ISIS make good on their earlier threats and blow up the Roman Temple of Bel
in Palmyra. According to state Syrian sources as well as ISIS themselves, the magnificent temple was smashed from within with powerful explosives, and this afterwards made some of the outer colonnades fall in. It was one of the largest extant, and among the best preserved temples of classical antiquity. Ironically it had remained unassaulted for many centuries because it was converted into a mosque (and before that, I think, a church), so ISIS actually blew up a sanctuary of their own religion.
A week or so earlier, news came through that they had killed an eighty-year old archaeologist who had stayed in the city and helped hide and bring into safety many smaller objects such as statues, Roman jewellery and urns - when he refused to tell the new bosses where those ancient pieces were hidden, and apparently under torture, they had him put to death. Effing bastards.
From one war zone to another: at a parade held on Ukraine's Independence Day in Kiev, president Poroshenko dismisses the breakaway republics on the eastern border and makes an unusual literary allusion: "Those are fictional countries, just like Mordor".
Well, at least he didn't go five steps further and say Russia
was like Mordor.