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In The News

Major Russian Attacks On Kyiv And Other Cities, North Korea Confirms “Nuclear” Drill, Pink Diamond Record

plumes of smoke rises over Ukraine’s capital Kyiv after Russian missile attacks
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin and Sophia Constantino

👋 Nyob zoo!*

Welcome to Monday, where Russia launches missile strikes on Kyiv and other cities across Ukraine as revenge for the Crimea bridge attack, protests in Iran enter their fourth week and the final 2022 Nobel Prize is awarded. Meanwhile, Brazilian news agency Agência Pública meets with a team of experts investigating one of the worst torture centers in São Paulo, in a bid to recover the country's painful history of torture during the military regime.

[*Nyaw zhong - Hmong, China, Vietnam, Laos]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities targeted by missile strikes: A wave of explosions has been reported in Kyiv and across Ukraine, in what appears to be the most widespread set of Russian attacks since the first few weeks of the war. At least eight people were killed in just one of the Kyiv strikes. This comes just days after a bombing on the Crimean bridge, which Russian president Vladimir Putin called a “terrorist attack” by Ukraine. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky announced the G7 would hold an emergency meeting following the strikes.

• North Korea says missile tests simulated nuclear attack: North Korea’s recent missile launches demonstrated its ability to carry out attacks with nuclear weapons, leader Kim Jong-un said, adding the drills were “an obvious warning” to the country’s enemies. The military tests are the largest in five years.

• Iran leaders meet as protests continue: Leaders of three branches of power in Iran, including president Ebrahim Raisi, held a meeting late on Saturday to emphasize the need for “security and calm” and call for “unity among all groups” as protests over the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody enters a fourth week. Iran’s state television was hijacked for several seconds to feature a call to protest.

• Economics Nobel Prize goes to Bernanke, and other U.S.-based economists: Ben S. Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chair and economists Douglas W. Diamond and Philip H. Dybvig were awarded the Nobel Prize in economic sciences — the final prize announced this year — for their research on banks and financial crises.

• CNN apologizes after entering Thai massacre site: Two journalists from U.S. news organization CNN have issued apologies after they entered the daycare center where an attack left 37 people dead in Thailand last week to film the crime scene. Both were cleared of charges but fined for working while on tourist visas.

• Venezuela landslides leave at least 25 dead: Landslides caused by days of heavy rainfalls have killed at least 25 people and left more than 50 missing in Venezuela’s north central state of Aragua.

• Verstappen crowned F1 champion after chaotic Japan GP: With an unassailable 113 point-lead in the Formula One championship, Max Verstappen has won his second consecutive F1 title by winning the Japanese Grand Prix. The race was shortened by rain, creating confusion as to whether the Dutch driver had defended his title.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“Old is the new new,” titles Austrian daily Kurier after Austria president Alexander Van der Bellen secured a second six-year term by obtaining more than 50% of the vote in an election on Sunday, avoiding a run-off. By projecting an image of calm and steadiness, the 78-year-old pro-European former leader of the Greens has gained broad popularity since the collapse of the country’s government in 2019 and the resignation of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz over corruption allegations.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$58 million

Unique for both its size and its rare color, the pink diamond known as the "Williamson Pink Star," has sold for $58 million in Hong Kong. According to Sotheby’s, the 11.15 carat precious stone is one of the purest, pinkest diamonds ever to go under the hammer. Yet, the auction house expected it to sell for less than half of the price it ended up reaching at Friday’s auction.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Why Brazil is excavating an infamous torture center 40 years later

As the country gears up for a politically-charged run-off election, a team of archaeologists, historians and forensics experts are set to excavate the grounds and buildings of one of the worst torture centers in São Paulo, trying to recover the country's painful history of torture during the military regime, reports Rubens Valente for Brazilian news agency Agência Pública.

🇧🇷 In 1964, the Brazilian Armed Forces carried out a coup, with support from the United States government, and installed a dictatorship that lasted for over 20 years. Although free elections returned to the country in the 1980s, Brazil has lagged other South American countries when it comes to reconciling itself with the aftermaths of the dictatorship. For the first time, an archaeological, historical and forensic project in Brazil intends to excavate the grounds and buildings of the former headquarters of the intelligence agency that carried out violent political repression during Brazil’s military dictatorship.

🔍 At least 6,700 political prisoners passed through its dungeons from 1969 to 1975 alone. An uncountable number were tortured and between 52 and 70 people were murdered, according to figures gathered by historian Deborah Neves. Through controlled excavations, scrapings, scans, and x-rays, among other means, the project seeks to better understand the spaces used to repress people and, in an ideal scenario, to locate traces of the passage of former prisoners, many of whom remain disappeared today.

📖 "Our goal is to use forensic resources in order to provide a social response. Ultimately, we want to help turn the site into a memorial so that people will know and reflect on what occurred in that place,” said archeology professor Cláudia Regina Plens, coordinator of the research project and of Archeological Studies Laboratory of the History Department of the Federal University of São Paulo. “Today there are still people who doubt that the dictatorship happened. So we need to bring this to the public.”

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

There is no room for compromise on this.

— In light of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s comment yesterday that “reunification” between mainland China and Taiwan is inevitable, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said Monday, in a speech marking Taiwan’s National Day, that there is “no room for compromise” over the island’s sovereignty. Tsai called Taiwan an “important symbol” of democracy in the world, although she said she is willing to work with China to maintain peace in the region.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin and Sophia Constantino


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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

What Are Iran's Real Intentions? Watch What The Houthis Do Next

Three commercial ships traveling through the Red Sea were attacked by missiles launched by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels, while the U.S. Navy shot down three drones. Tensions that are linked to the ongoing war in Gaza conflict and that may serve as an indication as to Iran's wider intentions.

photo of Raisi of iran speaking in parliament

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the Iranian parliament in Tehran.

Icana News Agency via ZUMA
Pierre Haski

-Analysis

PARIS — It’s a parallel war that has so far claimed fewer victims and attracted less public attention than the one in Gaza. Yet it increasingly poses a serious threat of escalating at any time.

This conflict playing out in the international waters of the Red Sea, a strategic maritime route, features the U.S. Navy pitted against Yemen's Houthi rebels. But the stakes go beyond the Yemeni militants — with the latter being supported by Iran, which has a hand in virtually every hotspot in the region.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Houthis have been making headlines, despite Yemen’s distance from the Gaza front. Starting with missiles launched directed toward southern Israel, which were intercepted by U.S. forces. Then came attacks on ships belonging, or suspected of belonging, to Israeli interests.

On Sunday, no fewer than three commercial ships were targeted by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea. The missiles caused minor damage and no casualties. Meanwhile, three drones were intercepted and destroyed by the U.S. Navy, currently deployed in full force in the region.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for these attacks, stating their intention to block Israeli ships' passage for as long as there was war in Gaza. The ships targeted on Sunday were registered in Panama, but at least one of them was Israeli. In the days before, several other ships were attacked and an Israeli cargo ship carrying cars was seized, and is still being held in the Yemeni port of Hodeida.

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