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In The News

Java Quake Death Toll Jumps, Defiant Iranian Soccer Players, Monster Goldfish

A rescue team is evacuating a victim of a landslide triggered by a 5.6-magnitude earthquake that hit Indonesia’s main island of Java
Laure Gautherin, Emma Albright, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Kaixo!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where the death toll in Indonesia’s earthquake rises to 252, the Iranian soccer team refuses to sing their national anthem in apparent support of protests, and holy carp, that’s a nice catch. Meanwhile, Suman Mandal in Indian website The Wire looks at how the deaths of migrant workers and Qatar's poor human rights record will linger over the World Cup.



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• U.S. sees evidence of war crimes in Ukraine: A top U.S. State Department official said there is “mounting evidence” of “systemic war crimes" being committed in "every region where Russia's forces have been deployed” in Ukraine.

• Indonesia earthquake death toll is rising: Rescue efforts are still underway after a 5.6-magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia’s main island of Java yesterday, with the death toll now standing at 268 and more than 150 still missing. Many of the victims are feared to be children whose schools collapsed. An estimated 13,000 people have been displaced.

China factory fire kills 38: A fire at an industrial goods factory in Anyang, northeastern China, has killed 38 people. According to preliminary investigation, the blaze may have been caused by faulty electric welding.

• Malaysian government in limbo: King Al-Sultan Abdullah announced he was about to pick Malaysia's next prime minister, after both the country’s former prime minister and the opposition leader failed to secure a majority in Sunday’s elections, resulting in the country’s first ever hung parliament.

• Turkey may launch ground offensive against Kurds in Syria after Istanbul attack: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signaled a possible ground offensive in northern Syria and Iraq against Kurdish bases, which Ankara is blaming for Istanbul’s bomb blast last week that left six people dead. Both the U.S. and Russia have called for de-escalation.

• Tensions rise between Kosovo and Serbia: Eleventh-hour talks mediated by the European Union failed to resolve a dispute over Kosovo's government decision to ban Serbian-issued license plates and impose fines and driving bans for Kosovo Serbs drivers who refuse to switch. The EU warned of potential escalation of the long-simmering tensions between Serbia and its former province.

• Gonna need a bigger bowl: A British fisherman has reeled in what could be the world’s largest goldfish ever: At an impressive 67.4 pounds (32 kilos) on the scale, “The Carrot” — as it was nicknamed for its bright orange color — was released back into its pond in the Champagne region of eastern France.


Catalan daily newspaper Ara devotes its front page to the extension of water restrictions in the Spanish region, which includes the Barcelona area, that are affecting more than 6.7 million residents. Spain is coming off one of its driest summers in years after brutal heat waves swept across Europe.



Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán went to a friendly football match between the national teams of Hungary and Greece with a scarf depicting a map of Nagy-Magyarország ("Greater Hungary"), that lays claims to parts of neighboring states, including Ukraine. Orbán is one of Europe’s last allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.


The shadow of migrant worker deaths haunts the 2022 FIFA World Cup

The deaths of migrant workers and Qatar's poor human rights record will linger over the World Cup that kicked off Sunday. Foreign powers need to intervene to help the situation of those trapped in slavery-like conditions, reports Suman Mandal for The Wire.

🏟️ Migrant workers have played an important role in transforming Qatar ever since it was controversially awarded the World Cup hosting rights in 2010. The stadiums where the games will be held this November-December are built on the blood, sweat and tears of thousands of migrant workers from Asia and Africa. Some reports put the death toll of migrant workers who built the eight stadiums (along with a new airport, metro system and associated infrastructure) at 6,500. Qatari authorities say 37 died.

💸 Conditions for families of Nepali migrant workers who have died in Qatar have worsened after losing the main breadwinner. Migrants often have to pay high recruitment fees to both Nepalese and Qatari recruitment agencies. The fees could be as high as $2000, which is often a loan they take from a local money lender at an exorbitant interest rate. When most construction workers are paid only $200-$300 per month, several months of their wage goes to repaying the loan. For those who die, the burden of paying the loan back falls on surviving family members.

❓ Questions linger over the deaths of migrant workers. Most families are told that their loved ones died in their sleep, with very few proper investigations into worker deaths. Sutda sutdai maryo (in Nepali, roughly translates to died in his sleep) has become a colloquial phrase among migrants in the Gulf. The phrase characterizes the helplessness families of migrant workers feel when they are neither properly compensated for a loved one’s death, nor provided with a more plausible cause of death.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


$121 billion

Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old founder of the failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, along with his parents and other senior executives, bought at least 19 properties worth nearly $121 million in the Bahamas over the past two years, Reuters is reporting. FTX filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, leaving an estimated 1 million creditors facing losses totalling billions of dollars. Reuters has reported Bankman-Fried secretly used $10 billion in customer funds to prop up his trading business, and that at least $1 billion of those deposits had vanished.


They only have one dream, to play for the country, to play for the people and I am very proud of the way they stand up and keep fighting.

Iran’s World Cup coach Carlos Queiroz defended his players who have been pressured from all sides amid major anti-government protests back home. The team’s captain, Ehsan Hajsafi, broke the team’s silence on the protests and said his squad supported and sympathized with the people, and later refused to sing the National Anthem before the match on Monday, as a sign of support for the protests going on in their country.

✍️ Newsletter by Laure Gautherin, Emma Albright, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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food / travel

Legalizing Moonshine, A Winning Political Stand In Poland

Moonshine, typically known as “bimber” in Poland, may soon be legalized by the incoming government. There is a mix of tradition, politics and economics that makes homemade booze a popular issue to campaign on.

Photo of an empty vodka bottle on the ground in Poland

Bottle of vodka laying on the ground in Poland

Leszek Kostrzewski

WARSAWIt's a question of freedom — and quality. Poland's incoming coalition government is busy negotiating a platform for the coming years. Though there is much that still divides the Left, the liberal-centrist Civic Koalition, and the centrist Third Way partners, there is one area where Poland’s new ruling coalition is nearly unanimous: moonshine.

The slogan for the legalization of moonshine (known in Poland as "bimber") was initially presented by Michał Kołodziejczak, the leader of Agrounia, a left-wing socialist political movement in Poland that has qualified to be part of the incoming Parliament.

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”Formerly so-called moonshine was an important element of our cultural landscape, associated with mystery, breaking norms, and freedom from the state," Kołodziejczak said. "It was a reason to be proud, just like the liqueurs that Poles were famous for in the past.”

The president of Agrounia considered the right to make moonshine as a symbol of "subjectivity" that farmers could enjoy, and admitted with regret that in recent years it had been taken away from citizens. “It's also about a certain kind of freedom, to do whatever you want on your farm," Kołodziejczak adds. "This is subjectivity for the farmer. Therefore, I am in favor of providing farmers with the freedom to consume this alcohol for their own use.”

A similar viewpoint was aired by another Parliament member. “We will stop pretending that Polish farmers do not produce moonshine for their own use, such as for weddings,” the representative said, pointing out the benefits of controlling the quality. “Just like they produce slivovitz, which Poland is famous for. It's high time they did it legally.”

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