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In The News

Key EU Ukraine Summit, Shanghai Reopening, Whale Lost In The Seine

Key EU Ukraine Summit, Shanghai Reopening, Whale Lost In The Seine

U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden lay flowers and pay their respects at a memorial in front of the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde

Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lila Paulou, Joel Silvestri and Bertrand Hauger.

👋 Ahoj!*

Welcome to Monday, where EU leaders try to overcome divisions on Russian sanctions, Shanghai lifts some of its COVID-19 restrictions and a killer whale dies after getting lost in the river Seine. Meanwhile, German Die Welt reports on fears in Georgia that its breakaway territory South Ossetia might be next in the Kremlin’s crosshairs.



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• Crucial EU summit on Ukraine amid signs of “crumbling” unity: A crucial two-day summit of European Union leaders is underway to forge a new response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as German Economy Minister Robert Habek expressed fears that the unity of the European Union "is beginning to crumble."

• Shanghai to lift COVID restrictions: Shanghai’s authorities have announced that lockdown measures will be eased on the city’s businesses from Wednesday to support its hard-hit economy after two months of lockdown. Workers will be allowed to go back to work and resume production in China’s financial center.

• Monkeypox presents moderate risk to public health: The World Health Organization reports that monkeypox presents a “moderate” risk to global public health, in a statement released on Sunday. More than 250 cases have now been confirmed in 23 countries, most of them in Europe and North America.

• 31 dead in Nigeria church fair stampede: A stampede at a church charity fair in southern Nigeria killed 31 people, including many children. The annual “Shop for Free” event Saturday was aimed to bring hope to people in poverty, but quickly became overcrowded.

• Uvalde update: The U.S. Department of Justice will investigate the police response to the Uvalde school shooting following reports that officers delayed storming the school by 40 minutes because they thought the “active shooter” situation was over.

• Killer whale found dead in the Seine: The male killer whale who seemed stuck in the River Seine in northern France since May 16 was found dead this Monday morning. Authorities had asked for the animal to be euthanized after a rescue plan failed and specialists concluded it was terminally ill with mucormycosis, a disease never before seen in Europe.

• Cannes Film Festival winners: Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund won his second Palme d’Or for Triangle of Sadness, a satire about wealthy people, during the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday evening. In second position, the Grand Prix was jointly awarded to Claire Denis’ Stars at Noon and Lukas Dhont’s Close. The best actress award went to Iranian Zar Amir-Ebrahimi while Korean star Song Kang-ho was named best actor.


The front page of Barranquilla-based daily El Heraldo reports on the upcoming “second round” of Colombia’s presidential election, after yesterday saw leftist leader and former guerrilla fighter Gustavo Petro take the lead with 40.32% of the votes, as Rodolfo Hernández, dubbed the “Trump of Colombia”, trails with 28.15%. Petro will face new challenges in the second round, scheduled for June 19, after third runner up Federico Gutiérrez made his endorsement for Hernández.


2,073 feet

The Bach Long glass-bottomed bridge in northern Vietnam, has been recognized by the Guinness World Record as the longest such structure in the world. With 2,073 ft (632 meters) in length, this new vertigo-inducing bridge has beaten the previous record of 1,726 ft held by Guangdong, China.


In Georgia, fears of being back on Putin's hit list

Vladimir Putin has not forgotten about the breakaway republic of South Ossetia, which wants to decide in July whether to join Russia. People here still remember when the Russian army invaded while the West looked on. And according to Gregor Schwung in this article for German daily Die Welt, there is growing worry that this could soon happen again.

💥 Every time Russian troops exercise in South Ossetia, people in this Georgian border village hear the artillery. The aftershock reverberations are already causing the stones in Lia Khlachidze’s house to crumble off the wall. She lives in Ergneti, only about 100 meters as the crow flies from the demarcation line. She rebuilt her house a year after it was destroyed in 2008, when Russia invaded Georgia, and within five days captured the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Both territories declared their independence following the war, which was recognized by Russia. Russian “peacekeepers” have been securing the two territories ever since.

🇬🇪 On Friday May 13, the separatist government in South Ossetia announced a referendum on annexation to Russia in July. It is unclear whether the latter will actually take place, but the signal behind the announcement is clear: Putin has not forgotten Georgia. A threat directed at the West – and at Tbilisi. In early March, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, the Georgian government applied for EU membership, and on May 18 Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili traveled to Brussels to discuss his country’s partnership with the defense alliance with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

🤝🇺🇦 In Georgia, solidarity with Ukraine is strong. The blue and yellow flag seems to be more present in Tbilisi than the Georgian flag. But Tbilisi is pursuing a more cautious policy on the matter. To date, Georgia has joined international financial sanctions against Putin’s regime, but bilateral trade continues. Russia could easily hurt the country militarily. The capitol is just 50 kilometers from the easternmost tip of South Ossetia.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


It was the most petrifying experience I’ve ever had at a football match.

BBC’s sports journalist Nick Parrott has shared his chaotic experience at the Champion’s League Final — Liverpool v. Real Madrid — held in Paris, which was delayed by 35 minutes as thousands of supporters were trying to get inside the stadium, some with fake tickets. The journalist, who was pepper-sprayed in the queue, said locals were "trying to force their way in leading to security closing the gates and keeping out legitimate fans with tickets," also lamenting the general organization of the event. Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0 for its 14th top European title.

✍️ Newsletter by Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lila Paulou, Joel Silvestri and Bertrand Hauger.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Russia's Wartime Manipulation Of Energy Prices Could Doom Its Economy

A complex compensation mechanism for fuel companies, currency devaluation, increased demand due to the war, logistics disruptions, and stuttering production growth have combined to trigger price rises and deepening shortages in the Russian energy market.

Photograph of Novatek's gravity-based structure platform for production of liquefied natural gas, floating on a body of water.

Russia, Murmansk Region - July 21, 2023: A view of Novatek's gravity-based structure platform for production of liquefied natural gas.

Ekaterina Mereminskaya

In Russia, reports of gasoline and diesel shortages have been making headlines in the country for several months, raising concerns about energy supply. The situation escalated in September when a major diesel shortage hit annexed Crimea. Even before that, farmers in the southern regions of Russia had raised concerns regarding fuel shortages for their combines.

“We’ll have to stop the harvest! It will be a total catastrophe!” agriculture minister Dmitry Patrushev had warned at the time. “We should temporarily halt the export of petroleum products now until we have stabilized the situation on the domestic market.”

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

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As the crisis deepens, experts are highlighting the unintended consequences of government intervention in fuel pricing and distribution.

The Russian government has long sought to control the prices of essential commodities, including gasoline and diesel. These commodities are considered "signalling products", according to Sergei Vakulenko, an oil and gas expert and fellow at the Carnegie Endowment. Entrepreneurs often interpret rising gasoline prices as a signal to adjust their pricing strategies, reasoning that if even gasoline, a staple, is becoming more expensive, they too should raise their prices.

The specter of the 2018 fuel crisis, where gasoline prices in Russia surged at twice the rate of other commodities, haunts the authorities. As a result, they implemented a mechanism to control these prices and ensure a steady supply. Known as the "fuel damper," this mechanism seeks to balance the profitability of selling fuel in both domestic and foreign markets.

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