Welcome to Monday, where leaders of the world's two superpowers meet (virtually), the EU is set to tighten sanctions against Belarus, and an Italian racing legend retires on top. We also have a Ukrainian news report on the methods used by Russian authorities to target the Muslim minority Crimean Tatars.
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• Joe Biden and Xi Jinping virtual summit today: The U.S. and Chinese leaders will discuss how to responsibly manage competition between the two global superpowers and work together where their interests align. The highly anticipated event comes amidst rising tensions over militarization and strained global supply chains.
• Liverpool attack: Three men have been arrested under the United Kingdom's Terrorism Act following a Sunday taxi explosion outside of Liverpool Women's Hospital. The attack occurred just before a national two minutes of silence for Remembrance Sunday, honoring British servicemen and women. The passenger died on the scene and the driver is in a stable condition in hospital.
• COVID update: Austria has implemented a lockdown for about two million people who are not fully vaccinated — a first in the EU — as the country faces a new surge in cases and has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe. Germany has reached an incident rate of 303 per 100,000 people, the highest since the pandemic began, with just 67.5% of the population being fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, Israel has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged five to 11.
• Belarus-Polish border update: The European Union will increase sanctions against Belarus for condoning the movement of thousands of migrants now facing freezing temperatures and a lack of supplies along the Eastern European border. Meanwhile Iraq will repatriate some of the hundreds of Iraqi migrants at the border, many coming from Iraq's northern autonomous Kurdish region. Pressure also grows to cut off all international flights into Belarus.
• 10th victim of Astroworld: Ezra Blount, 9 years old, died on Sunday after being put in a medically induced coma for injuries sustained during the Astroworld music festival. More than 300 were injured during a crowd surge while rapper Travis Scott was performing. A criminal investigation is currently underway into both the event management and Scott's roles in the disaster.
• Journalist jailed in Sudan, another released in Myanmar: Al Jazeera's Sudan bureau chief El Musalmi El Kabbashi was arrested after security forces raided his home in the capital Khartoum. No reason was given for action but it's not the first time the bureau has been targeted. In Myanmar, American journalist Danny Fenster was freed three days after being sentenced to 11 years in jail
• New (old) look for French flag: Why so blue? President Emmanual Macron has updated France's "Tricolour" with a darker shade of navy blue used during the French Revolution. A lighter and brighter blue was adopted in 1976 by President Giscard d'Estaing to match the blue on the flag of Europe.
Austrian daily Kronen Zeitung reports on the government's decision to impose a new lockdown for unvaccinated citizens, who will only be allowed to leave their house for limited reasons such as working, buying food or… getting vaccinated.
"Lukashenko got it wrong."
— "EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell spoke on Sunday with Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei about "the precarious humanitarian situation," but reiterated the European Union's tough line on Minsk's encouraging migrants to cross over the border into Poland. Borrell told the French weekly Journal du Dimanche that Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko had miscalculated Europe's reaction. "He thought that by acting in this way he would twist our arm and force us to cancel the sanctions. The opposite is happening."
How Russia targets Crimean Tatars, long oppressed Muslim minority
Seven years after Moscow annexed Crimea, arrests and trials of Crimean Tatars are used as weapons to repress this ethnic minority that has already suffered for centuries, reports Oksana Rasulova in Ukrainian news website Livy Bereg.
🚨 The ethnic Muslim minority of Turkic descent are indigenous to Crimea and today accounting for 13% of its population. Crimean Tatars had lived as Ukrainian citizens during the eras of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, before being caught under direct rule by Moscow seven years ago when Crimea became part of Russia. Since then, Tatar citizens have been regularly detained and charged for being a "threat to the integrity and sovereignty of the Russian Federation and terrorist activities." Searches, unwarranted arrests and criminal trials have taken place in violation of human rights and international laws.
⚖️ The latest targeting came late last month, with more than 80 people arrested for coming to an open trial. The Tatar defendants were given harsh sentences of up to 17 years in penal colonies. The trial was against members of the religious organization Hizb-ut Tahrir, which Russia has targeted as a dangerous and radicalized group even though members are largely focused on educational activities.
❌ Though largely ignored, even warnings and sanctions from the international community have had virtually zero effect on forcing Moscow to improve the situation in Crimea. And for this indigenous population of the peninsula — the Crimean Tatars — it is another painful page of history of being persecuted or even forced out of their land. On May 18, 1944, by order from Moscow, the Crimean Tatar population of Crimea was deported. They were accused of collaborating with the Nazis and it became one of the swiftest deportations in world history.
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A chunk of rock that hangs out near Earth's orbital path along the Sun has been found to be made of the same material as the Moon according to a new study. This suggests that the object known as (469219) Kamo'oalewa ("wobbling celestial object" in Hawaiian), was shorn off the moon by a meteor impact before becoming a quasi-satellite of our planet.
"Terminal" saga, Argentine student stuck in Madrid airport since August
It's ripe for a Kafkaesque movie script, with no happy ending so far for a 24-year-old Argentine student who has been sharing on social media her saga about being stuck in Madrid's Barajas airport since August. Milagros Almeida has described a perfect storm of pandemic-related restrictions and bureaucracy, on top of a serious problem of excess luggage, that has left her broke and stranded at Europe's second largest airport.
Recalling the Steven Spielberg-directed movie The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks, Almeida says she has been eating and washing at the airport, buying what she can to survive.
Speaking to Buenos Aires daily Clarín by phone, the anthropology student said she has not received adequate aid from the Argentine consulate, and gotten "sick, physically and psychologically" from the ordeal. But Almeida has also thanked several people who have helped her financially, as she has tried to raise money online to buy a new ticket home.
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✍️ Newsletter by Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin
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