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In The News

Russia Pressured IAEA, Vietnam Karaoke Blaze, World’s Oldest Mammal

Back view of IAEA inspectors climbing stairs at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

Members of UN’s IAEA team assessing the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lisa Berdet, Chloé Touchard and Lila Paulou

👋 Allegra!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the IAEA says Russia puts pressure on the UN team of nuclear inspectors, there isn’t a white man in sight in Liz Truss’ cabinet, and mammal mia! that’s one very old shrew. Meanwhile, Indian news website The Wire gauges the magnitude of the destruction caused by the recent “monster” monsoon.

[*Romansh, Switzerland]


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• Russia pressured the IAEA: Russia put pressure on the UN team at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as IAEA inspectors observed the presence of Russian representatives on site. This comes after the IAEA released a report on the situation and called for a “security zone” around the area. Russia has requested “further clarification.”

• UK unveils first diverse government: UK Prime Minister Liz Truss appointed her cabinet and for the first time, there will not be a white man in one of the country’s top ministerial positions. Truss selected Kwasi Kwarteng and James Cleverly as first Black Finance Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister while Suella Braverman became the second ethnic minority Home Secretary.

• Typhoon Hinnamnor: Rescuers found seven dead in a submerged underground parking garage in South Korea, victims of Typhoon Hinnamnor. People were trapped in the flooded car park after going there to move their cars.

• Vietnam karaoke bar fire: At least 14 people died in a fire that engulfed a karaoke bar in southern Vietnam in the Binh Duong region near the city of Ho Chi Minh. Local officials report that the fire erupted on the upper floor of the bar and some people jumped from the second and third floors to escape.

• Chile's Boric reshuffles cabinet: In a move to relaunch his government, Chilean President Gabriel Boric reshuffled his cabinet less than 48 hours after voters rejected the new constitution, saying that changing the cabinet was “painful but necessary.”

• Gulf nations demand Netflix to remove content: In a statement, Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab countries have demanded U.S. giant Netflix to remove unspecified content that “violates Islamic and societal values and principles.”

• Chimps’ signature drum beats: Scientists have found that wild chimpanzees have their own signature styles when they drum on tree roots. The drumming allows them to send messages and information to other chimps over long distances.


Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad turns a strip of butter into fine jewelry to wink at the rising costs of staple products, as inflation reached a record 12% in the Netherlands in August.


225 million years

A team of Brazilian and British researchers have identified the world’s oldest mammal, a shrew-like creature who was as small as 20 centimeters (8 inches) long. Brasilodon quadrangularis roamed the earth 225 million years ago, making it as old as some of the oldest dinosaurs. Its age was determined using dental records, and this discovery will provide scientists with an insight into the evolution of modern mammals.


Pakistan's “Monster Monsoon” and the decade of destruction left in its path

Caught between a natural disaster, an economic crisis and poor governance, flood-affected Pakistanis contemplate a future in ruins, Veenga writes for Indian news website The Wire.

🇵🇰 Pakistan is receiving an abnormal amount of rain this monsoon season. This, combined with the water from the melting of glaciers in the mountain ranges of the north, has led to floods unlike anything the country has seen before. More than 1,100 people have died, while innumerable others have been injured and at least 33 million have been stranded. Lack of communication and medical facilities in remote parts of the country mean that more cases of death, injury and stranding may be unreported.

⛑️ Given the scale of these floods, food is a major problem for the flood-affected, who complain about poor governance. For example, the local administration provided a community of almost 500 people with just one daig (cauldron) of edibles. The people also say that the government did little to rescue those who were stranded. Between the natural disaster and poor governance, it is the poor who suffer the most. Not only are the provincial governments unable to deal with the situation, but the tight hold that they keep on non-governmental organizations or NGOs means that the NGOs are unable to work efficiently as well.

🌾 Thatta district has reported a record number of malaria cases. More diseases are expected to arise as river water mingles with flood water. Since the government cannot bring the malaria situation under control, the flood-affected fear that other diseases will run rampant. They do not ask the government to provide everything, they say, but it should at least give them the essentials to survive this tough situation. Pakistan is now likely to face a food shortage as a large amount of crops have been damaged.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


We have not lost anything and will not lose anything.

— In his speech at the Eastern Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin slammed the West's “sanctions fever” and assured that Russia would emerge victorious from the conflict with Ukraine. While he acknowledged some difficulties for Russian industries, Putin did not comment on military casualties or Russia's economic crisis: “our main gain is strengthening sovereignty,” he added.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lisa Berdet, Chloé Touchard and Lila Paulou

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A Writer's Advice For How To Read The Words Of Politics

Colombia's reformist president has promised to tackle endemic violence, economic exclusion, pollution and corruption in the country. So what's new with a politician's promises?

Image of Colombian President Gustavo Petro speaking during a press conference in Buenos Aires on Jan 14, 2023

Colombian President Gustavo Petro, speaks during a press conference in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 24, 2023.

Manuel Cortina/ZUMA
Héctor Abad Faciolince


BOGOTÁ — Don't concentrate on his words, I was once advised, but look at what he's doing. I heard the words so long ago I cannot recall who said them. The point is, what's the use of a husband who vows never to beat his wife in January and leaves her with a bruised face in February?

Words are a strange thing, and in literal terms, we must distrust their meaning. As I never hit anyone, I have never declared that I wouldn't. It never occurred to me to say it. Strangely, there is more power and truth in a simple declaration like "I love her" than in the more emphatic "I love her so much." A verbal addition here just shrinks the "sense" of love.

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