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Europe Gas Crisis, India Heat Wave, First Black Woman On ISS

A destroyed school in northeast Kharkiv

Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 こんにちは*

Welcome to Thursday, where Europe braces for a gas crisis as Russia starts halting supplies, India is hit by a record heat wave, and Jessica Watkins makes space history. Meanwhile, Spanish independent magazine La Marea meets with Ukrainians who keep their anti-war stance to themselves, for fear of being called a traitor.

[*Konnichiwa - Japanese]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Kremlin warns against helping Ukraine: Moscow warns that aiding Ukraine by sending heavy weapons represents a threat to the security of the European continent, in response to UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss calling for more military help to be sent to Ukraine. In the meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to respond with "lightning-fast" speed in case of other countries were to intervene in the conflict.

• Gas crisis in EU as Russia halts delivery: Europe’s economy faces a potential deeper crisis if Russia decides to cut off gas to other countries, following energy giant Gazprom’s decision to halt energy deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria.

— Read all the latest at War in Ukraine, Day 64

• Algeria warns Spain over gas supply: Unrelated to the Russian gas standoff, the Algerian ministry of energy has threatened to cut gas supply contracts if Spain re-exports gas to another country amid diplomatic tensions over Morocco. Spain considered supplying gas to Morocco via a pipeline, but ensured the gas won’t come from Algeria.

• Indian heat wave reaches new high: India has been experiencing unusually high temperatures for the season, with its hottest March in 122 years. This Thursday, temperatures are expected to get over 44 °C in Delhi, reaching a record maximum of 46 °C in some parts of the capital city.

• Elon Musk’s criticism of Twitter staff: Elon Musk, who just reached a deal to buy Twitter, publicly criticized the company’s staff in a tweet. It raised controversy among employees as he promised not to “disparage” Twitter in a previous statement.

• UK MP under investigation for watching porn in Parliament: Boris Johnson’s party launched an investigation after a Tory MP was accused of watching pornography on his phone in the House of Commons. This comes after a series of sex scandals and several MPs complaints of sexism in Parliament.

• Jessica Watkins becomes first Black woman on ISS: U.S. astronaut Jessica Watkins becomes the first Black woman to join the International Space Station crew. She is part of SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission that just docked with the ISS and is the fifth Black woman to travel to space.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“Russia threatens Europe with gas,” titles Belgian daily De Morgen as the Kremlin warns that gas supplies could also be cut off for other European countries after energy giant Gazprom did so to Poland and Bulgaria for refusing to make payments in rubles. Supply concern is driving gas prices higher in the continent.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$7.12 billion

The U.S. Department of Defense estimates that $7.12 billion worth of military hardware has been left behind in Afghanistan, following the withdrawal of the U.S. troops in August 2021. There are no immediate plans to “retrieve or destroy” the equipment, now in the hands of the Talibans, although according to a report from the Pentagon, much of it requires “specialized maintenance.”

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Traitor, spy, pro-Russian: Ukrainians who question Kyiv face grave accusations

In Ukraine, those who do not want to fight on the front or who want negotiations cannot say so publicly for fear of accusations of being traitors, reports Patricia Simón in Spanish independent magazine La Marea.

🤐 “I don't want to fight. They are sending the soldiers to almost certain death because they have far less means than the Russians. Also, I don't think that Zelensky, Europe or the United States have negotiated enough to try to stop this war. But, of course, you can't say that publicly.” The young man speaking wants to preserve his anonymity. For uttering statements like this, he can be accused of desertion, collaboration with Russia, or being a traitor or a spy. Dimitry, a pseudonym to protect him, could also end up being sentenced to more than ten years in prison.

🇺🇦 Bohdan Chuma, a Hispanic professor at the Catholic University of Lviv, says: “This war has increased anti-Russian sentiment even among those who speak Russian, are of other ethnic groups, or had a stronger local identity like those from Odessa, who now feel more Ukrainian than from Odessa. Putin has been the best creator of a Ukrainian national identity.”

🙅 Mentioning the idea of a deserter causes contemptuous faces in most conversations I have. There are even those who deny the possibility that a Ukrainian man may want to evade the honor of defending his people by fighting in the army. But according to Dimitry, among his friends — college-educated working-class youth — a majority do not want to go to the front lines. According to a report by Israel Merino, those who have managed to cross into countries like Poland to avoid it face insults and rejection by other refugees.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

Our response will be lightning fast.

— Speaking to lawmakers in St Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that in case of outside intervention in the Ukraine conflict, Moscow would be quick to answer with “all the tools — the kind that no one else can boast of having right now,” a thinly veiled reference to the country’s ballistic and nuclear capabilities.

✍️ Newsletter by Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger


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Coronavirus

In Shanghai, A Brewing Expat Exodus As COVID Crackdown Shows "Real" China

Not only strict rules of freedom of movement as part of Zero-COVID policy but also an increase in censorship has raised many questions for the expat population in the megacity of 26 million that had long enjoyed a kind of special status in China as a place of freedom and openness. A recent survey of foreigners in the Chinese megacity found that 48% of respondents said they would leave Shanghai within the next year.

People walk in Tianzifang, located in Huangpu District, a well-known tourist attraction in Shanghai.

Lili Bai

SHANGHAI — On the seventh day of the lockdown, Félix, a French expat who has worked in Shanghai for four years, texted his boss: I want to "run,' mais je sais pas quand (but I don’t know when). A minute later, he received a reply: moi aussi (me too).

Félix had recently learned the new Mandarin word 润 (run) from social network postings of his local friends. Because its pinyin “rùn” is the same as the English word “run,” Chinese youth had begun to use it to express their wish to escape reality, either to “be freed from mundane life”, or to “run toward your future.”

For foreigners like Félix, by associating the expression “run” with the feeling of the current lockdown in Shanghai, “everything makes sense.” Félix recalled how at the end of March, the government denied rumors of an impending lockdown: “My Chinese colleagues all said, Shanghai is China’s top city, there would be no lockdown no matter what.”

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