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In The News

Alleged Mariupol Chemical Attack, 4 Million Displaced Children

Woman walking in ruins in Ukraine.

The aftermath of Russian bombings on Chernihiv, north of Kyiv, which endured a brutal siege for a month before Russian troops pulled out in early April.

Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Khulumkha!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where reports have surfaced of a possible Russian chemical weapons attack in the besieged city of Mariupol, at least 25 die in a tropical storm in the Philippines, and a British woman breaks an exhausting world record. Meanwhile, Spanish independent magazine La Marea zooms in on BioTexCom, a Kyiv-based surrogacy clinic that continues to function in the middle of the war.

[*Kokborok - India and Bangladesh]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

Russia-Ukraine updates: U.S. and UK authorities are investigating a possible chemical attack in the city of Mariupol, as the surrounding eastern Donbas region braces for a major Russian assault. Since the invasion of Ukraine, nearly two-thirds of Ukrainian children, or some 4 million, have been displaced, according to a new UN report.

U.S. orders consulate staff to leave Shanghai: The U.S. State Department has required all non-emergency diplomatic staff and their families to depart Shanghai amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. The city of 26 million people has been on lockdown for three weeks and it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain food supplies and medical care. This is China’s worst outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic.

Indonesia adopts landmark sexual violence bill:Indonesia’s Parliament passed a bill on sexual violence following a surge in complaints during the COVID-19 pandemic, overcoming the conservative opposition after six years of debate.

Mexican truck drivers block border bridge: Mexican truckers block Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge at the U.S.-Mexico border to protest against Texas’ governor order to inspect every vehicle crossing the border.

Philippines deadly tropical storm:At least 25 people have died in floodings and landslides as the central and southern coast of the Philippines is hit by tropical storm Megi. More than 13,000 people fled to emergency shelters.

Britney Spears pregnant with third child: U.S. singer Britney Spears announced in an Instagram post that she is expecting her third child, her first with fiancé Sam Asghari. She was reportedly forbidden to “get married and have a baby” under her father’s conservatorship, which ended last November.

100 marathons in 100 days: Derbyshire-based Kate Jayden has broken the world record for completing 100 marathons in 100 days, running 26.2 miles (42,16km) every day since January 1.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Mexican daily Milenio reports on the results of a referendum to determine whether President Andrés Manuel López Obrador should step down or complete his six-year term, which saw more than 90% of voters backing the leftist leader to stay in office. But turnout was low at less than 19%. Mexico’s first so-called recall referendum was promised by López Obrador when he was sworn in as president in 2018.

💬  LEXICON

קבר יוסף

Joseph’s Tomb (in Hebrew קבר יוסף, “Qever Yosef”) is at the center of renewed tensions between Palestinians and Israelis. The funerary monument where the biblical figure is said to have been buried, located on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus, was vandalized on Saturday by Palestinian rioters. Yesterday morning, two ultra-Orthodox Jewish men were shot dead by Israeli forces while trying to reach Joseph’s Tomb. The monument is revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims and is known for being a flashpoint of violence.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Ukraine hopes these surrogate babies will stir the conscience of the West

BioTexCom is responsible for more than half of the 2,500 surrogate babies born annually in Ukraine. This is how, in the middle of the war, the surrogacy company continues to function, reports Patricia Simón in Spanish independent magazine La Marea.

🏥👶 Dr. Ihor Pechenoga has been working since 2018 as a spokesperson for the surrogacy company BioTexCom, which is responsible for more than half of the 2,500 babies born annually in Ukraine through this procedure. When the Russian invasion began, he was appointed with the responsibility of protecting the clinic, located very close to the Kyiv front line. For days now, he has been tirelessly dedicated to showing journalists from all over the planet the shelter that BioTexCom has set up for the thirty babies that could not be delivered to their clients.

👪 Nobody knows when they will be able to be picked up by the foreign couples who will register the babies in their names — and in their countries. Outside the basement, the sound of shelling crashes through the walls of the building. A column of smoke is visible behind the buildings. And the doctor insists that they are preparing the logistics to send the babies to the Polish border or to the Ukrainian city Lviv, where they will be picked up by their clients.

⚠️ After a month of war, Ukrainian institutions are aware that the Russian invasion has dropped a level on international media and that interest is beginning to deflate. So at the same time the government creates more and more bureaucratic obstacles for journalists to access the scene of the events, they strive to show — in a controlled manner — the ravages that, in their point of view, will mobilize more indignation from the West.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

If you're asking me whether I am optimistic or pessimistic, I'm rather pessimistic.

— Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer offered a grim report to journalists after his visit in Moscow with Vladimir Putin, in the Russian President’s first face-to-face meeting with a Western leader since the invasion of Ukraine began. Nehammer said he wanted to confront the Russian leader with “the horrors of war and the war crimes in Bucha” but that Russia had “little interest” in a direct meeting between Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

✍️ Newsletter by Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet


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Dark Summer: Inside The Harsh Living Conditions Of Ibiza's Seasonal Workers

A severe housing shortage means that many of those who come to serve the millions of tourists on the Spanish island can't find a decent place to sleep. Some wind up sleeping in their cars or on flea-infested mattresses. The spirit of Ibiza as an easy-going meeting place is fading away.

A beach services worker walks along the beach behind holidaymakers.

A beach services worker patrols the beach as holidaymakers enjoy the area, Ibiza, Spain. 7 May 2021.

Esther Cabezas

IBIZA — It's a world-renown paradise off the coast of Spain, with more than 2 million visitors arriving each year. But now, during the summer high season, the island of Ibiza has become a hell for the many people who work to serve the rush of tourism in hotels, restaurants, markets, shops, parking lots and airports.

The workers say the situation keeps getting worse, in particular due to the lack of affordable housing and the unavailability of sufficient housing resources provided by companies to accommodate their staffs.

More and more, the seasonal workers who come to the "Beautiful Island" to earn a decent salary — as is also happening on the nearby island of Mallorca with caravans — have to rely on their imagination, explorer skills, or simply making do to earn a much-needed income for their survival and that of their families throughout the year.

If you take a walk around Ibiza, you will soon find parking lots, some well-hidden and many of them near workplaces, filled with cars serving as living spaces, camper vans, old and new caravans, improvised camps in wooded areas, half-built buildings filled with mattresses, people sleeping on the beach.

Each worker finds their own way to make it through the season, if they manage to do so. In this report, we have spoken with some of those in this situation who have kindly shared their stories.

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