Welcome to Friday, where Ukraine discovers more than 440 bodies in a mass burial site in the east of the country, new mourners are forbidden to join the line to see the Queen’s coffin as the queue reaches 5 miles, and NASA finds “organic” treasure on Mars. Meanwhile, Philip Volkmann-Schluck in German daily Die Welt looks at the danger posed by a potential pro-Kremlin alliance of Bulgaria and Hungary.
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• Mass grave found in Ukraine: Ukrainian presidential advisor Andriy Yermak, said on Twitter that a mass burial of soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces had been discovered near the liberated town of Izyum, in the Kharkiv region. According to reports, more than 400 bodies are thought to have been buried at the site.
• China sanctions CEOs: The Chinese government will impose sanctions on Gregory Hayes, the CEO of Raytheon Technologies and Ted Colbert, the CEO of Boeing Defense over their involvement with the recent U.S. arm sales to Taiwan.
• Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan ceasefire: Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan representatives agreed to a ceasefire Friday after the escalation of violence on the border. At least three people were killed and 27 injured since the conflict broke out two days ago.
• At least eight dead in Italy’s flash floods: Italian authorities announced the death of at least eight people as Italy’s Marche central region is being hit by torrential rains and floods. Four people are still missing as evacuations continue.
• China banned from Queen’s lying-in-state: House of Common speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle banned a Chinese delegation request to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s lying-in-state at Westminster Hall. This happened after China implemented sanctions against five MPs and two peers.
• Federer announces retirement: In a social media post, Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer announced that he will retire from tennis competition after next week’s tournament in London. At 41 years old, the 20-time grand slam winner said it was time to end his competitive career, after suffering several injuries over the past few years.
• Organic matter “treasure” found on Mars: NASA’s Perseverance rover found organic matter “treasure” after collecting important samples on a mission to explore if there was life on Mars. Missions will be held in the 2030s to bring back these samples to Earth.
Swiss daily Blick thanks Roger Federer who has announced his retirement from the ATP Tour and grand slams after the Laver Cup next week in London. The 41-year-old Swiss tennis maestro and 20-time grand slam winner has broken several records during his long career, including remaining world no. 1 for 237 consecutive weeks.
Germany has agreed to one of its largest-ever Holocaust reparations packages — worth a total of $1.2 billion — that will be disbursed next year to the world’s remaining Jewish Holocaust survivors, mostly to help them cover health care costs. The package includes a $12 million emergency fund for 8,500 survivors living in Ukraine.
Bulgaria and Hungary: risks of a pro-Russian alliance inside the EU
Bulgaria had sworn off Russian gas imports, but then its government collapsed. Now pro-Russian politicians are in power, which for the European Union means there is much more at stake than just energy supply, writes Philip Volkmann-Schluck in German daily Die Welt.
🇧🇬 Bulgaria’s reformist government led by Prime Minister Kiril Petkov was ousted last month in a no-confidence vote. Petkov had pledged to tackle corruption and taken a strong stance against Russia's invasion. But his coalition government fell after just seven months in office when an ally quit. The country is currently being run by an interim government under pro-Russian President Rumen Radev, which protesters are accusing of being under the Kremlin’s direct influence.
🗳️ In early October, Bulgaria will once again hold elections, for the fourth time in less than two years. The country is struggling to choose its path: democracy or cronyism, pro-Western or pro-Russian. For the EU, there is a lot at stake. Bulgaria could play a key role in Europe’s energy supply – if its government is willing. And another potential headache for Brussels is the possibility that Bulgaria could follow Hungary’s example in opposing strict sanctions on Russia.
🇷🇺➗ Bulgaria traditionally has strong cultural ties to Russia, and the Kremlin has aggressively targeted the country with propaganda. At the same time, citizens have been protesting against the cronyism that has held it back and made it the smallest economy in the EU. Tihomir Bezlov, a Senior Analyst at the Center for the Study of Democracy in Sofia, says that although Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has met with “severe disapproval” among Bulgarian people, studies show that pro- and anti-Russian sentiment are “almost equally” represented within Bulgarian society.
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I feel that I am alive because of God and the Virgin Mary, really.
— In her first public comments since surviving a Sept. 1 assassination attempt in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner thanked God and the Virgin Mary at a meeting with priests and nuns, as well as Pope Francis, who called her hours after the failed attack. Argentine authorities are still investigating the motives of the gunman Fernando Sabag Montiel, who was arrested along with his girlfriend and charged with attempted murder. Both deny any involvement.
✍️ Newsletter by Chloé Touchard, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet.
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