👋 Bonghjornu !*
Welcome to Thursday, where Russia hits 40+ Ukrainian cities, far-right talk host Alex Jones is sentenced to pay $965 million for his Sandy Hook hoax claims, and space tourist Dennis Tito is shooting for the Moon. Meanwhile, Cameron Manley explores the possibility that the recent explosion on the strategic bridge linking Crimea to Russia was carried out by a Ukrainian suicide bomber.
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• Russia ramps up attacks: Missile attacks continue for a fourth straight day, with Russian airstrikes targeting Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure, with more than 40 towns and cities reportedly hit. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has positioned himself as a potential peacemaker.
• Iran’s top judge slams protesters: Iran’s judiciary chief was quoted by a news agency as saying he had asked judges “to avoid showing unnecessary sympathy to main elements of these riots and issue tough sentences for them” as protests over the death of Mahsa Amini continue to rock the country.
• U.S.-Mexico deal to ease Venezuela migration: The U.S. and Mexico have reached an agreement to allow thousands of eligible Venezuelan migrants to enter the U.S. while expelling those who arrive illegally, in an attempt to ease pressure at the border between the two countries.
• India top court divided on hijab ban: India’s Supreme Court failed to deliver a verdict on whether Muslim students can wear a hijab in classrooms, due to divisions among the top court’s panel.
• Alex Jones ordered to pay nearly $1 billion: Far-right U.S. talk host Alex Jones has been sentenced to pay $965 million in compensatory damages to eight families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims. Jones had claimed repeatedly that the 2012 mass shooting, which killed 26 people (including 20 children), was staged.
• Taiwan reopens to tourists: Taiwan is welcoming back international travelers, after the island finally ended its strict mandatory quarantine rules for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.
• World’s first space tourist books private Moon trip: Entrepreneur Dennis Tito and his wife have purchased seats on a private 10-minute trip around the Moon aboard Elon Musk’s Starship. Tito became the first private space tourist after flying with Russia to the International Space Station in 2001.
Pandemic management, international relations, enhanced conservatism… Ahead of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party that opens Sunday, French weekly L’Express summarizes Xi Jinping’s politics after two mandates: “The Great Leap Backward.” Ten years after coming to power, the Chinese leader is set to continue with a historic third term.
In India, the world's fourth-largest car market, passenger vehicle sales for September reached 307,389 units, nearly twice as much as last year. According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the demand has been boosted by the festive season while production — which also rose by 88% for the same month — rebounded as semiconductor shortages ease.
Was the Crimea bridge explosion a suicide attack? Why the question matters
We may never know the exact cause of the explosion that damaged the strategic Kerch bridge. But it is quite plausible that it was carried out by a Ukrainian suicide bomber. Yes, it’s come this far — and for a very simple reason.
💥 As cold-blooded as it was, Russia’s barrage of missile attacks aimed at civilian targets across Ukraine was no surprise. But as indiscriminate as the revenge killings were, it cannot erase the single strike that happened two days earlier: the precision targeting of the Kerch bridge, linking Crimea to mainland Russia. Comparing the two attacks, there is little mystery about how Russia carried out its response. Instead, the details behind Saturday’s bridge attack are unknown (and largely unknowable) — but it is a story all its own that may help to shed further light on the difference between how Ukraine and Russia see the war.
❓ A number of theories are currently making the rounds on social media as to the cause of the blast: explosives under the bridge, a drone-activated bomb coordinated by Ukrainian Security Services, or perhaps the most feasible: a suicide truck bomber. But all of the information about the truck and its contents excludes a crucial question: Who was the driver? Russia has reported that three people were killed, and surveillance video shows a truck that is clearly visible at the center of the explosion.
🇺🇦✊ While unconfirmed, and likely to remain so for some time, the theory of the suicide bomber highlights the divide in national attitudes towards the war. While Russia fires cruise missiles from the safety of its ships in the Black Sea, and its demoralized ground troops retreat and thousands flee Putin’s draft, Ukrainian determination and sacrifice does not seem to abate — and may now even include cases of individuals seeking martyrdom. These differences have quite a simple source: Ukrainians know their nation’s very existence is at stake, and that their brothers and sisters have already died trying to defend it.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
We don’t see oil as a weapon.
— The Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir on Wednesday denied that there were political motives behind the decision to partner with Russia to cut back on oil production, insisting instead that the move was done to stabilize markets. “Saudi Arabia does not politicize oil. We don’t see oil as a weapon. We see oil as our commodity. Our objective is to bring stability to the oil market,” al-Jubeir said.
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin, Sophia Constantino and Bertrand Hauger
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