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In The News

North Korea Fires 23 Missiles, Bibi’s Comeback, Lions On The Loose Down Under

back view of a man watching on a TV screen the broadcast report of North Korea launching an unprecedented number of missiles
Renate Mattar, Sophia Constantino, Laure Gautherin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Ahoj!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where North Korea fires an unprecedented barrage of missiles, Benjamin Netanyahu looks set for a comeback in Israel, and Twitter’s coveted blue tick now comes at a price. Meanwhile, in Egyptian media Mada Masr, political scientist Fatemeh Sadeghi looks at the mass protests shaking Iran and their long-lasting effects on society.



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• North Korea fires record number of missiles, Seoul responds: In a major escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula, North Korea fired at least 23 short-range missiles, more than it has ever at one time. Some of the missiles reached close to South Korean territorial waters for the first time since the 1945 division. In response, South Korea launched three missiles.

• Ukraine update — grain deal back on, Poland building border fence: Russia said Wednesday that it will stay in the deal ensuring Ukraine grain exports, just days after pulling out of the accord brokered by the UN and Turkey. Poland has also announced that it was building a security fence on the border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

• Netanyahu eyes victory in Israeli elections: Benjamin Netanyahu is on the verge of a return to power, in Israel’s fifth election in as many years, after his Likud party looks to have received enough votes Tuesday to be able to form a Parliament majority.

• Iran university students launch sit-down strike: Students are organizing sit-down strikes in campuses across Iran, showing support to the anti-government protests taking place in the country. According to activists, up to 300 students have been detained since the protests started over the Sept. 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian woman who died after being arrested by the country's morality police for “improperly” wearing her hijab.

• Danish center-left’s slim victory: Denmark's center-left party came out on top of the country’s general elections, winning a one-seat majority in parliament. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced her resignation Wednesday to try to form a new government with broader support.

• Workers flee COVID outbreak at biggest Chinese iPhone factory: Foxconn, one of Apple’s largest suppliers, is facing panic among workers at its biggest iPhone assembly factory in China, after a COVID outbreak. With Zero-COVID policy still in place in China, authorities imposed a seven-day lockdown of the area that houses the Foxconn plant in the central city of Zhengzhou.

• Five lions escape from Sydney Zoo: In Sydney, four cubs and one adult lion have spread some panic after escaping from their enclosure in the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. However, after the zoo was put in lockdown, the animals were found quickly.


In Israel, exit polls from the general election suggest that former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his party Likud and allies have secured a narrow majority in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, with 61 to 62 out of 120 seats, as the daily Haaretz reports. The former leader had been ousted by PM Yair Lapid’s coalition in 2021. Once the final results are revealed, negotiations between parties to form a coalition and name a new prime minister are expected to take several weeks.



Elon Musk said on Tuesday that users will now be able to pay $8 for a monthly subscription to Twitter, giving them the coveted blue check of certification and less exposure to advertising. "Power to the people! Blue for $8 a month." The Tesla billionaire officially became Twitter’s new owner last week after a roller coaster of a buying process that lasted over six months.


Yes, Iran's protests are different this time — but how will it end?

Mass demonstrations and civil disobedience continue to take place in Iran, shaking both its ruling regime and the world. But beyond the headlines, gauging what effects they will really have is a trickier exercise. Mada Masr asked Iranian political scientist Fatemeh Sadeghi about the biggest acts of civil disobedience Iran has seen in decades.

🇮🇷✊ What genealogies of feminist organizing and feminist movements in Iran lie in the background of the protests we are seeing? The emergence of this movement should be considered, to a large extent, a result of ignoring the historical demands of women, including the choice to wear the hijab and the right to their own bodies. The women’s movement in Iran is more than a hundred years old — older than many other movements. It was first ignited alongside the 1905 constitutional revolution in Iran with the purpose of making society aware of women’s inferior legal status and following up on relevant files such as education, hijab removal, the right to vote and equal rights in marriage and divorce, among other files.

♀️ Is the current movement introducing something new to protest politics? To feminism? Yes. The recent protests are a link in a chain of protests that together have the potential for radical change. This protest chain started with the Green Movement in 2009, which had a more peaceful form, but with each wave of repression, it took a more confrontational form. It is interesting that in all these protests, women have been in the lead. Some slogans have been repeated in these protest waves. For example, “Death to the dictator” and “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid. We are all in this together,” have been used since 2009.

🚨 How is the leadership responding? Are you seeing a weakening of some sort? The government’s response has been repression. As always, it is attributing the protests to the West and Israel, even though that is not the case. The internet in Iran has been cut off for almost a month now, disrupting information exchange. Mass arrests also continue. According to some estimates, 6,000 people have been arrested so far and many have been killed on the streets. Among other things, it should be mentioned that 300 children have been [reported] arrested during these protests.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


I have always played within the four lines of the constitution.

— Although he stopped short of conceding Sunday’s presidential election to his leftist rival Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, right-wing outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro denied being “undemocractic,” easing fears that he would try to cling to power. Minutes after Bolsonaro’s announcement, his chief of staff announced that he had been authorized to start with the process of handing over power.

✍️ Newsletter by Renate Mattar, Sophia Constantino, Laure Gautherin 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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