Welcome to Monday, where Russia says DNA tests confirm the death of Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin in a plane crash last week, Zimbabwe’s “Crocodile” gets reelected amid accusations of vote manipulation, and Spain saddles up for its yearly horse festival. Meanwhile, Die Welt’s Fabian Peltsch touches base with Taiwan’s “Buddhist death metal” scene.
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• Ukraine update: Russian authorities have confirmed the death of Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin via genetic analysis, trying to quell doubts about whether he was on board the plane that crashed, leaving no survivors. Meanwhile, the FSB Russian intelligence service has accused an ex-U.S. consulate employee, arrested in May, of passing information about the Ukraine war to U.S. diplomats, while Sweden charged a man with collecting information for the Russian intelligence service.
• Libya protests over talks with Israel: Protests erupted on Sunday evening in Libya after it was revealed that the country's foreign minister met with her Israeli counterpart. Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush was suspended from her post after her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen revealed they had met in Italy the previous week, despite the countries not having formal relations. Libya is a staunch supporter of Palestine, and does not recognize Israel.
• Zimbabwe’s president re-elected, opposition rejects result: Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has won a second term in office after elections filled with delays and accusations of manipulation. Yet after the official results gave Mnangagwa 52.6% of the vote and his main opponent Nelson Chamisa 44%, the opposition and outside election observers rejected the results veracity.
• Foxconn founder shoots for Taiwan presidency: Ahead of Taiwan’s presidential elections in January, the country’s richest man, Terry Gou, has announced that he will run as an independent candidate. The billionaire is the founder of Foxconn, one of the world’s largest electronics producers and a key supplier for Apple, with many factories in mainland China. Having repeatedly been rebuffed by the Kuomintang KMT, Taiwan's main opposition party, he has been campaigning in order to collect the 290,000 signatures needed to qualify as an independent candidate.
• Gas station blast kills 2 near Bucharest:Two explosions at a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) station north of the Romanian capital of Bucharest have killed at least two people; at least 56 people were injured, including 39 firefighters, with at least 9 people having been sent abroad for treatment.
• Rubiales kiss fallout continues, including mom’s hunger strike: FIFA has suspended Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales after he kissed footballer Jenni Hermoso on the lips without consent after Spain won the Women's World Cup. On Monday, it was revealed that Rubiales’ mother has gone on a hunger strike due to what she calls the "inhuman” behavior against her son. Rubiales has refused calls for his resignation, including those made by the national women's football coaching staff and at least 81 Spanish players. Read more with Worldcrunch about other examples in football, in Spain and beyond, of machoism and sexual violence.
• U.S. gymnast Simone Biles breaks 90-year record: The most decorated U.S. gymnast of all-time, Simone Biles, broke a 90-year record by winning her eighth all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships. The four-time Olympic champion has only recently returned to competition, after a two-year mental-health break. She will be the favorite for more golds at the World Championships in Antwerp this October.
“Jihadist violence is on the rise,” writes Dutch daily NRC on its front page. For the Amsterdam-based outlet, Floris van Straaten highlights how jihadists are advancing rapidly in the Sahel region of north-central Africa, finding it to be the place where most jihadist violence occurs — not the Middle East. In Mali and Burkina Faso in particular, jihadists are gradually gaining more territory, especially in rural areas, while also frequently wreaking havoc in western and southeastern Niger, as well as in the north of Benin and Togo.
The China Evergrande Group has lost $2.2 billion, accounting for 79% of its market value, after its shares resumed trading on monday. The Evergrande Group is a major player in China’s property crisis, which has seen increasing debt since 2021.
Meet the Taiwanese Buddhists head-banging to enlightenment through Death Metal
Death metal is considered the most soulless music of all. But the Taipei-based Buddhist death metal band Dharma is proving otherwise. Fabian Peltsch writes for German daily Die Welt about how their music may also even be a secret weapon in the island's stand-off with China.
🎸Six robed figures follow the orange-robed nun onto the stage, gazing rigidly at the floor. A gently swinging sound bowl accompanies her steps. Incense sticks spread the smell of sandalwood. Then the procession stops in one fell swoop. A gong sounds, and all hell breaks loose. Guitar riffs tear through the solemn silence.
🧘♂️A spectator sitting in the lotus position above the crowd.This kind of meditative crowd surfing is already a tradition at Dharma gigs. Also, the fist is not raised in the air for the devil's greeting as is usually done at metal concerts. The fans fold their hands for the Anjali Mudra, a gesture of reverence and humility known in this country mainly from yoga classes. But the neck-breaking spectacle has little to do with silent mindfulness and Gong Bath relaxation.
☸️ Everyone in the band is a practicing Buddhist. Before each concert, they meditate together and donate parts of their fee to charity. "There are many ways to find peace," says Tung, who runs a concert venue in Taiwan's capital, Taipei, besides his band. Miao Ben, 52, who belongs to the Buddhist "Fo Guang Shan Order" founded in Taiwan in 1967, agrees: "Extreme noise is just the flip side of silence."
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“Taiwan must not become Ukraine and I will not let Taiwan become the next Ukraine.”
Terry Gou, the founder of tech manufacturing giant Foxconn, declared his candidacy in Taiwan’s 2024 presidential race as an independent. He pledged to boost Taiwan’s economy and fix cross-strait relations, so as to avoid what some see as an inevitable war with China. With his candidacy, Gou has stated that it is the “era of entrepreneurs’ rule.”
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✍️ Newsletter by Yannick Champion-Osselin, Valeria Berghinz and Katarzyna Skiba
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