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In The News

Gaza Starvation Warning, Erdogan Not Willkommen, $1-Billion Fake Luxury Haul

Gaza Starvation Warning, Erdogan Not Willkommen, $1-Billion Fake Luxury Haul
Emma Albright, Valeria Berghinz & Jakob Mieszkowski-Lapping

👋 ¡Ola!*

Welcome to Friday, where the UN warns of risks of starvation in Gaza as aid deliveries are suspended again, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is on a “controversial” state visit to Germany, and we see the largest haul of counterfeit luxury goods in U.S. history. Meanwhile, Hannah Bethke in Berlin-based daily Die Welt tells us why it’s almost impossible for Germans to have a constructive conversation about the war in Gaza.

[*Galician, Spain]


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• UN warns of possibility of starvation in Gaza: UN aid deliveries to Gaza were suspended again on Friday due to shortages of fuel and a communications shutdown. The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) said Palestinian civilians faced the “immediate possibility of starvation” due to the lack of food supplies. Meanwhile, Israel says its troops have found the body of a second woman held hostage by Hamas, during a search close to Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu says the army is trying to get Gaza civilians out of harm’s way by telling them to evacuate, but the efforts are “not successful.” Follow our international Focus: Israel-Palestine war here.

• Zimbabwe declares state of emergency in Harare over cholera: Zimbabwe has declared a state of emergency in its capital Harare over a cholera outbreak. The outbreak has so far killed dozens of people with more than 7,000 suspected cases. The city authorities say the outbreak, spreading throughout the city, resembles that of the 2008 outbreak, in which thousands died.

• Russian artist jailed for 7 years: Russian artist Alexandra Skochilenko has been sentenced to jail for seven years after being found guilty of spreading “false information” about the Russian military by replacing a handful of supermarket price tags with messages criticizing the war in Ukraine. The 33-year-old, known as Sasha, is one of thousands of Russians to be detained, fined or jailed for speaking out against Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor, currently in dire need of new troops.

• European nations join Myanmar genocide case: Five European countries and Canada have teamed up to join the genocide case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that accuses Myanmar of committing genocide against the Rohingya community. Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Britain filed a joint declaration of intervention with the case, lodged by Gambia in 2019.

• Mistrial declared for Kentucky officer charged in Breonna Taylor killing: The federal civil rights trial of a former Louisville, Kentucky, police officer charged in 2020 for the death of Breonna Taylor, whose killing fueled a wave of racial justice protests, was declared a mistrial on Thursday.

• Puff Daddy accused of rape and abuse by ex-girlfriend Cassie: U.S. rap artist Sean Combs (a.k.a. Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, or Diddy) has been accused of rape and sex trafficking by a female singer. In a lawsuit, his ex-girlfriend, the singer-songwriter and model Casandra Ventura also known as Cassie, said she was trapped for a decade in a cycle of abuse and violence. Combs denies the allegations, accusing Ventura of trying to extort him.

• South Korea bans dog meat: South Korea aims to ban eating dog meat and put an end to the controversy over the ancient custom amid growing awareness of animal rights, a ruling party policy chief said on Friday. The Korean tradition of eating dog has drawn criticism from overseas for its cruelty but there has also been increasing opposition at home, particularly from the younger generation. For more on the topic, we offer this piece by Chinese media The Initium.


“What does he want here? And what does Germany want from him?,” asks Berlin-based daily Tagesspiegel on its front page, about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “controversial” state visit in Germany on Friday — his first since 2020. Erdogan’s meeting with German chancellor Olaf Scholz comes at a time of tensions over the two leaders’ opposing views on Israel’s war with Hamas. The Turkish leader has branded Israel as a “terror state” and accused the country of committing war crimes with its bombardment of Gaza, while Scholz has offered Germany’s unconditional and unwavering support to Israel. The center-left-led government agreed the visit would be “challenging” but said it was all the more important to keep talking in the toughest of times. *Read more on Erdogan’s pro-Hamas rhetoric in a piece translated from German to English.



New York authorities have seized $1-billion worth of fake luxury handbags, shoes and other goods, estimated to be a total of some 219,000 items. Two men have been charged with trafficking the counterfeit items, and are now facing up to 10 years in prison for what constitutes the largest haul of fake goods in U.S. history.


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Nazi history, Muslim immigrants, social media: Talking Gaza in Germany is a hot mess

The debate over the war in Israel is raging on social media. In this divisive atmosphere, it is impossible to call out anti-Semitism in Muslim communities or on the right wing without being applauded by all the wrong people. What Germans are failing to acknowledge is how much the country’s own history has to do with this, writes Hannah Bethke in Berlin-based daily Die Welt.

🗯️ In the current climate, it is impossible to talk about anti-Semitism without risking praise from all the wrong people. Anyone who reminds Germans of their country’s own history of anti-Semitism and calls out discrimination against Muslims meets with vociferous agreement from the left wing — and finds themselves lumped together with all those who deny that there is any form of imported anti-Semitism and accuse anyone of racism who highlights anti-Semitism within Muslim communities.

🇩🇪 Under the surface of the debate is that other important factor of Germany's singular history. It goes largely unspoken, but the historical guilt around the Holocaust still influences the dynamics of the debate in our country. As a result, Germans often shy away from critical self-reflection on the country’s current situation, and the debate quickly escalates. It is absolutely right to call out Muslim anti-Semitism for what it is. However, the zeal with which it is currently being denounced suggests that — once again — Germany is at risk of all too easily forgetting its own history.

⚠️ It is important to ensure that Islamist terrorism is never minimized, and that people don’t attempt to excuse it by pointing to supposed “context.” When it comes to brutal murders and crimes on this scale, there is no nuance to explore. But the question of Muslim integration in our own country is a very different matter. While it is clearly right to condemn the pro-Palestinian groups celebrating the actions of Hamas, it would be an overreaction to suspect all people of Arab heritage of anti-Semitism.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“It is my recommendation that they take a sick day to protest for a sick planet.”

— As thousands of Australian students walk-out of class to protest government inaction on climate-change, three prominent scientists wrote a “sick note” for students to download as a PDF and send to school administrators to excuse themselves from class. Experts say that Australia is not keeping up with countries like the US and UK on climate action. Students are displaying anger as the government continues to approve additional coal and gas projects — despite promises by the labor government elected in May 2022 to take their demands more seriously. Several state officials throughout the country have rejected the scientists’ letter as a valid excuse for school absence.

✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Valeria Berghinz, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jakob Mieszkowski-Lapping

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Extinction Rebellion climate activists protest in Melbourne, Australia, to denounce the ineffectiveness of ongoing COP28 talks when it comes to reducing global emissions.
Emma Albright and Valeria Berghinz

👋 Akkam!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Israeli forces step up bombing of southern Gaza, the public inquiry into former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic opens, and fans of K-pop girl group Blackpink let out a sigh of relief. And if you’re looking for a break from all the grim news, we take you on a world tour of wacky races.

[*Oromo, Ethiopia]

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