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In The News

Putin Goes To Belarus, Thai Warship Sinks, World Cup Front Page

Thailand has deployed warships and helicopters to find 31 marines missing after a Royal Thai Navy warship sank in stormy seas in the Gulf of Thailand early Monday.

Thailand has deployed warships and helicopters to find 31 marines missing after a Royal Thai Navy warship sank in stormy seas in the Gulf of Thailand early Monday.

Emma Albright, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Dumêlang!*

Welcome to Monday, where Vladimir Putin heads to Belarus amid reports the neighboring country may join Russia’s war against Ukraine, 31 are missing as a Thai warship sinks during a storm, and we see how Argentina’s World Cup victory looks on the front page. Meanwhile, also in Argentina, Agencias Presentes profiles Ana Belén Kim, a rising star in Latin America's electronic music club scene — daughter of conservative Korean immigrants.

[*Northern Sotho, South Africa]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• New drone attacks on Kyiv, Putin heads to Belarus: Russia launched a "kamikaze" drone attacks Monday, hitting key infrastructure in Kyiv, marking the third Russian air attack on the Ukrainian capital in six days and the latest in a series of assaults that have targeted Ukrainian power grids causing blackouts across the country. Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir Putin heads for Belarus amid reports that Moscow wants to pressure Minsk to join the invasion against neighboring Ukraine.

• China reports first COVID deaths in weeks:Monday’s two deaths were the first to be reported by the National Health Commission since December 3, a few days before Beijing announced that it was lifting strict Zero-COVID restrictions that had triggered widespread protests last month.

• Thai warship capsizes, 31 still missing: A Royal Thai Navy warship sank during a storm in the Gulf of Thailand early Monday, leaving 31 of its 106 crew members still missing in the rough seas. The navy announced an investigation into the cause of the disaster as rescue efforts are still underway to find survivors.

• COP15 reaches historic deal to protect nature: The COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal reached a final agreement in the early hours of Monday to restore 30% of damaged ecosystems by the end of the decade. There will also be targets for safeguarding vital ecosystems in the future such as rainforests and wetlands.

• UK court rules plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda legal: Two High Court judges ruled on Monday that the UK government’s plan to send asylum-seekers on a one-way trip back to Rwanda is legal. But the judges also said the government failed to consider the individual circumstances of the people it tried to deport, meaning further legal battles are ahead before anyone is put on a plane to East Africa.

• Russia/China joint naval drills: Moscow announced on Monday that Russian and Chinese forces would hold joint naval drills between Dec. 21 and Dec. 27, involving missile and artillery firing in the East China Sea as the two countries reaffirm a growing alliance in the face of conflict with the West.

• New designs discovered around Peru’s ancient Nazca plain: Hundreds of newly discovered designs could bring more information about the mysterious pre-Columbian artworks that have intrigued scientists and visitors for decades. Earlier this month, Peruvian and Japanese researchers from Yamagata University reported the discovery of 168 new designs at the World Heritage site on Peru's southern Pacific coast.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“Eternal Glory”: Buenos Aires daily La Nación, along with thousands of other newspapers around the planet, marked Argentina’s victory over France in the most thrilling World Cup finals in memory. Legendary Argentine captain Lionel Messi kisses the Cup that seals his standing as one of the greatest soccer players of all time. Click here for our collection of World Cup front pages around the world.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

57.5%

Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk asked Twitter users to vote on his future as CEO of the social media platform. In a poll to his 122 million followers, he tweeted: "Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results." A total of 17,502,391 users answered the poll, with 57.5% voting “yes.”

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

From church choir to DJ icon: the singular rise of Anita B Queen

Alex Zani, writing for Buenos-Aires-based news agency Agencias Presentes, draws the portrait of Ana Belén Kim, daughter of conservative Korean immigrants to Argentina and a rising star in Latin America's electronic music club scene who's impossible to categorize.

🇦🇷⛪ In a world that insists on labels, Ana Belén Kim, also known as Anita B Queen, considers herself a "degenerate." That is: someone impossible to classify. The 26-year-old daughter of a Catholic mother and an Evangelical father, both of whom were Korean immigrants who came to Argentina in their early childhood, her musical career began at Cheil, the First Korean Presbyterian Church in the country.

🎧 When she turned 18, her life turned upside down as she questioned her values and her sexuality. “Imagine, a lifelong Christian girl, growing up in a small, closed, conservative and orthodox Korean community, trying to understand what she was feeling and trying to accept herself.” That year she left the church, withdrew from her peers, separated from her boyfriend, and began dating other women. "It was at that moment that I started working as a DJ, making electronic music, learning from local and foreign DJs who, without knowing it, were my mentors."

🏳️🌈 Gone are the days of the teenage Anita B Queen who led a marching band at church. “Now I have a lot of visibility in the LGBTQ+ community. There are times when I still feel the resistance exerted by my body. I still have that very Christian thing that is hard to get rid of, but without a doubt, this is where I want to be. We queer folks are the best things that happened to this world. No community knows as much about partying and joy as ours does.”

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

“I have already signed my renunciation.”

— In an interview with Spanish news outlet ABC, Pope Francis has revealed that he has already signed his resignation letter several years ago, in case he is suddenly unable to perform his duties due to health issues or an accident. Aged 86, Pope Francis had surgery last year to remove part of his colon due to diverticulitis and is suffering from knee problems, but overall appears to be in good health.

✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger


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Geopolitics

The Trumpian Virus Undermining Democracy Is Now Spreading Through South America

Taking inspiration from events in the United States over the past four years, rejection of election results and established state institutions is on the rise in Latin America.

Two supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dressed in Brazilian flags during a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Bolsonaro supporters dressed in national colours with flags in a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 4, 2022.

Ivan Abreu / ZUMA
Carlos Ruckauf*

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — South Africa's Nelson Mandela used to say it was "so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build."

Intolerance toward those who think differently, even inside the same political space, is corroding the bases of representative democracy, which is the only system we know that allows us to live and grow in freedom, in spite of its flaws.

Recent events in South America and elsewhere are precisely alerting us to that danger. The most explosive example was in Brazil, where a crowd of thousands managed to storm key institutional premises like the presidential palace, parliament and the Supreme Court.

In Peru, the country's Marxist (now former) president, Pedro Castillo, sought to use the armed and security forces to shut down parliament and halt the Supreme Court and state prosecutors from investigating corruption allegations against him.

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