Welcome to Thursday, where the death toll is mounting in Russia’s attack on a train station in eastern Ukraine, Pakistan is asking for international aid amid months of extreme floods, and a British-Belgian pilot becomes the youngest to fly solo around the world. Meanwhile, Colombian daily El Espectador looks at how the city of Medellín has turned into (to quote the locals) "Sodom and Gonorrhea."
[*Lingala - mboh-teh]
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• Russian strike kills 25 at train station: Two Russian missiles struck the Chaplyne train station and a residential area in the Dnipropetrovsk region, in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 25 civilians on Wednesday. Russian officials said the strike targeted a military train.
• Biden forgives student loans: U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that millions of former college students will be relieved of $10,000 off their student loans, following up one of his 2020 campaign promises. Critics have expressed concern this might fuel inflation rise.
• Pakistan monsoon death toll: Pakistan is calling for international assistance as 903 people have died from monsoon heavy rains and floods since mid-June, including 326 children. At least 2.3 million people are affected, with thousands with no food nor shelter.
• France calls out UK’s handling of waste: Three French European deputies have accused the UK of neglecting its environmental commitments since the country left the EU. They accused the UK of threatening marine life and fishing as raw sewages are being dumped into the Channel and the North Sea.
• Migrant bus kills two police officers in Bulgaria: Two Bulgarian police officers were killed on Thursday morning in Burgas, a city on the Black Sea coast, as they attempted to stop a bus that had avoided two border police checkpoints. The bus was carrying 47 migrants who had illegally entered the country.
• Tigray truce ends in Ethiopia: Fighting has resumed between Ethiopia’s governmental forces and the Tigray People's Liberation Front in the north of the country, putting an end to a five-month truce. Both camps have blamed the other for undermining peace efforts.
• It flies in the family: Mack Rutherford, a 17-year-old British-Belgian pilot, has completed a five-month journey across 52 countries, becoming the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a small aircraft. His sister Zara, 19, is the youngest woman to fly solo around the world.
South African daily The Star dedicated its front page to the nationwide strikes as labor federations organized a shutdown. Marches took place all across the country to protest low wages and called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to do more to rescue the economy.
Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc. revealed on Thursday its first quantum computer Qian Shi (乾始, meaning “the origin of all things is found in the heaven”) boasting a 10-qubit processor. China joins the global race for quantum computing, which allows high-speed calculation at extraordinarily cold temperatures. In recent years, governments and companies, such as IBM and Google in the U.S., have massively invested in quantum development. Google aims to release a computer with a million qubits by 2030.
Japanese tech giant Sony announced the prices of the PlayStation 5 will rise in select markets such as Europe, Japan and Great Britain, blaming it on global economic challenges. “We're seeing high global inflation rates, as well as adverse currency trends, impacting consumers and creating pressure on many industries,” a Sony’s chief executive said. In Europe, the PS5 games console will now cost €549.99 instead of €499.99.
How Medellín became Colombia's "open air brothel”
Medellín was once a mix of conservative values and hidden perversions, but socio-economic troubles and the pandemic have coincided to make the city, in the words of locals, "Sodom and Gonorrhea", writes Reinaldo Spitaletta for Colombia’s newspaper El Espectador.
💅 Medellín once saw the birth of a district of elegant brothels, with "high-class" madams. It was aptly named Lovaina. And while the city heard sermons against perversion, brothels increased as did the range and variety of sexual practices. Copulate and commune were frequently conjugated verbs of the time.
🇨🇴 Today, Medellín, the home of a once-vigorous (and fading) conservatism, is being termed an "open air brothel”. Cheaper prostitution dens formed around the downtown Church of Veracruz some time ago. The sex work industry there has flourished in line with the city center's degradation. Drug peddling is rife, and the pimps and their "girls" (as some still insist on calling themselves) are common. Boys and girls are available — and often forcibly so — in the Berrío park and Botero square, by the sculptures that are the city's pride.
🏭 Once an industrial city, Medellín seems to have lost its dreams and become a den of inequality. You'll hear some people blame the pandemic and migrants for its dishevelment. It may be a convenient pretext as always, but these two elements have worsened the many social, economic and planning problems that no local government has addressed.
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