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In The News

Closing In On Bakhmut, More West Bank Violence, Messi’s FIFA Crown

Photo of Palestinian demonstrators burning tires during a nighttime demonstration along the Israel-Gaza border following an outbreak of violence between Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank.

Palestinian demonstrators burn tires during a nighttime demonstration along the Israel-Gaza border following an outbreak of violence between Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank.

Emma Albright, Ginevra Falciani, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Dobrý deň!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Russian troops close in on Bakhmut, violence continues in the West Bank and The Weeknd makes Spotify history. Meanwhile, La Stampa recounts the events that led to the tragic shipwreck off the coast of Italy in which at least 64 migrants were killed.

[*Slovak]

✅  SIGN UP

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Russians closing in on Bakhmut: Russian forces appear closer than ever in their weeks-long drive to conquer the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. The forces, including mercenary fighters from the Wagner Group, are trying to cut the Ukrainian defenders' supply lines to the city and force them to surrender or withdraw. That would give Russia its first major prize in more than half a year and could open the way to the capture of the last remaining urban centers in the Donetsk region.

• Israeli-American killed in West Bank as tensions run high: A 26-year-old Israeli-American has been shot and killed in the occupied West Bank, near the city of Jericho. The shooting occurred after Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian villages on Sunday night, with dozens of cars and houses lit on fire. Israeli and Palestinian officials pledged to de-escalate tensions at a summit Monday in Jordan.

• Pakistan launches trafficking probe after refugee boat tragedy: Pakistani authorities have launched an investigation to find alleged traffickers following the refugee boat sinking that left at least 64 people dead. Out of the estimated 200 people on the boat, at least 20 were Pakistanis.

• Belarus President Lukashenko visit to China: Chinese leader Xi Jinping is preparing to receive Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko, an ally of Russia, to hold talks with Chinese officials in Beijing. This visit comes amid warnings from the United States officials that China may be considering providing Moscow with military aid in its war in Ukraine.

• Hong Kong scraps COVID mask mandate after almost 1,000 days: Hong Kong has announced it will scrap its mask mandate on March 1st, ending the territory’s last major coronavirus measure after almost 1,000 days. Hong Kong followed China’s zero-COVID police for most of the pandemic but had begun slowing down on strict restrictions last year. The city hopes to attract back visitors and kickstart businesses.

• North Korea and radical change in agriculture: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for a “radical change” in agricultural production amid concerns over reported food shortages in the country. Analysts say the current food shortages were triggered by a combination of poor harvests and extreme weather, as well as lockdowns and reduced trade with China during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Lionel Messi named FIFA men’s player of the year: Argentina’s World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi has been named FIFA men’s player of the year. Spain’s Alexia Putellas, who won the Ballon d’Or last year, was named women’s player of the year.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Brazilian daily O Globo dedicates its front page to President Silvio Da Silva Lula getting a bivalent shot against COVID-19, launching a nationwide vaccination campaign. This vaccine protects against the first strains of the coronavirus and increases immunization against the Ômicron variant. The campaign is addressing people over 70 and immuno-suppressed and should open to the rest of the population in a second stage. It is part of a wider project of the Brazilian government to increase the vaccination rate of citizens against other diseases as well as encouraging younger generations to get anti-COVID booster shots after vaccine skepticism spread through the rule of Lula’s predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

100,450,642

The Weeknd has become the first artist to surpass 100 million monthly listeners on the music streaming platform Spotify. He surpassed Miley Cyrus (82.5 million listeners), Taylor Swift (80.3 million) and Drake (68.6 million).

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

After four days at sea, a migrant tragedy plays out just 200 meters from Italy's shore

Dozens of migrants are confirmed dead, with many more casualties feared. Survivors say the crew threw people overboard, with land finally in sight after a perilous Mediterranean journey from Turkey, reports Niccolò Zancan in Italian daily La Stampa.

🌊 “When we saw the lights, we thought we were safe," recounted one of the survivors. “‘They’re coming for us!’ we all started to shout. But the crew started throwing boys down, pulling them by the arms and throwing them into the sea. Panic broke out on board. The boat flipped.” An estimated 150 to 180 people were on board the trawler, having already survived a terrifying crossing from Turkey. But at least 74 didn't make it, confirmed dead, having drowned just 200 meters from arriving in Europe.

🏥 Among the confirmed 74 casualties, many of them minors. Eighty-two people have been rescued by Monday morning. Many more cannot be found, although no one can say exactly how many. Twenty-one boys and children are hospitalized in the pediatric ward of nearby Crotone hospital.

🇮🇹 It was a boat loaded with the future. A blue wooden fishing boat, now completely destroyed by the waves, smashed to pieces between the surf and the shoreline. We've seen this all before. The same story arriving near the coastlines of Lampedusa, Malta, Portopalo di Capo Passero: nothing changes, except the names of the dead. And this time, they had arrived so close.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

“I wouldn't leave if I were desperate because I have been taught to be responsible.”

— Italy’s Minister of the Interior Matteo Piantedosi is under fire for his controversial comments on Sunday's shipwreck off the southern Italian coast, in which at least 63 people died. Speaking after a meeting with authorities in the Crotone province of Calabria, where the migrant tragedy took place, Piantedosi said that "desperation can never justify travel conditions that endanger the lives of one's children." Piantedosi, who led efforts in his country’s recent crackdown on migration under new far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, added that he’d been taught “not to always ask what my country can do for me, but what I can do for my country" — comments deemed “unworthy” and “unbearable” by leader of the centrist Azione party Carlo Calenda.

✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Ginevra Falciani, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet


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Ideas

How I Lost My Smartphone And Found My Neighbors

A simple tale from Italy of a hundred strangers in a waiting room, and the limits of our modern obsession with privacy.

Image of People checking their phone on the subway.

People checking their phone on the subway.

Concita De Gregorio

ROME — Here's a small personal story that has made me smile and reflect for the past few days: It’s about our obsession with privacy, which can be a pointless battle at a time when, in an online crowd of strangers identified only by numbers, we all find ourselves connected.

We all know everything about each other already. We can even find out about each other’s personal tastes, mutual friends or phone numbers. It's a good thing — here's why.

I enter, as I do every day, the large waiting room of a public place where I will spend the next few hours in the company of a hundred or so people. We have known each other for months, but we do not know each other. We are identified by acronyms, a matter of privacy.

I realize I don’t have my phone. I left it at home or lost it — I don’t know. The place where I am is far from the place where I live, and without a phone I can neither use a car-sharing app to get home nor call a cab — and there are never any taxis to hail at the nearby parking lot.

Keep reading...Show less

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