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In The News

Russia Arrests Suspects In Kerch Bridge Explosion

The Kremlin blamed the Oct. 8 Crimea bridge explosion on the “Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense” and its director, Kyrylo Budanov, and detained five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia.

Photo of people taking pictures in front of an art installation in Kyiv showing the explosions on the Kerch bridge

An art installation in Kyiv showing the explosions on the Kerch bridge

Anna Akage, Sophia Constantino, Bertrand Hauger and Jeff Israely

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) on Wednesday blamed the Crimea bridge explosion on the “Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense” and its director, Kyrylo Budanov. It had detained five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia over the explosion that damaged the Crimea Bridge on Saturday morning.

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Speculation of the cause of the explosion has made its rounds on social media, including theories involving a suicide truck bomber.

The head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Alexander Bastrykin, said that "citizens of the Russian Federation and foreign countries were involved in the incident, they helped in the preparation of the terrorist attack."

The explosion killed three people and destroyed one section of the 12-mile-long bridge, which was given great symbolic weight after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. It had also become vital to Putin’s military campaign.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the explosion on the Crimean bridge "a terrorist attack against the critical infrastructure of the Russian Federation." In response, Russia has launched major missile attacks on Ukrainian cities over the past three days. Ukraine has not officially confirmed its involvement, though Kyiv considered the bridge a legitimate military target.

More Russian Missile Attacks, New Worries About Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Plant

On the third day of Vladimir Putin's retaliation for Saturday’s explosions on the Kerch bridge, missiles and drone attacks have continued across Ukraine on Wednesday. The Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant has been entirely taken offline due to the shelling, and the risk of an accident at the plant has increased dramatically, according to the Ukrainian Energoatom.

In general, about a third of the entire energy infrastructure of Ukraine has been damaged over the past 48+ hours. President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked Ukrainians to try not to overload the power grid from 5 p.m to 10 p.m., and to postpone using electrical appliances that consume a lot of energy to another time.

Starting from Oct. 11, a schedule of hourly power outages by districts has been introduced in Kyiv. Rolling blackouts were also announced in the Khmelnytsky region.

Ukraine “Under Attack” On German Front Page

Munich-based daily Süddeutsche Zeitung depicts “a country under attack” on its Wednesday front page.

Five More Towns Recaptured In Kherson As Ukrainian Counteroffensive Continues

While most attention has been focused on Russia’s bombing of cities, the Ukrainian army continues to advance along the front line. In the last 24 hours alone, Ukraine has liberated five more settlements in the southern region of Kherson.

A new push is also underway in the Luhansk region. As of Wednesday noon local time, seven settlements have been liberated, and the Ukrainian Armed Forces says it is continuing to advance.

Zelensky Asks G7 For More Air Defense, U.S. And Germany Ready To Comply

Ukrainian Presidential Press Off/Planet Pix/ZUMA

Nations around the world pledged to support Ukraine in its war with Russia for “as long as it takes” at a virtual meeting on Tuesday in which Ukrainian President Zelensky asked G7 leaders for more air defense capabilities.

“I am asking you to strengthen the overall effort to help financially with the creation of an air shield for Ukraine. Millions of people will be grateful to the Group of Seven for such assistance,” Zelensky said, adding that Russian President Putin “still has room for further escalation.”

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznik tweeted later Tuesday that Germany had given Ukraine the first of the four promised IRIS-T SLM anti-aircraft missile systems, while delivery of the next three systems is planned for next year. The U.S. also said it is expediting its delivery of sophisticated NASAMS air defenses to Ukraine in light of Russia launching its biggest air strikes since the start of the war. President Biden pledged on Monday to support Ukraine’s air defenses as residents took cover from Russian strikes in Kyiv.

In German daily die Welt, Clemens Wergins urged the West to accelerate its arms transfers, particularly air defense, “because every day that Ukrainian cities remain insufficiently protected means even more civilians are killed.” Read Wergins’ full analysis here, translated from German by Worldcrunch.

