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All Eyes On Zaporizhzhia, 21 Killed In Kabul Mosque Blast, Surfin’ Venice

A municipal worker lays wreaths on the graves of unidentified people killed in Bucha, as Ukrainians continue burying the more than 450 people killed by Russian forces across the city in February and March.

Lisa Berdet, Chloé Touchard, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Molo!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Guterres and Erdogan meet with Zelensky to address the situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, a blast at a Kabul mosque kills at least, and surf’s up in Venice, much to the mayor’s chagrin. Meanwhile, Clarín visits an old friend: that botched restoration of a Christ mural, still a tourist hit 10 years on.

[*Xhosa, South Africa]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Zaporizhzhia talks: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan are due to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Lviv today. High on the agenda is nuclear safety and the situation at the Zaporizhzhia power plant.

• Kabul mosque blast kills 21: The Afghan police said at least 21 people died in the bombing that hit a Sunii mosque in Kabul during evening prayers on Wednesday. Another 33 people were reportedly injured following the explosion that shattered windows. The perpetrators have not yet been identified.

• U.S.-Taiwan trade talks: The Biden administration announced that the U.S. and Taiwan will start new bilateral trade talks to boost ties, which are expected to begin in early fall. This comes amid high tensions with China after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and China’s military drills.

• Man arrested for murder of 87-year-old on mobility scooter: A 44-year-old man has been arrested by the police in London and is the main suspect in the murder of Thomas O’Hallaran. The 87-year-old man was stabbed to death while riding a mobility scooter in west London on Tuesday.

• New Zealand floods: Hundreds of New Zealand’s South Island residents have been forced to evacuate as the area is being hit by torrential rains for the third day in a row. According to experts, such bad weather is due to an “atmospheric river,” a huge corridor of moist air.

• Japan encourages young people to drink more alcohol: The National Tax Agency in Japan has launched a contest “Sake Viva!” aimed at encouraging young people to drink more alcohol, to boost an industry that has been hard hit by the pandemic.

• Khaby Lame given Italian citizenship: TikTok superstar Khaby Lame, who was born in Senegal, has been given Italian citizenship during a ceremony in Chivasso near Turin, where he grew up. He has lived there since he was one and said he “always felt Italian.”

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Chinese daily the Global Times features a dry Yangtze running through Chongqing on its front page, as the region recorded its lowest rainfall in more than 60 years. Weather conditions in China, which included severe floods and rainstorms in other parts of the country, are expected to ease by the end of August.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$650.6 million

A federal judge in Cleveland ordered Walgreens, CVS and Walmart to pay more than $650 million in damages to two Ohio counties over the harm caused to communities in the way the three U.S. pharmacy chains distributed opioids to customers.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Holy mess! Spain's disfigured Christ mural remains a hit with tourists

The clumsy restoration of a mural of Christ in a Spanish chapel 10 years ago shocked, then amused, Spaniards and millions more abroad, and gave the local town a level of publicity and tourist revenues it never could have hoped for. Here's how it looks 10 years later, writes Marina Artuso in Argentinian newspaper Clarín.

⛪ Among the countless pictures and images of Christ around the world, it might not be outlandish to imagine that one of them might seek revenge — using humidity as the instrument of its vengeance. Painted in 1930 by a painter and academic, the Christ mural inside a chapel in Borja in the province of Aragón in Spain, was smothered in 2012 by Cecilia Giménez Zueca, a local resident and amateur painter. She wanted to help no doubt, but her "unfinished" restoration turned a venerable image of the suffering Christ — an Ecce Homo — into a bloated, indefinable cartoon.

🧑🎨 It made the news, big time, putting Borja on the tourist map. Travel agencies began organizing tours to Borja, and over 235,000 tourists have already visited the comical disaster. Pepa, a Borja resident who charges the entry fee for the chapel, says "you think this is the first time she touched it?" Cecilia, she adds, habitually came every summer to clean the chapel, walking five kilometers up a hill from Borja. Indeed, she had an "interventionist" reputation with the local heritage.

🗣️ Today, Pepa says "there were all kinds of reactions because there are people who don't like our town being known for this, and others who do." She doesn't mind, she says, "but there is so much more to Borja." She admits so many people used to pass through Borja without stopping. Now, she says, "they come to see this and stay in the area."

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

Look at these two overbearing idiots making a mockery of the City.

— Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro was visibly not amused by two surfers frolicking on the city’s Grand Canal, as shown on a video he shared on his Twitter account. The two foreign tourists were seen zig-zagging around gondolas and water buses on motorized surfboards, prompting the mayor to urge his followers to help him find the culprits (offering them a “dinner” as reward). The young men were eventually identified and fined €1,500 each.

✍️ Newsletter by Lisa Berdet, Chloé Touchard, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger


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Society

A Closer Look At "The French Roe" And The State Of Abortion Rights In France

In 1972, Marie-Claire Chevalier's trial paved the way for the legalization of abortion in France, much like Roe v. Wade did in the U.S. soon after. But as the Supreme Court overturned this landmark decision on the other side of the Atlantic, where do abortion rights now stand in France?

Lawyer Gisèle Halimi accompanies Marie-Claire Chevalier at the Bobigny trial in 1972.

Lila Paulou

PARIS — When Marie-Claire Chevalier died in January, French newspapers described her role in the struggle for abortion rights as an important part of what’s become the rather distant past. Yet since the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States, Chevalier’s story has returned to the present tense.

A high school student in 1971, Chevalier was raped by a classmate, and faced an unwanted pregnancy. With the help of her mother and three other women, the 16-year-old obtained an abortion, which was illegal in France. With all five women facing arrest, Marie-Claire’s mother Michèle decided to contact French-Tunisian lawyer Gisèle Halimi who had defended an Algerian activist raped and tortured by French soldiers in a high-profile case.

Marie-Claire bravely agreed to turn her trial into a platform for all women prosecuted for seeking an abortion. Major social figures testified on her behalf, from feminist activist Simone de Beauvoir to acclaimed poet Aimé Césaire. The prominent Catholic doctor Paul Milliez, said, “I do not see why us, Catholics, should impose our moral to all French people.”

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