Welcome to Friday, where the Nobel Peace Prize goes to Narges Mohammadi, a jailed Iranian women’s rights campaigner, major Russian strikes hit Ukrainian civilians, and the U.S. sees its largest healthcare strike in history. Meanwhile, Russian publication Agentsvo Media focuses on the fate of convicts who were recruited as Wagner mercenaries, now back home.
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• Nobel Peace Prize: Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian women’s rights campaigner who is serving a lengthy sentence in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all.” This comes as Iran’s morality police has been accused of beating a 16-year-old girl, now in a coma, for not wearing a hijab, reigniting anger just after the one-year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini set off months of protest.
• Deadly Russian strikes in Ukraine: A strike by Russian forces hit residential buildings in the eastern region of Kharkiv early on Friday, killing a 10-year-old boy and injuring 26. The attack comes a day after a Russian missile strike on the eastern Ukrainian village of Hroza left at least 51 people dead — one of the deadliest attacks against civilians since the conflict began. Ukrainian President Volydymyr Zelensky called the attack “inhuman” and “deliberate.”
• At least 100 killed in drone attack on Syrian military college: A drone attack on a military academy in Syria’s Homs province during a graduation ceremony has killed at least 100 people and injured 240 more, a monitoring group reports. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which marks one of the bloodiest strikes against the military in more than 12 years of civil war.
• Biden plans face-to-face meeting with Xi Jinping: The White House has begun “the process” of planning a face-to-face meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in San Francisco in November, The Washington Post reports, as part of efforts to stabilize the two countries’ troubled relations.
• Indian flood death toll rises to 40, dozens still missing: Rescue operations continue in India’s Himalayan northeast where the death toll from flash floods has risen to 40 and nearly 100 people are still missing. It is one of the worst disasters in the region in more than 50 years.
• Philippines’ drag artist arrested for “offending religion”: Amadeus Fernando Pagente, who performs as drag queen Pura Luka Vega, has been arrested over a performance as Jesus Christ reciting the Lord's Prayer during Pride in Manila, which triggered outrage in the mostly Catholic country. The artist faces up to 12 years in jail under Philippines’ obscenity laws.
• Popular Tokyo district asks Halloween party goers to stay away: The local government of Tokyo’s Shibuya City, famed for having the world’s busiest intersection, has asked people to refrain from celebrating Halloween there, for safety reasons. Since Japan has fully reopened its borders to tourists in fall 2022, local authorities fear a large number of party goers could cause a dangerous crowd crush.
Oslo-based daily Dagsavisen celebrates Norwegian author Jon Fosse winning the 2023 Nobel Prize for Literature, hailing it on its front page as “the greatest thing that has happened to Norway’s culture in modern times.” The 64-year-old novelist and playwright received the award yesterday for his ability to depict “the critical moment of irresolution,” according to the Nobel committee in Stockholm.
Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Western Europe, has shrunk to its lowest height since precise measurements started to be recorded, 22 years ago. The peak has lost over two meters (6.5 ft) in two years, with this year’s low coming as a result of this summer’s heat and lack of rain. On Thursday, experts measured the total height of Mont Blanc at 4,805.59 meters (15,766 ft).
Wagner's prison recruits: Back from the front, freed on amnesty — and accused of 19 murders
An investigation by the Russian publication Agentsvo Media finds that a number of Russian criminals who were granted amnesty in exchange for fighting in Ukraine have returned home and have been implicated in violent crimes — including more than a dozen murders.
🔍 Russian military and paramilitary personnel who have returned from the front line in Ukraine have been implicated in a series of violent crimes, in which 27 people have been killed. According to an investigation by the Russian independent news site Agentsvo Media, these incidents involve at least 20 separate criminal cases, with former members of the Wagner mercenary militia being accused in the majority of these incidents.
🚨 Yevgeny Prigozhin, the late founder of Wagner, stunned many last year inside Russia by confirming that he was recruiting from the nation's prisons to have convicted criminals join his troops in Ukraine. Part of the offer to prisoners: in exchange for fighting in the war, you will earn permanent freedom. Fears of that amnesty backfiring across Russian society are now proving a reality, with this exclusive tally of violent crimes committed in just a few months after the convicts' return from the front in Ukraine.
⚠️ Warnings about the consequences of the recruiting policy first began in November, 2022, when Grish Moskovsky, a Russian mob boss, said that convicts recruited by the Wagner Group for the war in Ukraine would eventually wreak havoc in society. "Believe me; imagine who the Wagners are. All former convicts who were 20, 15, 18, 19 years old, who are behind bars for rape, for the spread of murder, and for all kinds of violence," the mob boss said in a video appeal. "And now they are free, and they want to eat"
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“Not a single enemy would have a chance of survival.”
— President Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday that for the first time, Moscow had successfully tested the Burevestnik, a nuclear-powered and nuclear-capable missile which holds a potential range of thousands of miles. Russia has not conducted a nuclear test since 1990, but Putin hinted at possible tests resuming, particularly if Russia’s parliament were to revoke its ratification of the nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963, which the U.S. had not ratified themselves.
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Valeria Berghinz and Bertrand Hauger
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