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Escalation Risks In Russia, Outrage At Brazil Police, EV Grandma

Mural ‘St. Javelina’ depicting a Madonna holding a javelin anti-tank missile, painted on a building in Kyiv

The Mural ‘St. Javelina’ depicting a Madonna holding a javelin anti-tank missile that has been crucial for the Ukrainian defense, has been painted on a building of the Solomianskyi district of Kyiv.

Lila Paulou and Lisa Berdet.

👋 Hafa adai!*

Welcome to Friday, where Russia warns Ukraine about attacks inside its territory, a video of deadly Brazilian police violence sparks outrage and a grandmother in New Zealand takes on Elon Musk and Tesla. We also feature a story from Buenos Aires daily Clarin about "Agrotokens," a way that farmers in Argentina are turning surplus grain into a kind of tangible cryptocurrency.

[*Chamorro, Mariana Islands]


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• Moscow accuses Ukraine of attacking inside Russia, warns of “unacceptable escalation”: The head of the Border Service of Russia’s intelligence services accused Ukrainian militants of trying to enter the country disguised as refugees. Meanwhile, the U.S. announced it would provide rocket launchers with the potential to strikes deep inside Russia, further raising the risk of what Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called "a serious step towards unacceptable escalation."

• Outrage against Brazil police after video of Black man asphyxiated during arrest: A video of the brutal arrest of a Black man suffering from schizophrenia, recorded by passers-by, is causing public outrage in Brazil. It shows police officers forcing the unarmed man to breathe the gas emanating from the trunk of their car, which led to his death later that day.

• Growing questions about police response in Texas school shooting: Criticism is swelling in Texas as locals accuse police officers of not intervening quickly enough in the Uvalde school shooting, where 19 children and 2 adults died.

• China and Russia veto UN sanctions on North Korea: For the first time since 2006, Russia and China have vetoed a US-drafted resolution to strengthen sanctions against North Korea at the United Nations Security Council. The U.S. ambassador to the UN has called the move by Moscow and Beijing “dangerous.”

• Update on Senegal fire: Senegal health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr has been fired by President Macky Sall following the death of 11 newborn babies in a hospital fire, reportedly due to an electrical short circuit.

• Kevin Spacey charged with sexual assault in UK: Britain’s Crown Prosecutor Service has announced that U.S actor Kevin Spacey is facing multiple charges of sexual assault, following complaints of three men between 2005 and 2013.

• Ray Liotta died at 67:U.S. actor and producer Ray Liotta, renowned for leading roles in ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Field of Dreams,' died in his sleep at 67 in Dominican Republic, where he was shooting the movie ‘Dangerous Waters.’


Today’s front page of the daily newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo shows a screenshot of the video recording two police officers trapping an unarmed Black man into a “gas chamber” police car, which made him suffocate, in the state of Sergipe, northern Brazil.



Rosemary Penwarden, a 63-year-old grandmother living in New Zealand, converted a 29-year-old Honda car into a homemade electric car — named Frida — for $24,000. The solar-powered vehicle has been going up and down the streets for three years now, and was built in eight months by Penwarden and one of her friends.


Digital farming: "Agrotokens" turn surplus grain into online cash

Digital currencies may be volatile, but one company has found a way to allow Argentine farmers to purchase goods and services online using surplus grain, the Buenos Aires-based daily Clarín reports.

🇦🇷 Amid a boom in the price of farming products, Agrotoken, an Argentine firm, has devised a way for local farmers to turn surplus grain into digital credits that can be used to purchase goods with a debit card. In partnership with Visa, the firm has created a card accepted by 80 million shops and businesses associated with its tokenized grains program. This will effectively turn the grain, typically kept in storage, into digital cash to be spent on goods or even as loan or credit guarantees.

🌾 The "tokenized grains" are in effect a stable cryptocurrency, which, unlike other notoriously volatile digital currencies, is backed by a tangible asset. Each token is specifically equivalent to one ton of grain, which a producer has sold and sent into storage. Every ton is validated through a Proof of Grain Reserve certificate (PoGR), a system that is safe, transparent, decentralized and auditable at all times.

💳 Eduardo Novillo Astrada, who founded Agrotoken with Ariel Scaliter, says they are creating an app with Visa “where the producer can keep a record of all their transactions to make accounting and decision-taking easier. And every time they use it, they'll have cashback in crypto form." Gabriela Renaudo, the managing-director of Visa in Argentina, says the farming sector is "fundamental for the Argentine economy, and we need digital solutions to make a business more agile, efficient and competitive, allowing it to break into tomorrow's commerce."

➡️ Read the full article on Worldcrunch.com


More could have been done.

— Javier Cazares, whose 10-year-old daughter Jacklyn was killed during the mass shooting at Robb elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, was one of many questioning why police didn’t storm the premises sooner. At a press conference Thursday afternoon, authorities confirmed that the shooter had been locked inside a classroom for an hour before a swat team arrived and killed him. The 19 children and two teachers were all killed inside that classroom.

✍️ Newsletter by Lila Paulou and Lisa Berdet

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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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