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In The News

Niger Uncertainty, “Global Boiling,” Quake It Off

Niger Uncertainty, “Global Boiling,” Quake It Off

A prolonged heat wave across the southern United States continues to bring extremely hot, humid weather to the region, like here in Isle of Palms, South Carolina.

Yannick Champion-Osselin and Marine Béguin

👋 Ke aal aee!*

Welcome to Friday, where Wagner’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has been spotted in Moscow in the first confirmed sighting since the group’s failed mutiny, the situation in Niger is still very “fluid” two days after soldiers led a coup against President Mohammed Bazoum, and Taylor Swift quite literally rocks the world. Meanwhile, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza offers an in-depth investigation into the Oder river poisoning that has seen more than 400 tons of dead fish float to the surface in Central Europe.

[*Dogri, Jammu and Kashmir, India]


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• First Prigozhin sighting since mutiny: Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the now-disbanded Wagner group of Russian mercenaries, has been spotted in St Petersburg at the Africa-Russia summit — his first confirmed sighting in the country since Wagner’s failed mutiny. He was photographed shaking hands with Ambassador Freddy Mapouka, a senior official in the Central African Republic, a country that has welcomed thousands of Wagner mercenaries.

France says Niger coup not “final,” president reportedly in good health: According to French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum is in good health despite being held captive by his own presidential guard. Colonna also said that Niger’s coup was not “final” as the global community, including Russia, demands Bazoum’s release. On-the-ground reporters say that tensions in the streets remain high between coup supporters and those who remain loyal to the government.

• Trump accused of asking for vital video evidence to be deleted: Former U.S. President Donald Trump faces new charges as prosecutors accuse him of asking a staffer to erase camera footage from his Florida estate, in an attempt to obstruct a federal investigation into his illegal possession of classified documents.

• Censorship fears over Jordan’s cybercrime law: Opposition lawmakers and human rights groups have criticized a new cybercrime law passed by Jordan’s parliament, which they say will expand state control over social media. Although the government says the law is meant to target online speech that could be harmful to national unity, critics fear it will be used against political opponents.

• U.S.-Saudi Middle East peace talks: U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has met with Saudi leaders in Jeddah to discuss peace efforts in the Middle East. This included talks with Saudi-Arabia's prime minister, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but feedback has made no mention of a possible agreement between longtime adversaries Saudi Arabia and Israel, a U.S. priority in the region.

Canada approves $17.7-billion settlement to Indigenous people: In what is said to be Canada's largest ever class-action settlement, its Human Rights Tribunal has approved a C$23.4bn ($17.7bn) compensation to 300,000 indigenous people harmed by the country’s child welfare system between 1991 to 2022. First Nations children have been historically abused by education and welfare systems in Canada, so this is one step towards accountability towards those who were unnecessarily taken from their families and denied basic services.

• Quake it off: During U.S. singer Taylor Swift’s Seattle “Eras” tour concert, fans caused earthquake level seismic activity with their dancing, breaking records on July 22 and July 23 at Lumen Field, Seattle. Seismologist Jackie Caplan-Auerbach said her data showed the equivalent of a 2.3 magnitude earthquake, twice as powerful as the American football touchdown that triggered the 2011 “Beast Quake.”


Saudi Arabia has joined many countries that have voiced their condemnation of the coup in Niger, as Arab News reports, two days after soldiers announced they had taken over the West African country. The Kingdom has also called for the release of President Mohamed Bazoum and the restoration of his constitutional powers.


“The era of global boiling has arrived.”

— UN Secretary-general António Guterres ominously suggested updating the phrase “global warming,” as July is set to be the world's hottest month on record. High temperatures are breaking records in China where temperatures soared as high as 52.2 °C, while wildfires are spreading in southern Europe in Greece and Italy. According to EU data, this month’s mean global temperature is set to be at least 0.2 °C (0.4 °F) warmer than July three years ago. António Guterres also expressed his concerns regarding the future, telling journalists in New York that “it is just the beginning.”


The Oder river poisoning: What is killing hundreds of tons of fish in central Europe?

Since last year, over half of the fish in the river have died, and Germany’s environment minister has said that Poland has not done enough to prevent a repeat of the incident. Now the Oder, which runs through the Czech Republic, Poland, and Germany, is experiencing fish death en masse once again. Was this catastrophe doomed to repeat itself? Reporters from German newspaper Die Zeit and Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza looked for answers.

🏭 More than one ton of dead fish have recently been removed from the Oder river within less than 24 hours, a throwback to last year's catastrophe in which half of all fish in the river died. According to a report from the European Union, this was largely caused by industrial pollution in Poland, which allowed for the mass toxic growth of golden algae, and poisoned the river's fish.

📸 The army, fire brigade and government officials took part in clean-up efforts. Looking at the photos from this event, it is hard to believe that the neutralization consisted of pouring hydrogen peroxide along the affected areas. The neutralization of the golden algae was celebrated with an outpouring of positive PR. Not even a full week after neutralization efforts took place, dead fish began to float again in the Glivice Canal.

🌡️ According to hydrobiologist Agnieszka Szlauer-Łukaszewska, the impacts of climate change in Poland have exacerbated the problems that the Oder is facing. “We have periods of drought that alternate with storms and heavy short-term rainfall, so the dried soil in the fields does not absorb storm precipitation, which causes rapid surface runoff," she says. That water, mixed with fertilizers and organic matter, eventually runs off into the rivers, creating nutrient-dense waters that can promote the growth of toxic algae blooms.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com



Netflix posted a job advert for an “Artificial Intelligence product manager” position that could pay up to $900,000 per year. The listing triggered outrage as Hollywood actors and writers are still on strike and have expressed their concerns about how AI may impact their industry. “That amount of earnings could qualify thirty-five actors and their families for SAG-AFTRA health insurance,” said actor Rob Delaney.

✍️ Newsletter by Yannick Champion-Osselin, Marine Béguin, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Chloé Touchard

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Report: Wagner Group Is Back Fighting In Ukraine For First Time Since Aborted Coup

After a sighting by a Ukrainian drone operator, details emerge of how the Russian mercenary group has been redeployed in the strategic Ukrainian city of Bakhmut it had helped conquer earlier this year. That was followed by the dramatic coup and departure from Ukraine led by Wagner's now late leader Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Photo of a Ukrainian soldier walking past a destroyed building

A Ukrainian soldier earlier this month walking in front of a damaged building


Fighters affiliated with the Wagner Group have once again been spotted on the battlefield near Bakhmut in the Russian-occupied Donetsk region, according to a Ukrainian drone operator. This confirmation supports earlier reports from Russian sources regarding the resurgence of Wagner mercenaries near the strategic city in eastern Ukraine.

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“Wagner is here,” the drone operator said, adding that the Wagnerites had “quickly changed commanders and returned.”

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