👋 Guuten takh!*
Welcome to Wednesday, where a potential sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines is under investigation, Hurricane Ian knocks out power across Cuba and heads towards Florida and two British cities are battling to host the 2023 Eurovision competition. Meanwhile, Ukrainian media Livy Bereg’s journalist Sergiy Gromenko looks at Vladimir Putin’s past, to show that the Russian president hasn’t in fact “turned” evil but has always been the sinister figure revealed by the Ukraine invasion.
[*Cimbrian, northeastern Italy]
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.
It's easy (and free!) to sign up to receive it each day in your inbox: 👉 Sign up here
• Nord Stream sabotage: Although not directly blaming Russia, EU officials have said that recent leaks in Nord Stream pipelines from Russia to Europe were caused by sabotage. The pipelines, which were designed to deliver Russia’s energy supplies to Western Europe, have been at the core of the energy war between the West and Moscow since the beginning of the war.
• Hurricane Ian heads to Florida: The Cuban government announced the island suffered a complete blackout after Hurricane Ian battered the western region with high winds, leaving 11 million people without electricity. The storm is forecasted to gain strength and is now heading to Florida, where residents fear floods and thousands are fleeing.
• Death toll at 76 in Iran protests: Rights groups revealed that at least 76 people were killed by Iran’s security forces since nationwide protests broke out eleven days ago after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Hundreds have been arrested as the police crackdown continues.
• Mine dam owner denies second collapse: South African mining company Jagersfontein Developments denied allegations made by the provincial government that a mine waste dam collapsed on Tuesday, two weeks after a first dam wall partially collapsed due to rains.
• Saudi Crown Prince named Prime Minister: A royal decree said Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz named his son and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as Prime Minister after ordering a cabinet reshuffle. The 86-year-old King Salman held the title until now and he progressively steadies transfer of power in the kingdom.
• China’s yuan sinks to record low: China’s yuan has fallen to a 14-year-old record low against the U.S. dollar, losing about 4% this past month, despite central bank efforts to slow the currency’s slide. This comes at a time when the dollar is rising in value compared to other major currencies.
• 2023 Eurovision: Liverpool or Glasgow?: The BBC announced that Liverpool, in the north of England, and Glasgow, Scotland, are the two cities vying to host the 2023 Eurovision song contest, organized by the United Kingdom on behalf of Ukraine which cannot host it because of the war. The final decision will be revealed “within weeks.”
Japanese daily Okinawa Times dedicates its front page to the “ups and downs” of the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was murdered during a political rally on July 8. The ceremony prompted protests from citizens who denounced its high cost (about $12 million) and Abe’s legacy, notably his party’s ties with the Unification Church.
Following exceptionally low winter snowfall and back-to-back heatwaves, Swiss glaciers have lost 6% of their remaining volume this year — amounting to about 3 cubic kilometers of ice. This nearly doubles the previous 2003 record of worst melt rate, warned the Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network (GLAMOS).
When did Putin “turn” evil? That's exactly the wrong question
Look back over the past two decades, and you'll see Vladimir Putin has always been the man revealed by the Ukraine invasion, an evil and sinister dictator, writes Sergiy Gromenko in Ukrainian media Livy Bereg. The Russian leader just managed to mask it, especially because so many chose to see him as a typically corrupt and greedy strongman who could be bribed or reasoned with.
❓ In the past year, we have kept hearing rhetorical questions like “why did Putin start this war at all, didn't he have enough of his own land?” or “he already has Gelendzhik to enjoy, why fight?” This line of thinking has resurfaced after missile strikes on Ukrainian power grids and dams, which was regarded by many as a simple demonstration of terrorism. Such acts are a manifestation of weakness, some ask, so is Putin ready to show himself weak?
💥 However, you will not arrive at the correct answer if the questions themselves are asked incorrectly. For decades, analysts in Russia, Ukraine, and the West have been under an illusion about the nature of the Russian president's personal dictatorship. Putin has shown his true colors from the very earliest days. His reign began with the organization of apartment bombings during the Second Chechen War. And the Chechen invasion of Dagestan, which initiated the hostilities, looks too suspicious.
⚠️ This is a false narrative that Putin grew up poor, and he turned corrupt to lift himself out of poverty. But it was privilege not poverty that made him this way, the work in the KGB laying the foundation for Putin's bloodthirstiness. The agency neglected morality, regarded people as cogs — and when the KGB officer headed the state, he transferred these principles to the entire echelon of power. Do not ask why Putin suddenly began to behave this way. That's how he's always behaved. It is better to ask when exactly you realized that a cold-hearted spy is running a neighboring country, for whom your life has no value.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
Dear Zelensky, you know that you can count on our loyal support for the cause of freedom of Ukrainian people.
— Set to become the first female prime minister of Italy, nationalist leader Giorgia Meloni has pledged her full support of Ukraine in its war with Russia. President Zelensky tweeted on Tuesday that he was looking forward to "fruitful cooperation with the new government."
✍️ Newsletter by Chloé Touchard, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Sophia Constantino and Anne-Sophie Goninet
Let us know what’s happening in your corner of the world!