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In The News

Biden In Israel After Hospital Blast, Darfur Ethnic Cleansing, Twitter Rolls Out $1 Fee

President of the United States of America, JOE BIDEN, visits Israel and is welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister BENJAMIN NETANYAHU at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv.

U.S. President Joe Biden is greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he lands at Ben-Gurion International Airport for a high-stakes visit, just hours after an explosion at a Gaza City hospital killed more than 500. Biden’s trip marks the U.S.’s most tangible show of support for Israel since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas killed 1,400, including dozens Americans.

Valeria Berghinz, Anne-Sophie Goninet & Michelle Courtois

👋 Witéj!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Joe Biden arrives in Israel just hours after hundreds were killed in an explosion at a Gaza hospital, there is new evidence of ethnic cleansing in Sudan’s Darfur region, and some Twitter/X users now have to pay $1 per year. Meanwhile, we unpack the ramifications of Sunday’s Polish election for the war in Ukraine.

[*Kashubian, Poland]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Israel-Gaza update: U.S. President Joe Biden has landed in Israel following the late Tuesday strike of the al-Ahli Arab hospital, which killed hundreds of people. Upon arrival, Biden backed Israel’s claim that the hospital bombing was caused by a misfired rocket from Palestinian militants, while Palestinian authorities and Hamas blame Israel for the blast. Protests have erupted around the world after the hospital blast. Read here for more on Biden’s “impossible diplomacy.”

• Five killed in Russian attack, Ukraine uses U.S. missiles for first time: Ukraine says at least five civilians have been killed in overnight Russian attacks in the city of Kharkhiv. Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelinsky said that Ukraine has used U.S. supplied long-range missiles, known as ATACMS, for the first time. The weapons have reportedly destroyed nine helicopters at Russian bases, but Russia’s military has not commented.

• New evidence of ethnic cleansing committed in Darfur: An analysis carried out by the Centre for Information Resilience has found evidence that at least 68 villages have been set on fire by armed militias since the Sudan civil war began. The UK Minister for Africa has cited this evidence as having “all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing,” marking the first time that the British government has used the term regarding the situation in Sudan.

• Jim Jordan loses the first U.S. House speaker vote: Right-wing republican Jim Jordan sought more time to gather supporters of his bid for speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives after losing the first vote on Tuesday. Jordan postponed further action until 11 a.m. on Wednesday, hoping to gain the support of the 20 Republicans who originally voted against him. Read more about the international ripples of America’s dysfunctional democracy here.

• Three people killed in Uganda terrorist attack: Ugandan police have reported the death of one national and two British tourists caused by a terrorist attack by suspected Islamist rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces. The three victims were killed in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, and their safari car was then set on fire.

• Liberia election results: President George Weah and candidate Joseph Boakai are set to compete in a run-off as vote counts come to an end in Liberia’s presidential elections. Candidates need more than 50% of the votes to be declared winners, but Weah currently holds 43.8% of the votes and Boakai 43.5%. Voting is set to be repeated in Sinoe, Nimba and Montserrado counties due to tampered ballots.

• $1 for X: Elon Musk’s X social media platform (formerly known as Twitter) has begun its roll out of a new 1$ per year payment plan to users in the Philippines and New Zealand. Non-subscribers are still allowed to access their feed, but cannot post, like, reply or repost. Read more about “The Final Demise Of Twitter” here.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Shanghai Daily devotes its front page to the meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of China’s third Belt and Road Initiative forum which kicked off in Beijing on Tuesday. Xi Jinping hailed the deepening “political mutual trust” between the two countries and called for joint efforts to “safeguard international fairness” and “justice.” China’s leader also noted he and Putin had met “42 times in the past 10 years and [had] developed a good working relationship and a deep friendship.” Read more here on the Putin-Xi relationship.

📣 VERBATIM

“It appears as though it was done by the other team, not you.”

— Shortly after landing in Israel, U.S. President Joe Biden held a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he commented on the explosion at a Gazan hospital the night before. Hamas has blamed the explosion, which it says has killed more than 500 people, on an Israeli airstrike. The Israeli military says it was caused by a misfired rocket from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another militant group, who also denied responsibility. Biden seemed to side with the Israeli version of events.“Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” Biden said to Netanyahu. “But there’s a lot of people out there not sure, so we’ve got to overcome a lot of things.”

📰 STORY OF THE DAY

Good news for Ukraine next door: friends returning to power in Poland

The recent Polish parliamentary elections have ushered in a significant shift in the country's political landscape, which includes promising outlook for its neighbor Ukraine that could be essential in shoring up support across Europe as the war with Russia heads into its third winter. But Kyiv shouldn't take the amity of Donald Tusk and his centrist coalition for granted.

🇵🇱🗳️ Poland's election results mark a major turning point in the nation's politics. While the ruling national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party secured the most votes with 36.8%, it almost certainly didn't gain enough support to maintain its hold on power. Instead, the centrist Civic Coalition (GC), led by Donald Tusk, former President of the European Council, is expected to take power in a coalition with the Third Way, a new center-left political force that outperformed expectations.

🗯️ Beyond the borders of Poland, the impact of this handover of power is a much-needed burst of hope to Ukraine after the past two months of disputes with the Polish government, which Kyiv had long counted on as a steadfast ally in the war against Russia. In the lead-up to this weekend's election, tensions had grown between Warsaw and Kyiv, as a disagreement over the export of Ukrainian grain to the West escalated into a broader dispute involving PiS leaders.

🇺🇦🤝 Tusk had slammed PiS for its disputes with Ukraine ahead of the election. The former prime minister said maintaining good relations with Ukraine was "an existential issue" for Warsaw. Though Tusk acknowledged the difficulty of the agricultural dispute, he said: "There is no alternative to a pro-Ukrainian policy." Any Tusk-led coalition will likely spend months trying to smooth those sharp edges that emerged in relations between Ukraine and Poland.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS

$62.2 million

A large collection of art, furniture, silver, ceramics, and jewelry long kept in the private collection of the Rothschild banking dynasty sold for more than $62.6 million over several auctions at Christie’s New York. The auctions, which took place over several days and ended on Tuesday, included art acquired by the family, particularly work by Old Masters. Asked why the family chose to sell the collection now, Jonathan Rendell, deputy chairman of Christie’s Americas, said he believed it may have been a “rationalization” and a “generational shift” in attitude.

✍️ Newsletter by Valeria Berghinz, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Michelle Courtois


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How Gen Z Is Breaking Europe's Eternal Alcohol Habit

Young people across Europe are drinking less, which is driving a boom in non-alcoholic alternatives, and the emergence of new, more complex markets.

photo of a beer half full on a bar

German beer, half-full?

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Updated Dec. 6, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

PARIS — From Irish whisky to French wine to German beer, Europe has long been known for alcohol consumption. Of the top 10 countries for drinking, nine are in the European Union, according to the World Health Organization.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

But that may be starting to change, especially among Gen Z Europeans, who are increasingly drinking less or opting out entirely, out of concern for their health or problematic alcohol use. A recent French study found the proportion of 17-year-olds who have never consumed alcohol has multiplied, from less than 5% to nearly 20% over the past two decades.

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