Welcome to Thursday, where Chinese leader Xi Jinping is reportedly quietly strengthening ties with Russia, Peru declares a nationwide state of emergency and Henry Cavill will pass on the Superman mantle. Meanwhile, growing signs that it’s only a matter of time before Belarus joins Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
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• Report: China quietly strengthening alliance with Russia: Chinese leader Xi Jinping has instructed his government to forge stronger economic ties with Russia, including increasing Chinese imports of Russian oil, gas and farm goods, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Beijing-Moscow alliance, which has been tested by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is considered crucial to Vladimir Putin’s hold on power.
• UK faces biggest ever nurses strike: UK nurses have begun the biggest nationwide strike in history, after the UK government rejected their 19% pay raise demand. The nurses association is required by law of the National Health Service (NHS) to continue to provide emergency and “life-preserving” care.
• Ban on Tiananmen vigil ruled unlawful: Hong Kong’s High Court ruled that the decision ordered by the police to ban Tiananmen vigil last year was illegal, overturning the conviction of pro-democracy activist Chow Hang-tung, who was jailed for organizing the event.
• Thai princess collapses from heart condition: Princess Bajrakitiyabha, 44, Thailand’s king’s eldest daughter and considered likely future queen, is reported in stable condition after she collapsed from a heart condition.
• Irish soldier killed in Lebanon attack: A convoy transporting soldiers on a UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon was attacked en route to Beirut. Unidentified assailants opened fire, killing one Irish soldier and injuring three others.
• Massive storm in Louisiana kills three: A huge storm that spread across the U.S. South killed three people in Louisiana, including a mother and her child.
• Henry Cavill forced to hang up his cape: British actor Henry Cavill announced he wouldn’t return after all as Superman, following a decision by new DC Studios bosses.
Peruvian daily Trome devotes its front page to the nationwide 30-day state of emergency declared by Peru’s new government, in a bid to quell demonstrations which have rocked the country following the removal and arrest of President Pedro Castillo a week ago. Peruvians are now banned from gathering and moving freely across the country.
Ghana’s annual inflation rate increased to 50.3% in November, up from 40.4% in the previous month, according to the latest figures by the Ghana Statistical Service. This is the highest inflation recorded in the country in more than two decades, due mostly to the rise of essential goods and energy.
Three clear signs that Belarus is about to enter the Ukraine war
Troops are amassing at the Belarus-Ukraine border for a second straight day, while pontoon crossings are being constructed. Most importantly, strongman Alexander Lukashenko is increasingly seen as no longer having the option to say “no,” writes Anna Akage.
🇧🇾 Another clear indication that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko will join Russia’s war against Ukraine came early Tuesday morning: Belarus began rapidly deploying its troops to the Ukrainian border, and the country’s defense ministry announced a “sudden inspection of combat readiness.” Though such sudden exercises have occurred at other times since the beginning of the war, this time it comes amid an accumulation of signs that point to Lukashenko preparing to give final orders.
🇺🇦💥 Oleksandr Azarov, the founder of BYPOL, composed of former Belarusian law enforcement officers, believes that Lukashenko has already decided to invade Ukraine. "I think Makiej did not die by chance,” Azarov said, referring to Vladimir Makiej, Belarus’s Foreign Minister, who died suddenly on Nov. 26 on the eve of his visit to Poland. “He was going to negotiate guarantees for Lukashenko and his family. Instead, Russian Defense Minister [Sergei] Shoigu comes to Belarus and signs secret military documents. Lukashenko was not allowed to retreat."
⚠️ Ukrainian volunteers have also intensified their assistance to the Ukrainian military on the Belarusian border: in recent weeks, the prominent "Come Back Alive" organization has been focusing on helping the Ukrainian Armed Forces coordinate defense measures vis-à-vis Belarus. The head of the foundation, Taras Chmut, estimates the possibility of an attack from Belarus this winter as high. Oleksandr Azarov believes that Belarus troops crossing the border is inevitable, a question of when not if.
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“One man cannot rule a nation.”
— Former Tunisian President, Moncef Marzouki, shared his concerns regarding the fate of Tunisia. In an interview with Al Jazeera, ahead of Tunisia’s parliamentary elections coming on Saturday, Marzouki said the country’s current leader, Kais Saied, was part of a “counter-revolution” against the 2011 democratic uprising. “Once again, [it is] the rule of one man, all the power gathered by one man,” Marzouki said. He also shared fears regarding violent protests that could erupt in the country, saying the Arab Spring had turned into an “Arab volcano.”
✍️ Newsletter by Renate Mattar, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Emma Albright and Hugo Perrin
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