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In The News

Russia’s New Commander, More Classified Biden Files, Musk Record Loss

Russian President Vladimir Putin and General Valery Gerasimov, newly appointed as the Russian Army’s top commander in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin and General Valery Gerasimov, newly appointed as the Russian Army’s top commander in Ukraine, replacing Sergei Surovikin after only three months.

Renate Mattar & Ginevra Falciani

👋 Selamat pagi!*

Welcome to Thursday, where U.S. President Joe Biden aides find a second cache of classified files, Russia appoints a new commander in yet another military reshuffle, and Elon Musk really is a big loser. Meanwhile, speculation is rising that Brazil's former president Jair Bolsonaro and his family may take refuge in Italy, where they could qualify for citizenship.



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• More classified Biden documents found: U.S. President Joe Biden’s legal team found a second batch of classified government records at an undisclosed location, following the initial discovery of classified files at Biden’s former think tank office in Washington, D.C. The White House declined to comment on the matter.

• Russia appoints new military commander: Russian President Vladimir Putin has removed Sergei Surovikin, Russia’s top commander in Ukraine, just three months after he was installed. General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff, has been appointed in his place and will now lead Putin’s "special military operation."

• ISIS claims responsibility for Kabul attack: At least 20 people were killed outside the foreign ministry in Kabul at the hands of a suspected suicide bomber in the second major attack in the Afghan capital this year. Terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility for the deadly suicide blast.

• Peru's anti-government protests spread: New clasheswere reported yesterday in the city of Cusco, Peru, where 37 civilians and six police officers were injured after protesters tried to take over the airport, where foreign tourists arrive to see sites including Machu Picchu. Protests against Peruvian President Dina Boluarte’s government continue to shake the nation and have left 48 people dead since they began a month ago.

• U.S. and Japan agree to strengthen security ties: During the annual U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting, U.S. and Japan announced a significant strengthening of their military relationship and an upgrade of the U.S. military’s presence in Japan. The decision includes the stationing of a new Marine unit on Okinawa, which is key to the U.S. military’s operations in the Pacific due to its close proximity to Taiwan. This decision is expected to send a strong signal to China.

• UAE names oil chief to lead COP28 talks: Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and UAE Minister for Industry and Advanced Technology, has been appointed to lead the COP28 global climate talks in Dubai, in December.

• Jeff Beck dies at 78: Jeff Beck, the influential UK rock guitarist who rose to fame as a member of the Yardbirds before forming the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart, died from bacterial meningitis at age 78.


“Lützerath remains … a problem for the Greens,” titles German daily Die Tageszeitung, reporting on an ongoing police operation to evacuate thousands of climate activists who have been occupying the western German village for more than two years over plans to raze it to expand a nearby open-pit coal mine. The Green Party has pledged to reduce the country’s reliance on coal but has been forced to order more coal-fired power plants as it still represents 31% of Germany's energy production.


$165 billion

From November 2021 to December 2022, Elon Musk lost around $165 billion, due primarily to a fall in value of shares in his electric car firm Testa. This, according to the Guinness World Record, constitutes the largest loss of personal fortune in history.


Will Bolsonaro and family flee to Italy?

With risks of arrest rising after the violence in Brasilia, many wonder if the former Brazilian president and his family will seek refuge in Italy, where they would qualify for citizenship and a friendly government is in charge.

🇧🇷🇮🇹 Questions are circulating in Italy and Brazil about whether the Bolsonaro family is considering seeking asylum in Italy, which they not only claim ancestral connections but also now has a friendly right-wing government in charge, headed by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. "Italian Citizenship to Bolsonaro: Here's What Could Happen," headlined Milan daily Il Sole 24 Ore this week.

🤝 Meloni, and her vice premier Matteo Salvini are long-time allies of the Bolsonaro family, and Eduardo Bolsonaro was among the first to personally congratulate her on the day of her victory. On Sunday night, Meloni condemned the storming of key government buildings in Brasilia, but she has yet to state publicly that these actions were committed by Bolsonaro’s supporters.

🎖️ It’s worth noting that Jair Bolsonaro is already an honorary citizen of the municipality of Anguillara Veneta, a small town in northeastern Italy from where his ancestors left for Brazil in the 19th century and where he traveled in 2021 for the handover ceremony. This title has no legal value, but could speed up the process of obtaining Italian citizenship.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“Gross human rights violations did happen in many occurrences.”

— Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed regrets over the country’s bloody past, including an anti-communist purge in the 1960s which left an estimated 500,000 people dead under the long rule of dictator Suharto. After this rare admission of abuse by the state, Widodo vowed to ensure these human rights violations would “never happen again in the future.”

✍️ Newsletter by Renate Mattar, Ginevra Falciani, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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First It Was Poland's Farmers — Now Truckers Are Protesting Ukraine's Special Status

For the past month, Poland has been blocking off its border checkpoints to Ukrainian trucks, leaving many in days-long lines. It's a commercial and economic showdown, but it's about much more.

Photogrqph of a line of trucks queued in the  Korczowa - border crossing​

November 27, 2023, Medyka: Trucks stand in a queue to cross the border in Korczowa as Polish farmers strike and block truck transport in Korczowa - border crossing

Dominika Zarzycka/ZUMA
Katarzyna Skiba

Since November 6, Polish truckers have blocked border crossing points with Ukraine, citing unfair advantages given to the Ukrainian market, and demanding greater support from the European Union.

With lines that now stretch for up to 40 kilometers (25 miles), thousands of Ukrainian truckers must now wait an average of about four days in ever colder weather to cross the border, sometimes with the help of the Polish police. At least two Ukrainian truck drivers have died while waiting for passage into Poland.

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The round-the-clock blockade is being manned by Polish trucking unions who claim that Ukrainian trucking companies, which offer a cheaper rate, have been transporting goods across Europe, rather than between Poland and Ukraine. Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian truckers have been exempt from the permits once required to cross the border.

Now, Polish truckers are demanding that their government reintroduce entry permits for Ukrainian lorries, with exceptions for military and humanitarian aid from Europe. For the moment, those trucks are being let through the blockade, which currently affects four out of Ukraine’s eight border crossings with Poland.

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