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In The News

More Israeli Hostages Released, Kharkiv Shelling, RIP Oldest Dog

Photograph of participants at a vigil holding up posters that read 'missing', of   hostages held by Hamas.​

Participants at a vigil in Sacramento, U.S., hold posters of hostages held by Hamas.

Michelle Courtois, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Valeria Berghinz

👋 Zdravo!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Hamas releases two more Israeli hostages, Russian airstrikes kill six in Kharkiv, and Bobi the world’s oldest dog dies at 217 (in dog years). Meanwhile, You Peng in Singapore-based digital media The Initium looks at the hypocrisy surrounding the outrage in China over the antiquities trade.

[* Serbian ]


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• Hamas releases two more hostages, Macron in Israel: Two elderly women were released by Hamas on Monday night, bringing the total to four hostages freed so far. Yocheved Lifschitz said during a news conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday that she “went through hell” in Gaza. She said that she had been captured by Hamas fighters on motorbikes, and at one point was beaten with sticks and forced to walk. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron landed in Israel on Tuesday , saying the “first objective” should be to secure the release of all hostages.

• Russian airstrikes on Kharkiv region: At least six people were killed and 16 others injured after a Russian missile strike on a postal terminal in Kharkiv. U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget Brink, called the attack “horrific,” and said that the United States “stands with Ukraine to hold Russia accountable.” Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, was liberated from Russian occupation by Ukrainian troops last year, but has been the target of frequent aerial assaults by Moscow. For more, we offer this recent analysis by Andriy Sinyavskyi and Serhii Sydorenko for Ukrainska Pravda.

• Republicans still searching for new U.S. House leader: The Republican Party, whose discord has paralyzed the U.S. House of Representatives for the past three weeks, tried on Monday to find consensus on a new speaker to lead the chamber and address funding needs for Israel, Ukraine and the federal government. Eight candidates made their pitches to fellow Republicans at a 2 1/2 hour closed-door forum and answered questions about how they would handle the job. With a narrow majority of 221-212 in the House, it is not clear whether any Republican can get the votes needed to claim speakership.

• Machado claims victory in Venezuela primary, Maduro calls it “fraud”: Former lawmaker Maria Corina Machado claimed victory in the Venezuelan opposition's primary after a significant lead with support above 90%, which would potentially allow her to challenge Nicolas Maduro. With 65% of the ballots counted on Monday afternoon, the organizers of the primary had not declared Machado the winner, but she had 1,473,105 votes or nearly 93% of the total and was far ahead of the other 9 candidates. Her closest competitor had under 70,819 votes, just over 4%. Maduro, the longtime socialist president who is expected to seek a third term next year despite the crises of his government, described the primary vote as a “fraud.”

• UK cargo ship sinks off coast of Germany after collision: A British cargo ship has reportedly sunk off the coast of Germany following a collision, leaving several people missing. The ships, Polesie and Verity, collided in the early morning about 14 miles southwest of the island of Helgoland in the North Sea. The British-flagged Verity has reportedly sunk. One person was rescued from the water and was given medical treatment, and rescuers are searching for several more people. The ship was headed from Bremen to the English port of Immingham. The other ship, the Bahamas-flagged Polesie, remained afloat with 22 people on board.

• Bangladeshi train collision kills 17: At least 17 people have died after two trains collided in Bangladesh . A freight train crashed into the rear coaches of a passenger train in Bhairab, 50 miles north-east of Dhaka on Monday afternoon. A signal error is likely the cause, according to a railway official. Train accidents are not uncommon in Bangladesh due to poor infrastructure.

• RIP Bobi, the world’s oldest dog: The oldest dog in the world, a Portuguese Rafeiro do Alentejo dog named Bobi, has died at the age of 31 , or about 217 in dog years. Leonel Costa, Bobi’s owner, announced on Monday that Bobi had died in a veterinary hospital over the weekend, at the ripe age of 31 years and 165 days. Bobi’s breed, commonly used as sheepdogs, typically live between 10 and 14 years. He had been declared the world’s oldest dog in February. More about man’s best friend here .


Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet reports on the announcement that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has signed the protocol to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership, removing one of the final hurdles blocking the Nordic country from joining the military alliance. Sweden and Finland had applied to join NATO last year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but the former’s entry had been stymied by Turkey after Erdogan accused Stockholm of being too soft on militant groups which Ankara considers to be security threats. Sweden still awaits Hungary’s green light, following the Nordic country’s spat with Prime Minister Viktor Orban over the state of Hungarian democracy. Read more on the potential impact on Orban of recent Polish elections.



In Iceland, tens of thousands of women, including Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, are refusing to work on Tuesday for the “Kvennafari,” or women’s day off . Participants will be protesting the gender pay-gap and gender based violence, with women and non-binary people encouraged to abstain from both paid and unpaid labor, including household chores. This Kvennafari will be the first full-day women’s strike since 1975, a walkout which then prompted an equal pay law to be passed by parliament the following year.


Western plunders of antiquities? Challenging the new Chinese uproar

There is no doubt that the old museums in Europe and America bear deep imprints of the colonial era; in a mirror image, “protecting treasures” has become a transcendental reference for the new China, writes You Peng in Singapore-based digital media The Initium .

🏺 Chinese artifacts were often thought to have made their way to the British Museum and the Louvre Museum via colonialism. However, in theory, most of these collections were legally acquired in China. We can certainly use the familiar mainstream critique that these explorers, scholars, and missionaries took advantage of a weak and impoverished China. However, it is undeniable that at the time, cultural relics had greater value in Europe and the United States than in China.

🔙 With China’s economy growing substantially, can it now ask for the return of the cultural relics without compensation? An interesting case for comparison dates back to 1906, when one minister from the Qing court purchased more than 40 stone tablets and three wooden coffins at a local antique store in Cairo. These objects are now in the National Museum of China. If Europe and the United States are expected to return the cultural relics purchased from the Chinese in the late Qing Dynasty, by the exact same logic, shouldn’t China also return this haul of Egyptian relics?

🇨🇳 Nationalism generally stems from one of two sources — a sense of oppression by external forces, as claimed by neo-Nazis, or a sense of superiority, as with white Americans. China's nationalism in the modern sense clearly originated from the first, i.e., the historical intergenerational trauma inflicted by Western powers since the Opium War. Displaced cultural relics have become a nationalist and populist Macguffin in this context, eclipsing any legal or academic discussion.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“It's not a question of 'if', it's just a matter of 'how soon' — and the sooner the better for all of us.”

— In a new report , the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that by 2030 half of the world’s electricity will be powered by renewable energy , but the phase down of fossil fuels is still not happening quickly enough. Whilst the transition to clean energy is escalating, demand for gas, oil and coal will remain high, and the IEA warns it will peak by 2030 , threatening the threshold of 1.5 degrees celsius which global temperature must not rise by, per the Paris Agreement.

✍️ Newsletter by Michelle Courtois, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Valeria Berghinz

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