CONFLICT INTENSIFIES AHEAD OF YEMEN TRUCE
The Saudi-led airstrike campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen intensified over the weekend, hours before the beginning of a negotiated five-day ceasefire that will allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians. The Houthis said this morning they had downed a Moroccan fighter jet taking part in the strikes campaign, website Middle East Eye reports. More than 1,400 people have died since violence resumed in Yemen March 19, many of them civilians. All sides have warned that they will retaliate iF the ceasefire is violated. Read more from USA Today.
ON THIS DAY
Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, known to us as Salvador Dalí, was born on this day 111 years ago. Time for your 57-second shot of history.
EU EYES QUOTAS FOR REFUGEES
The European Commission is expected Wednesday to unveil controversial plans to impose migrant quotas on the 28 EU countries, a move Germany supports but that Britain’s new Conservative government fiercely opposes, The Guardian reports. As many as 60,000 migrants are believed to have attempted to cross the Mediterranean to Europe this year alone, and more than 1,800 have died in the process, 20 times more than during the same period last year.
- In Malaysia, more than 1,000 migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh have been arrested and placed in detention centers after entering the country illegally by boat,” Al Jazeera reports. They are believed to be Rohingya Muslims, who are persecuted in Myanmar.
China overtook the United States as the world’s biggest crude oil importer last month with a record high of almost 7.4 million barrels, Reuters reports. Though China, which consumes more energy than any country in the world, is expected to become the permanent leader in the long run, experts believe it might drop back to second place soon.
S. AFRICA OPPOSITION ELECTS FIRST BLACK LEADER
South Africa’s Democratic Alliance party has elected 34-year-old Mmusi Maimane as its new party chief, the first black leader of the country’s opposition party. The Mail & Guardian believes Maimane’s victory may help his party evolve from a political force believed to be pro-white to “a new era” that poses real challenges for President Jacob Zuma and the ruling African National Congress. “We must and we will win power in our lifetime,” Maimane told party members after his victory. “We will be the next government of this beautiful country.”
“I read all the speeches of the pope, his commentaries, and if the pope continues this way, I will go back to praying and go back to the church, and I'm not joking,” Cuban
President Raul Castro said during his visit to Vatican, where he thanked Pope Francis for his role in the U.S.-Cuba rapprochement. “I am from the Cuban Communist Party that doesn't allow (religious) believers, but now we are allowing it. It's an important step.”
DEADLY CLASHES IN MACEDONIA
Authorities in Macedonia have accused ethnic Albanians from Kosovo of planning violent unrest in the country, after a Saturday police raid against an armed group left 14 militants and eight police officers dead, the BBC reports. Officials said after the operation that the group had been “neutralized” and a massive weapons cache seized. Because of the region’s particular instability in recent decades, NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg urged “everyone to exercise restraint and avoid any further escalation.” Read more in our Extra! feature.
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
LIBERIA IS EBOLA-FREE
After 42 days without any new Ebola cases, Liberia has been officially declared free of the deadly virus that killed more than 4,700 people in the West African country and more than 11,000 in the region. But Doctors Without Borders has urged patience and vigilance as neighboring countries continue to fight against it. Read about the situation in Guinea with this Le Monde/Worldcrunch article, The Painful Lurch Toward The End Of Ebola In Guinea.
Well-known brands such as Audi, Jagermeister and Granini are increasingly spending their advertising dollars to capture the attention of gay women, who tend to be high-wage earners and very loyal, Die Welt’s Steffen Frundt writes. “The latest estimates from the German Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD) suggest that lesbians are every bit as numerous as gay men, roughly one in 10 women,” he writes. “Their scene is less in the public eye, but because more and more women — among them so many successful, prominent and beautiful ones — are openly gay, lesbianism is undergoing an image change in Germany. They are more interested in travel and fashion and are willing to spend more money than the average straight German woman.”
Read the full article, Lesbians, The New Perfect Audience For Advertisers.
‘O LUNA MIA
Leo babies can look forward to performance anxieties and work concerns calming down this week, though Scorpios might have it tougher going. See more of what Simon, Italy’s most trusted astrologer, is predicting in this week’s horoscope.
Welcome to Wednesday, where Brazil's senate backs "crimes against humanity" charges against Jair Bolsonaro, the UN has a grim new climate report and Dune gets a sequel. Meanwhile, German daily Die Welt explores "Xi Jinping Thought," which is now being made part of Chinese schools' curriculum.
• Senators back Bolsonaro criminal charges: A Brazilian Senate panel has backed a report that supports charging President Jair Bolsonaro with crimes against humanity, for his alleged responsibility in the country's 600,000-plus COVID-19 deaths.
• Gas crisis in Moldova following Russian retaliation: Moldova, one of Europe's poorest countries, has for the first time challenged Russia's Gazprom following a price increase and failed contract negotiations, purchasing instead from Poland. In response, Russia has threatened to halt sales to the Eastern European country, which has previously acquired all of its gas from Gazprom.
