Welcome to Monday, where Ukraine braces for intensified Russian attacks, there are major election results in Colombia and France, and someone is prepared to pay a whole lot of money to share a meal with Warren Buffett. Meanwhile, French finance daily Les Echos looks up at the repercussions of the Ukraine war — in space.
[*Zdravo - Serbian]
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• Russian attacks may intensify as Ukraine awaits EU status: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warns that Russia will intensify its attacks in response to Ukraine’s likely acquiring official EU candidate status this week. Meanwhile NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told German newspaper Bild that the war in Ukraine “could take years.”
• Leftist wins Colombian presidential election: Former guerrilla fighter and leftist candidate Gustavo Petro was elected president of Colombia with 50.47% of the vote, defeating Rodolfo Hernández, a populist business tycoon who’d been compared to Donald Trump. Petro, a member of the M-19 guerrilas in the 1980s, will be Colombia’s first ever leftist head of state, joining a leftward wave of victories in Latin America over the past year.
• More than 100 people killed in attack in Ethiopia: At least 100 people have been killed in an attack in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, with some witnesses claiming the number exceeds 200. The majority of victims belong to the Amhara ethnic group, and witnesses are saying that the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) is responsible for the deaths.
• Macron loses parliamentary majority: In the second round of France’s parliamentary elections, President Emmanuel Macron’s coalition has lost its majority standing, now holding 245 of the 577 seats, as opposed to the 346 it held before. Notably, the leftist coalition NUPES claimed 131 seats, while the far-right National rally won a record 89 seats.
• Floods sweep India and Bangladesh: At least 59 people have died and millions are stranded after severe monsoon storms triggered lightning strikes and landslides across India and Bangladesh. Bangladeshi officials says its the worst flooding the country has seen since 2004.
• Trans swimmers banned from competing in women’s events: FINA, the sport of swimming’s official international governing body, has declared that trans athletes will not be allowed to participate in elite women’s events in the strictest decision of this nature made by any Olympic sports body to date. Instead, FINA will be creating another “open” category for trans athletes to compete in.
• “Rock, paper, scissors” wins the race: Two members of UAE Team Emirates leading in the Tour of Slovenia cycling competition decided who would cross the finish line first by playing a game of “rock, paper, scissors” mid-race. With his winning “paper” gambit, Rafal Majka earned the right to pass the finish line ahead of Tour de France title holder Tadej Pogacar and his rock.
Colombian daily La Republica devotes its frontpage to left-wing politician and former-rebel Gustavo Petro, elected Colombia’s new president in Sunday’s run-off. In his third attempt to win the presidency, Petro beat outsider Rodolfo Hernandez with 50.47% to 47.27%.
An anonymous bidder paid a record amount of just over $19 million for a private steak lunch with Warren Buffett, the iconic U.S. magnate and current CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. The 21st annual auction of the so-called “power lunch” with Buffett was produced by eBay and the Glide Foundation, a non-profit combating poverty, homelessness and hunger based in San Francisco. This year’s winner paid more than four times the price of 2019’s winning bid of $4,567,888.
How Elon Musk's satellite system changed the war in Ukraine
Wars on the ground are increasingly being won and lost up in space. Without a constellation of satellites, notably the Starlink fleet delivered promptly by Musk, Ukraine would not have been able to hold off Russia in the first weeks of the invasion. But there's more work to be done for the West to stay ahead, Anne Bauer reports in French finance daily Les Echos.
🇺🇦 One of the main lessons armies are taking from the war in Ukraine is the importance of space — to the ability to observe, listen, geo-locate or transfer data to help the battles on the ground. Satellites have been at the service of armies for a long time. But in Ukraine, they have become essential. Thanks to satellites, Washington can tell Ukrainian soldiers where to position themselves and where to fire. Moreover, the French Army stresses that connectivity and social networks have a huge impact not only in terms of operations but also with information and propaganda.
🛰 Two days after the offensive, Ukraine called on the constellation of low-orbiting Starlink satellites deployed by Elon Musk to maintain its communications. Starlink plays an unprecedented military role in data transmission and Internet (broadband). Ukrainian units use Musk’s constellation for “blue force tracking,” which allows them to stay connected to their allies on the battlefield. And with over 2,300 satellites in orbit, Starlink appears to be indestructible for the time being — the loss of a few satellites is not enough to put it out of order.
🇪🇺 Will Elon Musk be Ukraine’s savior? Let’s not exaggerate, says the French Ministry of the Armed Forces. We need connectivity, but above all, we need the ability to process and prioritize information. But the widespread use of satellites on the battlefield is allowing for increasingly connected combat on wider and deeper ground. At this stage, the war in Ukraine is more than enough to justify the project defended by the European Commissioner Thierry Breton to provide the EU with its own sovereign constellation.
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This is a real war crime.
— EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said of the blocking of millions of tons of wheat in Ukraine, as EU foreign ministers gathered in Luxembourg to discuss the global food crisis. More than 20 million tons of grain have been trapped in silos since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, though Russia blames the crisis on sanctions imposed by the West.
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