Joe Biden Says Putin Is A “Rational Actor”

In an exclusive interview with CNN, U.S. President Joe Biden said that although he thought Russia President Vladimir Putin was a “rational actor” overall, the leader significantly “miscalculated” his ability to invade Ukraine successfully.

Although not laying out how the U.S. would respond to Russia deploying a tactical nuclear device, Biden said last week that the risk of “nuclear Armageddon” was at its highest level in 60 years and that threats from Russia could result in catastrophic “mistakes” and “miscalculation”.

While calling the Russian leader himself rational, Biden was clear that he did not think the same way about Putin’s aims in Ukraine.“You listen to what he says. If you listen to the speech he made after when that decision was being made, he talked about the whole idea of – he was needed to be the leader of Russia that united all of Russian speakers. I mean, it’s just I just think it’s irrational,” Biden said.

Ukrainian TV Star Raises Close To $10m In A Day “For Revenge”

Ukrainian TV presenter and actor Serhiy Prytula says he has raised 352 million Ukrainian hryvnia ($9.5 million) in one day for the Armed forces of Ukraine, as Pravda reports.

This is the latest fundraising campaign by Prytula, who has been focusing his efforts on crowdfunding help for his country’s military since the start of the Russian invasion.

“Fantastic Ukrainians yielding fantastic fundraising results for revenge!,” Prytula tweeted.

Ukraine Military Tweets Cheeky Thanks To Macron For New Weapons

@DefenseU via Twitter

True to its tongue-in-cheek tone, the official Twitter account for Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense posted a video thanking France for its renewed military support.

“Sophie Marceau… Isabelle Adjani… Brigitte Bardot… Emmanuel Macron! … and Caesars! 🇺🇦❤️🇫🇷,” the accompanying tweet reads, while a video juxtaposes romantic imagery with long-range, heavy weaponry firing off.

This comes after President Emmanuel Macron pledged to provide Ukraine forces with six Caesar 155-mm guns, in addition to the 18 it already delivered and to other missiles and vehicles Paris sent Kyiv in recent weeks.

Did Elon Musk Talk To Putin About Ukraine?

Elon Musk is denying a report that he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, before Musk controversially suggested a plan to end the war in Ukraine.

Respected global affairs analyst Ian Bremmer responded to Musk’s denial on Twitter: “Elon Musk told me he had spoken with Putin and the Kremlin directly about Ukraine. He also told me what the Kremlin’s red lines were,” Bremmer wrote.

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A Naturalist's Defense Of The Modern Zoo

Zoos are often associated with animal cruelty, or at the very least a general animal unhappiness. But on everything from research to education to biodiversity, there is a case to be made for the modern zoo.

Photograph of a brown monkey holding onto a wired fence

A brown monkey hangs off of mesh wire

Marina Chocobar/Pexels
Fran Sánchez Becerril


MADRID — Zoos — or at least something resembling the traditional idea of a zoo — date back to ancient Mesopotamia. It was around 3,500 BC when Babylonian kings housed wild animals such as lions and birds of prey in beautiful structures known as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Ancient China also played a significant role in the history of zoos when the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) created several parks which hosted an assortment of animals.

In Europe, it wouldn't be until 1664 when Louis XIV inaugurated the royal menagerie at Versailles. All these spaces shared the mission of showcasing the wealth and power of the ruler, or simply served as decorations. Furthermore, none of them were open to the general public; only a few fortunate individuals, usually the upper classes, had access.

The first modern zoo, conceived for educational purposes in Vienna, opened in 1765. Over time, the educational mission has become more prominent, as the exhibition of exotic animals has been complemented with scientific studies, conservation and the protection of threatened species.

For decades, zoos have been places of leisure, wonder, and discovery for both the young and the old. Despite their past success, in recent years, society's view of zoos has been changing due to increased awareness of animal welfare, shifting sensibilities and the possibility of learning about wild animals through screens. So, many people wonder: What is the purpose of a zoo in the 21st century?

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