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In The News

Russia Hits Lviv, Greta Charged, Dutch Schools v. Phones

Photo of a rescue operation in a in a destroyed building in Lviv, after a missile attack hit residential buildings in the city in western Ukraine, killing four and injuring at least 32.

Scenes of destruction in Lviv, after a missile attack hit residential buildings in the city in western Ukraine, killing four and injuring at least 32.

Yannick Champion-Osselin, Emma Albright, Anne-Sophie Goninet, and Katarzyna Skiba

👋 ሰላም ሃለው*

Welcome to Thursday, where four are killed as Russia strikes a residential building in Lviv, western Ukraine, Greta Thunberg is charged for resisting police at a protest last month, and Meta’s brand-new “Twitter killer” already has millions of sign-ups. Meanwhile, Catarina Pires in news website Mensagem takes us to Vilnius to see how the Lithuanian capital has been turned into an open-air classroom.

[*Selam halewi - Tigrinya, Eritrea and Ethiopia]


What happens if Ukraine loses? That's the real “cost question” for the West

While the Ukrainian counteroffensive is mainly happening on the Southern and Eastern fronts, the struggle for Ukraine's future is also being waged on the "Western front," where more aid is desperately needed. Here, Kyiv needs to convince even the most resistant allies that a Ukrainian defeat would leave the European Union and the U.S. much weaker on the global stage, writes Evhen Dykyi in Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.

From the outset, the objective of the Ukrainian counteroffensive bordered on the impossible. Ukraine faces a formidable 1,500-kilometer-long front, vast areas filled with dense minefields spanning hundreds of square kilometers and a complex, three-tiered defense system. Russia still has vast air power superiority, boasting a ten-fold advantage in the skies.

And yet...

The reality we face leaves us no alternative; we have no choice but to press forward. As we continue our offensive, we are defying all expectations. Every day, we make steady progress, clawing back our land, recapturing positions and dismantling enemy strongholds. Gradually, we are eliminating the first of the three enemy defense lines from the map, inching closer to the second line, which is likely to be more densely fortified.

What is remarkable is not the fact that the counteroffensive is progressing slowly, but rather that it has already achieved a degree of success, considering the seemingly insurmountable circumstances. So we are witnessing a paradox where the situation on the Southern and Eastern fronts is better than on the bloodless, but no less important, Western front.

The latter is governed by public opinion, which, in turn, directly affects the supply of vital resources to our side. Additionally, it determines how soon we will be forced into a disadvantageous "conflict freeze."

This is possibly our main concern, so it is worthwhile to understand the essence of the problem and try to find possible solutions.

First and foremost, let us set aside our emotions and discard the idea that we will be "abandoned by our allies." We have no one else to rely on as allies, and we cannot alter their perspectives or make them fully understand our experiences, empathize with our struggles, or think exactly as we do.

Let's also compare the amount of assistance given to us with the amount of assistance we provided to the people of Syria or the people of Chechnya during the Russian bombing campaign. This way, it becomes clear how one can look at our tragedy with such indifference: we considered the tragedies of others with the same attitude. [...]

Read the full Ukrainska Pravda article by Evhen Dykyi, translated into English by Worldcrunch.


• Russia missile strikes Lviv apartment: Four people have been killed and 34 injured in a Russian missile attack on an apartment block in the western city of Lviv. Meanwhile, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko claims Wagner mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is no longer in Belarus. If Prigozhin is now in St Petersburg or Moscow, this raises questions about the deal Lukashenko brokered to defuse last month's Wagner revolt.

• Meeting at NATO HQ on Sweden’s membership: Top officials from Turkey and Sweden head to NATO’s headquarters to examine Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s objections concerning the Nordic country’s membership application. Officials from Finland will also be present, having joined NATO in April after addressing Turkish concerns. Turkey accuses Sweden of being too lenient against militant Kurdish groups.

• 16 dead in Johannesburg gas leak: A gas leak near Johannesburg, South Africa has killed at least 16 people, including three children. Toxic gas leaked from a cylinder used in suspected illegal mining activities to process gold.

