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In the northern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, signs of the ongoing Russian bombings and air strikes.

In the northern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, signs of the ongoing Russian bombings and air strikes.

Emma Albright, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet.

👋 Bonghjornu!*

Welcome to Thursday, where the Ukrainian President asks for a truce to evacuate civilians from Mariupol as Russia intensifies its assault on the Azovstal plant, Colombia extradites the world’s most dangerous drug trafficker and Diego Maradona's “Hand of God” jersey sets a record. Meanwhile, Buenos Aires-based daily Clarin looks at how the trend in dieting changes and diversification reflect inequalities in Argentine society.

[*Corsican]

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Heavy fighting at Mariupol steel plant, Zelensky pleads for ceasefire: Intense fighting around Azovstal, the sprawling steel plant in the port of Mariupol, continued overnight, prompting Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky to plea for a longer truce in order to evacuate more civilians. Moscow had said its forces would open a humanitarian corridor for civilians for three days.

• U.S. intelligence helped Ukraine kill Russian generals: According to senior U.S. officials, the United States has provided intelligence regarding Russian units that has allowed Ukrainians to kill an unusually high number of Russian generals. Ukrainian officials have said they have killed around 12 generals so far, though Moscow has not confirmed that number.

• Drug baron extradited: Dairo Antonio Úsuga, better known as Otoniel, considered the world’s most dangerous drug trafficker, has been extradited to the U.S. by Colombia authorities. The leader of the Gulf Clan cartel, Colombia’s biggest crime gang, is wanted on drug trafficking charges and was arrested in Colombia in October after a seven-year manhunt.

• Hong Kong’s COVID opening, Beijing’s COVID closings: Beijing has added new restrictions to public transportation as COVID-19 continues to spread in the Chinese capital. The capital shut down dozens of metro stations and bus routes to avoid the same strict city-wide lockdown that Shanghai has faced. Meanwhile, Hong Kong is easing restrictions, now allowing bars to stay open until 2 a.m., as well as reopening beaches and swimming pools.

• Sinn Fein set for historic win, BoJo faces election test: The Irish nationalist party, Sinn Fein, is expected to emerge as Northern Ireland’s largest party in today’s Assembly elections, in what would be a historic breakthrough for the onetime political wing of the IRA. Meanwhile, voters across Britain are expected to punish Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his breaking his own COVID lockdown rules in local government elections.

• Turkey’s inflation soars: Consumer prices in Turkey rose nearly 70% in April, compared to a year ago. Economists attributed the striking rise in inflation to global supply shortages, as well as the reluctance to raise domestic interest rates.

• Only 5% of plastic waste recycled in U.S.: Only 5% of plastic in the U.S. is recycled, with some 85% of the waste ending up in landfills and 10% incinerated, according to a report published by the Last Beach Cleanup and Beyond Plastics.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Italian daily La Repubblica looks at the fallout after the European Commission’s sixth package of proposed sanctions against Russia, which includes a ban on Russian oil imports within six months. “Russian Oil, Europe Divided” says the top headline along with a photo of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Hungary, which is particularly dependent on Russian oil coming from the Druzbha pipeline, said it could not support the plan in its current form and asked for more guarantees for its energy security.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$9.3 million

Diego Maradona's “Hand of God” jersey has been auctioned for $9.3 million — setting the record for the highest price ever paid for an item of sports memorabilia. The late Argentine football legend was wearing that No. 10 shirt when he scored two fabled goals against England in the 1986 World Cup’s quarterfinals, including one in which he fooled the referee into thinking he used his head when video replays show he used his hand.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

The Argentine diet is a perfect recipe for unhealthy living

Like other Western countries, Argentina is struggling with an obesity epidemic. As young city dwellers adopt more diverse diets, the less well off rely on monotonous diets with low quality food, report Magali Salomon Gaido in Buenos Aires-based daily Clarin.

🍽️ Dishes that may seem excessive today were common in the mid-20th century, and for a reason. They were made for Argentines doing physical work for long hours. As they expended more energy then, the average diet meant an intake of some 4,000 calories a day. Today, that has halved, and as labels will tell you, percent daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. The challenge now, living as we do with technology and the Internet, is not eating enough, but sedentary lifestyles.

🥗 More Argentines, including vegans (1% of all Argentines), vegetarians (12%) and "flexitarians" (10%), are adopting a more sustainable diet. Flexitarians are those reducing their meat intake with a view to eliminating it altogether from their diet. Together, says Sergio Britos, the head of CEPEA, a research center for nutrition policies, "we're talking around 23% of the... population that has made or are making changes to their diet." The change is gaining momentum, he said, in part because of the pandemic.

💸 Britos points out that 42% of Argentines are presently "poor" and that the trend in dieting changes and diversification pertained more to "younger city-dwellers, with medium to high incomes." Clara Iturralde, a nutritionist at the private Cliníc Integral, says her clinic's task included "guiding a family or person to better administer themselves when buying food: choosing seasonal fruit and vegetables, reducing soft drinks and juices... the money could be spent on other foods. Planning meals is another issue that greatly contributes to more efficient, healthy shopping."

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

The West can sleep peacefully.
— Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko told AP on Thursday he did not want to enter the war with Ukraine or the West. He also said he didn’t expect the Russian “operation” in Ukraine to last so long, and claimed he was doing everything in his power to put an end to the war. Lukashenko accused Ukraine of “provoking Russia,” and insisted Belarus stood for peace and had no interests in a war taking place with the West: “We know who opposes us, so to unleash some kind of a conflict, some kind of war here in the West is absolutely not in the interests of the Belarusian state. So the West can sleep peacefully."

✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet.


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Geopolitics

Is Odessa Next? Putin Sees A Gateway To Moldova — And Chance For Revenge

After the fall of Mariupol, Vladimir Putin appears to have his eye on another iconic southern coastal city, with a strong identity and strategic location.

Odessa after a missile attack

Vincenzo Circosta/ZUMA
Anna Akage

Air strikes on the port city of Odessa have become more frequent over the past three weeks, most often hitting residential buildings, shopping malls, and critical infrastructure rather than military targets. The missiles arrive from naval vessels on the Black Sea and across the sea from the nearby Crimean coast, with the toll including multiple civilian deaths and a growing sense of panic. In Odessa, fears are rising that it could follow Mariupol as Vladimir Putin’s next principal target.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Since the beginning of the war, more than half of the population — about 500,000 people — have left the city, even as others are flowing into Odessa from other war-torn regions in southern Ukraine, where the situation is even worse: people from Nikolayev, Kherson, Crimea, and even from Moldovan Transnistria.

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