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In The News

Nagorno-Karabakh Dissolution, Gaza Crossings Reopen, Microplastic Clouds

Photograph on the sunrise as ​Palestinian workers wait at the Erez crossing as they prepare to leave Beit Hanoun to work inside Israel.

Palestinian workers wait at the Erez crossing as they prepare to leave Beit Hanoun to work inside Israel.

Ahmed Abed/APA Images/ZUMA
Michelle Courtois, Valeria Berghinz and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Guuten takh!*

Welcome to Thursday, where the separatist government of Nagorno-Karabakh announces that the region will “cease to exist” by the end of the year, Burkina Faso’s military junta says it thwarted plans to overthrow the government, and Japanese scientists find evidence of microplastics in the clouds. Meanwhile, in Berlin-based daily Die Welt, Marie-Luise Goldmann analyzes the German factors driving the latest Netflix hit thriller, Dear Child.

[*Cimbrian, northeastern Italy]


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• Nagorno-Karabakh will “cease to exist”: The separatist government of Nagorno-Karabakh announced today that it will dissolve itself and that it will cease to exist by the end of the year. This comes after Azerbaijan carried out an offensive to reclaim full control over the breakaway region and demanded that Armenian troops in Nagorno-Karabakh lay down their weapons and the government dissolve itself. While Azerbaijani authorities have pledged to respect the rights of ethnic Armenians in the region, the fear of reprisals has already prompted more than half of Nagorno-Karabakh's population, 66,500 people, to flee to Armenia. Read French geopolitics writer Pierre Haski on whether the Nagorno-Karabakh debacle may trigger a coup in Armenia, which would make Vladimir Putin happy.

• U.S. soldier expelled from North Korea arrives in Texas: U.S. Army Private Travis King landed at a U.S. military base in Texas early Thursday after being expelled from North Korea following his surprise dash across the border two months ago. The U.S. government has said that upon his return King will first undergo evaluation then a reintegration process so he can be reunited with his family. It was unclear if King will face disciplinary action by the U.S. Army. King entered North Korea from the South on July 18 while on a tour and was immediately taken into custody by Pyongyang authorities.

• Burkina Faso’s military rulers say coup attempt foiled: A coup attempt against Burkina Faso’s military junta has been quashed by the country’s intelligence and security services. Burkina Faso’s military rulers said in a statement on Wednesday that army officers and others had planned to seize power and pull the country into “chaos.” Four people have been arrested so far and two are on the run.

• Taiwan unveils first own submarine: Taiwan unveiled its first locally developed submarine — a major step in a project aimed at strengthening the island's defense and deterrence against the Chinese navy. Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has made the submarine program a key part of an ambitious project to modernize and improve its armed forces. Read more on why some believe a military conflict between the two nations is inevitable.

• Israel reopens Gaza crossings after two weeks: Israel reopened crossing points with Gaza on Thursday, allowing thousands of Palestinian workers to get to their jobs in Israel and the West Bank, after nearly two weeks of closure. The block was prompted by violent protests along the border. Around 18,000 Gazans have permits from Israeli authorities to work outside the blockaded enclave. The move comes amid efforts by Egypt and the United Nations to defuse tensions.

• Evergrande suspends shares as police target chairman: Shares in Evergrande, the Chinese property giant, have been suspended amid reports that its chairmen had been placed under police surveillance. In August, the firm filed for bankruptcy. Evergrande — once the world's most valuable property developer — is at the center of a real estate crisis threatening the world's second largest economy, where the property sector contributes to roughly a quarter of China's economy.

• Japanese scientists find microplastics in clouds: Researchers in Japan have confirmed that microplastics are present in clouds, and are affecting the climate. The team identified nine different types of polymers and one type of rubber in the microplastics. Each liter of cloud water tested contained between 6.7 to 13.9 pieces of the plastics. When microplastics reach the upper atmosphere and are exposed to UV radiation from sunlight, they degrade, contributing to greenhouse gases.


“The war in Ukraine is making a dent in the Kremlin's coffers,” titles Danish dailyJyllands-Posten, featuring an analysis on Russia’s military spending which has hit record highs this year and is set to grow further in 2024. For the Copenhagen-based newspaper, these investments are putting long-term pressure on Kyiv and its allies, and will force “changes in the Ukrainian military strategy” and strong will from the West to make economic sacrifices. *A new report from Ukraine says the Wagner Group has returned to Bakhmut for the first time since the mercenary outfit’s aborted coup.


371 days

NASA’s Frank Rubio returns to earth after spending 371 days in space, a record for a U.S. astronaut. The mission aboard the International Space Station, which was originally meant to last only six months, has made Rubio the first American to log at least one full calendar year in space, with the previous U.S. record being held by Mark Vende Hei at 355 days. Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov holds the world record, staying aboard the Mir space station for 437 days between 1994 and 1995. Rubio’s stay was lengthened due to the discovery of a coolant leak coming from his original ship; upon arrival, the astronaut stated that if he knew his mission would have lasted this long, he would have told NASA “thank you, but no thank you.”


Netflix and chills: Dear Child has a German formula that may explain its success

The Germany-made thriller Dear Child has made it to the “top 10” list of the streaming platform in more than 90 countries by breaking away from conventional tropes and mixing in German narrative techniques, reports Marie-Luise Goldmann in Berlin-based daily Die Welt.

📺 Dear Child is based on Romy Hausmann’s debut novel of the same name, which was published in 2019 and quickly became an international bestseller. The adaptation by directors and screenwriters Isabel Kleefeld and Julian Pörksen appealed to the novel's large fan base. But as the flop TV series The Swarm recently proved, simply adapting a bestseller for the screen isn’t enough. What sets Dear Child apart is that it does not seek to comment on German history — neither on East Germany and the Weimar Republic nor on National Socialism.

📅 The story takes place on two different timelines, jumping back and forth. The “past” segment consists of a Kammerspiel of sorts, a chamber play with a few characters interacting in a confined space. We see a kidnapped mother and her two children and how they go about everyday life in a tiny room. The rest of the action takes place in the present as detectives investigate the perpetrator, long after the kidnapped victims have escaped and reintegrated into society

🍿 The climax of the series is just as grand as the beginning, with everything coming together in a shattering finale. One of Dear Child's strengths is the tension it manages to build and maintain from the very first minute. New suspects are constantly introduced, with great skill. In the end, the success of the series may be explained by the fact that it simply tells a good story without trying to be obsessively political.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


"Honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say."

— Barbs were traded during the second Republican presidential primary debate last night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley voicing her frustration at fast-talking entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy who she says is lowering the collective IQ. But as Reuters notes, the “chaotic” evening was above all marked by Donald Trump’s absence, as the former U.S. President chose to skip the event as he did the first one. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called out Trump for being “missing in action.”

✍️ Newsletter by Michelle Courtois, Valeria Berghinz and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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Updated Dec. 7, 2023 at 12:15 p.m.

Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor was a day that U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said "will live in infamy." It would finally bring the United States into World War II, though with a decimated Pacific fleet from the Japanese surprise attack.

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