China-Russia Summit, Pope Calls For Ceasefire, Battle Of Oranges
Welcome to Wednesday, where Vladimir Putin meets with China’s top diplomat in Moscow, Japan and China have their first formal security talks in four years and Starbucks launches a new drinks flavor for Italian palates. Meanwhile, we look at how Russia’s war propaganda machine has backfired and actually left Moscow itself as the prime victim of its own lies.
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🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• Top Chinese diplomat in Russia: Vladimir Putinis meeting China’s top diplomat Wang Yi in Moscow, with the two sides aiming to sign new cooperation agreements. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden continues his two-day trip in Poland, after speaking to a crowd of thousands in Warsaw, on Tuesday to mark the coming one-year mark since Russia invaded Ukraine. The speech came just hours after Vladimir Putin’s “state-of-the-nation” address in Russia, where he blamed the war on the West, and announced that Russia will halt participation in the New Start nuclear arms treaty, the last major remaining nuclear arms control pact with the U.S.
• China, Japan hold first security talks in four years: China and Japan havekicked off their first formal security talks in four years Wednesday in Tokyo. Chinese officials have expressed concern over Tokyo’s military buildup, while Japanese diplomats are taking aim at Beijing’s close ties with Russia, its suspected use of surveillance balloons and the threat it poses to Taiwan.
• Saudi Arabia deposits $1bn into Yemen central bank: Saudi Arabiahas signed an agreement to deposit $1 billion in Yemen’s Aden-based central bank, a move aimed at boosting the war-torn country’s economy. The announcement comes as the Saudi-backed administration struggles with a weak currency and high fuel and commodity prices after nearly nine years of war.
• UK-born schoolgirl who joined ISIS loses appeal over citizenship removal: Shamima Begum, a British-born woman who went to Syria as a schoolgirl in 2015 to join the Islamic Statelost her latest appeal against the UK government's decision to take away her citizenship. She was stripped of her British citizenship on national security grounds in 2019, shortly after she was found in a detention camp in Syria.
• Seattle’s historic anti-caste decision: Seattle became the first U.S. city to outlaw caste discrimination on Tuesday, after the city’s local council voted to add caste to the city's anti-discrimination laws. The move addresses an issue important to the area's South Asian diaspora, particularly the Indian and Hindu communities, which face discrimination in their workplaces, including in the tech sector.
• Madagascar cyclone: Madagascar's government closed schools and transport in the path oftropical cyclone Freddy, which made landfall in the southeast of the island on Tuesday evening, causing a storm surge, ripping roofs off houses and killing at least one person.
• Starbucks launches olive oil coffee drinks in Italy: The world's largest coffee chain will launch a line ofolive oil-infused drinks in Italy, where it has around 20 locations. Chief executive Howard Schultz said the idea struck him when he adopted the Italian custom of taking a daily spoonful of olive oil while traveling in Sicily last year.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
U.S. President Joe Biden is featured on the cover of Polish daily, Rzeczpospolita. Following his surprise visit to Kyiv, Biden rallied NATO allies in Poland on Tuesday, proclaiming "unwavering" support for Ukraine. Polish President Andrzej Duda said Biden's visit showed U.S. commitment to maintaining European security and described Biden's stop in Kyiv as an "incredible gesture."
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
Between August 2022 and January 2023, the European Union has seen its gas consumption drop by almost 20% — far exceeding its target of 15% amid the ongoing energy crisis. According to a new eurostat report, the bloc was able to do so by implementing more sustainable practices and technologies and turning to renewable energy sources.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
A year of Putin lies: How Russian war propaganda has backfired from day one
From the first fake news reports that Zelensky had fled to Putin’s latest speech Tuesday that blamed the war on the West, Russia’s attempts to manipulate opinion have wound up leaving Moscow itself as the prime victim of its own lies, writes Ukrainian journalist Anna Akage.
💬 With its invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s Russia turned up the volume and rhythm on a propaganda machine that has been deployed the past decade across a range of channels to manipulate public opinion, at home and abroad. It has continued to the present, with Putin delivering a major speech Tuesday in which he repeated many of the falsehoods that have justified a war that has not gone as planned — all the while vowing to continue to fight.
🎖️ From the start, the Russian disinformation machine has been working on three main fronts at once: trying to frighten and demoralize the Ukrainian audience, convince the international audience of Russia’s military and energy strengths, and solidifying support among the Russian masses.
🇷🇺 Ultimately, the teeth of the Russian bear have broken on the bones of the Kremlin itself. Russian lies have been so widespread and persistent that they were bound to infect the choices Moscow would make, convinced of the weakness of Ukraine, the cowardice of the West, the invincibility of its own army, the strength of the Kremlin elite. Indeed, Putin himself has become the primary victim of Russian propaganda, tricked into a war that he never could win.➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
📹 THIS HAPPENED VIDEO — TODAY IN HISTORY, IN ONE ICONIC PHOTO
➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
“Has everything possible been done to stop the war?”
— During his General Audience in the Vatican on Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis called for a ceasefire and negotiations in an address marking the upcoming anniversary of the war in Ukraine. The pontiff declared that it has been "one year since the beginning of this absurd and cruel war, a sad anniversary."
✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Ginevra Falciani, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Hugo Perrin
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