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In The News

Belgrade School Shooting, Sudan Ceasefire & Evacuations, Messi Mess

Photo of ​People evacuated from Sudan arriving in Moscow.

People evacuated from Sudan arrive in Moscow on Tuesday following the Kremlin’s decision to evacuate Russian citizens from the war-torn African country as a fragile truce is extended.

annick Champion-Osselin, Emma Albright, Sophie Jacquier and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Halò!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Serbian police arrest a 14-year old suspect in a school shooting that left nine dead in Belgrade, warring parties agree to a seven-day ceasefire in Sudan, and soccer superstar Lionel Messi gets grounded by PSG. Meanwhile, Charlotte Meyer in French daily Les Echos wonders whether bringing back extinct animals is such a good idea after all …

[*Scottish Gaelic]


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• Belgrade school shooting kills nine: Eight children and a security guard have been killed in a school shooting in Serbia. Police have arrested a 14-year old student suspected of carrying out the killings with his father’s gun.

• Huge fires at oil depots in Russia and Ukraine: Oil depots were on fire in both Russia and Ukraine as both sides escalated a drone war targeting infrastructure ahead of Kyiv’s expected spring counteroffensive. Russian authorities have blamed the fire on a Ukrainian drone crashing into an oil terminal on Russia's side of the bridge it built to occupied Crimea. Meanwhile Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived in Finland on an unannounced visit to meet with Sauli Niinistö, the Finnish President.

• Seven-day ceasefire in Sudan: Mediators have announced a new seven-day ceasefire in Sudan, starting Thursday as more raids and shooting in the Karthoum region disrupted the latest short-term truce.

• Belarusian activist sentenced to eight years in jail: Roman Protasevich, a dissident journalist who was taken from a plane forced to land in Belarus, has been sentenced to eight years in prison. He was flying from Greece to Lithuania in May 2021, when the flight was suddenly redirected to Minsk, the Belarusian capital, where he was arrested. Western leaders called the move a “hijacking” and have called on Belarus to free Protasevich.

• Myanmar to free more than 2,000 political dissidents: Myanmar’s military says more than 2,000 political prisoners are being pardoned on “humanitarian grounds” to honor Wesak, a major Buddhist holiday. The dissidents were arrested during the February 2021 coup, under a law that charges “incitement” with up to three years imprisonment.

• Joint police operation targets Italian mafia in several European countries: Police across several European countries have arrested more than 100 people as part of an operation to take down suspected foreign-based members of the “Ndrangheta” crime syndicate based in Calabria, Italy. Arrests took place in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

• Missing Australian fisherman's body found in crocodile: Authorities in northern Australia discovered the remains of Kevin Darmody, a 65-year-old fisherman who had gone missing on Saturday, inside a large crocodile. This is the 13th such attack since record-keeping began in 1985.


French sports dailyL’Équipe devotes its front page to the suspension of soccer star Lionel Messi for two weeks by the Paris Saint Germain team, following the Argentinian’s trip to Saudi Arabia. Messi missed the team’s Monday training session to attend promotional events, without the club’s permission. According to the daily, Paris Saint Germain doesn’t intend to renew the 35-year-old’s contract, which expires this summer.


We'll soon be able to resurrect extinct species. Should we?

Thanks to advances in science, the reintroduction of extinct animal species is now feasible — even inevitable. But beyond possible benefits for biodiversity, these projects raise numerous environmental and ethical dilemmas, reports Charlotte Meyer in French daily Les Echos.

🐘 On the scientific level, our abilities to recreate species that have disappeared less than a million years ago are now established. Colossal Biosciences, a start-up founded in 2021 by Harvard geneticist George Church, aims to create elephants with wooly mammoth characteristics. Geneticists hope to eventually integrate their "mammophant" into nature, specifically in the Pleistocene Park, in the extreme northeast region of Siberia.

⚠️ But bringing back extinct species could be a poisoned gift. Florence Burgat, a philosopher specializing in animal issues, agrees: "A species carries with it the memory of its history. Imagine that we revive a Neanderthal man. He would be completely lost because he does not have the memory of all this modernity, scientific and technical development that shapes our imagination, our references, who we are."

📉 Humans are responsible for a sixth mass extinction. In 130,000 years, more than 2.5 million species have disappeared from the world, including 500,000 in just the last 1,500 years. By promising to bring back animals whose extinction we may have caused, the company is touching a sensitive nerve. It could be the solution to disappearing species, but it is difficult not to see the downside.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


640 million

A UNICEF report shows that 640 million girls and women today were married before the age of 18. The report, published on Tuesday, indicates that though child marriage is declining, the pace is not enough to end the practice for another 300 years. The report nevertheless highlighted the significant progress that has been made in the last decade worldwide: a girl’s chance of marrying during her childhood has dropped by nearly half, from 46% to 26%.


“He had no means of resisting them other than his non-violent reaction, which is ‘I refuse to eat until you kill me.’”

— Jonathan Kuttab, an international human rights lawyer, spoke following the death of Khader Adnan, a Palestinian activist, who died after an 87-day hunger strike in an Israeli jail.

✍️ Newsletter by Yannick Champion-Osselin, Emma Albright, Sophie Jacquier and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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Why Crimea Is Proving So Hard For Russia To Defend

Ukraine has stepped up attacks on the occupied Crimean peninsula, claiming Monday that a missile Friday killed the head of Russia's Black Sea fleet at the headquarters in Sevastopol. And Russia is doing all within its power to deny how vulnerable it has become.

Photograph of the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in smoke after a Ukrainian missile strike.​

September 22, 2023, Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia: Smoke rises over the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters after a Ukrainian missile strike.

Kyrylo Danylchenko

Russian authorities are making a concerted effort to downplay and even deny the recent missile strikes in Russia-occupied Crimea.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Media coverage in Russia of these events has been intentionally subdued, with top military spokesperson Igor Konashenkov offering no response to an attack on Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, or the alleged downing last week of Russian Su-24 aircraft by Ukrainian Air Defense.

The response from this and other strikes on the Crimean peninsula and surrounding waters of the Black Sea has alternated between complete silence and propagating falsehoods. One notable example of the latter was the claim that the Russian headquarters building of the Black Sea fleet that was hit Friday was empty and that the multiple explosions were mere routine training exercises.

Ukraine claimed on Monday that the attack killed Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. "After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored," the Ukrainian special forces said via Telegram on Monday.

Responding to reports of multiple missiles strikes this month on Crimea, Russian authorities say that all the missiles were intercepted by a submarine and a structure called "VDK Minsk", which itself was severely damaged following a Ukrainian airstrike on Sept. 13. The Russians likewise dismissed reports of a fire at the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet, attributing it to a mundane explosion caused by swamp gas.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has refrained from commenting on the military situation in Crimea and elsewhere, continuing to repeat that everything is “proceeding as planned.”

Why is Crimea such a touchy topic? And why is it proving to be so hard to defend?

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