Welcome to Wednesday, where a military airstrike in Myanmar leaves at least 100 dead, new revelations emerge from the leaked U.S. documents about the war in Ukraine, and a pair of Michael Jordan’s iconic sneakers break a record. Meanwhile, Ukrainian journalist Anna Akage looks at the simmering tensions between the Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox churches that have exploded after a video emerged of a priest beating up a wounded Ukrainian soldier.
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• More than 100 feared dead in Myanmar military airstrike:At least 100 people, including as many as 20 children, were killed after Myanmar’s military junta bombed Kanbalu township in the central Sagaing region on Tuesday.
• More revelations of leaked U.S. documents about Ukraine war: Serbia has agreed to supply arms to Ukraine or has already, according to a classified Pentagon document. The document was the latest of dozens of classified documents posted online in recent weeks in the most serious leak of U.S. secrets in years. Meanwhile videos have emerged on social media showing Ukrainian soldiers being beheaded.
• Japan to develop long-range missiles as tensions with China rise: Japan has announced plans to develop and build advanced long-range missiles bolstering its defenses amid increasing tensions with neighboring China. Beijing announced plans today to close the airspace north of Taiwan from April 16 to 18, in another aggressive move in the region, which could disrupt commercial flights.
• Lula in China: Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is arriving in China on a state visit today for talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping expected to focus on trade, as well as the war in Ukraine.
• Joe Biden in Belfast: U.S. President Joe Biden has landed in Belfast at the start of an historic four-day visit to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. His visit marks the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, but may be overshadowed by the fact that Northern Ireland's power-sharing government is not working after last year's collapse on post-Brexit trade rules.
• Gérard Depardieu accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by 13 women: French actor Gérard Depardieu has been accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by 13 women in an in-depth report published by the French investigative news website Médiapart. The accusations were linked to 11 films and series between 2004 and 2022. Depardieu’s lawyers said some of the accounts appeared to be based on “very subjective assessments and/or moral judgments.”
• In Mexico, archaeologists discover Mayan scoreboard: A stone scoreboard used in an ancient soccer-like ball game has been discovered at the famed Mayan Chichen Itza archaeological site in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. The circular piece, measuring just over 32 centimeters (12.6 inches) in diameter, displays hieroglyphic writing surrounding two players standing next to a ball.
Dublin-based daily The Irish Times devotes its front page to U.S. President Joe Biden, who arrived in Belfast last night for a four-day visit to Ireland and was greeted by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The two leaders met again this morning in Northern Ireland’s capital city, where Biden’s only public engagement before traveling to the Republic of Ireland will be a speech at Ulster University.
Michael Jordan's black and red Air Jordan 13 sneakers, which the NBA icon sported during Game 2 of his final NBA championship — one of his most memorable games — have sold for $2.2 million at a Sotheby's auction in New York. That makes them the most expensive sneakers ever sold at auction, as the record was previously held by another pair of MJ’s sneakers, which Jordan wore earlier in his career and that sold for $1.47 million in 2021.
A violent priest, a wounded soldier and the weight of Russia's Orthodox Church in Ukraine
A confrontation between the Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox churches has been brewing for centuries. But a video showing a Ukrainian war veteran being beaten up in church shows that the standoff has become all-out war, writes Ukrainian journalist Anna Akage.
☦️ On the first Sunday of April, Ukrainian soldier Artur Ananiev, who had recently returned wounded from the frontline, decided to go to church. “How many more people have to die for you to stop following the Moscow Patriarchate?” he declared after walking into the parish in Khmelnytsky in western Ukraine. Like others in the country, the local church’s choice to remain loyal to the eastern Orthodox patriarch of Moscow has created growing tension since last year’s Russian invasion.
💥 Moments after his provocative question, priests and parishioners surrounded Ananiev, and began beating him up. While local police investigated the incident, which left Ananiev with a concussion, residents gathered near the parish and voted for its transfer to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. And now the incident and circulation of a video has reignited the debate across Ukraine that's been brewing between Kyiv and Moscow for not only the past 13 months — but 300 years.
🇷🇺🇺🇦 Ukraine currently has two Orthodox churches: the Moscow Patriarchate, which reports to the Russian Orthodox Church and Moscow Patriarch Kirill — aka Vladimir Gundyaev, in office since 2009, an old friend and ardent admirer of Vladimir Putin — and the Kyiv Patriarchate. For a long time, the two churches coexisted with regular conflicts and attempts to agree. However, as political relations with Russia deteriorated, disputes between the two churches escalated.
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