Macron & Biden’s New Deal, N. Korea Sanctions, Slower Fast Food
Welcome to Friday, where the Kremlin says Vladimir Putin is open to talks on Ukraine if the West accepts Moscow’s demands, North Korea is hit with fresh sanctions in the wake of its recent missile tests, and “Viva Magenta” is Pantone’s Color of the Year. Meanwhile, a Russian political scientist tells independent website Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories why he thinks Russia is unlikely to collapse — even if Putin loses.
[*Namaskār - Odia, India]
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🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• Russia “open” to talks on Ukraine: The Kremlin says President Vladimir Putin is open to negotiations to secure Russia’s interests, but adds that common ground for talks will be difficult to find as long as the United States does not acknowledge Moscow’s “new territories.”
• U.S. hits North Korea with new sanctions: As a result of Pyongyang launching a record number of ballistic missiles in recent months, the U.S. is imposing new sanctions on North Korea, which include the country being barred from any new transactions with the U.S. Other countries like Japan, South Korea and the EU have also announced they would follow suit.
• Mar-a-Lago Papers: Donald Trump suffered a legal setback as part of the probe into the documents seized at his Mar-a-lago search residence in Florida. After Trump had asked for a “special master review” of the hundreds of documents found, a court replied that his status as a former U.S. president did not warrant such special treatment.
• India assumes G20 presidency: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for international unity to deal with "climate change, terrorism, and pandemics,” as India begins its yearlong presidency of the G20, following Indonesia.
• Palestinian lawyer to be deported by Israel: Accused by Israel of belonging to a terrorist group, French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hammouri has been stripped of his Jerusalem right of residency and is now facing deportation to France.
• Kanye West banned from Twitter: U.S. rapper Kanye West (a.k.a. Ye) has been suspended from Twitter again, only two weeks after being allowed back in by new Twitter boss Elon Musk. Ye tweeted an image of a swastika within a star of David, which is in violation of the platform’s guidelines. The rapper had previously been banned from the social media network for antisemitic remarks.
• Pantone Color of the Year: Behold “Viva Magenta,” Pantone’s pick for the 2023 color of the year — “an unconventional shade for an unconventional year,” as the company puts it.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
“Qatarstrophe!”, “Germany is out again,” titles Dresden’s daily Morgenpost as the national soccer team got pushed out of the World Cup at group stage for the second time in a row, after Japan’s unexpected win against Spain.
“It is really a New Deal.”
— French President Emmanuel Macron said while on a state visit to the White House yesterday, where he met with U.S. President Joe Biden. The two leaders demonstrated a united front in addressing the war in Ukraine. During the news conference, Biden called the U.S. and France the “strongest partners and our most capable allies.” In his opening remarks, Macron praised Biden for his commitment to addressing international challenges such as health and climate.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
No Putin, no Russia? Why losing the War wouldn't destroy the Russian Federation
Predictions about the collapse of Russia are as old as the country itself. Yet a consistent centralization of power has gone on for decades, weakening Russia's territories and republics. The war in Ukraine changes everything and nothing, writes Aleksandr Kynev in Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories.
🇷🇺 The prediction “Russia is about to fall apart” has been a mainstay of the political science-futurist genre for the 30 years since the end of the USSR and establishment of the Russian Federation. Now, the war with Ukraine has drastically reduced the time-frame for such apocalyptic forecasts to come true. First, because it turns out that Russia can very well lose the war; and secondly, a defeat would weaken Vladimir Putin’s regime — and who knows if he will retain power at all?
💥 The collapse of Russia is more political desires and dreams, but these are very, very far from reality and the needs of the regions. What could be the worst-case scenario? The collapse of the state, the collapse of a single government, unresolved conflicts between federal groups, public unrest. In times of turmoil, when there is no federal power, unrest can begin and some border territories may indeed secede. However, other things being equal, I don't see such a scenario. I think that the crystallization of regional elites may begin not now, but after the change of federal government, when the agenda changes and new rules of the game are established.
🔄 After the change of power, not disintegration, but federalization will begin simply because it is cyclical. In our country, the relations between the center and the regions have always changed on the principle of a pendulum. Now this pendulum has been swinging too far in the direction of centralization, and there's a rising request for identity and distinctiveness. The story will not be easy. It may be necessary to adopt transitional laws, a new Constitution, and then during discussions some concepts and points-of-view will be formed.
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Fast-food chain McDonald’s announced it is testing a new type of drive-thru in a restaurant near Fort Worth, Texas, featuring a food-and-beverage conveyor belt and a shelf so that customers can easily grab their orders from their vehicles. The move comes after a report found that drive-thru times at leading U.S. fast-food chains have gotten 45 seconds slower on average in 2022, compared with 2019.
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