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Putin Reacts To Finland And Sweden, Marcos Sworn In, Record Bangladesh Flood

A woman holding an umbrella and a man are standing in the middle a flooded area in Bangladesh

More than seven million people are in need of shelter and emergency relief in Bangladesh after the country was hit by the worst flooding in living memory.

McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Zdravo!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Putin plays good-cop/bad-cop with NATO, dictator Marcos’ son is sworn in as Philippines president and a rare portrait by Francis Bacon goes under the hammer. We also look at anti-abortion movements around the world celebrating — and mobilizing — following the historic Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.



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• NATO summit: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the accession of Finland and Sweden to the alliance, saying that it “will make them safer, NATO stronger, and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure.” Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response was more ambivalent: In an interview, he said “there is nothing that might concern us in terms of Finland and Sweden becoming NATO members,” while also warning NATO against deploying troops in said countries.

• Paris attacks verdict: Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the commando that left 130 people dead in the 2015 Paris attacks, was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was found guilty of murder while 19 other defendants were charged with sentences ranging from two years to life.

• Xi Jinping in Hong Kong for handover anniversary: China’s President Xi Jinping has arrived in Hong Kong to celebrate 25 years since the UK returned the former colony to Beijing. It is Xi Jinping’s first visit outside of mainland China since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

• Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sworn in as 17th Philippines president: Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr was sworn in as Philippines president, replacing Rodrigo Duterte after winning a landslide election on May 9. During his inauguration speech, the new president praised his late father, dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

• One dead as mudslides hit Austria: Austrian authorities announced that one person died in mudslides caused by heavy rains in southern Austria.

• R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years for sex crimes: A Brooklyn federal court sentenced R&B singer R. Kelly to 30 years in prison for federal racketeering and sex trafficking crimes. The disgraced artist, 55, was convicted in September 2021 of running a scheme to sexually abuse young women and underage girls for decades.

• Missing German boy rescued after week in sewers: An 8-year-old boy was found alive in sewers eight days after he went missing — on June 17 — in the German city of Oldenburg. The boy was rescued by a passerby who heard noise coming from the sewer system and called the emergency services.


Today’s cover of The Manila Times features Ferdinand Marcos Jr., better known as “BongBong”, as he was sworn in today as the 17th President of the Republic of the Philippines. Marcos promised to provide unifying leadership to the country, 36 years after his father, dictator Ferdinand Marcos (who ruled over the country from 1965 to 1986), was deposed.


$52.8 million

A rare portrait by British painter Francis Bacon was sold for $52.8 million at an auction for the first time at Sotheby’s London. The 1964 artwork is one of three paintings in which Bacon depicted his then friend Lucien Freud, also a painter. He first intended to assemble them as a triptych, a format famously appreciated by Bacon, but then decided that the three pieces would exist separately. This Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud has now become Bacon’s most valuable single-panel painting to sell at auction.


End of Roe v. Wade: Will it spark anti-abortion momentum around the world?

Anti-abortion activists celebrated the decision to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, hoping it will trigger a new debate on a topic that in some places had largely been settled: in favor a woman’s right to choose. But it could also boomerang.

🚺 The Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling establishing a constitutional right to abortion put the United States at the forefront of abortion rights in the world. But now, 49 years later, with last Friday’s landmark overturning of Roe v. Wade, will the U.S. once again prove to be ahead of the curve? This is the hope for anti-abortion movements around the world, such as El Salvator activist Sara Larín, who tweeted that the decision was as historic as the Berlin Wall fall.

🗣 In Europe, where the pro-choice stance is widely popular, with 72% support, the reaction from the anti-abortion movement has been more nuanced. In Italy, popular conservative leader Giorgia Meloni did not (openly) celebrate the U.S. decision, aware that she could lose support on the issue. In France, anti-abortion groups have generally remained cautious, with several conservative figures merely praising the possibility of debating women’s rights to have an abortion in the U.S.

🚫 Still, for pro-life advocates, the end of Roe v. Wade could spark a backlash: The party of President Emmanuel Macron and leftist parties have proposed adding abortion rights to the French Constitution. Irish pro-choice campaigner Dr Ailbhe Smyth predicted the ruling would not have a huge effect on Ireland, but could affect countries where abortion is not yet legal. This is particularly true in most African countries, as the U.S. is a major funder of African health programs and NGOs advocating for the decriminalization of abortion and providing support for women seeking to end their pregnancies.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


Everything was fine between us, but now there might be some tensions.

— Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on state television that he would respond in kind if NATO deployed troops and reinforced Europe’s defense in Finland and Sweden, after both Nordic countries were invited to join the military alliance. The Russian leader also condemned NATO countries’ “imperial ambitions” and denied that Moscow was responsible for the missile strike on a Ukrainian shopping center that killed at least 18 people. The comments come after NATO branded Russia as its “main threat.”

✍️ Newsletter by McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

That Man In Mariupol: Is Putin Using A Body Double To Avoid Public Appearances?

Putin really is meeting with Xi in Moscow — we know that. But there are credible experts saying that the person who showed up in Mariupol the day before was someone else — the latest report that the Russian president uses a doppelganger for meetings and appearances.

screen grab of Putin in a dark down jacket

During the visit to Mariupol, the Presidential office only released screen grabs of a video

Russian President Press Office/TASS via ZUMA
Anna Akage

Have no doubt, the Vladimir Putin we’re seeing alongside Xi Jinping this week is the real Vladimir Putin. But it’s a question that is being asked after a range of credible experts have accused the Russian president of sending a body double for a high-profile visit this past weekend in the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

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Reports and conspiracy theories have circulated in the past about the Russian leader using a stand-in because of health or security issues. But the reaction to the Kremlin leader's trip to Mariupol is the first time that multiple credible sources — including those who’ve spent time with him in the past — have cast doubt on the identity of the man who showed up in the southeastern Ukrainian city that Russia took over last spring after a months-long siege.

Russian opposition politician Gennady Gudkov is among those who confidently claim that a Putin look-alike, or rather one of his look-alikes, was in the Ukrainian city.

"Now that there is a war going on, I don't rule out the possibility that someone strongly resembling or disguised as Putin is playing his role," Gudkov said.

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