• 5 arrested in Hong Kong for allegedly aiding dissidents abroad: Five people between the ages of 24 to 28 have been arrested in Hong Kong on suspicion of financially aiding activists abroad. They were detained for conspiracy just days after the Hong Kong police offered bounties of 1 million Hong Kong dollars ($128,000) on 8 pro-democracy activists in self-exile in countries like the U.S., Britain and Australia.

• Trump doxxes Obama, gunman arrested near address: Just hours after former U.S. President Donald Trump posted former President Barack Obama’s alleged home address on his social media platform, an armed man was arrested near the property. Taylor Taranto, 37, who was a part of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, was arrested with firearms in his vehicle. On a YouTube live stream, he said that he was looking for “entrance points” to get a “good angle on a shot,” while in the Washington neighborhood where Obama lives.

• Greta Thunberg charged with disobeying police at protest: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has been charged with disobeying law enforcement. She refused to leave a climate protest where activists were stopping traffic in the oil terminal of the port in Malmö, Sweden on June 19. If convicted, the 20 year old could be fined or receive up to six months in prison for disobeying a police order.

• Dutch schools to ban mobile phones: As of January, high schools in the Netherlands plan to ban all mobile phones, saying that they distract students. The ban is not legally enforceable by the Dutch government, but may become so in the future as they monitor the effects of the experiment. Some students argue that phones are often used in the classroom as a work tool.


A one-month truce between the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia’s last active rebel group, and the country’s government is starting today, ahead of a full ceasefire in August. After nearly 60 years of conflict, the ELN said it would “stop all offensive military action against the armed forces and the police in all national territory.” But Bogotá-based daily El Espectador questions the group’s commitment, noting that the Colombian Army suspects the ELN is responsible for this week’s kidnapping of a sergeant and her two children, while four policemen were killed by members of the guerrilla group, on the day the ceasefire was announced.


10 million

Meta’s new Threads app registered 10 million sign-ups in the seven hours that followed its launch, according to chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. The text-based conversation app, presented as the place where “communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow” is seen as a major rival to Twitter, which has been struggling since billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk took over in October last year.


Vilnius, a city becomes an open-air classroom

Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is taking school outdoors and making the whole city a learning place. Along the way, students' motivation increases and their relationship with the city becomes more participatory, reports Catarina Pires for Lisbon-based news website Mensagem.

🚸 The first months of the year are cold in Lithuania but that didn't stop the educational project that converts Vilnius into a giant school from having a good start. Three weeks after the launch of the project's electronic platform, 30% of the city's teachers, around 1,500, had already joined the initiative. Within three years, 10% of classes will be in the streets, parks, monuments, museums, libraries, companies, courts, hospitals, state agencies… Everywhere.

🧩 “Motivation is decisive for school results: how to motivate students, how to make learning more interesting? Vilnius is a very beautiful city, which can offer a series of learning resources, and, therefore, the creation of this project was very much the combination of several thoughts and elements, like pieces of a puzzle that, when completed, clicks,” says Unė Kaunaitė, director of EDU Vilnius.

🗳️ In addition to more committed students, “Vilnius is a school” wants to create more active and participative citizens. When asked how this project can influence young people's relationship with the city, Unė smiles and looks further afield. “When you know the place where you live and like it, you start to take care of that place, and therefore, we hope that this project also encourages citizenship, participation and the notion of responsibility towards the city.”

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“What we are witnessing in Sudan is not just a humanitarian crisis; it is a crisis of humanity.”

— Martin Griffiths, UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, has issued a stern warning as the situation worsens in Sudan, where violence between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has been raging for almost three months. Thousands have been killed, millions displaced, and the country is now facing a massive uptick in conflict-related sexual violence. Even before the war began, more than 3 million women and girls in Sudan were at risk of gender-based violence; the UN now estimates the number to be as high as 4.2 million.


Scenes of destruction in Lviv, after a missile attack hit residential buildings in the city in western Ukraine, killing four and injuring at least 32. — Photo: State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Cover Images/ZUMA

✍️ Newsletter by Yannick Champion-Osselin, Emma Albright, Anne-Sophie Goninet, and Katarzyna Skiba

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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