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In The News

Russian School Shooting, Iranian Protests Continue, Super Bowl Singing Comeback

Women attend a pro-government protest in Tehran as tension grows across the country

Women attend a pro-government protest in Tehran as tension grows across the country

Chloé Touchard, Lisa Berdet, Sophia Constantino and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Tere!*

Welcome to Monday, where a school shooting in Russia kills at least 13, far-right leader Giorgia Meloni is poised to become Italy’s first female prime minister, and get ready for a superstar comeback at the next Super Bowl half-time show. Meanwhile, Chinese-language digital media The Initium visits the city of Guiyang, where a tragic crash of a bus carrying quarantined residents exposes the darkness of China’s zero-COVID policy.



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• Russian school shooting: A gunman wearing Nazi symbols on his shirt opened fire in a school in the Russian city of Izhevsk, killing 13 people, including seven children, and wounding 21 others. According to the authorities, the unidentified shooter killed himself after the attack.

Meloni claims victory in Italy elections: Far-right ‘Brothers of Italy’ leader Giorgia Meloni claimed victory after exit polls that gave the right wing coalition 41% to 45% of votes, against 25.5% to 29.5% for the left wing. Meloni appears set to become the country’s first ever female Prime Minister as she vowed to “govern for all Italians.”

• Iran protests: The Iranian government accused the U.S. of violating its sovereignty after supporting protestors and easing Internet curbs for Iranians following protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

• Syria cholera death toll rises to 29: Syria’s Health Ministry has announced the death of 29 people amid a cholera outbreak in several regions of the country, especially the northern Aleppo province. The UN said it is the world’s worst outbreak of the disease in years.

• British pound fell to new record low: The British pound fell to a record low against the U.S. dollar, plummeting by nearly 5% to just above $1.03. This happened as markets reacted negatively to the UK’s new government’s announcement of more tax cuts and worries regarding the stability of its finances.

• Typhoon Noru: Five rescuers were killed after Super Typhoon Noru battered the north of Philippines and after being “ deployed by the provincial government to a flooded area”, an official said.

• Rihanna to perform at 2023 Super Bowl halftime show: Barbadian singer Rihanna is set to sing at the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show on Feb. 12, 2023 in Arizona, marking the first performance of the 34-year-old singer in five years.


Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni “takes Italy,” Rome-based daily La Repubblica reports on its front page. Meloni looks set to win the Italian race for prime minister after her party Brothers of Italy — in alliance with two other right-wing parties, League and Forza Italia — was forecast to win 45% of the vote in both chambers of Parliament in Sunday’s elections. It is expected to take several weeks before the new government is formed, but Meloni’s expected nomination as prime minister would make her the first woman to hold the position in Italy, and the most far-right politician to run the government since the end of World War II.



Eliud Kipchoge set a new world record at the Berlin marathon, breaking his own previous record by 30 seconds. The Kenyan double Olympic champion has won 15 out of the 17 marathons he has run through his career. "There's still more in my legs, there's still more, and I hope the future is still great", he said in an interview following his victory.


The Guiyang bus crash: a Chinese tragedy in three acts

The city in southern China was put under harsh lockdown earlier this month after just a few positive COVID tests. Then a bus carrying quarantined residents crashed, killing 27. The senseless accident left residents more fearful and suspicious of each other than ever, report Jian Fu, Shuyue Chen and Xiao Lin in Chinese-language digital media The Initium.

🇨🇳⛔ The details of how China's latest lockdown disrupted Guiyang residents sound pointless after Sunday's crash of a bus transporting quarantined residents crashed, killing 27, and sparking a new round of outrage over the country's strict zero-COVID policy. And yet it is worth reviewing what had already happened to life in the city of 4.3 million after just a few cases of the virus were detected. The real lockdown controls in Guiyang had started on September 5. At 00:43, the municipal government notified a three-day "temporary static management," avoiding the term "lockdown."

😷 The first thing for lockdown control in China is COVID testing. In H’s neighborhood, testing was initially at 5 a.m. every morning. Some communities started even earlier at 4 a.m. The deputy mayor of Guiyang explained that this was "a race against the virus." Even before sunrise, loud speakers could be heard in residential areas. "My babies, let's go down to get the COVID testing done!" "Building No.11 and 12, go down quick to get your throat poked!" H said the loud speakers and the "daily stabbing" of the tests have been torturous for her mentally and physically.

🗯️ After the crash, Jin and a friend discussed what to do if they were pulled away to be isolated. The friend said to hide. But Jin said her neighbors, who were usually very kind, were becoming more strict. Niu also thought that it was almost impossible to hide. Even though she lives in the largest neighborhood in Asia, the resident council staff know all her information. "It's not the virus that's scary, it's the fear from the people that's scary."

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


The United States and allies want to stop the march of history.

— In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the West of every-increasing “Russophia” and of trying to “destroy and fracture” the country, while portraying the U.S. as a bully that gives itself “the sacred right to act with impunity wherever and wherever they want.” Lavrov also insisted that NATO and Western countries had left Russia with “no choice” but to launch its “special military operation” to protect its territory.

✍️ Newsletter by Chloé Touchard, Lisa Berdet, Sophia Constantino and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Wagner's MIA Convicts: Where Do Deserting Russian Mercenaries Go?

Tens of thousands of Russian prisoners who've been recruited by the Wagner Group mercenary outfit have escaped from the frontlines after volunteering in exchange for freedom. Some appear to be seeking political asylum in Europe thanks to a "cleared" criminal record.

Picture of a soldier wearing the Wagner Group Logo on their uniform.

Soldier wearing the paramilitary Wagner Group Logo on their uniform.

Source: Sky over Ukraine via Facebook
Anna Akage

Of the about 50,000 Russian convicts who signed up to fight in Ukraine with the Wagner Group, just 10,000 are reportedly still at the front. An unknown number have been killed in action — but among those would-be casualties are also a certain number of coffins that are actually empty.

To hide the number of soldiers who have deserted or defected to Ukraine, Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin is reportedly adding them to the lists of the dead and missing.

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Some Wagner fighters have surrendered through the Ukrainian government's "I Want To Live" hotline, says Olga Romanova, director and founder of the Russia Behind Bars foundation.

"Relatives of the convicts enlisted in the Wagner Group are not allowed to open the coffins," explains Romanova.

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