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Rescuers look for survivors in the rubble caused by a Russian missile launched yesterday on the city of Vinnytsia, in central Ukraine.

Rescuers look for survivors in the rubble caused by a Russian missile launched yesterday on the city of Vinnytsia, in central Ukraine.

Lila Paulou, McKenna Johnson, Bertrand Hauger and Lisa Berdet.

👋 אַ גוטן טאָג!*

Welcome to Friday, where Zelensky asks for the world to brand Russia a “terrorist state,” Italian politics spiral into chaos, and Donald Trump’s first wife Ivana dies at age 73. Meanwhile, we offer the latest edition of our LGBTQ+ International roundup, this week featuring Brazilian soccer, Japanese politics and good news from the UN.

[*A gutn tog - Yiddish]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Russia, a “terrorist state”: In a video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the international community to recognize Russia as a “terrorist state” following a missile attack yesterday on the central city of Vinnytsia that killed at least 23.

• Italy’s president rejects Draghi’s resignation: Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella rejected Mario Draghi’s resignation as prime minister and “has invited him to go to parliament” to discuss the situation. Draghi offered his resignation amid a political crisis and the collapse of his 18-month-old coalition government.

• Sri Lanka update: Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary speaker confirmed that Gotabaya Rajapaksa is no longer the country’s president. After fleeing to the Maldives and then to Singapore, Rajapaksa sent his resignation letter on Thursday. The parliament is expected to pick a new president on Monday.

• Biden to meet Palestinian and Saudi leaders: U.S. President Joe Biden will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank before flying to Saudi Arabia in the afternoon for talks with Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Prince is accused of approving the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in 2018, straining relationships with the U.S. Biden is expected to push for increasing oil production.

• Togo army behind deadly blast: The Togolese army issued an apology after an investigation revealed an aircraft had wrongly targeted a group of civilians in the northern Tone prefecture, killing seven and injuring two more. The armed forces said to have mistaken the civilians for jihadists, who are very active in the region.

• UK declares heat emergency: UK’s Meteorological Office issued a red warning and declared national emergency for extreme heat, as temperatures could exceed 40 °C in England and Wales next week.

• Ivana Trump dies at 73: Donald Trump’s first wife Ivana Trump has died at 73 at her home in New York city from “accidental causes” according to AP. Born in what is now the Czech Republic, the businesswoman married the former president in 1977 before they divorced in 1992; they had three children together: Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Milan-based daily Libero addresses the ongoing turmoil at the highest levels of Italian politics: President Sergio Mattarella’s rejection of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s resignation, in a bid to avoid snap elections. The decision was strongly criticized by the newspaper, as indicated on its front page, “Draghi’s got balls (unlike Mattarella).”

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$40 million

Muhammad A. Aziz, who was wrongly convicted for the 1965 murder of Black civil rights advocate Malcolm X and exonerated last year, is suing the city of New York for $40 million. His lawyers said “he spent 20 years in jail [...] for a crime he did not commit,” suffering “immense and irreparable” damages.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

LGBTQ+ International: Iraq homosexuality ban, Bhutan’s beauty queen — and the week’s other top news

Every week, Worldcrunch takes a look at LGBTQ+ news around the world. Our latest edition features Italian police, Brazilian soccer, Japanese politics, and plenty of other stories.

👮👮 Italy’s Ministry of Interior is looking to hire 1,381 new police agents, but as part of their eligibility criteria, they class “gender identity” in the list of mental health disorders applicants cannot have, as reported by Open. According to La Stampa, this part of a 7-page application process was flagged by an aspiring policeman, who was “offended and humiliated” and turned to a lawyer. “It seems to me as a wrong reference in a wrong context.”

🇯🇵 In Japan’s House of Councillors election that took place on Sunday, history was made with a record number of 4 out of 545 candidates aiming to enter Japan’s male-dominated political circle identifying as LGBTQ+. These include transgender candidate Karen Yoda, Shunichi Murata who identifies as bisexual, and Daigo Matsuura who is openly gay. Japan’s political landscape was criticized for being unable to reflect the society’s diversity, and it only ranks 147th in political empowerment among 156 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index.

🌎 The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in order to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) for three more years. In addition to the renewal of the mandate, the resolution also confirmed fundamental LGBTQ+ human rights. Since its creation in 2016, the UN expert has raised awareness worldwide about the impact of the criminalization of same-sex relations and the lack of affirming legal gender recognition procedures.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

Frowning is not allowed in the municipality!

— Aristotle Aguirre, mayor of Mulanay, announced a new “smile policy” for his town in the northern Philippines. The policy, “Executive Order No. 002 Series of 2022”, requires local government employees to smile while serving the public, and threatens disciplinary action for employees who do not. The policy was one of Aguirre’s campaign promises, and although Aguirre said he expected some resistance, many members of the Mulanay community have applauded the order. “It is not that very hard,” Aguirre said in an interview. “A smile is very contagious.”

✍️ Newsletter by Lila Paulou, McKenna Johnson, Bertrand Hauger and Lisa Berdet.


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Geopolitics

Why Iran Is Pushing So Hard For A Russian Victory

The Supreme Leader's advisers in Tehran argue the Islamic Republic must back Russia in Ukraine because Russia is fighting a common enemy: the Western alliance.

Russia President Vladimir Putin meeting with Iran's leader Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran

-Analysis-

When he welcomed visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reassured his guest that Moscow rightfully defended itself when invading Ukraine. Speaking in Tehran, Khamenei declared: "Westerners are entirely opposed to a strong and independent Russia," and termed the NATO alliance "a dangerous creature."

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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His rambling speech continued, filled with baseless claims about NATO, saying the Western military alliance "knows no limits" and "would have provoked this same war, with Crimea as its excuse," if Putin hadn't acted first.

Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the conservative Tehran paper Kayhan, which reputedly reflects the Supreme Leader's thinking, wrote in an editorial a week after Putin's visit and evoked a "celestial perspective" that could see the realities behind "the curtain" of the war. Khamenei, the editor wrote, knows that if America were to win this war, Iran would become its next target, which is why he considers the Russian "resistance" in Ukraine as tied to the Iranian regime's own security.

Thus, he concluded of Khamenei: "logically and naturally, he backs it."

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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