👋 Salaam alaykum!*
Welcome to Monday, where Israel continues to step up its air and ground assault on Gaza, Vladimir Putin aims to remain at Russia’s helm until 2030, and Elon Musk unveils a new “sarcastic” chatbot, Grok, to be integrated into X/Twitter. Meanwhile, Ireneusz Sudak in Warsaw-based daily Gazeta Wyborcza looks at how coal-loving Poland is learning to catch some rays.
This is our daily newsletter Worldcrunch Today, a rapid tour of the news of the day from the world's best journalism sources, regardless of language or geography.
• Israel strikes 450 Hamas targets: Over the past 24 hours, Israeli fighter jets struck 450 Hamas targets in Gaza and troops seized a militant compound, Israel's military said on Monday. United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met his Turkish counterpart as he continued a Middle East tour aimed at easing regional tensions over the war. Meanwhile, all major UN agencies have said "enough is enough" in a rare joint statement, as they repeat calls for a humanitarian ceasefire.
• Russia, Ukraine give conflicting Zaporizhzhia frontline accounts: Russia and Ukraine are giving conflicting accounts about the fighting along the frontline in the Zaporizhzhia region. Moscow is saying it has stopped Kyiv's counter-offensive and Ukraine's army says it keeps pressing on. Ukraine has retaken a few small villages in the southeastern region since the start of its counteroffensive in June, but progress has been modest. A recent account from the Ukrainian frontlines here in this piece by Livy Bereg, translated from Ukrainian by Worldcrunch.
• Report: Putin will run for another term next year: Vladimir Putin has decided to run in the March presidential election, a move that would keep him in power until at least 2030, Reuters reports.
• Australian-China summit after years of diplomatic standoff: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Chinese President Xi Jinping have met in Beijing for talks aimed at easing years of tensions. Albanese, the first Australian leader to visit China since 2016, is calling for the removal of Chinese tariffs on Australian goods, while Xi is expected to ask for more access to key Australian sectors.
• Philippines radio journalist shot dead during live broadcast: A radio anchor in the southern Philippines has been fatally shot in his studio in an attack witnessed by people watching the program live on Facebook. The gunman gained entry to the home-based radio station of Juan Jumalon, a provincial news broadcaster known also as DJ Johnny Walker, by pretending to be a listener. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has ordered a thorough investigation. This is the fourth journalist to be killed since the president took office in June last year.
• Musk launches new AI chatbot: Elon Musk has launched an AI chatbot called Grok on X, formerly known as Twitter, for now only available to selected users. Musk said that Grok "loves sarcasm" and would answer questions with "a little humor."
• Massive chicken nugget recall: American meat processor Tyson Foods says it is recalling around 30,000 pounds (13,608kg) of chicken nuggets, after metal pieces were found in the product. The firm said the voluntary recall is "out of an abundance of caution."
Amsterdam-based daily NRC lends its front page to “The danger of reporting from Gaza” after the Committee to Protect Journalists revealed that since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel and ensuing retaliation, a total of 37 journalists have been killed in Gaza: 32 Palestinians, four Israelis and one Lebanese. For more on the subject: What It Means To Be A Journalist In Gaza from Egyptian publication Mada Masr, and Gaza's Info War: On-The-Ground Journalism v. Fake News Online from Tunis-based Inkyfada.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
Ryanair expects to end the year with a record annual profit, which would allow the low-cost airline to pay investors a regular dividend for the first time. In the first six months of its financial year, Ryanair earned €2.18 billion ($2.3 billion), which is 59% ahead of its previous record profit during that period. The company cites its 24% rise in fares during the summer as a key reason for this profit.
How coal-dependent Poland learned to love “supermarket solar”
The country known for the highest coal dependency in Europe has been experiencing a marked shift towards renewable energy sources, many on the micro scale, reports Ireneusz Sudak in Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
☀️ Still far too coal dependent, Poland has begun making the shift towards sustainable energy. One of the key drivers of the transformation has been the “micro-installations” of solar panels, which produce up to 50 kilowatts of renewable energy. Poland is currently one of the fastest growing markets for solar power in Europe, with an estimated 1.3 million micro-installations in total, and emerging plans for large solar farms. In 2022, Poland installed the third-highest number of new solar power capacity and it now has the sixth-highest total installed solar power in the EU.
⚡ Faced with the prospect of high coal prices this coming winter, and propped up by simplified paperwork, many Poles have opted for micro-installations, which supplied a combined 5.77 terawatt hours to the Polish energy grid in 2022. That number is only expected to go up in the future. With the lowest prices starting at 300 PLN (a little over €64), micro solar installations have become an affordable alternative to traditional heating methods.
🔋 “Over the years, buyers have become increasingly aware of ecological concerns, as well as with the cost saving aspects of natural sources of energy," says Katarzyna Wajkowska, who works for the Jula chain of hardware stores. “Because of this, the number of questions about the possibility of installing these appliances has increased as well," she adds. “A small solar installation with a large enough energy storage (battery) is able to power lights, a television, radio, or electronic appliances in the spring, summer, and early winter."
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
“We are not ready to give our freedom to that f***ing terrorist Putin. That’s it. That’s why we are fighting.”
— During an interview with NBC News on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he will not speak to Russia unless its invading troops withdraw. The frontline between the warring sides has remained mostly static for almost a year despite the Ukrainian counter-offensive, with Russian forces entrenched in southern and eastern Ukraine. Zelensky, however, denies that the war has reached a stalemate. Officials from the United States and Europe, Ukraine’s key allies, are reported to have suggested holding negotiations to end the conflict, which Zelensky has rejected.
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✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Valeria Berghinz, Michelle Courtois and Anne-Sophie Goninet
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