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InterNations
In The News

New Russia Sanctions, Scotland’s Sturgeon Quits, Quake Survivors

two more survivors were miraculously pulled alive from the rubble of the powerful earthquake that struck Turkey nine days ago
Renate Mattar & Inès Mermat

👋 Ke aal aee!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the EU debates hitting Russia with a 10th sanctions package, Nicola Sturgeon announces her surprise resignation after eight years as Scotland’s leader and rescuers are still pulling survivors out alive nine days after the Turkey-Syria earthquake. We also feature a report on a group of anti-Putin Russians who are supplying drones to Ukraine’s army, convinced that neutrality and “pacifism” is not an option in this war.

[*Dogri, Jammu and Kashmir, India]

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This is our daily newsletter Worldcrunch Today, a rapid tour of the news of the day from the world's best journalism sources, regardless of language or geography.

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• EU debates 10th package of sanctions against Russia: Representatives of EU countries are meeting in Brussels to discuss a new batch of sanctions against Russia. These are expected to include a ban on exports of “critical” goods worth 11-billion euros, and target Iran for helping Russia by blacklisting entities linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.

• Nicola Sturgeon to quit as Scotland leader: After more than eight years in the role, Nicola Sturgeon has announced her surprise resignation as Scotland’s first minister, saying she felt she couldn’t “give this job everything it demands and deserves for another year.” Sturgeon said she would remain in office until the election of her successor.

• First UN aid convoy enters Syria: A first UN aid convoy of 11 trucks has entered rebel-held northwestern Syria from Turkey after the Bab al-Salam crossing was opened on Tuesday, as the death toll from last week’s earthquake passes the 40,000 mark.

• Philippines summons China envoy over laser dispute: Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos has summoned China’s ambassador to discuss reports that a Chinese coast guard ship used a “military-grade laser light” against a Philippine vessel in the South China Sea, temporarily blinding a crew member. The U.S. has backed the Philippines and described China’s conduct as “provocative and unsafe.”

• Berlusconi acquitted in Bunga Bunga case: An Italian court acquitted former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was accused of bribing 24 witnesses to lie about his “Bunga Bunga” parties in an underage prostitution case from more than a decade ago.

• Boy who was rescued from Thai cave dies in UK: Duangpetch Promthep, captain of the Thai boys’ football team that had been rescued from a cave in the Chiang Rai province in 2018, has died in the UK, reportedly from a head injury. The 17-year-old had been enrolled in the Brooke House College Football Academy in Leicester last year after winning a scholarship.

Jo-jo-jo Joker face: Lady Gaga shared the very first shot from the set of Joker: Folie à deux, the sequel to Todd Philipp’s 2019 Joker where she’ll be sharing the screen with Joaquin Phoenix.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Shanghai-based Jiefang daily features Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi shaking hands with Xi Jinping on its front page today — the first state visit to China by an Iranian leader in more than 20 years — as both countries are looking to cement trade ties and reinforce investment cooperation.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

470

Air India has announced it will be purchasing 220 planes from Boeing and 250 from Airbus. It’s the largest such order in history, as the Tata-owned airline looks to respond to the rapid expansion of air travel in Asia. After speaking with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. President Joe Biden called the agreement "historic."

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

“Pacifism is not an option” — meet the anti-Putin Russians supplying drones to Ukraine

Russians who oppose the war in Ukraine face a tough moral question: How far are they prepared to go? Around the world, a group of Russians are organizing and raising money to send much-needed drones to help Ukrainian forces fight the Russian invasion, reports Irina Dolinina in Russian-language independent website Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories.

🇷🇺🇺🇦 Many Russians feel deeply conflicted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Some have walled themselves off from the news, believing that they are powerless to change anything. Others have refused to fight, left the country and stopped paying taxes — and others have sent humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians. A small few, however, have decided to help the Ukrainian army directly.

🎖️ The Ukrainian Drone Forces volunteer group, which is run by Russians and supplies civilian drones to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, was formed by two volunteers from Canada and Kyiv in April 2022. They bought one drone for the territorial defense of Kharkiv, then another and another, figuring out as they went which drones were most needed, and establishing closer ties with the Ukrainian military. “The confidence of Ukrainians in us is extremely valuable,” says Natalya, a 48-year-old scientist.

💊 The group has raised over €25,000 in donations from around the world — even transfers from Russians still in Russia, often via proxies for safety. “It is important to emphasize that drones are not weapons. They are the ‘eyes’ (of the military),” Natalya says. In addition to reconnaissance and artillery adjustment, the drones the group sends to the front help Ukrainian soldiers to find and recover the wounded. Medicines and supplies can also be loaded onto drones and sent to the front.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

“I'm not expecting violins here, but I am a human being as well as a politician.”

— During a news conference in Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that she was stepping down as Scotland's first minister. Speaking of the "physical and mental impact" the role had on her for the past eight years, she said she could not devote the required 100% of her energy to leading the country anymore, choosing to spend more time with her family. "Please know that being your first minister has been the privilege of my life," she added.

✍️ Newsletter by Renate Mattar, Inès Mermat, Bertrand Hauger, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Laure Gautherin


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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

BDS And Us: Gaza's Toll Multiplies Boycotts Of Israel And Its Allies — Seinfeld Included

In Egypt and elsewhere in the region and the world, families and movements are mobilizing against companies that support Israel's war on Gaza. The power of the people lies in their control as consumers — and the list of companies and brands to boycott grows longer.

A campaign poster with the photo of a burger with blood coming out of it with text reading "You Kill" and the Burger King logo

A campaign poster to boycott Burger King in Bangkok, Malü

Matt Hunt/ZUMA
Mohammed Hamama

CAIRO — Ali Al-Din’s logic is simple and straightforward: “If you buy a can (of soda), you'll get the bullet too...”

Those bullets are the ones killing the children of Gaza every day, and the can he refuses to buy is “kanzaya” – the popular Egyptian soft drink. It is just one of a long list of products he had the habit of consuming. Ali is nine years old.

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The clarity and simplicity of this logic has pushed Ali Al-Din to boycott all the products on the lists people are circulating of companies that have supported Israel since the attacks on Gaza began in October. His mother, Heba, points out that her son took responsibility for overseeing the boycott in their home.

A few days ago, he saw a can of “Pyrosol” insecticide, but he thought it was one of the products of the “Raid” company that was on the boycott’s lists. He warned his mother that this product was on the boycott list, but she explained that the two products were different. Ali al-Din and his younger brother also abstained from eating any food from McDonald's. “They love McDonald’s very much,” his mother says. “But they refuse.”

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