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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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• 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.”


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.


$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.


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


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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Information As Commodity: What If Twitter Was Regulated Like An Oil & Gas Company?

Theodore Kury, Director of Energy Studies at the University of Florida, sees value in thinking of social media as the pipeline that carries a new kind of utility: information. He makes the case for regulating companies like Twitter accordingly.

Photo of ​Twitter's new CEO Elon Musk tipping his hard hat as he visits a construction site in Germany

Twitter's new CEO Elon Musk visiting a construction site in Germany

Theodore J. Kury*

Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, and his controversial statements and decisions as its owner, have fueled a new wave of calls for regulating social media companies. Elected officials and policy scholars have argued for years that companies like Twitter and Facebook – now Meta – have immense power over public discussions and can use that power to elevate some views and suppress others. Critics also accuse the companies of failing to protect users’ personal data and downplaying harmful impacts of using social media.

As an economist who studies the regulation of utilities such as electricity, gas and water, I wonder what that regulation would look like. There are many regulatory models in use around the world, but few seem to fit the realities of social media. However, observing how these models work can provide valuable insights.

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