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Mariupol Mass Graves, Two Koreas Get Friendly, New Madeleine McCann Suspect
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Labas!*

Welcome to Friday, where satellite photos appear to show mass graves near Mariupol, a rare exchange of friendly messages between North and South Korea. and there is a new lead in the 2007 Madeleine McCann case. Meanwhile, French daily Les Echos profiles Shar Dubey, the CEO of Match Group, who turned digital relationship building into gold with Tinder.

[*Lithuanian]

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Mariupol update: Satellite photos seem to confirm the presence of mass graves in a village near Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine. The Russian military continues to shell the Azovstal steel plant, a day after President Putin claimed Russia had “liberated” Mariupol, and vowed to “seal off” the facility. Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said U.S. naval troops were not planning on intervening to free Ukrainians still trapped in Mariupol.

• More U.S. military help to Ukraine: President Biden pledged $800 million in more weapons for Ukraine. Paraphrasing Theodore Roosevelt, Biden said the United States would “speak softly and carry a large Javelin,” a reference to the antitank weapon that the Ukrainians have used effectively against Russian armor.

— Read all the latest at War in Ukraine, Day 58

• Former Honduran president extradited to the U.S. on drug charges: Juan Orlando Hernández, who was president of Honduras from 2014 to 2022, was extradited to the United States late Thursday. The American government accuses him of having abused his position to help drug traffickers smuggle cocaine to the U.S. Hernández denies the allegations.

• Russian soldiers accused of staging French mass graves in Mali: The French army claims it recorded Russian soldiers burying corpses near the Gossi base in Mali, where 300 French soldiers were stationed until this Tuesday. As France is withdrawing its troops from Mali, an anonymous Twitter account has accused French soldiers of leaving mass graves behind.

• Rare friendly exchange between North and South Korea leaders: Earlier this week, South Korea’s outgoing President Moon Jae-in wrote to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un that he would continue to work towards a Korean unification. Kim Jong-un replied by thanking him and saying he hopes the relations between North and South will improve, in spite of a context of tense relations due to missile testing in North Korea.

• New suspect in Madeleine McCann case: Portuguese authorities have declared a new formal suspect in the case of the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann in 2007. German police have gathered evidence against 45-year-old Christian B., who was in the same area as the McCann family when Madeleine went missing.

• International arrest warrant against Carlos Ghosn: A French court issued an international arrest warrant against Renault-Nissan’s former CEO Carlos Ghosn over 15 million euros of suspicious payments. In 2019, Ghosn fled Japan where he was wanted for financial misconduct and is now living in Lebanon.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“How is the blue planet becoming greener?,” asks German daily Die Welt, dedicating its front page to Earth Day, a global annual event to demonstrate the importance of protecting the environment.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

176%

In the last year, the number of British nationals living in Spain has increased by 176%. This surge is partly due to Brexit, as the transition period of the UK officially leaving the European Union ended on January 1, 2021.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

The Tinder method: How Match Group CEO Shar Dubey hooks up the world

At the head of Match Group, the online dating empire composed of Tinder, Meetic and Hinge, this CEO of Indian origin decides millions of people’s love lives on every continent. It's a unique talent for turning digital relationship building into gold, writes Anaïs Moutot in French daily Les Echos.

♀️ Match Group’s CEO doesn't hesitate to share her career history and the obstacles she faced because of her gender. Raised in Jamshedpur, northeastern India, by her father — an engineering school professor — and her stay-at-home mother, this brilliant highschooler was the only woman to be accepted at the Indian Institute of Technology (ITT) among a hundred male students. “My father was delighted that I got into the ITT, but in my distant family the first reaction was to tell me no one would marry me,” Dubey says.

📱💰 Tinder has become Match Group’s driving force: the app generates 55% of its sales revenue against 31% five years ago, thanks to a threefold increase in the number of users — now more than 10 millions. Dubey strongly contributed to the transformation of the startup into a cash machine. In 2017, she traveled every week to Los Angeles to launch Tinder Gold, a paid feature that allows users to know who swiped right on you, inspired by Who Likes You on OkCupid.

💑 “In the post-COVID world, the places where you’d meet people physically have disappeared. After #MeToo, it has also become harder to meet people at university and at the workplace,” Dubey says. Jessica Pidoux is a postdoctoral researcher who wrote a thesis about dating apps. She feels that the Tinder mindset is exporting itself beyond smartphones: “People evaluate others in an algorithmic manner, saying whether they like someone or not very early on.”

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

“I have absolutely nothing, frankly, to hide.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Sky News during a two-days visit to Indian state of Gujarat, adding “I want to get on with the job that I was elected to do” as he faces an investigation into whether he misled Parliament over the “partygate” scandal that saw him break COVID-19 rules in 2020. The opposition instigated the move and Conservatives abandoned efforts to block the probe.

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Coronavirus

Will China's Zero COVID Ever End?

Too much has been put in to the state-sponsored truth that minimal spread of the virus is the at-all-cost objective. But if the Chinese economy continues to suffer, Xi Jinping may have no choice but to second guess himself.

COVID testing in Guiyang, China

Cfoto/DDP via ZUMA
Deng Yuwen

The tragic bus accident in Guiyang last month — in which 27 people being sent to quarantine were killed — was one of the worst examples of collateral damage since the COVID-19 pandemic began in China nearly three years ago. While the crash can ultimately be traced back to bad government policy, the local authorities did not register it as a Zero COVID related casualty. It was, for them, a simple traffic accident.

The officials in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou, of course, had no alternative. Drawing a link between the deadly crash and the strict policy of Zero COVID, touted by President Xi Jinping, would have revealed the absurdity of the government's choices.

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