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In The News

Putin Accelerates Arms Output, Iran Blacklists, Indian Eclipse

birds flying in a dark skiy during partial solar eclipse in India on October 25

A partial solar eclipse, the final one of this year, was visible in several parts of the world, including in Srinagar, Kashmir, India, pictured here.

Sophia Constantino, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin and Renate Mattar

👋 Ki kati!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Putin is cutting red tape to speed up weapons production, Iran bans EU officials and media for “inciting terrorism,” and turtles are louder than we thought. Meanwhile, ahead of Brazil’s election on Sunday, Lisbon-based news website Mensagem reports on those from the Brazilian LGBTQ+ community who fled to Portugal when Bolsonaro was first elected four years ago.

[*Chi kati - Luganda, Uganda]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Putin wants to speed up weapons and food delivery: Russian President Vladimir Putin has created a new committee aimed at circumventing normal bureaucratic procedures to speed up the production and delivery of weapons and food supplies to Russian troops.

• Scholz and Macron meet amid rising Franco-German tensions: Olaf Scholz is meeting Emmanuel Macron in Paris, amid tense Franco-German relations as the two countries called off a cabinet meeting last week. France and Germany are not seeing eye-to-eye on issues such as the war in Ukraine, energy, and Europe-wide defense.

• EU officials and media blacklisted by Iran: Twelve people and eight organizations have been banned from entering Iran, accused of “inciting terrorism.” Among those blacklisted were the “Friends of Free Iran,” an informal group in the European Parliament, the Persian-language services of two French and German broadcast media, and two editors of German tabloid Bild.

• Huge rise in heat-related deaths, as new report measures health effects of climate change: A new WHO study reported that climate change is harming global health, including a two-thirds rise in heat-related deaths over the last two decades.

• China accused of running illegal “police stations” abroad: Several European media and a Spanish NGO have accused China of establishing “overseas service stations” to intimidate Chinese expats into speaking against the Chinese government. The Dutch foreign ministry has called the practice illegal.

• Australia’s inflation hits 32-year high: Inflation in Australia rose to 7.3% by the end of September, the highest level in the country since 1990, the latest country registering record high price hikes.

• Talking turtles: Gabriel Jorgewich-Cohen, a PhD student at the University of Zurich, has discovered that 53 sea creatures thought to be silent actually communicate. The study — published in the magazine Nature and focused on 50 turtles, a tuatara, a lungfish and a caecilian — shows that they are either very quiet or make a sound every two days.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

French daily Libération devotes its front page to the French-German tensions as the countries’ leaders Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz meet today in Paris to talk about future cooperation in Europe. The relationship between France and Germany is under growing strain due to disagreements on multiple fronts, including the war in Ukraine.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$113 million

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ruled Google was guilty of anti-competitive practices by forcing developers on its app store to use its in-app payment system — which charges commissions of up to 30% on purchases. The country's antitrust body fined the U.S. giant $113 million and declared it had to allow third-party billing or payment processing services in India. Last Thursday, the CCI had already fined Google another $162 million for anticompetitive practices related to its Android operating system.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

For LGBTQ+ who fled Bolsonaro’s Brazil, the fear of “homophobe president” winning again

Portugal became a refuge for the Brazilian LGBTQ+ community who faced real danger following Jair Bolsonaro's victory four years ago. Some of those who left say that if Lula beats the right-wing incumbent in Sunday's presidential election, they would move back home, reports João Damião for Lisbon-based news website Mensagem.

🏳️🌈 With Bolsonaro seeking a second term in Sunday’s runoff against former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian LGBTQ+ community — both those living at home and abroad — have something more at stake than others in the outcome. In the past year, 316 LGBTQ+ people were killed in Brazil, according to data from the LGBTQ+ Death and Violence Observatory. ANTRA, the country's main trans association, reports that Brazil is the country where the most transsexuals are killed each year.

🇵🇹 Portugal is the most popular destination for those fleeing Bolsonaro’s regime “for bureaucratic reasons” since Brazilians do not need a visa to enter as tourists. And they weren't the only ones. Immigration reports show a significant increase of Brazilians in Portugal after the election of Jair Bolsonaro. In 2018, there were 105,000, rising to 151,000 in 2019 and almost 184,000 in 2020. It is impossible to quantify how many left the country out of fear of homophobia, but Queer Tropical, a collective that was born on election night in 2018 to help LGBTQ+ Brazilians come to Portugal, estimates it is in the thousands.

💥🗳️ Ironically, the law that punishes “discrimination and prejudice related to sexual identity or orientation” was passed by the Brazilian Senate in 2019, during the term of Jair Bolsonaro. But the reality is different. A study conducted by journalists in 2020 shows that 50% of LGBTQ+ respondents were victims of aggression on the very day of Jair Bolsonaro's election. More than 90% said that violence increased after his election. “Being gay and black in Brazil is a statement that puts your life at risk. I even got punched on the street out of nothing for being gay”, recalls Delso Batista, one of the main members of Queer Tropical in Lisbon.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

An unparalleled scale of response would be necessary if North Korea pushes ahead.

— The U.S. and its allies believe that North Korea could resume nuclear bomb testing for the first time since 2017, South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong said. These are not the first major tests North Korea has been carrying out, having fired more than two dozen ballistic missiles over the past year. The United States, South Korea and Japan have committed to further cooperation in response.

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


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Green Or Gone

Tracking The Asian Fishing "Armada" That Sucks Up Tons Of Seafood Off Argentina's Coast

A brightly-lit flotilla of fishing ships has reappeared in international waters off the southern coast of Argentina as it has annually in recent years for an "industrial harvest" of thousands of tons of fish and shellfish.

Photo of dozens of crab traps

An estimated 500 boats gather annually off the coast of Patagonia

Claudio Andrade

BUENOS AIRES — The 'floating city' of industrial fishing boats has returned, lighting up a long stretch of the South Pacific.

Recently visible off the coast of southern Argentina, aerial photographs showed the well-lit armada of some 500 vessels, parked 201 miles offshore from Comodoro Rivadavia in the province of Chubut. The fleet had arrived for its vast seasonal haul of sea 'products,' confirming its annual return to harvest squid, cod and shellfish on a scale that activists have called an environmental blitzkrieg.

In principle the ships are fishing just outside Argentina's exclusive Economic Zone, though it's widely known that this kind of apparent "industrial harvest" does not respect the territorial line, entering Argentine waters for one reason or another.

For some years now, activists and organizations like Greenpeace have repeatedly denounced industrial-style fishing as exhausting marine resources worldwide and badly affecting regional fauna, even if the fishing outfits technically manage to evade any crackdown by staying in or near international waters.

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