Welcome to Thursday, where Israel forces carry out a “targeted raid” with tanks in northern Gaza, a manhunt is underway in the U.S. after a shooter killed at least 16 people in Maine and China launches its youngest-ever crew of “taikonauts” in space. Meanwhile, Tunis-based independent media Inkyfada looks at how the media machine has failed in the Israel-Gaza conflict, as journalists on the ground risk their lives.
[*Namaste - Nepali]
Ukraine will face a new battle this winter: how to boost morale
No significant breakthroughs, growing skepticism about optimistic claims, and a war with no end in sight add to the psychological struggles of Ukrainians, who already face energy and heat shortages, writes Mykhailo Dubynyanskyi in Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.
Ukraine is bracing for a bitter winter. Continued enemy attacks and further disruptions in energy supply, leading to more power outages, are not only on the cards but almost guaranteed.
Millions of Ukrainians, from Kharkiv to Chernivtsi, are pondering the same question: Will this second winter at war be more or less grueling than the previous one?
On the one hand, Ukraine has achieved a great deal this year which puts it in good stead ahead of the winter. This includes modern air defense systems, essential backup power infrastructure like generators, charging stations, power banks, and portable stoves, as well as invaluable experience gained from the challenges faced in 2022. Power workers, utility personnel, and ordinary citizens are now better prepared to handle emergencies, and the once-dreaded term "blackout" no longer evokes the same fear. Many of those who endured the previous winter now feel like seasoned veterans.
On the other hand, the country has also lost a great deal over the past 12 months. The loss of irreplaceable human lives destroyed by enemy attacks is incomparable, but with winter looming, Ukraine is also reckoning with body blows to its power infrastructure, which has seen a significant reduction in its safety margin compared to the previous year.
Yet equally critical is the noticeable decline in the country's morale compared to 2022. Unfortunately, a majority of Ukrainians are heading into the new winter of conflict in a worse psychological state than before. There are at least three compelling reasons for this decline in morale.
One: no big breakthroughs
Prior to the winter of 2022, the Ukrainian front had achieved notable victories. In September, the country celebrated the liberation of the Kharkiv region, and in November, Kherson was de-occupied. These victories delivered a much-needed dose of optimism just in time, which helped sustain the civilian population during the darkest days of winter.
However, there haven't been comparable successes on the front recently. Throughout the year, it has been repeatedly emphasized that the Ukrainian Armed Forces shouldn't be treated like a sports team, and it's unethical to expect them to provide victories and positive emotions for the general public. Nonetheless, this expectation remains widespread. [...]
— Read the full Ukrainska Pravda article by Mykhailo Dubynyanskyi, translated into English by Worldcrunch.
• Israel conducts targeted raid in Gaza: Israeli troops and tanks carried out a “targeted raid” early Thursday in northern Gaza, before withdrawing hours later. A video published by the Israel Defense Forces showed armored vehicles, including a bulldozer, moving on a road near the Gaza border fence, as well as tanks firing. Read more about the Israeli incursion in Gaza.
• Police search for gunman in Maine: Hundreds of police officers are hunting for the gunman who killed at least 16 people in Lewiston, Maine on Wednesday night. Police say Robert Card, 40, a firearms instructor at a U.S. army reserve training facility, opened fire in a bowling alley before fleeing. Authorities are advising residents of Lewiston and the nearby town of Lisbon to stay inside with their doors locked. Les Echos has more on the role of gun violence in the stunning decline in life expectancy in the U.S., translated from French by Worldcrunch.
• Ukraine update: Russia says it has conducted a “massive” retaliatory nuclear strike drill through the test launch of missiles by land, sea and air. The exercise, overseen by President Vladimir Putin, came hours after Russia’s parliament voted to revoke Moscow’s ratification of the global treaty banning nuclear weapons tests. Meanwhile, Slovakia, previously a staunch supporter of Kyiv since Russia's invasion, has announced it will stop sending military aid to Ukraine following the swearing-in of new populist prime minister Robert Fico.
