Report Of Saudi Mass Killing, Crusader Wins In Guatemala, Baghdad’s NSFW Billboard Hack
Welcome to Monday, where a Human Rights Watch report warns that Saudi border guards have been killing hundreds of refugees at the border with Yemen, anti-corruption crusader Bernardo Arévalo wins in Guatemala and a disgruntled employee hacks an ad board in Baghdad in a very NSFW way. Meanwhile, Charlotte Meyer in French daily Les Echos faces our unjustified phobia to put a positive spin on spiders.
[*Klingon - Star Trek fictional language]
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• Rights group accuses Saudis of mass killings of migrants at Yemen border: A new Human Rights Watch report documents the “widespread and systematic” abuses committed by Saudi border guards against mostly Ethiopian refugees at the border with Yemen. The New York-based organization said that migrants were being targeted by firearms, explosives and artillery and mortar shellings when trying to cross. The report includes graphic testimonies of migrants as well as videos, photographs and satellite imagery analysis.
• Ukraine gets F-16s: The Netherlands and Denmark have agreed to provide 61 American-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine as soon as Ukrainian pilots have completed their training. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the decision was “absolutely historic, powerful and inspiring”, while Russian ambassador Vladimir Barbin said the deal will lead “to an escalation of the conflict.” Meanwhile, Russia says it foiled attacks by two Ukrainian drones in the Moscow region, as around 50 flights were disrupted at the capital’s four main airports.
• Southern California’s storm and quake:Tropical storm Hilary has made landfall in Southern California after hitting Mexico, where it killed at least one person. Although weakened, the storm is bringing strong winds and heavy downpours, leading to flash floods in the Los Angeles area, as 25 million people remain under flood watches. Meanwhile, a moderate 5.1-magnitude earthquake shook a large swatch of Southern California on Sunday.
• Anti-corruption candidate wins Guatemala election: Anti-corruption crusader Bernardo Arévalo scored a landslide victory in Guatemala’s presidential election, winning with 58% of the votes. His victory comes as the country struggles with rising violence, food insecurity and mass migration. Arévalo has vowed to “purge institutions co-opted by the corrupt” in his victory speech. He will be appointed president on Jan. 14.
• Missile test and military drill in North Korea: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un oversaw the test of strategic cruise missiles while visiting a naval unit on the country’s east coast. This comes just as South Korea and the U.S. begin their annual military drills, described as the “largest scale ever” according to the South Korean military, involving tens of thousands of troops from both sides.
• Thailand’s populist party forms coalition with military rivals: Thailand’s populist Pheu Thai Party has formed a coalition with 10 other parties, including two military-linked rivals, in a bid to form a new government and bring an end to three months of political standstill. The Thai parliament has been deadlocked for weeks on forming a government, after the anti-establishment election winner Move Forward succumbed to conservative resistance in parliament, leaving second-place Pheu Thai to take the lead. The populist party is expected to nominate 60-year-old real estate mogul Srettha Thavisin as the country’s next leader.
• Hacked Baghdad ad screen shows adult movie: Authorities had to pull the plug on an advertising screen at a major road junction in Baghdad on Sunday after a board started displaying an X-rated movie. A man, thought to be a technician who had financial issues with the company running the ad screens, was arrested in connection with the incident.
"The world at their feet." Madrid-based daily ABC dedicates its front page to the national champions after the Spanish team won the Women's World Cup final against England 1-0 in Sydney on Sunday. It was a bittersweet victory, however, for left-back Olga Carmona who scored the only goal of the game and was told about her father's passing a few hours later. Also after the game, a short-lived controversy erupted following the embrace and kiss-on-the-lips between Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales and star striker Jenni Hermoso. After Spain's equality minister described Rubiales’ kiss without consent as "sexual violence," Hermoso dismissed the polemics and said it was “a mutual, totally spontaneous gesture."
Russia's unmanned Луна-25 (Luna-25, named after the Latin word for "moon") spacecraft was slated to make a soft landing on the Moon today, but instead spun out of control and crashed into the Moon on Sunday morning. An investigation has been launched looking into this setback in Russia’s attempt to revive its space program’s Soviet-era prestige with its first Moon mission in 47 years. Before the mission, Pavel Luzin from the Russian space program, said that his country needed Luna-25 “to demonstrate that it is capable to do something even without the West.”
Spiders both fascinate and repulse us. As Charlotte Meyer writes in Les Echos, these little creatures, threatened with extinction, nonetheless provide us with significant ecological services.
🕷 Spiders suffer from lack of knowledge and insufficient data. "The most significant threat is the degradation and destruction of spider habitats," says Florian Kirchner, Species Officer at the French Committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Prairie spiders, such as the Erigone, are affected by soil erosion, while woodland spiders suffer as a result of logging. Spiders are also victims of urbanization, artificialization and environmental pollution.
🕸 But the importance of spiders in our ecosystem is beyond doubt. “As predators, they play a major role in regulating animal populations," explains Christine Rollard, a professor-researcher at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. "They are an integral part of the food chain." As carnivores, spiders feed on flies, bugs, aphids and mites, while also serving as prey for other species. Their presence ensures the balance of ecosystems.
🖤 We need to overcome apprehensions towards these creatures. “In the end, it's not necessarily about loving them, but about accepting and respecting them in our environment since they are part of the natural balance," Rollard says. Building a more peaceful relationship between humans and spiders could lead us to reconsider our way of inhabiting space — and eventually teach us to coexist with all the species essential to our ecosystem.
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“I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES.”
— In traditional all-caps fashion, former U.S. President Donald Trump took to his Truth Social platform to confirm he would not attend the first Republican primary debate set for Wednesday in Milwaukee. “The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had,” Trump’s post read. This comes after months of hinting that he would skip the debates. According to a CBS poll, Trump is the preferred candidate for 62% of Republican voters, while a Reuters/Ipsos poll showing he holds 47% of the Republican vote nationally.
• Gùsto! How · What · Where Locals Eat (And Drink) In Pondicherry — WORLDCRUNCH
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