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In The News

Hamas Stronghold Captured, Hollywood Strikes After Deal, Shakespeare In Space

Photograph of a street full of Palestinians fleeing to the southern Gaza Strip on Salah al-Din Street in Bureij.

Palestinians fleeing to the southern Gaza Strip on Salah al-Din Street in Bureij.

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Michelle Courtois and Valeria Berghinz

👋 Ahoj!*

Welcome to Thursday, where IDF troops claim to have captured a key Hamas “stronghold” in Jabalia, Hollywood actors end their historic strike after a tentative deal is reached, and “the Bard” goes on a little trip to outer space. Meanwhile, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza gains rare access to one of Intel’s factories in Malaysia, where the future of the global microchip economy is being manufactured.



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• Israel claims Hamas “stronghold” capture: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it has secured a key Hamas “stronghold” in Jabalia in northern Gaza after a 10-hour battle. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting a conference on humanitarian aid for Gaza in Paris, which gathers delegations from more than 80 countries and organizations. For more, we offer this recent look by Pierre Haski for France Intern on Macron's Call To "Internationalize" The Fight Against Hamas.

• U.S. launches new strikes on Iran-linked facilities in Syria: For the second time in recent weeks, the U.S. carried out strikes Wednesday on a weapons warehouse in eastern Syria that the Pentagon said was used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups.

• Putin in Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran leaders in Uzbekistan: Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on Thursday for talks with his counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, as Russia seeks to forge new export routes due to Western sanctions. Meanwhile, leaders of Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan are visiting Uzbekistan for a regional economic summit, which will focus on trade, humanitarian cooperation, and transport.

• Hollywood actors' union strike ends after tentative deal reached: The U.S. actors’ union Sag-Aftra announced it has reached a tentative deal with Hollywood studios, ending the historic 118-day strike. The agreement includes larger-than-expected increases in minimum compensation, a new “streaming participation” bonus and more protections “from the threat of AI.”

• New Delhi plans to induce rain to tackle smog: India’s capital city New Delhi has announced plans to make rain for the first time to try to improve air quality as the world’s most polluted capital has been experiencing “hazardous” smog for a week. Such process, already performed in China, Indonesia and Malaysia, involves seeding clouds, a technique that uses substances such as silver iodine to induce precipitation. Check out this piece from Indian news site The Wire, India’s Women Are Fighting Air Pollution — And The Patriarchy.

Transgender people can be baptized, Vatican says: Transgender people can be godparents at Roman Catholic baptisms, receive baptisms themselves and be witnesses at weddings, as long as there is “no risk of causing a public scandal or disorientation among the faithful,” the Vatican said in its doctrinal office.

• Shakespeare portrait sent into space: A portrait of William Shakespeare and a copy of a speech from A Midsummer Night's Dream were sent into the depths of outer space by filmmaker Jack Jewers in commemoration of the author’s “First Folio” on November 8, 1623. (And here’s a petit bonus on The Bard.)


The U.S. daily The Los Angeles Times dedicates its front page to the Hollywood Actors’ Union having reached a “tentative” deal with producers, ending a nearly 4-month-long strike, the longest one in Hollywood history. The new contract is valued at $1 billion, and once union members ratify the deal in the coming weeks, productions will ramp up once again, with actors permitted to return to red carpets and promotional events.


$139 million

A 1932 Pablo Picasso masterpiece has sold for $139 million at an auction, the second highest price ever achieved for the artist, according to Sotheby's. Femme à la Montre (“Woman with a Watch”) is also now the most valuable work sold at auction this year. The subject of the painting, Marie-Therese Walter, was a French model and lover of Picasso. The work was sold to an anonymous buyer.


Inside Malaysia's Intel factory, a global hub of the microchip market

As the importance of the global microchip economy continues to grow, companies like Intel may one day reign supreme over today’s corporate giants. And, in a measure some are calling “reverse globalization,” production is beginning to move back into the Global North, including Poland. In a rare visit to Intel’s factories in Malaysia, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza takes a look into what the future of its manufacturing will look like.

🏭🇲🇾 The semiconductor industry has been globalizing for several years now, laying the foundations for the present supply system, which is mainly located in Asia. The Malaysian centers in Penang and Kulim are the key assembly and semiconductor testing factories for Intel, which is a major player in the global chip market. Although working on microchips is extremely complicated, and requires enormous knowledge and advanced technologies, Intel has lifted its veil of secrecy to allow Wyborcza’s staff to visit.

⚡ The first step in microchip assembly is cutting rectangular pieces from silicon wafers, which consist of wholesale silicon processors. The chips are flat, but are made up of over 20 layers, which create a complex system of electrical connections. Looking at the processor under high magnification, it looks like some kind of complicated, futuristic highway, running across several levels. Up to 1,000 processors can be cut from one silicon wafer, but some may be defective, which is detected during rigorous testing.

🇵🇱 Before the middle of the century, Asia's vast supply of cheap labor attracted chipmakers seeking to lower wage costs. Governments and corporations in East Asia have used foreign integrated circuit factories established in the region to learn about the most advanced technologies and their final development. But now, technology manufacturing is also beginning to return to the Global North, including Poland. Intel's growing presence not only in Malaysia, but also in Poland, is an attempt by the U.S. to rebuild its semiconductor power.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“We’re very clear on no reoccupation, just as we’re very clear on no displacement of the Palestinian population.”

— Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for a united and Palestinian-led government for Gaza and the West Bank after the war with Israel ends. Blinken is in Japan with other top diplomats of the G7, gathered for a meeting focused on the situation in Gaza.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Michelle Courtois and Valeria Berghinz

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The Pope's Bronchitis Can't Hide What Truly Ails The Church — Or Whispers Of Succession

It is not only the health of the Pope that worries the Holy See. From the collapse of vocations to the conservative wind in the USA, there are many ills to face.

 Pope Francis reaches over to tough the hands of devotees during his  General Audience at the Vatican.​

November 29, 2023: Pope Francis during his wednesday General Audience at the Vatican.

Evandro Inetti/ZUMA
Gianluigi Nuzzi

ROME — "How am I? I'm fine... I'm still alive, you know? See, I'm not dead!"

With a dose of irony and sarcasm, Pope Francis addressed those who'd paid him a visit this past week as he battled a new lung inflammation, and the antibiotic cycles and extra rest he still must stick with on strict doctors' orders.

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The Pope is dealing with a sensitive respiratory system; the distressed tracheo-bronchial tree can cause asthmatic reactions, with the breathlessness in his speech being the most obvious symptom. Tired eyes and dark circles mark his swollen face. A sense of unease and bewilderment pervades and only diminishes when the doctors restate their optimism about his general state of wellness.

"The pope's ailments? Nothing compared to the health of the Church," quips a priest very close to the Holy Father. "The Church is much worse off, marked by chronic ailments and seasonal illnesses."

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