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The head of the Donetsk People's Republic, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya Region pose in front of a plane after landing in Moscow

The pro-Kremlin leaders of the Donetsk People's Republic, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions arrive in Moscow to attend a ceremony during which the four occupied Ukrainian territories will be formally annexed to Russia.

Chloé Touchard, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Ia Orana!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Russia announces it will formally annex four Ukraine regions, Myanmar’s former leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is sentenced to three years in jail, and the inventor of the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker gets rewarded. Meanwhile, Persian-language Kayhan-London looks at the Iranian regime's tools in crushing opposition, in the light of recent mass unrest in the country.

[*yo-rah-nah - Tahitian]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Putin to annex Ukraine territories on Friday: Vladimir Putin will formally annex the four Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia during a ceremony at the Kremlin on Friday. The pro-Moscow administrators of Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk will sign treaties to join Russia following referendums that were described as sham by Ukraine and the West.

• Fourth leak found on Nord Stream pipelines: A fourth leak was found by Sweden’s coast guard on the damaged Nord Stream subsea pipelines. The first leaks were discovered on Monday: two in Sweden’s exclusive economic zone, and two in Denmark’s exclusive economic zone. Gas has since been flowing into the Baltic Sea, with the European Union suspecting sabotage.

• Aung San Suu Kyi and adviser get jail sentence: A Myanmar military court sentenced former democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her former adviser, Australian economist Sean Turnell to three years in jail. They were found guilty of violating a secrecy law. Turnell was sentenced to 3 additional years for violating an immigration law.

• Hurricane Ian hits Florida: A category 4 Hurricane Ian hit Florida’s western coast on Wednesday, with 150 mph winds causing power blackouts for more than 2.2 million people and floods stranding families in their homes. The storm weakened to a Category 1 around 11 p.m., and was heading towards central Florida with 75 mph winds early Thursday.

• U.S. reach deal with Pacific islands: U.S. and Pacific island leaders agreed on a partnership which will reinforce the U.S. presence in the region to counter Chinese influence. The Biden administration is expected to invest $860 million in different programs to aid the islands.

• Iran attacks kill 13 in Iraq’s Kurdistan: At least 13 people including a pregnant woman have been killed in Iraq’s Kurdistan region after several Iranian missile and drone attacks. Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps said the strikes targeted bases of Iranian Kurdish opposition groups who supported the recent protests. The attacks have been condemned by Iran, the U.S. and human rights groups.

• COVID tracker wins top science award: U.S. professor Lauren Gardner was awarded this year’s prestigious Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award on Wednesday for creating the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker in the early days of the pandemic. The tracker was credited with informing global response to the virus outbreak.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

The British daily The Independent issues a missing warning on its front page as Liz Truss has not made a public appearance in a week, despite launching her unpopular emergency Budget plan last Friday. In this time of crisis, with the pound falling to a record low and markets in panic, the new prime minister's absence is being widely criticized.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

1,733

One environmental activist has been killed every two days between 2012 and 2021 “by hitmen, organized crime groups and their own governments”; 1,733 deaths have been recorded according to figures from international NGO Global Witness. The deadliest countries are Brazil, Colombia or the Philippines.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Iran: a direct link between killing protesters and the routine of State executions

Iran has long had a simple and prolific response to political opposition and the worst criminal offenses, namely death by shooting or hanging. Whether opening fire on the streets or leading the world in carrying out the death penalty, the regime insists that morality is on its side, writes Ahmad Ra’fat for Persian-language Kayhan-London.

🗣 In early September, before Iran's latest bout of anti-government protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, there was another, quieter demonstration: Relatives of several prisoners sentenced to death staged a sit-in outside the judiciary headquarters in Tehran, urging the authorities to waive the sentences. The crowd, which doggedly refused to disperse, included the convicts' young children.

🇮🇷🇨🇳 Iran is listed as the biggest executor in the world after China, though China's figures are a secret. In terms of executions in proportion to the population, Iran is in fact ahead. From January to mid-September, the Islamic Republic executed 413 convicts, sharply up from the 117 executed in those months in 2021.

📈 Executions are the regime's ultimate tool in crushing opposition. There is a hike in execution numbers after every bout of protests or mass unrest, and no doubt that can be expected in response to the current uprising that has galvanized the nation. The regime's forces have opened fire in the streets, killing unarmed protesters, with the death toll rising to 76.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

Any decision of this sort has ramifications not only within India but also across the world.

— Aparna Chandra, an academic at the National Law School in Bengaluru, told Al Jazeera that the Indian Supreme Court’s decision that even unmarried women can undergo abortion at any time up to 24 weeks will have a far-reaching impact on women’s rights in the Indian Constitution and across the world as well. A law dating from 1971 previously limited the procedure to married women, divorcees, widows, minors, survivors of assault or rape and disabled and mentally ill women.

✍️ Newsletter by Chloé Touchard, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet


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Society

Gun Violence In America: Don't Blame The Victims — That Means Rappers Too

The recent shooting of Takeoff, a rapper, is another sad incident of gun crime in the U.S. But those blaming hip hop culture for contributing to gun violence ignore that rappers themselves are also victims. And the real point is that in today's America, nobody is safe from gun violence.

Gun Violence In America: Don't Blame The Victims — That Means Rappers Too

Fans wait outside State Farm Arena in Atlanta to attend the memorial service for Migos rapper Takeoff on Nov. 11

A.D. Carson

Add the name of Takeoff, a member of the popular rap trio Migos, to the ever-growing list of rappers, recent and past, tragically and violently killed.

The initial reaction to the shooting to death of Takeoff, born Kirsnick Ball, on Nov. 1, was to blame rap music and hip hop culture. People who engaged in this kind of scapegoating argue that the violence and despairing hopelessness in the music are the cause of so many rappers dying.

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