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In The News

Saudi Prince Gets U.S. Immunity, Pelosi Passes Torch, New Scrabble Words

Saudi Prince Gets U.S. Immunity, Pelosi Passes Torch, New Scrabble Words

Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has served as the top Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives for almost two decades, announces she would stand down from the leadership role.

Renate Mattar, Emma Albright, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Zdravo!*

Welcome to Friday, where a controversial U.S. decision grants immunity to Saudi Crown Prince over 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Twitter sees mass resignations and locks down all its offices until Monday, and new words added to Scrabble’s okay list are just adorbs, bae. Meanwhile, Portuguese news website Mensagem recounts the story of Pascoal, born in Portugal to Angolan refugee parents, and the ID limbo he has been living in.



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• Dutch court sentences three to life for downing of Flight MH17: Two Russians and one pro-Russia Ukrainian were convicted in the Netherlands for their role in the shooting down of Flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2017, where 298 people on board lost their lives. The Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight was shot down as it passed over the area in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian forces had launched a separatist incursion.

• Saudi Prince given U.S. immunity: The U.S. government has granted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman legal immunity over the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. The director of DAWN, the NGO that brought the lawsuit against bin Salman, called the decision a “massive concession” to Saudi Arabia.

• North Korea fires another missile toward Japan: North Korea launches another ballistic missile that is said to have landed in the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This is the second missile fired in two days by Kim Jong-un’s regime, leading Japanese Minister Fumio Kishida to talk of “provocative actions at a frequency never seen before.”

• Final day of COP27, no final deal reached yet: Egypt COP27 President Sameh Shoukry urged climate negotiators to speed up their talks during the summit’s final day as while a draft negotiating text of a deal has been released, many issues remain unresolved, such as the “loss and damage” financial compensation scheme.

• All Twitter offices shut down: Following new owner Elon Musk’s company-wide memo to be “extremely hardcore” or leave, some 3,000 Twitter employees have resigned. After security officers reportedly were forced to kick out employees Thursday evening, the company has shut all offices until Monday morning.

• Nancy Pelosi ends historic run: After leading House Democrats for two decades, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she will hand over her leadership position. Democrats will vote on Nov. 30 to choose her successor, who will be the opposition leader after Republicans came out of the recent midterm elections with a slim majority in the House of Representatives.

• Wimbledon relaxes undershort rules: Women players will now be able to wear dark-colored undershorts at Wimbledon. This decision is meant to support players who are menstruating, as some developed anxiety while wearing the compulsory white shorts that had long been part of the obligatory all-white tennis clothes for all competitors.


“Welcome to the Arabian World Cup,” titles Portuguese daily Jornal I as the 2022 World Cup is set to start this weekend in Qatar with its opening match. The newspaper writes that the event “is a source of pride for the hosts, but is surrounded by controversy.” The latest news making the headlines report that in a dramatic U-turn, Qatari officials have decided to ban all beer sales in and around its stadiums, potentially violating a multimillion-dollar FIFA sponsorship agreement with Budweister and further angering fans already frustrated over restrictions.



The portmanteau word, referring to a zebra-donkey hybrid, is one of the 500 new entries added to the 7th edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary. Other inductees include “adorbs”, “eggcorn”, “fauxhawk”, “swole” and “welp” — and if you’re nearing the end of the game, “bae” may come in handy.


Pascoal: Born in Portugal, citizen of nowhere

Born 32 years ago in Portugal to Angolan refugee parents, Pascoal has never been granted Portuguese nationality. Too many people like him live under the threat of being deported to a faraway country they’ve never known, report Catarina Reis and Inês Leote for Portuguese news website Mensagem.

🇵🇹 Pascoal’s birth certificate — the only ID document he has — proves that he was born in the heart of Lisbon. And yet, Portugal does not recognize him as a citizen, and so he lacks any form of national identification. The lack of sufficient ID documents has blocked him from everything from school trips, to sports, to work — or at least, made it very, very difficult. With the assistance of a local NGO, the Associação Moinho da Juventude, Pascoal’s school finally relented. He studied until 6th grade, dropped out, and attempted to enroll in a hotel management program at a vocational high school, but then lost his mother to tuberculosis at just 15 years old.

🚫 Pascoal’s parents met during the Angolan Civil War and arrived in Portugal as refugees in the 1980s with a six-month-old daughter, the first of five. Lacking both education and cultural capital, Pascoal’s parents never requested Portuguese nationality for their son, even though he was born in Lisbon. “I can’t blame lack of nationality for everything, but it matters,” he explains. “My friends were getting access to things, and I wasn't. Then, I grew up, did theater, dance … but I could only half-do all of those things because I had no documentation. I could have been a footballer, an actor, a dancer — but I didn’t have an ID card.”

⚖️ Bouncing in and out of school resulted in a general instability that led Pascoal to petty theft. At 19, he was arrested. He served his sentence for five years, first in Caxias, then in Sintra. Years that forever compromised access to Portuguese nationality. Until 2020, Portuguese law disqualified from acquiring citizenship anyone who had been convicted of a crime and sentenced to more than three years in prison. Recently, the law was amended to create an exception for convictions with a suspended sentence. But for Pascoal, nothing has changed.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“Jamal died again today.”

— When journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, U.S. intelligence had said it believed Prince Mohammed, Saudia Arabia’s de facto leader, ordered the killing. But in recent court filings, the U.S. department said he has immunity due to his new role as Saudi prime minister. Khashoggi’s ex fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, wrote on Twitter that "Jamal died again today" with the ruling. In response, the secretary general of Amnesty International, Agnes Callamard, said: "Today it is immunity. It all adds up to impunity."

✍️ Newsletter by Renate Mattar, Emma Albright, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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First It Was Poland's Farmers — Now Truckers Are Protesting Ukraine's Special Status

For the past month, Poland has been blocking off its border checkpoints to Ukrainian trucks, leaving many in days-long lines. It's a commercial and economic showdown, but it's about much more.

Photogrqph of a line of trucks queued in the  Korczowa - border crossing​

November 27, 2023, Medyka: Trucks stand in a queue to cross the border in Korczowa as Polish farmers strike and block truck transport in Korczowa - border crossing

Dominika Zarzycka/ZUMA
Katarzyna Skiba

Since November 6, Polish truckers have blocked border crossing points with Ukraine, citing unfair advantages given to the Ukrainian market, and demanding greater support from the European Union.

With lines that now stretch for up to 40 kilometers (25 miles), thousands of Ukrainian truckers must now wait an average of about four days in ever colder weather to cross the border, sometimes with the help of the Polish police. At least two Ukrainian truck drivers have died while waiting for passage into Poland.

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The round-the-clock blockade is being manned by Polish trucking unions who claim that Ukrainian trucking companies, which offer a cheaper rate, have been transporting goods across Europe, rather than between Poland and Ukraine. Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian truckers have been exempt from the permits once required to cross the border.

Now, Polish truckers are demanding that their government reintroduce entry permits for Ukrainian lorries, with exceptions for military and humanitarian aid from Europe. For the moment, those trucks are being let through the blockade, which currently affects four out of Ukraine’s eight border crossings with Poland.

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