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Russia Gas “Blackmail,” Suu Kyi Sentenced, COVID Kid Surge

Ukrainian authorities dismantled an eight-meter bronze Soviet monument that symbolized Ukrainian-Russian friendship in Kyiv

Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Muraho!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Russia is accused of “blackmail” after halting gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi is sentenced to five years in jail and a major surge in the U.S. is registered children who have had COVID. Meanwhile, French daily Les Echos looks at how tech start-ups want to disrupt the old-fashioned funeral industry with new services to “live on” digitally after death.

[*Kinyarwanda - Rwanda]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Russia cuts off gas supplies to Poland & Bulgaria: Russian state energy giant Gazprom has cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria after the two Eastern European countries failed to pay in rubles. European Commission chief Ursula Von der Leyen called the decision “another attempt by Russia to blackmail us with gas.”

• Russian targets hit, as Moscow accuses Ukraine and UK: Targets in Russian territory were reported hit overnight, which Russia accused Ukraine of carrying out and the UK for provoking after a a British cabinet minister Tuesday said it was “legitimate” for Ukraine to strike on Russian soil.

— Read all the latest at War in Ukraine, Day 63

• Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to 5 years for corruption: Myanmar’s former leader Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to five years in jail during a trial behind closed doors. Suu Kyi faces charges for at least 18 offenses and risks combined maximum jail terms of nearly 190 years. She was deposed by a military coup in 2021 and it is unknown where she is being held.

• Four dead in Pakistan university blast: A female suicide bomber killed three Chinese language teachers and their Pakistani driver near Karachi University’s Confucius Institute. The separatist Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attack, to protest against Chinese investment in Pakistan.

• Biden pardons ex-Secret Service agent: Joe Biden has granted his three first presidential pardons, including one to Abraham Borden, the first black Secret Service agent on President Kennedy’s detail, who was convicted of federal bribery charges in 1964. Biden also shortened the sentences of 75 nonviolent drug offenders.

• Execution of a man with low IQ in Singapore:A mentally disabled Malaysian was executed in Singapore on Wednesday despite appeals to spare his life and international outcry. Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was convicted for selling a small quantity of heroin in 2009. Singapore is known for its strict drug crimes policy.

• Phoenician necropolis discovered in southern Spain: Workers came across eight Phoenician burial vaults and staircases in Osuna, Andalucía, a town already known for its Roman ruins. Archeologists estimate the cemetery dates back to the fourth or fifth century BC and is highly unusual inland in this region of Spain.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Russian daily Kommersant devotes its front page to Moscow’s decision to cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, following their refusal to pay Russian energy giant Gazprom in rubles. The move followed Poland’s announcement that it was imposing sanctions on 50 entities and individuals, including Gazprom.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

75%

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of children in the United States had already had COVID-19 by February. The number of cases especially surged among young people in the U.S. during the Omicron variant wave.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Digitally disrupting death: How tech is shaking up the funeral industry

Funeral undertakers belong to one of the oldest professions in the world. But now, start-ups want to disrupt old-fashioned funeral homes. Unafraid to tackle taboos, new services offer ways to live on digitally after death, reports Isabelle Lesniak in French daily Les Echos.

📱⚰️ Entrepreneur Lilian Delaveau designed Requiem Code, a QR code app that personalizes graves by displaying various memories of the deceased person in augmented reality when put on a funeral tablet. “Tourism, education, and health have been transformed by digital. Why should innovation stop on the verge of funeral homes? In the end, death — however irrevocable and detestable — is an ordinary issue," he explains.

⏳ Delaveau unreservedly claims his “death tech” belonging, a niche that has led to the creation of about twenty start-ups in France. Great Britain, Australia, Canada or the United States are more advanced in this technology. Not only are connected graves widespread there, but some entrepreneurs are pursuing artificial intelligence-based projects worthy of sci-fi series. Everything is an opportunity to extend the deceased digital life and to create a “digital afterlife” for them.

💻 Digital marketing expert Marie-Bérengère Salmon has had no trouble raising funds for her “world’s first digital cemetery” project. "My goal is not to compete with funeral directors on their products, but to offer a complementary service," she explains from London, where she is based. Like a specialized Facebook, Alanna.life is a social platform that allows the creation of pages about dead people, to make a "record" of their life, but also and above all to connect their loved ones with each other.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

Gazprom’s announcement is another attempt by Russia to blackmail us with gas.

— On her Twitter account, European Commission chief Ursula Von der Leyen reacted to Russia’s decision to halt gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. She expressed the 27-member bloc unity adding, “We are prepared for this scenario. We are mapping out our coordinated EU response.”

✍️ Newsletter by Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Anne-Sophie GoninetA


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Members of the search and rescue team from Miami search the rubble for missing persons at Fort Myers Beach, after Florida was hit by Hurricane Ian.

Sophia Constantino, Laure Gautherin, Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Shlamaloukh!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where North Korea reportedly fires a missile over Japan for the first time in five years, Ukrainian President Zelensky signs a decree vowing to never negotiate with Russia while Putin is in power, and a lottery win raises eyebrows in the Philippines. Meanwhile, Argentine daily Clarin looks at how the translation of a Bible in an indigenous language in Chile has sparked a debate over the links between language, colonialism and cultural imposition.

[*Assyrian, Syria]

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