Welcome to Thursday, where Russia continues major airstrikes of Ukrainian cities, the Republicans win control of the U.S. House of Representatives with a slim majority, and Lego releases its tallest set ever. Meanwhile, Global Press Journal zooms in on an unlikely leading candidate ahead of next year’s presidential election in Zimbabwe.
[*Barev - Armenian]
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• Black Sea grain deal extended, Ukrainian cities under attack: After Russia had threatened to pull out, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres confirmed Thursday that all parties had agreed to extend the Black Sea Grain deal for another 120 days. The deal, which was signed in July and has helped limit a growing global food crisis, had been due to expire on Saturday. Meanwhile, Russia continued for a second straight day to launch multiple air strikes against infrastructure targets in major Ukrainian cities.
• Republicans clinch House majority: The Republican Party has now secured the majority in the House of Representatives, winning its 218th seat as votes continue to be counted in several districts. House Republicans will now take over control of committees from Democrats, which will likely limit the approval of legislation proposed by the administration of President Joe Biden, and possibly lead to investigations of the White House.
• Israel accuses Iran of drone attack:Israel has blamed Iran for launching a self-destructing drone into an Israeli-affiliated tanker off the coast of Oman There was no major damage; yet an Israeli official described the attack as “an Iranian provocation in the Gulf” destined to interfere with World-Cup-related events.
• Myanmar to grant amnesty: Myanmar is reportedly set to release some 6,000 political prisoners, including Vicky Bowman, a former British ambassador held prisoner since August. Myanmar’s ruling military junta has arrested thousands of protesters since 2021, and was widely criticized at a recent South Asian summit.
• Musk gives employees deadline: Twitter employees have been told to decide by today if they want to stay or leave the company. Musk explicitly asked workers who don’t share his vision to quit, while he warned those who are staying that they will be “working long hours at high intensity.”
• Brendan Fraser boycotts the Golden Globes: Brendan Fraser said that he won’t attend the upcoming Golden Globes ceremony, even if he’s nominated for his performance in The Whale. Fraser had publicly accused the former president of the Globes, Philip Berk, of sexually assaulting him in 2018 and said that he had “history” with the institution.
• 10,001 pieces Lego set: Lego announced that next week it will release the tallest set ever produced: a 10,001 piece and 1.49 meters (4.8 ft) high representation of the Eiffel Tower.
German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Thursday featured a closing analysis of this year’s G20 Summit hosted in Bali, accompanied by a photo of the leaders hammering out a final joint declaration that the West had hoped in vain would be unanimous in the condemnation of Russia for its invasion Ukraine.
Singapore has become the latest victim of crypto exchange FTX. In a statement on Thursday, state-owned investment company Temasek said it had invested $275 million in the crypto exchange, which was once considered one of the biggest and most reputable players in the market for digital assets. FTX is now under criminal investigation in the Bahamas.
Nelson Chamisa, the outsider shaking up Zimbabwe’s presidential race
Backers of the opposition's presidential candidate see hope in upstart victories in Malawi and Zambia. But in Zimbabwe, a single party has been in power for more than four decades, reports Evidence Chenjerai Global Press Journal.
🇿🇼 Zimbabwe’s leading opposition presidential candidate, 44-year-old Nelson Chamisa, bounds onto a stage. “Do you embrace the new?” he asks. “Yes!” the crowd shouts. This event marks the formal introduction of his new political party, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), in eastern Zimbabwe ahead of next year’s presidential election. Dinha, 32, believes Chamisa’s relative youth and outsider perspective can help resuscitate Zimbabwe’s listless economy, with high levels of unemployment, inflation and food insecurity.
💥 Chamisa stumbled into the political spotlight. A former student activist and member of Parliament, he found ways to sidestep government-controlled media outlets and drum up support. He electrified crowds around the country with rallies that enhanced his name recognition and built community among his backers, and wooed voters directly on social media. Nevertheless, Zimbabwe’s first post-Mugabe election ended in turmoil, with vote-rigging allegations and protests where security forces fired into crowds and several people died.
🗳️ This March, Zimbabwe held elections for various parliamentary and council seats. They did not bode well for Chamisa’s party. Chamisa often promises electoral reforms in his speeches, but his allies don’t have the numbers in Parliament to make changes before the next election. “We are likely to have history repeating itself when it comes to violence,” political analyst Alexander Rusero says. “I also don’t see the elections bringing the much-needed change, instead worsening the situation and deepening the divide that exists among Zimbabweans.”
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