Welcome to Tuesday, where Ukraine launches a counteroffensive to retake Kherson in the south of the country, deadly clashes rock Iraq after cleric al-Sadr resigns, and the world record for pumpkin paddling (you read that right) gets broken. We also turn to Ukraine’s news platform Livy Bereg to see how Russian propaganda plays out across European countries.
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• Southern offensive in Kherson: The Ukrainian army launched a new counter-offensive to retake the Russian-held southern province of Kherson and claimed it has broken through Russian defenses. A military source said the troops have taken back four villages in the area.
• Iran closes Iraq borders amid political unrest: Iran has closed its borders with Iraq amid political unrest in Baghdad that erupted after Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr announced his resignation from politics, leaving at least 30 killed. Land borders and flights are suspended just as millions of Iraqis were preparing for the annual pilgrimage.
• Biden to ask Congress for $1.1 billion arms sale for Taiwan: The Biden administration plans to ask the U.S. Congress to approve a $1.1 billion arms sale plan for Taiwan, including missile and surveillance radar equipment. This comes amid tensions between China and Taiwan and the recent military drills launched by China near the island.
• Shenzhen’s COVID-19 shutdown: New restrictions have been implemented in Chinese big cities, with China’s southern city of Shenzhen shutting down businesses in order to curb the number of COVID-19 cases as part of the country’s “zero-COVID policy.”
• Solomon Islands to ban navy ships from ports: The Solomon Islands government has banned entry to its ports for foreign navy vessels until the implementation of a new process for approval of port visits. This happened after the local government failed to respond to requests by two ships from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Navy to dock in order to refuel and provision last week.
• Australia’s 40-year-old cold case resolved: An Australian court found former high school teacher Chris Dawson guilty of the 1982 murder of his wife Lynette Dawson, ending one of Australia’s most popular cold cases. He reportedly killed her in order to have a relationship with their teenage babysitter.
• Whatever floats your pumpkin: Duane Hansen, 60, broke a Guinness World Record by riding 38 miles (61km) down the Missouri river inside a giant 384-kg pumpkin. The man set this new record, beating 25.5 miles, on his birthday.
On Die Tageszeitung's front page, Chancellor Olaf Scholz becomes the main character of Franz Kafka's novel The Metamorphosis. During an hour-long speech at Charles University in Prague yesterday, Scholz outlined his vision of Europe and called for a "sovereign an enlarged EU'' to better respond to the Ukrainian conflict — something the German daily likens to a metamorphosis into a bonafide German Chancellor: “He suddenly saw quite clearly that the large EU with its unanimity principle was becoming incapable of action and warned of ‘Kafkaesque conditions’,” the front page reads.
Indian billionaire Gautam Adani has become the world’s third richest man, according to Bloomberg, with a fortune of approximately $137 billion — putting him behind Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk ($251 billion) and Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos ($153 billion). He is the first Asian person to reach this position, and had become the richest man in Asia in February of this year as his fortune skyrocketed during the pandemic. Adani is the founder of a conglomerate controlling companies involved in port management, energy production, coal mining and food processing.
Winter is coming: breaking down Russian propaganda across Europe
Hit by EU sanctions, Russia is working hard to spread its own propaganda through neighboring countries. A new study breaks down exactly what that disinformation campaign is putting across — and whether it's working, writes Irina Subota in Ukrainian news analysis and opinion platform Livy Bereg.
📺 In light of European sanctions, Moscow's propaganda in the West has taken four different and distinct lines: "The future of the EU will be cold and hungry...," "the EU shot itself in the foot...," "the U.S. economy is also suffering, and is now looking for ways to resume business with Russia...," and "sanctions do not harm Russia, they only make it stronger." The Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security of Ukraine (CSCIS) analyzed the narratives regarding international sanctions against Russia, which were covered in pro-Russian channels of 11 European countries that are the closest neighbors of Ukraine and Russia.
🇪🇺 Among EU member states, the highest percentage of disinformation about sanctions was noted in Slovakia and Hungary. In Slovakia, some Russian-friendly opposition politicians are using the topic to criticize the current government and promote their Eurosceptic plans. A similar trend is also observed in Georgia: sanctions serve as a supplement to anti-Western rhetoric. In Bulgaria and North Macedonia, pro-Kremlin voices are discrediting the EU's sanctions, saying sanctions are evidence that the country chose the "wrong side" by agreeing to be one of the "puppets" of the West.
💰 Anti-sanction messages are not very common in Poland and the Czech Republic. In Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the topic is also not common except for their Russian-speaking segments, where propagandists allude to threats to the economy. Finally, the main goal of anti-sanction messages in the Ukrainian pro-Russian segment of society is to undermine the morale of citizens and trust in Western partners. Fakes state that “Western creditors intend to use loans at high interest rates that will enslave Ukraine or give them control over Ukrainian land and other resources.”➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
The Pakistani people are facing a monsoon on steroids.
— UN Secretary General António Guterres urged global leaders to help Pakistan with $160 million as the country faces unprecedented floods which have affected tens of millions and killed more than 1,100 people since mid-June. Guterres stressed the abnormality of the situation, describing South Asia as a "climate crisis hotspot.” He called for reactions regarding the destruction of the planet by climate change, warning that, "today, it's Pakistan. Tomorrow, it could be your country." The UN appeal aims to provide 5.2 million affected people with food, water, medical support and emergency education.
✍️ Newsletter by Lisa Berdet, Chloé Touchard, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger
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