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​A woman casts her vote at the Embassy of the Donetsk People's Republic in Moscow as the first polling stations open in Russia.

A woman casts her vote at the Embassy of the Donetsk People's Republic in Moscow as the first polling stations open in Russia.

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

👋 নমস্কার!*

Welcome to Friday, where annexed Ukrainian regions begin voting on joining Russia, Iceland arrests four in country’s first terror plot, and a cold sore virus shows promising results in the fight against cancer. Meanwhile, Firouzeh Nordstrom in Persian-language media Kayhan-London shows how the killing of Mahsa Amini by Iran’s “morality police” betrays a deeply violent and misogynistic society.

[*Nômôskar - Bengali]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Referendums begin in occupied Ukraine: Russia's proxies in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions announced that referendums on joining Russia had begun that Ukrainian and Western officials have denounced as shams. After four days of "referendums," on September 27, locals will be asked to go to "polling stations."

CNN’s Iran interview canceled as protests rage: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi canceled his participation to a long-planned interview with CNN at the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday after anchor Christiane Amanpour declined a last-minute demand to wear a headscarf. Meanwhile in Iran, the army warned it would “confront the enemies” in ongoing protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in custody after she was arrested last week for not wearing her hijab properly.

• Israel’s Lapid calls for two-state solution: Speaking at the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called for a two-state solution with Palestinians to bring an end to the decades-long conflict. He also said that Israel would do “whatever it takes” to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

• China’s diner attacker jailed for 24 years: A man was found guilty of leading a violent, sexist attack on four women eating at a restaurant in Tangshan, northern China, in June, and was sentenced to 24 years in jail. Another 27 men were convicted over the shocking aggression, which started when one of the women rejected the first man’s advances.

• Iceland’s “first terror attack plot” fails: The Icelandic police have arrested four suspects over alleged plans to conduct a terrorist attack targeting "various institutions" and "citizens of the state." Several semi-automatic weapons have also been seized in nine different locations. This is the first time such a plot is investigated by the police in Iceland.

• Japan and Hong Kong ease travel restrictions: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has announced that individual travel and visa-free entry will resume from Oct. 11, paving the way for mass tourism to return to Japan after two years and a half. This follows Hong Kong’s decision to lift formal quarantine for international travelers in favor of three days of self-monitoring on arrival from Sept. 26.

• Promising results for cancer-killing virus: A new form of cancer therapy using a weakened form of the cold sore virus to infect and destroy cancer cells is showing promising results in early human trials. One patient’s tumor disappeared while others’ shrank.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

On India Today's front page, cheetahs are making a comeback. Seventy years after Asian cheetahs were declared extinct in India, African ones are being reintroduced in order to save the species — a gamble and a hope that is dividing the scientific community.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$200 million

U.S. aerospace manufacturer Boeing and its former CEO Dennis Muilenburg have agreed to pay a $200 million fine over misleading the public about the safety of the 737 Max. The Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that the company knew the plane’s flight control system posed safety concerns after an October 2018 fatal crash that killed 189 people, but did not inform the public and said it was safe to fly. A second plane crash in March 2019 killed all 157 people aboard.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Mahsa Amini, martyr of an Iranian regime designed to abuse women

The 22-year-old is believed to have been beaten to death at a Tehran police station last week after "morality police" had reprimanded her clothing. The case has sparked the nation's outrage. But as ordinary Iranians testify, such beatings, torture and a home brand of misogyny are hallmarks of the 40-year Islamic Republic of Iran, writes Firouzeh Nordstrom in Persian-language media Kayhan-London.

🇮🇷🚨 Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian girl visiting Tehran with relatives, was detained by the regime's morality patrols on Sept. 13, apparently for not respecting the Islamic dress code that includes proper use of the hijab headscarf. Amini was declared dead two or three days after being taken into custody. Officials say she fainted and died, and blamed a pre-existing heart condition. But neither her family nor anyone else in Iran believe that, as can be seen in the mounting protests that have now left at least three dead. For Amini's was hardly the first arbitrary arrest, or the first suspected death in custody under Iran's Islamic regime.

🚓 Such arrests have been part of the nation's routine since the 1979 revolution that turned Iran into an Islamic Republic. A woman detained with her mother earlier this year said she wasn't wearing thick stockings under her overall. She told Kayhan London that both were taken to Vozara — the morality police's notorious headquarters — where her mother was subjected to "the filthiest insults" and her father termed a "despicable" man for allowing his wife and daughter "loose on the streets."

💥 An older woman observed that younger Iranians may not know that police violence today is derived from the loutish violence of the revolutionary militias, or comités, of the early post-revolutionary period, which forcefully helped the regime entrench itself in the early 1980s. She recalled one incident from the 1980s during which policewomen (whom Iranians termed "crows" then for their black veils), spotted a girl with a layer of makeup. One of the agents spat in the palm of her hand and told her to cleanse the makeup with that.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

It would be so embarrassing for Biden if those idiots don’t pass it in Congress.

— South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol failed to realize his microphone was still on at the end of a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in New York. The clip featuring his hot-mic comment, in Korean, was posted by South Korean television broadcaster MBC, and is thought to be a reference to Biden's pledge to contribute $6 billion to Global Fund (an international organization fighting against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria across the world), which would require Congress’ approval.

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


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Economy

Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

in the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading – and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

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