Anup Kaphle writes. Now, Palmyra risks destruction at the hands of ISIS.
A lot went down at the MTV Video Music Awards.
If you didn’t watch, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the highlights:
Nicki also called out Miley Cyrus after accepting her award for best hip-hop video for “Anaconda.” In an interview ahead of the show, Miley said Nicki was starting a “pop star war,” referring to the back-and-forth with Taylor.
Miley hosted, and closed the night with contestants from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Oh, and she dropped a new, free album.
WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
Hungary ramps up its efforts to stop refugee flow and Europe’s migration crisis escalates.
Investigators continue to examine the case of the bodies found in an abandoned truck last week near the Hungarian border. The 71 people whose bodies were found “may have died at the hand of smugglers,” the Washington Post writes. Critics are also placing blame of the deaths on a broken European refugee system that is said to be “increasingly forcing desperate asylum-seekers into the arms of human traffickers.”
Hungary, now led by right-wing nationalists, is quickly becoming the biggest obstacle “for a record number of refugees trying to reach Europe from war-torn Syria, Iraq and other nations,” the Washington Post reports. With new rules making it tougher to win asylum, those fleeing are hiring smugglers out of fear of “getting caught and processed.” The surge of people entering Hungary has not let up, despite increased efforts such as the country’s 109-mile barbed-wire barrier along its southern border.
Officials will meet on Sept. 14 in Brussels for emergency talks on how to deal with the escalating migration crisis, the BBC reports. A record number of 107,500 people entered the EU’s borders last month. “The situation of migration phenomena outside and inside the European Union has recently taken unprecedented proportions,” the Luxembourg Minister for Immigration and Asylum, Jean Asselborn, said.
Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America, will be renamed Denali in honor of Alaska natives, President Barack Obama announced.
The mountain was originally known by Alaska Natives as Denali before it was renamed in 1896 to honor the 25th U.S. President, William McKinley, BuzzFeed News’ Ema O'Connor writes. However, “President McKinley never visited, nor did he have any significant historical connection to, the mountain or to Alaska,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell noted in her order to officially recognize the mountain as Denali.
The name of the mountain has been debated by government officials for 40-years, back when Denali was first proposed by Alaska’s governor in 1975. Since then, the congressional delegation from Ohio, where McKinley was born, has continuously blocked petitions for the renaming.
“Denali’s name has long been seen … as an example of cultural imperialism in which a Native American name with historical roots was replaced by an American one having little to do with the place,” the New York Times writes.
Obama will be in Alaska for three days calling for climate change action. He’s expected to focus on the effects of global warming — melting glaciers, thawing permafrost, and rising sea levels — rather than the oil and gas drilling offshore, which he allowed to go forward earlier this month, according to the New York Times. With this trip, Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Alaskan Arctic.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
New Orleans residents marked 10 years since Hurricane Katrina with defiant celebration.
“Thousands of people took to the streets of New Orleans to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Saturday, singing, dancing, drinking, and hugging one another in a cathartic show of defiance against the storm’s destruction,” BuzzFeed News’ John Stanton writes. Come for the story, stay for the beautiful photos from Stanton himself.
This is part of BuzzFeed News’ series on what’s happened in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina took its destructive path. You can read the rest of the stories here.
The prison guard who couldn’t escape prison.
Scott Jones loved being a correctional officer at California’s High Desert State Prison. Then he witnessed his colleagues commit too many abuses and saw no choice but to break the code of silence, turning himself into a pariah in a neighborhood called CO Row, BuzzFeed News’ Albert Samaha reports.
Quick things to know:
Thai police have issued two new arrest warrants as the search widens for the suspects behind Bangkok's deadly shrine bombing that left 20 people dead. (BuzzFeed News)
Rest in peace: Oliver Sacks, the famed neurologist and author, died on Sunday from cancer. He was 82. (BuzzFeed News) And Wes Craven, who directed Scream and A Nightmare on Elm Street, died of brain cancer. He was 76. (BuzzFeed News)
Journalists jailed: Four reporters for VICE News who were detained by Turkish authorities on Thursday while covering political clashes with police are set to face terrorism charges. (BuzzFeed News) And three Al Jazeera journalists were sentenced to three years in prison by an Egyptian court on Saturday — the second time the reporters have been convicted and imprisoned on charges of spreading false news and aiding terrorists. (BuzzFeed News)
Chinese authorities have punished 197 people for spreading online rumors about the country’s stock market plunge and fatal explosions in Tianjin. (Mashable)
Shannon Miles, who is suspected of ambushing and killing a Harris County, Texas, sheriff's deputy, was arrested Saturday and charged with capital murder. (BuzzFeed News)
Delegates have spoken (and voted): The Democratic Party platform now calls for a $15 national minimum wage for all hourly workers. (BuzzFeed News)
A 60-year-old Georgia man died after falling from Turner Field’s upper deck during a baseball game Saturday night in Atlanta. This is the third fan to die in a fall at the ballpark since 2008. (Washington Post)
For the first time in history, there are three major hurricanes in the Pacific east of the International Dateline at the same time. (Weather Channel)
A Cree woman from Canada won Mrs. Universe 2015. Ashley Burnham is the first First Nations woman and the first Canadian to win. (BuzzFeed Canada)
It’s Monday, we get it. So the only blues we suggest you take in are these adorable, onesie-wearing Staffy pals known as The Blueboys. “I started taking photos of them because of the amazing ways they chose to snuggle up together,” owner of Darren and Phillip, Jennifer McLean of Brisbane, told BuzzFeed News.
We’ll call this the Monday bonus: Check out these 7 delicious (and simple) dinners that will help you jumpstart your week so you can spend more time doing ~important~ things like Netflix and sleep.