Ukraine’s Counter Strike, U.S. Raises Interest Rates, Beethoven Post-Mortem
Welcome to Thursday, where Ukraine’s top ground forces commander announces an imminent counterattack, the U.S. central bank raises interest rates again in a bid to stabilize prices, and DNA tells us more about how Beethoven died. Meanwhile, Graciela Baduel in Argentine daily Clarín clinks glasses at a new, eco-friendly winery built with ship containers.
[*Lingala, DRC and Republic of the Congo]
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🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• Ukraine says counter strike is coming very soon: Ukrainian troops, on the defensive for four months, will launch a long-awaited counterassault "very soon," Ukraine's top ground forces commander announced on Thursday. The remarks by Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi were the strongest indication yet from Kyiv that it is close to shifting tactics, now that Russia's winter offensive may be losing steam, having failed to take Bakhmut. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit Wednesday to see troops at the front line near Bakhmut.
• EU summit in Brussels aimed at competing with U.S. and China: EU leaders, meeting in Brussels from Thursday for a two-day summit, are expected to back a revamp of the single market, simplified regulations and other steps to ensure the bloc can compete with the United States and China as an industrial leader in green and digital technologies. High energy prices and the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which offers green subsidies that often only apply to products made in North America, have raised EU fears of an exodus of European industry.
• Markets dip after U.S. raises interest rates:European and Asian markets dipped Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates again in a bid to stabilize prices. The U.S. central bank increased its key rate by 0.25 percentage points, despite fears that the move could add to financial turmoil after a string of bank failures Fed officials called the banking system "sound and resilient," but warned that fallout from the bank failures may hurt economic growth in the months ahead.
• Rahul Gandhi sentenced for Modi joke: An Indian court sentenced opposition leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday to two years in jail on charges of defamation for a 2019 speech in which he referred to thieves as having the surname Modi, referencing Indian Prime MInister Narendra Modi. Gandhi will appeal against the order in a higher court, but it is potentially a big blow for his Congress party ahead of the 2024 general election. The judgment was passed by a court in the city of Surat, located in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat.
• Historic Aboriginal vote plan unveiled in Australia: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has outlined details of a proposed referendum to be held later this year aimed at giving recognition in the constitution to the nation’s Indigenous people, who are currently not mentioned in the constitution. This would be the country’s first referendum after 24 years, and the first time the government is seeking to change the constitution in 50 years.
• Five drown, 28 missing off Tunisia coast: At least five people have died and another 28 are missing after a boat sank off Tunisia, as they tried to set off to cross the Mediterranean to Italy, a local rights group has said. The Tunisian coast guard rescued five people who had been on board the boat that sank off the coast of the southern city of Sfax, a major departure point for people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East.• DNA analysis of Beethoven’s hair reveals health issues: A genetic study conducted by the University of Cambridge on locks of Ludwig van Beethoven's hair revealed more details about the composer's death at 56. Although the researchers were unable to exactly pinpoint the causes of his hearing loss and lifelong gastrointestinal problems, they found out that a hepatitis B infection, genetics and alcohol consumption contributed to the severe liver disease, which led to his death.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
Scottish daily The Heralddedicates its front page to the incident of a major ship owned by the co-founder of Microsoft. The vessel became dislodged and fell sideways at Edinburgh's Imperial Dock. Thirty-five people were injured and taken to the hospital while the Scottish Ambulance Service said a further 12 were treated at the scene. The 3,000-ton ship leaned at a 45-degree angle.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
For the first time in 19 years, China’s capital Beijing has seen its population decrease. There were 84,000 fewer inhabitants, falling from 21.88 million in 2021 to 21.84 million in 2022. The last time the city experienced a decline was in 2003 during the fatal SARS outbreak. While Beijing’s population drop is a relatively small one, it illustrates the demographic crisis faced by the country, which has also seen its national population shrink last year for the first time since 1961.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
Mendoza's “recycled” winery — Argentine eco architecture with a splash
Architects in Mendoza, western Argentina, have used hundreds of tons of recycled building material, shipping containers and discarded decorations to create an otherwise high-tech winery, reports Graciela Baduel in Argentine daily Clarín.
🍷 Winemaking and wine tourism installations are usually built with a tasteful nod at the landscape around them. In the case of the MAAL winery in western Argentina, its environment-friendly design includes use of 300 tons of discarded construction and decoration materials found in and around the district of Mendoza. Local architects Mora Hughes wanted to make the project a badge of their "commitment to nature," but with all the "charm of a Mendoza winery."
♻️ Wanting to minimize construction emissions, the architects decided to reuse local construction elements, including bits of flooring or roofing from defunct wineries facing demolition, pipe segments and 20 disused shipping containers. They brought in items like postal service furniture, church pews, old tractor seats, aluminum roof paneling from a local hotel, the Aconcagua, and even an old minibus still waiting to find its use.
🛠️ The winery's surfaces have kept a rough finishing that says something of their previous lives as bits of other buildings. The shipping containers were cleaned, but without wiping away their original colors, wooden beams and paneling are neatly cut but were not sanded down too much nor repainted or varnished, keeping thus their original tones. Much of the furniture is recycled or made from hard-plastic fruit crates.
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📹 THIS HAPPENED VIDEO — TODAY IN HISTORY, IN ONE ICONIC PHOTO
➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
“Netanyahu is once more looking out only for himself.”
— The Israeli parliament on Thursday has enacted a law that would restrict the circumstances under which a serving prime minister can be declared unfit for office as part of a set of bills the government is pushing through in its controversial judicial overhaul. The opposition and critics view the proposed legislation as a way of protecting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid an ongoing corruption trial. The bill states that only the prime minister himself or the cabinet, with a two-thirds majority, can declare the leader unfit and also prevents the Supreme Court from considering “a request to declare the incapacity of the Prime Minister.”
👉 MORE FROM WORLDCRUNCH
• Inside The Polish-Led Push To Send Fighter Jets To Ukraine – Bypassing Germany — DIE WELT
• That Man In Mariupol: Is Putin Using A Body Double To Avoid Public Appearances? — WORLDCRUNCH• Turkey's Space Agency Chief Has A Wild Idea About What Caused The Earthquake — OKSIJEN
✍️ Newsletter by Ginevra Falciani, Emma Albright, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Inès Mermat and Bertrand Hauger
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