Welcome to Friday, where Google is blocked by pro-Russian separatists, a Rio favela suffers one of its most deadly police raids, and India has a new president. Meanwhile, El Espectador’s María Mónica Monsalve reports on the delicate environmental question of mining extraction in Colombia, which aims at joining the minerals boom that will accompany the global energy transition.
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• Pro-Russian separatists block Google: Russian separatists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic of Ukraine have announced they have blocked access to search engine Google, accusing it of disinformation and "promoting violence against all Russians.”
• Sri Lanka police tear down protest camp: Sri Lankan’s security forces raided and dismantled a protest camp in Colombo early Friday. Nine people were arrested and hundreds of protestors were evicted after blocking the presidential office. Meanwhile, Dinesh Gunawardena was sworn in as Sri Lanka’s prime minister.
• 18 killed in police raid on Rio favela: At least 18 people died in a police raid conducted in the Complexo do Alemao favela, one of the most violent in Rio de Janeiro. Among the victims, 16 are believed to be part of organized crime groups.
• Trump chose not to stop Capitol riots: The 8th day of public hearings on the Jan. 6 Capitol assault included damning evidence that former U.S. President Donald Trump intentionally chose not to try to stop the attack. Three hours went by between the moment Trump encouraged rioters to march to the Capitol and when he told them to “go home.”
• Biden tests positive for COVID: White House said U.S. President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday but has “very mild symptoms” and is taking Pfizer’s antiviral medicine. He will continue to carry out his duties but canceled a trip to Pennsylvania.
• Myanmar soldiers admit commiting atrocities: In an exclusive interview with the BBC, six Myanmar soldiers and a corporal admitted committing atrocities against civilians, including murder, torture and rape. “They ordered me to torture, loot and kill innocent people,” confesses one soldier.
• New telescope detects neutron stars colliding: A new powerful telescope called Gravitational Wave Optical Transient observer and located on the Spanish island of La Palma will help astronomers detect the collision of dead suns also known as neutron stars, which are key to understanding the Universe.
Today’s front page of Brazilian newspaper Extra reads “New tragedy of an endless war,” referring to the Alemão area of Rio de Janeiro — where a police operation yesterday left 18 dead. The favela has recorded an 185% increase in police homicides so far this year compared to last year, in new data released by the Institute of Public Security.
After a nine-month manhunt, police captured a couple who’d stolen 45 bottles of wine worth a total of $1.68 million from the Atrio restaurant in Cáceres, western Spain. The October theft, which was carefully planned, included a 1806 Château D'Yquem, worth €310,000. The thieving couple, who had visited the hotel’s restaurant three times prior to the heist and booked a room with a fake Swiss passport, were arrested Tuesday as they attempted to cross the Montenegro-Croatia border.
Mineral mining, the dirty secret of the clean energy industry
Green technologies are crucial to reducing carbon emissions, but they require ramping up the need for mining of minerals. And since mineral extraction can cause grave natural destruction, how can we ensure renewables are truly good for the environment? asks María Mónica Monsalve in Colombian daily El Espectador.
⚒️⚡ The fight against climate change requires countries to migrate to non-polluting, renewable energy sources. But this has raised an immense difficulty: the production of renewable energies will cause a spike in demand for minerals. Solar panels need a fair amount of copper and aluminum, and wind turbines need copper, zinc and a combination of 17 rare-earth elements (REE) not easily found in pure form. The International Energy Agency has observed that an electric vehicle and its batteries need on average six times more mineral inputs than a standard car.
🇨🇴 Colombian Energy Minister Diego Mesa has repeatedly said that his country must join the copper boom that will accompany the global energy transition. He has called copper "the new oil" and touted Colombia as the possible third biggest producer in Latin America. But for José Antonio Vega, a researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute, while the continent has the right minerals for this energy transition, their extraction must be based on decisions taken with the inclusion of territories, local authorities and communities, not just the government.
🌱⚖️ Flover Rodríguez Portillo, chief executive of the Colombian Association of Oil Geologists and Geophysicists, says that there are signs that the new mining will be more sustainable. Many mining firms arrived in Colombia “before there was an Environment Ministry, and faced no environmental priority.” Now, he adds, our "energy mining sector is one of the most regulated, even worldwide, even if in practice institutions are very weak."
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
They are about to run out of steam.
— In a rare public appearance, Richard Moore, head of the British foreign intelligence service MI6, told CNN at the Aspen Security Forum that Russia would likely struggle to maintain its military campaign and supply manpower material, giving Ukraine “opportunities to strike back.” The spy chief also said that around 400 Russian intelligence officers operating under cover had been expelled from cities across Europe, decreasing Russia’s ability to spy on the continent “by half.”
✍️ Newsletter by Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, McKenna Johnson and Anne-Sophie Goninet
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