• Mike Johnson elected U.S. House speaker, ending weeks-long standoff: Louisiana Republican Mike Johnson was sworn in as the 56th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, ending three weeks of leaderless chaos in the House after former speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted.
• Ford and auto workers reach deal to end U.S. strike: The United Auto Workers union said it has reached a tentative labor deal with Ford. If approved by Ford’s 57,000 unionized workers, the deal, which includes a record pay raise, would end a nearly six-week-long strike. The agreement could also set the standard for workers at General Motors and Stellantis, who are also on strike.
• India to resume visa services for Canadians: India announced that it will resume issuing visas for Canadian citizens. New Delhi had imposed a visa ban for Canadians in September after Ottawa implicated India in the killing of a Sikh activist near Vancouver. The decision is seen as step toward easing tensions between the two countries.• China’s young space crew lifts off: With an average age of 38, the youngest-ever crew of Chinese “taikonauts” lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert, heading for the country’s Tiangong space station for a six-month stay. The crew are expected to repair solar panels damaged by space debris.
“I’m not going to Israel”: so says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, quoted on the front page of Istanbul-based daily Hürriyet. Erdoğan called off a planned visit to Israel and lambasted the country’s bombing campaign in Gaza. The leader condemned the war as “inhumane,” and said he viewed Hamas as “liberators” fighting for their own land.
According to a new tally by UNHCR, an estimated 114 million people have been displaced “by war, persecution, violence and human rights violations globally” so far this year — a 5.6 million increase compared to the same time last year. It’s a record tally since the UN refugee agency started gathering data on displaced populations, back in 1975, with the war in Ukraine and civil conflict in Sudan contributing significantly to the total.
Gaza's info war: on-the-ground journalism v. fake news online
Since the beginning of Israel's attacks on Gaza, journalists on the ground have been on the front lines, and many of them have already lost their lives. Meanwhile, the media machine in the rest of the world has gone wild, with even the most prominent media outlets spreading fake news, report Haïfa Mzalouat and Emna Chebaane in Tunis-based independent media Inkyfada.
💥 An attack on the southern Lebanese border on Oct. 13 claimed several lives. Issam Abdallah, videographer for Reuters, was struck by an Israeli rocket. At least six other people were injured. Several sources indicated that the group of journalists was clearly identifiable. One of the injured journalists, Christina Assi, posted an Instagram story in which the journalists can be seen wearing press vests and nowhere near any military infrastructure. “We're constantly feeling the tension,” Yasmine Asaad, a journalist for AsharqNews — Bloomberg, told Inkyfada.
🗞️ While the conditions in the field are extremely difficult for journalists, international media coverage has been repeatedly criticized for both misinformation and biased reporting. In a show of protest, journalists have resigned from French news outlet CNews, for example. Since the beginning of the conflict, the BBC has been heavily criticized for its pro-Israel editorial stance. On Oct. 16, the channel had to issue an apology for describing a demonstration attended by 150.000 people in support of Palestine as pro-Hamas.
🗨️ Beyond the issue of fake news, the way news is circulated and formulated plays a crucial role in shaping perceptions of the conflict. Several media have chosen to use the terms “Hamas-run” or “Hamas-controlled” when covering the latest attacks in Gaza. The media also choose to make the distinction between Palestinians who are simply dead or wounded, and Israelis who are killed when reporting on human casualties.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
“I want to be very clear: The United States’ defense commitment to the Philippines is ironclad.”
— U.S. President Joe Biden has warned China in a speech in the White House on Wednesday that the United States will defend the Philippines in case of any attack in the disputed South China Sea. This comes days after two collisions between Filipino and Chinese vessels occurred in the contested waters. Signed in 1951, the Mutual Defense Treaty binds the U.S. and the Philippines, its former colony, into defending each other in the event of an armed attack. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said that the U.S. had "no right to get involved.”
✍️ Newsletter by Laure Gautherin, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Michelle Courtois
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