Welcome to Thursday, where Mahsa Amini mourners clash with Iran police, Europe’s gas giants post huge profits, and Swiss researchers stick their noses in gross primate behavior. Meanwhile, Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories shares the poignant story of a Russian mother who, like thousands of others, is desperately looking for her mobilized son.
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• Heavy overnight shelling, with damages to Zaporizhzhia infrastructure: Ukraine faced a night of severe bombardment from Russian forces, reportedly facing a total of 18 air strikes over the past 24 hours. Acting Mayor of Zaporizhzhia Anatoly Kurtev reported that Russian forces struck the city as well as its surrounding area.
• Clashes at Mahsa Amini memorial: Iranian security forces clashed with thousands gathered to take part in a memorial for Mahsa Amini, who died 40 days while in police custody. The weeks-long protests first broke out in Saqqez, her hometown in the northwestern Kurdistan province, after the 16-year-old was detained by the country’s morality police for allegedly wearing improper hijab.
• Australia parliament rape trial abandoned: After reports of juror "misconduct," Australia's Parliament House has dropped the case of Bruce Lehrmann, a former political adviser accused of raping a colleague. The jury was released after 12 days of trial and five days of deliberation after one member was found to have looked at academic research on sexual assault, instead of using just the facts presented in the trial.
• Samsung appoints convicted heir as executive chairman: Convicted heir and de facto boss Lee Jae-yong has been appointed Samsung’s executive chairman, meaning the world's biggest smartphone maker will now be run by the third generation of its original founding family. Convicted of bribery and embezzlement in 2017, Jae-yong was granted a presidential pardon in August.
• Shell, Total report high profits: Shell and Total, Europe’s two largest gas companies, both posted a third-quarter profit of over $9 billion on Thursday, after Russia’s war in Ukraine helped to drive European gas prices to an all-time high in August. It is expected that the UK and the EU will push for further taxes on energy companies to help households cope with extreme gas and power bills.
• Kanye West escorted out of Sketchers: U.S. rapper and billionaire Kanye West was escorted from Sketchers’ Los Angeles office after showing up "unannounced and uninvited". West, who now goes by Ye, has come under fire for his recent anti-Semetic and racist comments, losing his partnerships with Adidas, JP Morgan and Balenciaga.
• Nose-picking primates spark Darwinist quest: A chance encounter with an aye aye, a nocturnal primate found only in Madagascar, has sparked a scientific quest after Professor Anne-Claire Fabre from the University of Bern filmed one picking its nose, sparking her and her colleagues to question the evolutionary origins of the habit.
Weekly magazine India Today is celebrating “life getting back to normal” as the country sees a drastic drop in COVID-19 cases, with the daily death count at the lowest point in three years.
French abstract artist Pierre Soulages, celebrated for his almost exclusive use of the color black, has died at the age of 102. He’d dubbed his technique to explore light within black “outrenoir” (“beyond black”). Soulages is one of the few French painters to have been honored with a retrospective of his work at the Louvre museum during his own lifetime.
One Russian mother's plea to Putin to find her soldier son
Thousands of Russian mothers exchange messages every day online in desperate bids to find their missing sons serving in the Russian army. Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories shares the story Irina Chistyakova, who has been looking for her 20-year-old son Kirill for seven months.
🎖️ On March 22 my son called me for the last time from the basement. They were getting ready to retreat, to leave. The reason why none of them was taken out remains unclear. I got a call from the Ministry of Defense. They said that my son was in captivity. They called back the next day: no, your son went missing. And then complete nonsense began: either he was captured again, then he was missing, then he is not reported as dead, which means he is serving. I started looking for my son myself.
🥀 I created my own chat for mothers — and every day there are new parents, new people, new tragedies. The largest group chat of mothers has about 600 people. If you count other groups, that's about 3,000 mothers in total. There are many who found the dead and many who buried their children in seven months. There are many stories of negligence. The wrong one was taken for burial — then they had to exhume the body. And now the woman again does not know where her loved one is, he is listed as missing.
✊ I understand the Ukrainian mother who is crying is just like me — she doesn't know where her husband, son or brother is. In any case, these are someone's children. I know what this pain is. Neither Putin nor [Russian Defense Minister Sergey] Shoigu knows it. That is why I agreed to tell my story publicly. My goal is to convey this to Putin. That not everything is as rosy as he describes on TV. You, as the head of state, should be aware of all the shortcomings. So, Vladimir Putin, I hope you will see this and hear me, the mother of an only son, I have no other son.
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The world today is neither peaceful nor tranquil.
— In a letter addressed to the annual gala of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote that the two countries must “find ways to get along.” Xi added that “strengthening communication and cooperation between China and the U.S. will help to increase global stability and certainty, and promote world peace and development”.
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