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Biden Calls For Putin War Crimes Trial As Bucha Horror Unfolds
Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 La Orana!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Joe Biden calls to put Putin on trial for war crimes over Bucha killings, where Ukrainian President Zelensky says at least 300 civilians have been killed by Russian troops. Russia denies any responsibility despite accumulating evidence by independent media. Meanwhile, Die Welt‘s Philip Volkmann-Schluck looks at Kazakhstan’s risky efforts to distance itself from Russia in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

[*yo-rah-nah - Tahitian]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Biden calls for Putin to face war crimes trial after Bucha killings: U.S. President Joe Biden has again condemned Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as a “war criminal” and called for him to be tried amid mounting international anger over the alleged mass killing of civilians by Russian forces in Bucha.

• Bucha update: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says as many as 300 civilians were killed by Russian forces in Bucha. As Russia denies responsibility in war crimes, Human Rights Watch has released a report on alleged rapes and other crimes committed on civilians.

• Pakistan’s Imran Khan fate hangs in balance: The Supreme Court of Pakistan delayed its verdict on whether Prime Minister Imran Khan had the right to dissolve parliament and call for early elections. On Sunday, Qasim Suri — a close ally of Khan — dissolved the National Assembly to avoid a vote of no confidence that Khan appeared certain to lose, a move described by the opposition as a ploy to stay in power.

• Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition loses majority amid growing protests: Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rejapaksa has lost his parliamentary majority while his freshly appointed Finance Minister resigned this morning. Protests and calls for Rejapaksa’s resignation have been sparked by the government’s failure to handle the economic and energy crisis.

• Shanghai extends COVID lockdown: The Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly in Shanghai as a new subtype has been discovered, forcing authorities to extend a strict lockdown to the entire city of 26 million inhabitants, starting today.

• Musk becomes Twitter biggest shareholder: Elon Musk has bought $2.89 billion-worth of shares in Twitter — a 9.2% stake that makes the Tesla and SpaceX CEO the social media platform’s largest shareholder. The news sent Twitter shares up 27%.

• Sayōnara, Nakagin Capsule Tower: Tokyo’s futuristic-looking Nakagin Capsule Tower is set to be demolished on April 12. The aging tower, completed in 1972, hosted offices and living units in an iconic design featuring 140 capsules, 30 of which will be salvaged and restored.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“Russian military slaughter of civilians, the world is outraged,” titles South Korean daily The Chosun Ilbo, featuring a photograph of one of the bound bodies of civilians apparently shot at close range, which were discovered in the streets of Bucha.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

40 days, 19 hours

British lawyer Victoria Evans broke the world record for fastest female solo row across the Atlantic Ocean, after the 35-year-old covered 4,740 kilometers from Tenerife, Spain, to Barbados in 40 days and 19 hours — beating the previous record by more than eight days.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

How Putin “lost” Kazakhstan, and squashed his own Soviet revival

For Vladimir Putin, invading Ukraine was the first massive step in reviving the power of Soviet times. His war has done the opposite. Kazakhstan is the first former Soviet republic to distance itself from Russia and turn to the West. But the Central Asian country may not be able to free itself of Russian influence as quickly as it would like, writes Philip Volkmann-Schluck in German daily Die Welt.

🇰🇿 The shockwaves from Putin’s war in Ukraine have been felt across the entire region. Kazakhstan, along with neighboring Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, is not on Russia’s side. All three countries either abstained or did not record votes in a recent UN resolution to condemn the invasion. The map of Central Asia is being redrawn, with these countries no longer counting as clear Russian allies. Kazakhstan is sending aid to Ukraine — perhaps not only for humanitarian reasons, but because the country wants to avoid falling prey to Western sanctions at all costs.

⚠️ While Kazakhstan could well play a decisive role in supplying the West with fossil fuels in future, the country’s stability is still on shaky ground. In a call with Die Welt from the nation’s capital Nur-Sultan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roman Vassilenko said his country found itself in a “complicated situation.” “If there is going to be another Iron Curtain, we don’t want to be stuck behind it. Therefore we hope that it won’t fall again,” said Vassilenko.

🇨🇳🇷🇺 Distancing itself from Russia and moving towards a more democratic society both seem to be unavoidable steps for Kazakhstan’s government, but they will not please Moscow. That is also dangerous because China — another superpower that shares a border with Kazakhstan — has had its eye on the country’s natural resources for centuries. What will happen to Kazakhstan if it is not under Russian protection?

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

You may remember I got criticized for calling Putin a war criminal. You saw what happened in Bucha — he is a war criminal.

— U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters, calling for a war crimes trial against Russian President Vladimir Putin following the reports of a massacre in Bucha. Biden had labeled his Russian counterpart a “war criminal” and a “butcher” last month, prompting the Kremlin to warn that U.S.-Russia ties were nearing “rupture.”

✍️ Newsletter by Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger


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Ideas

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

American and Southwest Airlines have been refusing to allow Cubans on board flights if they've been blacklisted by the government in Havana.

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

Boarding a plane in Camaguey, Cuba

Santiago Villa

On Sunday, American Airlines refused to let Cuban writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez board a Miami flight bound for Havana. It was at least the third time this year that a U.S. airline refused to let Cubans on board to return to their homeland after Havana circulated a government "blacklist" of critics of the regime. Clearly undemocratic and possibly illegal under U.S. law, the airlines want to make sure to cash in on a lucrative travel route, writes Colombian journalist Santiago Villa:

-OpEd-

Imagine for a moment that you left your home country years ago because you couldn't properly pursue your chosen career there. It wasn't easy, of course: Your profession is not just singularly demanding, but even at the top of the game you might not be assured a stable or sufficient income, and you've had to take on second jobs, working in bars and restaurants.

This chosen vocation is that of a writer or journalist, or perhaps an artist, which has kept you tied to your homeland, often the subject of your work, even if you don't live there anymore.

Since leaving, you've been back home several times, though not so much for work. Because if you did, you would be followed in cars and receive phone calls to let you know you are being watched.

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