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COP27 Hunger Strike, U.S.-Russia Talks, Record Lottery Jackpot

​File photo of Egyptian activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah in Cairo in 2015

File photo of Egyptian activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah

Sophia Constantino, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Håfa adai!*

Welcome to Monday, where a newspaper report says the top U.S. security official has had a secret channel open with Moscow to ease risk of nuclear attacks, a COP 27 hunger strike aims at the Cairo regime and a lottery prize sets a record. Meanwhile, we’ve gathered some international coverage of the campaign for the U.S. midterm elections (which happen tomorrow).

[*Chamorro - Guam]


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• Biden’s top security official reportedly talking with Russians to avoid nuclear escalation: The White House had no comment Monday to The Wall Street Journal report that National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has had confidential conversations with top aides to Russian President Vladimir Putin to reduce the risk of a nuclear attack in the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile shelling continues on Ukrainian infrastructure around the country, as blackouts persist.

• COP27 hunger strike: With Egypt hosting the COP27 climate summit, attention is turning to one of the country's leading rights activists, Alaa Abdel Fattah, also a UK citizen, whose hunger strike from an Egyptian prison now includes no water intake. Fattah has become a symbol against Egypt’s authoritarian government. Meanwhile, on Monday, the first full day of the two-week conference, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said: “Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish.”

• Biden, Trump make final appeals before U.S. midterms: As the crucial final moments of campaigning come to a close, party leaders President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump will make their final urgent appeals to their supporters. Biden and Trump’s final campaign rounds will take place in Maryland and Ohio, respectively.

• Italy stops migrants from disembarking: Italy’s new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is making good on her promise to crack down on illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean. In a move NGOs are calling “illegal”, the country’s government has prevented 250 people disembarking two migrant rescue ships, allowing just children and people with medical issues to leave the ships.

• Plane crash in Tanzania: A plane crash in Tanzania’s Lake Victoria on Sunday killed 19 people, including two pilots. Of the 43 people on board, 24 survived. The country’s prime minister, Kassim Majaliwa said an investigation would be carried out to establish the cause of the crash.

• Apple iPhones delayed over China COVID lockdown: As China’s “zero-Covid” lockdowns cause delays in Apple factory outputs, the company warns that global shipments of its newest high-end iPhones will be delayed. An Apple plant in Zhengzhou, usually staffed with 200 people, had just 65 people on Monday.

• Teenager Rune shocks Djokovic to claim Paris Masters title: Denmark's Holger Rune clinched his first Master’s title in Paris on Sunday. The 19-year-old became the youngest winner of the Paris tournament since 1968, beating five other top-10 players for the win.


Egyptian daily Al-Shorouk reports on the COP27 which kicked off Sunday in the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. More than 120 world leaders (with the notable exceptions of China’s Xi Jinping and India’s Narendra Modi) and more than 40,000 participants are expected to attend the two-week climate summit, as nations struggle to cut greenhouse gas emissions amid a global energy crisis, the war in Ukraine and rising inflation.


$1.9 billion

The U.S. Powerball jackpot has risen to an estimated $1.9 billion after no winning tickets were sold in Saturday's world-record drawing. The lottery, which already held The Guinness World Records’ “Greatest jackpot in a national lottery” set in 2016 when three tickets won $1.59 billion, has had no winner in more than three months.


Eyes on U.S. — How the world is tracking a high-stakes midterm election

The international media is tuning in closely to Tuesday’s U.S. midterms, with global ramifications for everything from the war in Ukraine to action on climate change to the brewing superpower showdown with China.

🇺🇸🇺🇦 The Biden White House is Kyiv's most crucial partner in the war with Russia, not only in arms supplies and financial aid, but in touting the importance of a Ukraine victory for the cause of freedom and democracy. According to the Ukrainian edition of European Pravda, the Republicans taking control of Congress, with the Trump wing gaining strength, carries enormous risks for Ukraine — all the way up to the war's outcome. The last important vote on aid to Ukraine resulted in 11 votes against in the Senate and 57 in the House of Representatives. So the main risks for Ukraine may arise in the House of Representatives.

⛽ For the first time, the Paris-based International Energy Agency sees CO2 emissions peaking in 2025, in part because of the investments various countries are making in moving definitely away from fossil fuels imported from Russia. However, here too, global emissions scenarios hinge on U.S. Congressional action. In Germany, where in September 2021, 47% of voters saw the environment as the most pressing political issue, Deutsche Welle reports that a Republican victory would threaten recent steps the U.S. has taken to invest heavily in renewable energy.

💲 Despite the global importance of the results, the international press is well aware that it is the sharp U.S. political divisions and economics that will be decisive. For U.S. voters in 2022, the major issues at play are social issues like abortion, and skyrocketing inflation. Spain’s El Pais notes that all of Biden’s economic successes — job creation, growth, drop in unemployment, increase in exports — “pale next to the sharpest price rises in four decades.” Still, these are the first federal elections since the question of democracy itself was put into question by Trump and his supporters

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com



Somalia’s religious affairs ministry announced in a official statement it was banning the use of the name al-Shabaab, which designates a Islamic fundamentalist Salafi jihadist group based in the country and means “the youth” in Arabic, and asked the public to brand the militant group as “Khawarij,” a derogatory term that stands for a deviant sect. In 2015, the Somali government had already coined another name for al-Shabaab: “Ugus,” an acronym for “the group that massacres the Somali people.”

✍️ Newsletter by Sophia Constantino, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

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D.C. Or Beijing? Two High-Stakes Trips — And Taiwan's Divided Future On The Line

Two presidents of Taiwan, the current serving president, Tsai Ing-wen, and her predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou from the opposition Kuomintang party, are traveling in opposite directions these days. Taiwan must choose whom to follow.

Photo of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen

Tsai Ing-wen, the President of Taiwan

Pierre Haski


PARIS — Tsai Ing-wen, the President of Taiwan, is traveling to the United States today. Not on an official trip because Taiwan is not a state recognized by Washington, but in transit, en route to Central America, a strategy that allows her to pass through New York and California.

Ma Ying-jeou, a former president of Taiwan, arrived yesterday in Shanghai: he is making a 12-day visit at the invitation of the Chinese authorities at a time of high tension between China and the United States, particularly over the fate of Taiwan.

It would be difficult to make these two trips more contrasting, as both have the merit of summarizing at a glance the decisive political battle that is coming. Presidential and legislative elections will be held in January 2024 in Taiwan, which could well determine Beijing's attitude towards the island that China claims by all means, including force.

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