👋 Om Swastiastu!*
Welcome to Friday, where the U.S. averts its first-ever default after a debt deal is reached, Senegal is rocked by protests following opposition leader Ousmane Sonko’s jail sentence and Japan’s birth rate hits a new record low. Meanwhile, prominent Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky writes in German daily Die Welt that a quick end to the Ukraine war is highly improbable, which means the West must also focus on changing its energy policy to undermine Russia’s gas and oil influence.
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• Ukraine and Russia both hit by air strikes, U.S. seeks TNT supplies in Japan: According to the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, two people were killed and two others injured as Ukrainian forces shelled a road in the border region. Meanwhile Ukraine's military said its air defenses shot down 36 drones and missiles over Kyiv early Friday. The U.S. also said it’s seeking to secure supplies of TNT in Japan for artillery shells, as Washington rushes more weapons and ammunition to Ukraine for a counteroffensive against Russia forces.
• U.S. Congress averts historic default, approves debt-limit suspension: The U.S. Congress has agreed to raise the country’s debt ceiling, avoiding a government shutdown. The Senate voted 63-36 to approve the bill that had been passed on Wednesday by the House of Representatives, as lawmakers raced against the clock following months of partisan sniping between Democrats and Republicans.
• Nine dead as protests rock Senegal after Sonko jail sentence: At least nine people were killed in Senegal in clashes between riot police and supporters of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko following a court sentencing him to two years in jail. Clashes broke out after the verdict, which could disqualify Sonko, President Macky Sall’s fiercest opponent, from running in next year’s presidential election.
• Mexico police discover at least 45 bags filled with human remains: At least 45 bags with human remains have been found in a ravine in the western Mexican state of Jalisco during a search for seven young people reported missing last week. Forensic experts have yet to determine the number of victims contained in the bags or their identities.
• BRICS meeting overshadowed by Putin’s potential arrest: BRICS foreign ministers asserted their ambition to rival Western powers but their talks in South Africa were overshadowed by questions over an arrest warrant for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Putin and, as a member of the court, South Africa would be obliged to arrest him if he attends a Brics summit scheduled for Johannesburg in August.
• Russia accuses U.S. of hacking iPhones: Russia has accused United States intelligence agencies of hacking thousands of iPhones belonging to Russian users and foreign diplomats in the country. Russia’s Federal Security Services said on Thursday that it had discovered an “intelligence action” that had compromised the phone of Russians as well as diplomats from Israel, Syria, China and NATO members.
• French influencers could face jail time for breaking new promo regulations: Influencers in France could now face jail time if they are found to have broken new promotion regulations, after a new law was passed Thursday to protect consumers from misleading or fake online commercial practices. The restrictions include the promotion of lottery and betting games, and ban the advertisement of items such as tobacco.
Dutch daily newspaper Trouw dedicates its front page to the European leaders’ summit in Moldova, where more than 40 European countries were present, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked for more political support and fast-tracking of NATO membership.
Japan reported its lowest fertility rate since 2005 in 2022, with an average of 1.2565 children per woman, far below the 2.07 rate considered necessary to maintain a stable population. The country has been struggling with declining birth rates for years, and the government has made it a priority to reverse the curve by investing in child care and supporting new parents.
Khodorkovsky: Don't count on a swift end to the war in Ukraine
The West is deceiving itself if it hopes for a quick end to the Ukraine war. Above all, it must consistently implement an energy transition — otherwise, it will remain at Putin's mercy, writes prominent Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in German daily Die Welt.
🇷🇺 Putin has already used war to solve domestic problems four times (1999 in Chechnya, 2008 in Georgia, 2014 and 2022 in Ukraine) — if you don't count the war in Syria and the de facto annexation of Transnistria, a region in Moldova, which did not "catch on" with public opinion. Putin's main goal is to stay in power, although in recent years there has been a shift toward "legacy." This means a partial restoration of the empire and its influence.
🇺🇦 Independent Ukraine and its heroic armed forces became a stumbling block to Putin's imperial dreams. If Ukraine had surrendered, the West would find forcibly conscripted Ukrainian soldiers in Putin's invading army a year or two after he had established his rule. For Putin, the political cost of Ukrainian lives is zero.
💥 Since war for Putin is a means of mobilizing supporters and a tool for maintaining power, it is difficult to expect long-term peace, no matter what territorial concessions Ukraine could have made. The only guarantee of an end to active hostilities would be a balance of power, in which each strike is met with a corresponding counter strike. Putin must understand that the next cycle of hostilities, if it comes to that, will not be in his favor, because the Ukrainian army can fight better.
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➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
“I got sandbagged.”
— U.S. President Joe Biden fell after tripping over a sandbag, used to weigh down two teleprompters, during a graduation ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado on Thursday. According to the White House, Biden, 80, was not hurt by his fall, and was quickly making jokes about it. This was not his first fall, and both Republicans and some fellow Democrats continue to question whether Biden is too old to run for a second term.
• Why The Latin American Far Left Can't Stop Cozying Up To Iran's Regime — KAYHAN-LONDON
• Exploiting Auschwitz — How Poland's Ruling Party Reached A New Low — GAZETA WYBORCZA
✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Marine Béguin, Sophie Jacquier, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Chloé Touchard
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