Welcome to Friday, where the Nobel Peace Prize goes to a Belarusian activist and two Ukrainian and Russian NGOs, Lebanon closes its banks “indefinitely” amid deep economic crisis, and a forest fire damages the iconic Easter Island statues. Meanwhile, German Die Welt’s Carolina Drüten reports from Istanbul where resentment against Syrian refugees is growing amid a rapprochement between Turkey’s President Erdogan and dictator Bashar al-Assad.
[*Swabian - Germany]
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• Rhetoric rises around nuclear threat in Ukraine: U.S. President Joe Biden warned of the “prospect of Armageddon” amid nuclear threats from Russia, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of trying to provoke a nuclear war by calling for “preemptive” strikes.
• Nobel Peace goes to Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian activists: Human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, Russian human rights organization Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties have won the Nobel Peace prize for promoting “the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens.”
• EU to send civilian mission to Armenia-Azerbaijan border: Following the first gathering of the European Political Community at Prague, Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to a civilian EU mission to help delineate the borders in an attempt to resolve the conflict that’s left at least 286 dead last month.
• Lebanon banks to close “indefinitely”: Banks in Lebanon will once again close their doors to clients until further notice amid a wave of security incidents involving frustrated depositors trying to access their savings. Similar closures had been implemented last month but banks had reopened in early October to allow employees to withdraw salaries. Lebanese banks started to impose informal capital controls in 2019 following an economic downturn.
• Biden issues federal pardons for possession of marijuana: U.S. President Joe Biden has pardoned all Americans who have been convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law, arguing people shouldn’t be incarcerated for “conduct that many states no longer prohibit.” Biden urged all governors to take similar actions in their states.
• Spain’s Senate OKs law banning praise of former dictator Franco: The Spanish Senate has approved a new bill which bans expressions of support for the former dictator Francisco Franco. Called the "Law on Democratic Memory” it also includes honoring Franco's victims and makes the state responsible for searching for the 114,000 people who are still unaccounted for after the Civil War.
• Easter Island Moai statues damaged by fire: A forest fire that burned nearly 60 hectares of land in Easter Island has caused “irreparable” damage to some of its monumental carved stone figures, known as Moai. There is no report on the total damage in the UNESCO World Heritage Site yet.
“From repression to tragedy,” titles Argentinian daily El Día de la Plata on its front page after a deadly incident left soccer players and supporters shaken during a game in the Juan Carmelo Zerillo stadium. After a clash started outside of the venue, with police firing rubber bullets and tear gas to stop fans from reaching the event, mayhem spilled into the stadium and onto the pitch. A 57-year-old man died from cardiac arrest. This comes days after at least 130 people died after violence sparked a stampede at a football stadium in Indonesia.
Samsung Electronics Co is reporting a worse-than-expected 32% drop in quarterly operating earnings, with estimated profits falling to 10.8 trillion won ($7.67 billion) from 15.8 trillion won a year earlier — the South Korean tech giant’s first year-on-year decline in nearly three years. Amid a global economic downturn, the demand for smartphones and computers as well as the memory chips that go in them has been shrinking.
How an Erdogan-Assad truce could trigger a new migrant crisis at Europe's border
In Turkey, resentment against Syrian refugees is growing. And President Erdogan — once their patron — is now busy seeking good relations with the man the Syrians fled, the dictator Bashar al-Assad, German Die Welt’s Carolina Drüten reports from Istanbul.
🇹🇷🇪🇺 Refugees in Turkey feel increasingly unwelcome. The mood in the country is at times openly hostile. Less than a year before Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections, many politicians are escalating their rhetoric. Time and again, they turn into attacks. And President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who long acted as the patron saint of refugees, is seeking rapprochement with the man from whom Syrians once fled: Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. As a result, more and more people now want to make their way to the EU.
🛑 When the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, many Turks welcomed their fleeing neighbors with open arms. Turkey has taken in the most refugees in the world, with almost four million people with protection status registered in the country. An enormous achievement. But while a welcoming culture prevailed in the beginning, most Turks would now prefer to get rid of their supposed guests. A 2021 survey by the United Nations Refugee Agency found that 48% of respondents thought Syrians "should definitely be sent back."
🗳️ The election campaign is adding fuel to the fire. Turks will elect a new parliament and president no later than June next year. The opposition, in particular, is riling up the Syrians. Meral Aksener, leader of the nationalist IYI party, recently said Turkey has become a "migrant camp" and "almost a dumping ground for Europeans." She is alluding to the refugee agreement between Turkey and the EU, based on which Ankara prevents people from traveling further and provides for them in its own country. In return, they receive money from Brussels.
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Twitter will not take yes for an answer.
— In a court filing, U.S. billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk complained about Twitter raising concerns about whether his offer to buy the social media platform would come through after months of will-he-won’t-he and legal disputes.
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