• New UN climate report finds planned emission cuts fall short: The Emissions Gap Report 2021 concludes that country pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions aren't large enough to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 °C degrees this century. The UN Environment Program predicts a 2.7 °C increase, with significant environmental impacts, but there is still hope that longer term net-zero goals will curtail some temperature rise.
• COVID update: As part of its long-awaited reopening, Australia will officially allow its citizens to travel abroad without a government waiver for the first time in more than 18 months. Bulgaria, meanwhile, hits record daily high COVID-19 cases as the Eastern European's hotel and restaurant association is planning protests over the implementation of the vaccination "green pass." In the U.S., a panel of government medical advisors backed the use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for five to 11-year-olds.
• U.S. appeals decision to block Julian Assange extradition: The United States said it was "extremely disappointed" in a UK judge's ruling that Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, would be a suicide risk of he traveled across the Atlantic. In the U.S., he faces 18 charges related to the 2010 release of 500,000 secret files related to U.S. military activity.
• Deposed Sudan prime minister released: Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has been released from custody, though remains under heavy guard after Sudan's military coup. Protests against the coup have continued in the capital Khartoum, as Hamdok has called for the release of other detained governmental officials.
• Dune Part 2 confirmed: The world will get to see Timothée Chalamet ride a sandworm: The second installment of the sci-fi epic and global box office hit has officially been greenlit, set to hit the screens in 2023.
Canadian daily National Post reports on the nomination of Steven Guilbeault, a former Greenpeace activist, as the country's new Environment minister. He had been arrested in 2001 for scaling Toronto's CN Tower to unfurl a banner for Greenpeace, which he left in 2008.
Chinese students now required to learn to think like Xi Jinping
"Xi Jinping Thought" ideas on socialism have been spreading across the country since 2017. But now, Beijing is going one step further by making them part of the curriculum, from the elementary level all the way up to university, reports Maximilian Kalkhof in German daily Die Welt.
🇨🇳 It's important to strengthen the "determination to listen to and follow the party." Also, teaching materials should "cultivate patriotic feelings." So say the new guidelines issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education. The goal is to help Chinese students develop more "Marxist beliefs," and for that, the government wants its national curriculum to include "Xi Jinping Thought," the ideas, namely, of China's current leader. Behind this word jam is a plan to consolidate the power of the nation, the party and Xi himself.
📚 Starting in September, the country's 300 million students have had to study the doctrine, from elementary school into university. And in some cities, even that doesn't seem to be enough. Shanghai announced that its students from third to fifth grade would only take final exams in mathematics and Chinese, de facto deleting English as an examination subject. Beijing, in the meantime, announced that it would ban the use of unauthorized foreign textbooks in elementary and middle schools.
⚠️ But how does a country that enchants its youth with socialist ideology and personality cults rise to become a world power? Isn't giving up English as a global language the quickest way into isolation? The educational reform comes at a time when Beijing is brutally disciplining many areas of public life, from tech giants to the entertainment industry. It has made it difficult for Chinese technology companies to go public abroad, and some media have reported that a blanket ban on IPOs in the United States is on the cards in the next few years.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
"I'm a footballer and I'm gay."
— Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo said in a video accompanying a tweet in which he revealed his homosexuality, becoming the first top-flight male professional player in the world to do so. The 21-year-old said he was tired of living "this double life" and hoped his decision to come out would help other "players living in silence."
Why this Sudan coup d'état is different
Three days since the military coup was set in motion in Sudan, the situation on the ground continues to be fluid. Reuters reports this morning that workers at the state petroleum company Sudapet are joining a nationwide civil disobedience movement called by trade unions in response to the generals' overthrow of the government. Doctors have also announced a strike.
Generals in suits At the same time, the military appears firmly in control, with deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok allowed to return home today after being held by the coup leaders. How did we get here? That's the question that David E. Kiwuwa, a professor of international relations at the University of Nottingham, takes on in The Conversation:
"Since the revolution that deposed Omar el-Bashir in 2019, the military have fancied themselves as generals in suits. They have continued to wield enough power to almost run a parallel government in tension with the prime minister. This was evident when the military continued to have the say on security and foreign affairs.
Economy as alibi For their part, civilian officials concentrated on rejuvenating the economy and mobilizing international support for the transitional council. This didn't stop the military from accusing the civilian leadership of failing to resuscitate the country's ailing economy.
True, the economy has continued to struggle from high inflation, low industrial output and dwindling foreign direct investment. As in all economies, conditions have been exacerbated by the effects of COVID-19. Sudan's weakened economy is, however, not sufficient reason for the military intervention. Clearly this is merely an excuse."
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
471 million euros
Rome's Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, better known as Villa Aurora, will be put up for auction in January for 471 million euros ($547 million). The over-the-top price tag is thanks to the villa having the only known ceiling painting by Renaissance master Caravaggio.
✍️ Newsletter by Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
Who wants to start the bidding on the Caravaggio villa? Otherwise, let us know what the news looks like from your corner of the world! email@example.com!
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