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Dnipro Death Toll Rises, China Population In Decline, Older Dads

Dnipro Death Toll Rises, China Population In Decline, Older Dads

China’s population has shrunk in 2022 for the first time in more than 60 years, down some 850,000 people from the previous year.

Ginevra Falciani, Emma Albright and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Héébee!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where the death toll of the Dnipro apartment strike rises, Vietnam’s president resigns and China registers its first decline in population since 1961. Meanwhile, Italian daily La Stampa takes a closer look at the long criminal past of Matteo Messina Denaro, the top Sicilian Mafia boss who was captured yesterday in Palermo.

[*Arapaho, Wyoming, U.S.]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Dnipro death toll rises to 44: Another 10 victims have been confirmed in the past 24 hours following a Russian missile attack on an apartment block in Dnipro, Ukraine over the weekend, bringing the death toll to 44, with dozens injured and several still unaccounted for beneath the rubble. Meanwhile, the UN office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported that 7,000 civilians have died in Ukraine since the beginning of the war on February 24.

• Vietnam President resigns: Vietnam President Nguyen Xuan Phuc has resigned after the ruling Communist Party blamed him for “violations and wrongdoing,” the government said on Tuesday, as part of reported crackdown on corruption. To become effective, Phuc's resignation requires approval from the National Assembly. Phuc was chosen in April 2021 to be president, and was meant to also become the party's General Secretary, the state's most prestigious job.

• Bitcoin up 26%, as cryptocurrencies staging comeback after 2022 crash: Bitcoin is back, bringing the crypto market back up with it. The biggest cryptocurrency has so far gained 26% in January, leaping 22% in the past week alone, as crypto investors hope the market can recover from a disastrous 2022.

• Teachers on strike in UK: Teachers in England and Wales announced they would go on strike, joining nurses, rail workers and others taking part in one of the largest UK labor movements in memory. The National Education Union (NEU) said that the first strike would be on Feb. 1, a date when 100,000 public sector workers are due to strike. With inflation running at more than 10%, workers from multiple sectors are demanding higher wages.

• California storm death toll reaches 20: The nine consecutive rainstorms that inundated California for the past three weeks have finally stopped. At least 20 people were killed and tens of thousands remain under evacuation orders. President Joe Biden is due to visit California and survey the damage on Thursday.

• Australian Open bans Russian and Belarusian flags: Tennis Australia announced on Tuesday that fans will no longer be allowed to wave the Russian or the Belarusian flag at the Australian Open. This comes after Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia condemned the Russian flag being displayed in the stands at the grand slam.

• Fathers older than mothers goes way back: A study conducted by scientists at Indiana University in the U.S. has tracked genetic mutations in modern human DNA sequences to estimate when men and women conceived children over the past 250,000 years, concluding that fathers on average have always been older than mothers.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

German daily Frankfurter Rundschau devotes its front page to the resignation of Germany’s Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht following a much-criticized video she posted on Instagram on New Year’s eve, the latest in a series of missteps during her year in office. Lambrecht also faced persistent criticism for the German government's hesitation in sending weapons to Ukraine.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

- 850,000

China’s population in 2022 (1.4118 billion) fell by 850,000 from the previous year — the first decline in population since 1961. The country’s falling birth rate has ushered China in an “era of negative population growth” that’s unlikely to end soon, despite a series of policies designed to slow the trend. The scrapping of the one-child policy in 2016, numerous tax breaks and better maternal healthcare, among other incentives did not lead to a sustained increase in the births. The demographic crisis is expected to shrink China's labor force and increase the burden on healthcare and other social security costs.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

The last boss? Why Matteo Messina Denaro may mark the end of Sicily's old school mafia

Arrested Monday in Palermo, Messina Denaro was the son of a mobster and successor of Sicily's notorious boss of bosses. He had been on the run for 30 years, trying to transform Cosa Nostra into a modern criminal enterprise — with only partial success, reports Italian daily La Stampa.

🚨 It was 30 years ago, almost exactly to the day, January 15, 1993, when Totò Riina, then the undisputed head of the Corleone clan, was captured in Palermo. On Monday, it was the turn of Matteo Messina Denaro, now 60 years old, who has occupied the same place as "boss of bosses" of the Sicilian Mafia, who was tracked down and arrested in the same city.

📄 For 30 years he managed to evade capture. He had chosen the path of “essential communication”: a few short pizzini — small slips of paper used by the Sicilian Mafia for high-level communications — without compromising information by telephone or digital means. “Never write the name of the person you are addressing," Messina Denaro told his underlings. "Don’t talk in cars because there could be bugs, always discuss in the open and away from telephones. Also, take off your watches.”

🇮🇹 Even though his reputation as a ruthless man is recognized, some doubts have crept in on his real ability to rebuild, after the arrests of Riina and Provenzano, the hierarchical structure of Cosa Nostra eroded by arrests and a process of fragmentation. Matteo Messina Denaro was a boss who helped remake Cosa Nostra for a new century, but couldn't manage to avoid the same fate as the godfathers who came before.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

“This is a full-frontal attack on our democratically elected Scottish Parliament.”

— The UK government has blocked a Scottish law on changing gender, making it the first time London has used its legal powers to block a law in Scotland. The law makes it easier for people 16 or older to change their gender. The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon denounced a "frontal attack on our democratically elected Scottish Parliament and its ability to make its own decisions" on Twitter. The issue is expected to add to growing calls for a referendum on Scotland leaving the UK.

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


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Geopolitics

The Trumpian Virus Undermining Democracy Is Now Spreading Through South America

Taking inspiration from events in the United States over the past four years, rejection of election results and established state institutions is on the rise in Latin America.

Two supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dressed in Brazilian flags during a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Bolsonaro supporters dressed in national colours with flags in a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 4, 2022.

Ivan Abreu / ZUMA
Carlos Ruckauf*

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — South Africa's Nelson Mandela used to say it was "so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build."

Intolerance toward those who think differently, even inside the same political space, is corroding the bases of representative democracy, which is the only system we know that allows us to live and grow in freedom, in spite of its flaws.

Recent events in South America and elsewhere are precisely alerting us to that danger. The most explosive example was in Brazil, where a crowd of thousands managed to storm key institutional premises like the presidential palace, parliament and the Supreme Court.

In Peru, the country's Marxist (now former) president, Pedro Castillo, sought to use the armed and security forces to shut down parliament and halt the Supreme Court and state prosecutors from investigating corruption allegations against him.

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