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West To Arm Ukraine, Deadly Brazil Rainstorm, Nadal Tears Up

West To Arm Ukraine, Deadly Brazil Rainstorm, Nadal Tears Up

Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal emotionally celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic at the French Open

Lisa Berdet, Joel Silvestri, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Салам!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the U.S. and Germany announce new military aid for Ukraine, at least 100 are confirmed dead as floods and landslides hit Brazil, and an iconic movie vehicle gets an ecological update. For Worldcrunch, Anna Akage also writes about the dire situation in Russia’s overpopulated detention centers, where Ukrainian “spies and traitors” are locked up without trial.

[*Salam - Kyrgyz]


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• Western nations announce new military aid for Ukraine: As Russian forces push further into Severodonetsk, the United States has revealed that it will in fact be sending Ukraine long-range precision missiles as part of an expected $700 million weapons package. This decision reverses yesterday’s announcement that the U.S. would not be sending rockets to Ukraine which could reach targets on Russian soil. Germany, whose government has been criticized for being slow to provide support for Ukraine, will also be sending anti-aircraft missiles and radar systems to Kyiv to help Ukrainian forces to fend off Russian aircraft.

• Eritrean forces shell school in northern Ethiopia: After two months of peace in the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, which had begun in November of 2020, the UN now claims that Eritrean forces have shelled a school in northern Ethiopia. The attack killed a 14-year-old girl and has left 18 people injured.

• Elon Musk tells workers to go back to work or leave: The billionaire CEO of the Tesla e-vehicle company has sent a directive to staff that remote working is “no longer acceptable,” and those not complying should leave the company.

• U.S. Supreme Court blocks Texas social media law: In a 5-4 ruling, the United States Supreme Court has blocked a Texas law that would prevent social media companies with more than 50 million users from removing political speech from their platforms.

• Deadly weather across Latin America: At least 100 people were killed, following severe rainstorms that triggered landslides and floods near the city of Recife in northeast Brazil. Around 1,200 rescue personnel were deployed to the area and will continue their search for missing people. This news comes as 11 people are reported dead and at least 20 missing from landslides and flooding from Hurricane Agatha in Oaxaca, Mexico.

• Trudeau government issues secret cabinet orders: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports that Canada’s current administration has issued 72 secret cabinet orders since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau entered office in 2015, more than twice as many as the previous administration.

• DeLorean is back (to the future): The car made famous by 1985’s hit film Back to the Future made its return this week. Images of the new vehicle, called the Alpha5, show that it will feature design elements from the classic DeLorean, like its signature gull-wing doors, while also honoring its legacy as a symbol of the future by entering the market as an electric vehicle.


Today’s Shanghai Daily’s frontpage celebrates the return to “normal” life in China’s financial hub, as most lockdown measures start being lifted this week after two months of strict zero-COVID policy.


Jeu vidéo en nuage

Au revoircloud gaming,” bonjourjeu vidéo en nuage.” The Academie Française — France’s linguistic watchdog — has introduced alternative terms for the gaming industry’s reliance on English words. The aim is to preserve the French language against the growing use of anglicisms, denounced by the Academie. This means “eSport” should be called: “jeu vidéo de compétition.” Rolls right off the tongue.


Ukrainian “spies and traitors” dumped in Russia's already crowded prison system

Russian jails were already struggling thanks to long investigations and an arrest bias. But the conflict in Ukraine has made a bad situation worse in detention centers around the country, with so-called Ukrainian "spies and traitors" locked up without trial, Anna Akage writes for Worldcrunch.

🇷🇺 From 2006, since the middle of Vladimir Putin's second term in office, the hunt for traitors, spies, and enemies has enveloped the entire Russian Federation. From peaceful protesters to journalists and human rights activists, thousands of people are being held in detention centers where they spend weeks and sometimes months without charge or awaiting trial. The situation has worsened since the beginning of the invasion in Ukraine and now, in almost every region of Russia, the pretrial detention facilities are overcrowded.

⚖️ Lawyers and regional ombudsman described the problem as chronic and attributed it to delayed investigative actions and the "arrest bias" of justice when the penitentiary system hesitates to bring charges and delays pre-trial investigations. Igor Vedinyapin, head of the department of execution of sentences and special registration of the Federal Penitentiary Service, pointed out that 44% of all detainees held in pre-detention centers are accused of crimes of small or medium gravity, and only every fourth detainee is sentenced to a penalty not involving actual imprisonment.

🇺🇦 Eva Merkacheva, a member of the Presidential Human Rights Council, believes that Ukrainian citizens who were captured during the hostilities and then became suspects are brought to such facilities. According to Igor Omelchenko, the head of the Rostov Oblast pre-trial detention facility near the Ukrainian border, "Many people are unreasonably detained in pre-trial detention facilities — old people, sick people, young girls, suspects not under any violent and serious articles.”

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


77 square miles

One single plant covering 77 square miles (200 square kilometers) underwater: That’s the discovery made by scientists in Shark Bay, off Australia’s western coast. The 4,500-year-old meadow of seagrass — Posidonia australis — is the biggest plant ever discovered on Earth.

✍️ Newsletter by Lisa Berdet, Joel Silvestri, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

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Migrant Lives

Why The "Captains" Of Migrant Trafficking Boats Are Often The First Victims

Since 2015, Europe's strategy to stop irregular migration has focused on arresting so-called smugglers. But those steering the vessels are usually desperate migrants themselves, forced to take the helm.

Photo of Migrants Rescued in Mediterranean Sea

First approach of the rescue boat of the Spanish vessel ''Aita Mari'' to a precarious metal boat carrying 40 sub-Saharan migrants.

Annalisa Camilli

ROME — For the past two years, Mohammed has been living in Antwerp, Belgium. He works as a dockworker, although he does not have a contract. Originally from Freetown, Sierra Leone, he arrived in Italy from Libya in May 2016 on a fishing boat.

“The sea was bad, and everyone was vomiting,” he recalls.

Then, salvation: the Italian coast guard rescued them and brought them to Sicily. But when they arrived in port, Mohammed discovered Italian authorities were accusing him of a crime: aiding and abetting illegal immigration.

He was the boat’s cabin boy, and migrants on the boat identified him as a smuggler. He was arrested and sent to prison, where he remained for three years as the trial took place.

“I could only call home after a year and a half. That’s when I learned that my father had died. He had been sick, but I hadn’t even known,” Mohammed says. “My family was sure I had died at sea because they had not heard from me.”

He speaks slowly on the phone, struggling to remember. This was the most difficult time of his life.

“I had gone to Libya to work, but the situation in the country was terrible, so I decided to leave. I paid Libyan traffickers,” he recalls.

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