Welcome to Wednesday, where ethnic Armenian authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani officials agree to a ceasefire, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a passionate speech at the UN General Assembly, and King Charles III kicks off his first official visit to France. Meanwhile, Ekaterina Mereminskaya in Russian independent news outlet Vazhnyye Istorii looks at how Moscow’s manipulation of energy prices for its short-term stability may jeopardize the long-term financial health of Russia’s oil and gas sector.
[*Salaam - Persian]
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• Armenia & Azerbaijan agree on Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire: Ethnic Armenian authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani officials have agreed to a ceasefire, reached through negotiations with neighboring Russia. This comes after two days of heavy fighting in the breakaway region that saw Azerbaijan-led shelling kill at least 32 and wound many more. The attack, part of Baku’s “anti-terrorist” operation, was launched after Azerbaijani troops were killed in the mountainous region.
• Ukraine tensions high at UN assembly: Speaking at the annual UN assembly in New York, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a passionate speech accusing Russia of "pushing the world to the final war," reiterating the need for the world to unite and punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi also addressed the assembly, accusing Washington of “fann[ing] the flames of violence in Ukraine in order to weaken European countries.” U.S. President Joe Biden also focused on Russia’s invasion, calling for nations to “ stand up to this naked aggression.”
• Six Palestinians killed in Israel clashes: At least six Palestinians have been killed in Israeli raids on two refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, and in unrest in Gaza. Violence has flared up again in the region in recent months, with the Associated Press estimating that since the start of the year, some 190 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, and 31 Israelis are thought to have died in Palestinian attacks. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden today in New York — the first such encounter between the two leaders since Netanyahu pulled off his comeback at the helm of a far-right coalition late last year. Read more on the inevitable trap of Israel’s “splendid isolation.”
• Hunter Biden plans to plead not guilty to gun charges: U.S. President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, will plead not guilty to three felony gun charges, his attorney said in a filing in U.S. District Court in Delaware. Hunter Biden was indicted last week for purchasing a gun in 2018 while being a drug user.
• Colombia announces ceasefire with largest FARC dissident group: Colombia’s government and the Estado Mayor Central (EMC), one of the nation’s last remaining rebel groups, have announced they would start a 10-month national ceasefire as well as a new round of peace talks on Oct. 8. The EMC, which is believed to have around 3,000 fighters, broke away from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, after refusing to sign a peace deal in 2016 with the country’s government. Read this El Espectador article on how violence has persisted in Colombia since 2016, translated from Spanish by Worldcrunch.
• Spain's women soccer players agree to end boycott: Most of the Spain women’s soccer team have agreed to end their collective boycott after seven hours of meetings with the Spanish football federation (RFEF), which committed to “immediate and profound changes” in its structure. The players had said they would not represent the national team unless there were major changes at the federation, escalating a crisis that had started after former RFEF boss kissed forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the World Cup presentation ceremony.
• Scientists recover RNA from extinct species for first time: A team of geneticists in Sweden have for the first time managed to decode RNA molecules, genetic material present in all living cells that has structural similarities to DNA. The experiment was carried out on a 130-year-old Tasmanian tiger specimen. While the team said de-extinction wasn’t its main goal, the discovery could help recently launched efforts to bring back the extinct thylacine in some form.
French daily Libération devotes its front page to the long-awaited visit of King Charles III in France, with a playful montage inspired by the Netflix hit series “Emily in Paris”. The British monarch is expected with his wife Queen Camilla in the French capital today, where he is due to meet with President Emmanuel Macron. The rest of the three-day trip involves a lobster dinner at the Palace of Versailles, meeting with French lawmakers at the Senate, assessing restoration work at Notre-Dame cathedral, and traveling to Bordeaux. The visit was originally planned for March but delayed because of unrest over French pensions reform. *More from French daily Les Echos on how Brexit has been playing out on both sides of the Channel.
The Brazilian Navy has seized a record 3.6 tons of cocaine on a boat off the coast of northeastern Pernambuco state. It is the largest single off-shore capture of the drug in the country. In a statement released on Tuesday, the Navy said the substance was found in a small Africa-bound motor boat with five people on board.
How Russia's wartime manipulation of energy prices could doom its economy
A complex compensation mechanism for fuel companies, currency devaluation, increased demand due to the war, logistics disruptions, and stuttering production growth have combined to trigger price rises and deepening shortages in the Russian energy market. For Russian independent news outlet Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories, Ekaterina Mereminskaya warns of the unintended consequences of government intervention in fuel pricing and distribution.
⛽️ In Russia, reports of gasoline and diesel shortages have been making headlines in the country for several months, raising concerns about energy supply. The situation escalated in September when a major diesel shortage hit annexed Crimea. Even before that, farmers in the southern regions of Russia had raised concerns regarding fuel shortages for their combines.
📈 The Russian government has long sought to control the prices of essential commodities, including gasoline and diesel. These commodities are considered "signaling products", according to Sergei Vakulenko, an oil and gas expert and fellow at the Carnegie Endowment. Entrepreneurs often interpret rising gasoline prices as a signal to adjust their pricing strategies, reasoning that if even gasoline, a staple, is becoming more expensive, they too should raise their prices.
⏱ In their “quest to maintain control”, Russia has decided to tether real fuel prices to strict inflation-based increments, regardless of how logical or reasonable market fluctuations might be. This endeavor, Vakulenko explains, is akin to the authorities attempting to peg the exchange rate of the dollar at a fixed value, say 70 or 80 rubles, and compensating banks for the difference between this rate and the market rate. However, this attempt to outsmart the market has planted a ticking time bomb …
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“Evil cannot be trusted.”
— Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke at the annual UN General Assembly, urging the world to unite to end Russian aggression against his country. During his speech in New York, Zelensky said nuclear-armed Moscow must be stopped from pushing the world to a “final war." In light of the danger that Russia poses to the world, he argued that other challenges such as climate change can only be properly addressed after Russia has been stopped.
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin, Michelle Courtois and Bertrand Hauger
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