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New Russian Air Assault, Castillo Jailed, Berlin Aquarium Explodes

New Russian Air Assault, Castillo Jailed, Berlin Aquarium Explodes

A giant aquarium containing a million liters of water and about 1,500 tropical fish has burst in the Radisson Blu hotel in Berlin, injuring two people.

Renate Mattar, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Bertrand Hauger and Hugo Perrin

👋 Khulumkha!*

Welcome to Friday, where Russia launches a new wave of airstrikes and drone attacks across Ukraine, thousands of JFK files are released, and a 1,500-fish aquarium explodes at a Berlin hotel. Meanwhile, we unpack a new scandal that has rocked the world of French comics this week.

[*Kokborok, India and Bangladesh]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Russian strikes across Ukraine: Russia fired 60 missiles this morning, also launching drone attacks across the country, targeting Kyiv and cities in the north, south and west of the country. Russian attacks escalated this week, focusing on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure.

• Castillo to spend 18 months in jail: Following Peru’s Supreme Court order, former President Pedro Castillo is to remain in jail for the next 18 months. Lawmakers saw Castillo’s attempt to dissolve Congress as an attempted coup. His removal sparked violent protests across the nation, in what protestors called a “national insurgency.”

• Japan unveils $320 billion military plan: Tokyo has shared details of its biggest military build-up since the end of WWII. With an allocated $320-billion budget over the next five years, the traditionally pacifist country plans to buy new missiles, expand transport capacity and develop cyber warfare capabilities, as an “answer to the various security challenges that we face,” according to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

• Thousands of JFK files released: The National Archive released a portion of an estimated 13,000 previously classified documents relating to the 1963 assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

• Malaysia landslide: At least 18 campers died in a landslide on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with 20 people still missing as search teams hunt for survivors.

• Twitter bans journalists critical of Musk: Several journalists, including reporters from CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post, were kicked off Twitter late Thursday, in what appears the latest troubling action since the social media’s takeover by billionaire Elon Musk. Those journalists whose accounts were suspended have been critical of Musk, who has nonetheless claimed he bought Twitter to foster more free speech.

• AquaDom explosion: The celebrated aquarium in Berlin, AquaDom, exploded early Friday, injuring at least two people, and causing what German police officers called “incredible maritime damage,” as it contained an estimated 1,500 fish. Freezing temperatures may have caused the structure to burst.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“Not available,” titles German daily Frankfurter Rundschau, reporting on the antibiotics shortages across Europe and in Australia. Low supplies are partly explained by added costs on production due to the war in Ukraine and its effects on energy prices, but also by a lack of economic incentives for suppliers to produce some drugs whose prices keep falling.

💬  LEXICON

Baja menstrual retribuida

Spain is moving forward with the introduction of a paid menstrual leave, as the lower house of the Parliament approved a bill establishing a sick leave for women suffering from painful periods. Once adopted by the Senate, the bill — which also reinforces access to abortion in public hospitals — will make Spain the first European country to introduce paid menstrual leave, joining the likes of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Zambia.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Free speech v. sexual deviance: French cartoonist accused of promoting pedophilia and incest

The prestigious Angoulême International Comics Festival has cancelled the participation of Bastien Vivès, a leading French cartoonist, after a petition accused both drawings and comments that seem to justify pedophilia and incest. The festival cited risks of violence after threats were made online against Vivès.

✏️❌ From Charlie Hebdo to Xavier Gorce to R. Crumb, cartoonists in France have a history of provocation and courting controversy — and generally receive French public support in return. But the latest provocateur, Bastien Vivès, may have crossed the line on the limits of free speech and artistic expression. The 38-year-old comic book artist from Paris is facing a sudden backlash to work from four years ago that has resurfaced, as well as more recent comments, that critics charge excuse, or even promote, incest and pedophilia.

📖 One of Vivès’ work is the target of critics: Petit Paul, published in 2018, portrays a small child with disproportionate private parts, prompting critics to demand its withdrawal from bookstores and even its outright banning under a provision in the French legal code that prohibits the pornographic representation of minors. Ultimately no legal action was taken. Defending himself, Vivès said, “How can anyone take Petit Paul seriously?” “Our era needs transgression,” he said, “but it’s become complicated to do it.”

❓ The #MeToo movement, which took off in France under the hashtag #BalanceTonPorc, led to the downfall of Eric Brion, a media consultant and former executive at the public broadcaster France Télévisions. Still, there was a significant counter-movement at the time in France, which questioned whether the movement was an example of puritanism. Five years later, the French art world is once again facing uncomfortable questions: How far can artists go in treating controversial themes in their work? To what extent should art, or pornography, be a place of expression for sexual fantasies that can’t be lived out in real life?

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

2%

An estimated 100,000 people in El Salvador — roughly 2% of the total adult population — have been arrested over the past eight months as part of President Nayib Bukele’s “Mano Dura” war on gangs. As a consequence, homicide rates have reportedly fallen in the Central American country, and the president is enjoying an 86% approval rating.

✍️ Newsletter by Renate Mattar, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Bertrand Hauger and Hugo Perrin


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Geopolitics

The Trumpian Virus Undermining Democracy Is Now Spreading Through South America

Taking inspiration from events in the United States over the past four years, rejection of election results and established state institutions is on the rise in Latin America.

Two supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dressed in Brazilian flags during a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Bolsonaro supporters dressed in national colours with flags in a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 4, 2022.

Ivan Abreu / ZUMA
Carlos Ruckauf*

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — South Africa's Nelson Mandela used to say it was "so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build."

Intolerance toward those who think differently, even inside the same political space, is corroding the bases of representative democracy, which is the only system we know that allows us to live and grow in freedom, in spite of its flaws.

Recent events in South America and elsewhere are precisely alerting us to that danger. The most explosive example was in Brazil, where a crowd of thousands managed to storm key institutional premises like the presidential palace, parliament and the Supreme Court.

In Peru, the country's Marxist (now former) president, Pedro Castillo, sought to use the armed and security forces to shut down parliament and halt the Supreme Court and state prosecutors from investigating corruption allegations against him.

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