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In The News

More Attacks Inside Russia, Clashes Breach Sudan Truce, WhatsApp Edits

Photo of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenksy shaking hands with Ukrainian soldiers in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenksy shaking hands with Ukrainian soldiers in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine.

Emma Albright, Chloé Touchard, Marine Béguin, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Servus!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where fighting continues between Ukrainian troops and Russian paramilitaries in Russia’s Belgorod border region, airstrikes are reported in Sudan despite a week-long ceasefire, and WhatsApp will soon let its users fix their whoopsies. Meanwhile, Lisbon-based news website Mensagem looks at how a revised song has become an anthem of female resistance in the “patriarchal” universe of samba.

[*Bavarian, Germany and Austria]


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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• More overnight attacks inside Russia, Ukraine diplomat travels to Africa: Ukraine troops and Russian paramilitaries have clashed overnight in Russia’s Belgorod border region. Residents have been told to stay away from the area while clashes are ongoing, in what appears to be one of the largest cross-border incursions since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine's foreign minister began a tour of African countries, challenging Russian influence in the “Global South.”

• Clashes breach Sudan ceasefire: More airstrikes and clashes have been reported in Sudan despite a new seven-day truce that officially began on Monday. Witnesses have reported further hostilities in the capital Khartoum. The cease-fire was meant to allow the delivery of aid after the army conducted heavy air strikes across the capital.

• Biden, McCarthy meeting ends with no deal on debt ceiling: U.S. President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy could not reach an agreement on how to raise the U.S. government's $31.4 trillion debt ceiling with just 10 days before a possible default that could sink the U.S. economy.

Brazil declares animal health emergency flu: Brazil has declared an animal health emergency for six months after authorities detected its first-ever case of avian influenza virus in wild birds. The South American nation, which is the world’s biggest chicken meat exporter, has confirmed at least eight cases of the H5N1 virus in wild birds.

• Search for Madeleine McCann resumes in Portugal: Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann began a search of the Arade dam on Tuesday, about 30 miles from where the toddler went missing in Praia da Luz in 2007. Christian Brueckner, 45, was made a formal suspect by Portuguese prosecutors in 2022. The search was requested by German police as the area was visited by Brueckner when Madeleine, then three years old, disappeared.

• Meta slapped with record $1.3 billion EU fine over data privacy: Facebook’s owner, Meta, has been fined a record $1.3 billion for mishandling people’s data when transferring it between Europe and the U.S. Issued by Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC), it is the largest fine imposed under the EU's General Data Protection Regulation privacy law. Meta says it will appeal against the "unjustified and unnecessary" ruling.

• Risky WhatsApp texts no more: WhatsApp says it will allow users to edit a message up to 15 minutes after being sent, a move that matches features offered by competitors like Telegram and Signal. The feature will be made available to WhatsApp's 2 billion users in the coming weeks.


Spanish sports daily AS devotes its front page to the worldwide support received by Vinícius Júnior after the Brazilian soccer star of Real Madrid was subjected to racist abuse by fans of rival Valencia in their match Sunday. Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva expressed “his solidarity” with Vinícius at the G7 Summit in Japan while the country’s Christ the Redeemer statue switched off its lights for an hour on Monday evening. Spanish prosecutors are investigating the incident as a possible “hate crime.”


53 million liters

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, commissioned the continent’s biggest oil refinery in Nigeria, to produce up to 53 million liters of gasoline per day. The $20 billion project is considered a “game-changer” for the country: despite being one of Africa’s largest oil producers, Nigeria faces chronic fuel shortages as it exports most of its production. Dangote said the priority was to ensure the refinery could eliminate “the tragedy of import dependency.”


The Brazilian singer trying to shake the sexism out of samba

The Brazilian singer Nega Jaci has performed a new version of the well-known samba “Mulheres,” by Martinho da Vila, adapted by two Brazilian women to remove the sexist tone of the original lyrics, reports Álvaro Filho for Lisbon-based news website Mensagem.

🎶♀️ Instead of "I've had women of all colors," Nega Jaci sings “We are women of all colors,” from an updated version created by Brazilian artists Doralyce and Silvia Duffrayer in 2018 — an adaptation that rewrites some stanzas of the original lyrics and which, since then, has become an anthem of female resistance in the “patriarchal” universe of samba.

✊ The new lyrics reposition the woman's role, from being responsible for the man's happiness, finally concluding, in a liberated and independent tone, that the woman is everything that she one day dreamed to be. “Samba lyrics tend to be super sexist and prejudiced, looking at women either as objects to serve men or as someone who needs to be taken care of, without giving due value to female power,” explains Jaci.

🎤 “I sing in honor of the women, but the men end up listening and reflecting on the theme in their own way,” she says. This reflection has led other musicians to also look for a way to reposition themselves. Jaci recalls that not even Chico Buarque himself, universally loved among Brazilian musicians and apparently incontestable, is immune to the slippage of lyrics written in other times and contexts, but which now seem to no longer find space in a repertoire governed by political correctness.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“Go to hell, Shell...”

— “...and don't you come back no more," chanted climate protesters to the tune of Ray Charles’ song “Hit The Road, Jack”, as they attempted to disrupt a meeting of the oil giant’s board of directors in London.

✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Chloé Touchard, Marine Béguin, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Russia's Wartime Manipulation Of Energy Prices Could Doom Its Economy

A complex compensation mechanism for fuel companies, currency devaluation, increased demand due to the war, logistics disruptions, and stuttering production growth have combined to trigger price rises and deepening shortages in the Russian energy market.

Photograph of Novatek's gravity-based structure platform for production of liquefied natural gas, floating on a body of water.

Russia, Murmansk Region - July 21, 2023: A view of Novatek's gravity-based structure platform for production of liquefied natural gas.

Ekaterina Mereminskaya

In Russia, reports of gasoline and diesel shortages have been making headlines in the country for several months, raising concerns about energy supply. The situation escalated in September when a major diesel shortage hit annexed Crimea. Even before that, farmers in the southern regions of Russia had raised concerns regarding fuel shortages for their combines.

“We’ll have to stop the harvest! It will be a total catastrophe!” agriculture minister Dmitry Patrushev had warned at the time. “We should temporarily halt the export of petroleum products now until we have stabilized the situation on the domestic market.”

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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As the crisis deepens, experts are highlighting the unintended consequences of government intervention in fuel pricing and distribution.

The Russian government has long sought to control the prices of essential commodities, including gasoline and diesel. These commodities are considered "signalling products", according to Sergei Vakulenko, an oil and gas expert and fellow at the Carnegie Endowment. Entrepreneurs often interpret rising gasoline prices as a signal to adjust their pricing strategies, reasoning that if even gasoline, a staple, is becoming more expensive, they too should raise their prices.

The specter of the 2018 fuel crisis, where gasoline prices in Russia surged at twice the rate of other commodities, haunts the authorities. As a result, they implemented a mechanism to control these prices and ensure a steady supply. Known as the "fuel damper," this mechanism seeks to balance the profitability of selling fuel in both domestic and foreign markets.

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