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In The News

Musk Takes Twitter & Fires CEO, Ukraine Electricity Crisis, Mars Crater

Musk Takes Twitter & Fires CEO, Ukraine Electricity Crisis, Mars Crater

Scientists have discovered the cause of large craters detected back in December on Mars: a meteoroid strike, estimated to be one of the biggest on the planet since NASA began its exploration.

Emma Albright, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Renate Mattar

👋 ສະບາຍດີ*

Welcome to Friday, where Russia strikes have forced Ukraine to import electricity for the first time, Elon Musk completes his takeover of Twitter and a migratory bird sets a new flying record. We also explore the history and current context of the new military partnership between Iran and Russia.

[*Sabaidee - Lao, Laos]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Elon Musk owns Twitter now: Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, has completed his $44 billion takeover of Twitter, promptly firing the social media company’s CEO as the self-declared “free speech absolutist” is expected to open up Twitter’s moderation policies and life existing bans on some accounts, including former U.S. President Donald Trump.

• Ukraine forced to import electricity after weeks of air strikes: Russian attacks on energy infrastructure over the past three weeks have now forced Ukraine’s energy provider to import electricity for the first time, from Slovakia. Several hundred thousand Ukrainians in the central part of the country were left without power on Thursday after the latest Russian air strikes.

• North Korea fires two missiles: North Korea fires two ballistic missiles towards the East Sea, in South Korea, as a weapon test. According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, this was a “serious act of provocation” and a “clear violation” of the UN Security council resolutions.

• Floods in the Philippines: At least 31 people have died in southern Philippines in the latest major flooding to strike the island nation.

• Deadly Milan stabbing also injures football star: A stabbing near Milan left one person dead and four seriously injured, including Spanish football player Pablo Mari. The attacker was described by the police as a “mentally unstable man.”

• Russia tightens anti-LGBTQ law: Russia has announced plans to ban all LGBTQ+ related content in media, televisions, books, theater, movies, described as “propaganda.” This new ban will affect people of all ages, and not only children, as it was the case before this new ban.

• King Charles’s first coins: The first of an expected 9.6 million 50-pence coins depicting King Charles are now being minted. They will be available to the general public starting December.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

South Korean daily The Dong-a Ilbo reports on Samsung’s decision to appoint Lee Jae-yong as its new executive chairman and de facto boss. The third-generation heir of the electronics giant’s founding family had secured a special presidential pardon of his 2017 conviction of bribery and embezzlement two months ago.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

13,560 km

A young bar-tailed godwit that was tagged as a hatchling in Alaska with a tracking GPS chip appears to have set a new record for a non-stop bird flight by traveling more than 13,560 kilometers (8,426 miles) from the Yuko-Kuskokwim Delta to the Australian state of Tasmania. The research led by an international team, which was able to follow the young bird’s first annual migration across the Pacific Ocean that lasted for 11 days, has yet to be published and peer reviewed.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Why Iran has decided to arm Russia, and the price to pay

After months of trading barbs with Ukraine's allies in the West, Tehran is now fully engaged alongside Moscow in the conflict, most notably with supplies of so-called Kamikaze drones. Although the fact that Iran still denies its activities is a sign that the partnership is loaded.

🇮🇷🇷🇺 After limiting itself in the first months of the war to rhetorical barbs aimed at Ukraine’s allies in the West, the past two weeks have seen a major escalation of Tehran’s role alongside Moscow. To some degree, it can be explained by a natural affinity between two ambitious regional powers who share authoritarian control over their respective countries and a common enemy in the West. But there are multiple layers and often conflicting interests behind this cautious alliance — one in which Iran continues to deny its direct involvement in the war.

🤝 Relations date back more than a millennium between these two former and would-be future empires, whose geographic vicinity has varied over the centuries. Official diplomatic relations were established in 1521 between the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the Persian Empire, with commercial and diplomatic ties ebbing and flowing until the late 19th century, when Russia and Britain sought to control parts of Iran. The Russian Revolution of 1917 would eventually lead to the expansion of the Soviet Union to include Azerbaijan, which meant that the USSR and Iran would share a border for decades.

✈️ Israeli military expert David Gendelman believes the reason why Iran is helping Russia is not the hope for assistance in developing nuclear weapons: Russia has no interest in the emergence of another nuclear state. But what Iran cannot create on its own under sanctions is military aviation, which Russia can provide. “Iran is actively developing drones precisely because it does not have the ability to build aircraft. Russia has most likely offered practical assistance in this matter. Besides, Iran needs money; the state of their economy under sanctions is much more difficult than in Russia,” he believes.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

The bird is freed.

— Elon Musk marked the completion of his takeover of Twitter late Thursday with a four-word (15-character) tweet. Immediately after completing the $44 billion deal to buy the social media platform, Musk fired CEO Parag Agrawal and two other top executives, with major layoffs also expected soon. The billionaire founder of Tesla and SpaceX has said he plans to rethink Twitter’s current content moderation policy to place fewer restrictions on what can be said on the platform. Musk might also let former U.S. president Donal Trump back on the platform just in time for the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.

✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Renate Mattar


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Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How The War Is Doing Long-Term Damage To Ukraine's Fertile Soil

Ukraine's fertile soils used to feed the world. But even when the war ends, food production will take decades to recover because of damage to the land.

Photo of a missile in the dirt

A tailpart of a missile sticks out of the ground in the village of Chornobaivka, near Kherson

Oleksandr Decyk and Vitaly Alekseev

KYIV — After the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, most of the world's consumers of agricultural products such as wheat, sunflower oil and corn suddenly learned that most of these products were grown in Ukraine. They also discovered that this is a country whose fertile lands feed a significant part of Africa and Europe.

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Without its wheat and sunflowers, many all over the world will starve to death. So, the war in Ukraine has become a world war. And even when the hostilities end, Ukraine will not be able to immediately resume feeding the world, as Russian troops are destroying the basis of its agriculture — chernozem soil.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, during the war in Ukraine, significantly degraded agricultural land increased by 13%. A significant percentage of the land is at risk of degradation. Scientists call it ecocide – the deliberate destruction of Ukraine's ecosystem. More than 200,000 hectares of territories in the combat zone are contaminated with mines, shells, and debris.

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