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Evacuating Severodonetsk, ECB Emergency Meeting, RIP Internet Explorer

An exhibition of destroyed warfare equipment in Kyiv’s Michailovskyi Square

McKenna Johnson, Joel Silvestri, Lisa Berdet and Lila Paulou

👋 Γειά σου*

Welcome to Wednesday, where a humanitarian corridor is announced in Severodonetsk, the ECB calls for an emergency meeting as a debt crisis looms and Pakistanis are asked to drink less tea. For Worldcrunch, Irene Caselli also explores what makes Italy the most pro-Russian country in the West.

[*Yassou - Greek]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Severodonetsk update: Russia is urging Ukrainians to surrender and “lay down their arms” in the eastern city of Severodonetsk. Moscow also announced it would open humanitarian corridors to evacuate the hundreds of civilians in the area.

• ECB calls for emergency meeting: As global stocks are jumping, the European Central Bank called for an unscheduled emergency meeting of the Governing Council this morning to discuss “current market conditions.”

• Death toll rises after Burkina Faso attacks: Death toll rose to 79, with 29 more bodies discovered following the terrorist attack in the village of Seytenga, Burkina Faso. The government stated that the search for victims is delayed because of devices planted “by terrorists to mine the site.”

• UK cancels deportation to Rwanda of asylum seekers: The UK canceled its first deportation flight to bring asylum-seekers to Rwanda, after the European Court of Human Rights issued a last-minute ruling. Seven people were supposed to be sent to Rwanda.

• ISIS group leader captured in Mali: The French military captured Oumeya Ould Albakaye, an Islamic State group leader, as part of the Barkhane operation in Mali. France, whose troops are gradually withdrawing from the country, plans on interrogating the senior ISIS figure before transferring him to Malian authorities.

• Indonesian president reshuffles cabinet amid food crisis: Indonesian President Joko Widodo has named Zulkifli Hasan as his new trade minister amid country-wide food crisis, oil shortage and controversy over oil palm exports.

• Explorer-ing no more: Microsoft announced it was shutting down its desktop browser Internet Explorer, almost 27 years after it was launched. The company is now pushing people to use its 2015 browser Microsoft Edge, which it says is faster and more secure.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

People are looking for respite from the heat on the front page of Spanish daily El País, as the country experiences its “worst heatwave in decades.” Temperatures rose to 43 °C (109 °F) across the country, prompting locals to try and cool down in Madrid’s fountains.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

2 cups

Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has called on his fellow countrymen and women to drink less tea, by reducing their consumption to no more than two cups a day. Pakistan is the largest importer of tea in the world and the move is expected to help the country reduce its high import bills, as it faces a deepening economic crisis.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Why Italy is the most pro-Russian country in the West

While there are Moscow backers across Europe and even in the U.S., they mostly remain on the margins. In Italy, however, support for the Kremlin runs surprisingly wide, and deep, Irene Caselli writes for Worldcrunch.

🇮🇹 It was a special edition of Non è l'Arena, an Italian talk show, with host and journalist Massimo Giletti broadcasting from a balcony overlooking Moscow’s Red Square. Giletti reserved the stage for Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and pro-Kremlin TV host Vladimir Solovyov. Zakharova had the chance to repeat the Kremlin's line on the war, accusing Italian journalists of not reporting on what she called “a war against its own people” by the Ukrainian regime in Donbas over the past eight years.

📺 La7, the private TV channel on which the show was broadcast, has been dubbed “LaZ” (the Z) on social networks for its pro-Russian broadcasts, in reference to the letter which has become a symbol of support for Russia’s war against Ukraine. And it is not just La7. Last month, an Italian parliamentary committee began an investigation into the spread of disinformation in connection to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, following the frequent appearance of Russian guests on the country's news programs and suspicions they could be on the Kremlin’s payroll.

🇷🇺 Unlike other countries in Western Europe, such as Germany and France, where pro-Russia positions are present but marginalized, in Italy the anti-Western sentiment has spread into academia, media and think tanks. Italy is also more vulnerable than most other Western countries to shutdowns of Russian gas imports. Whatever the cause of this widespread pro-Russian sentiment, it seems to be paying off. Over 30% of the country blames the war on NATO, according to a YouGov poll — a public opinion on the situation closer to the stance of Viktor Orban’s Hungary than any other Western European country.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

To my dying day, I will stand by every word of my testimony.

— In her first interview since the end of her high-profile trial against ex-husband Johnny Depp, Amber Heard told NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie that she did not blame the jury for the verdict, but faulted online coverage: “Even if you think that I’m lying, you still couldn’t look me in the eye and tell me that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation.”

✍️ Newsletter by McKenna Johnson, Joel Silvestri, Lisa Berdet and Lila Paulou


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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The Ukraine War Has Reached A Stalemate — So What Happens Now?

It's been more than 150 days of Putin's relentless invasion, and a clear-eyed view of the war now is neither side is winning. This will make bold decisions by Ukraine's allies essential to any hope for victory.

Ukrainian soldiers in the Dnipropetrovsk region

Volodymyr Horbulin

KYIV — The Ukrainian army received high-precision long-range artillery systems on July 18, prompting the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi to declare that after the occupation of the eastern cities of Sieverodonetsk and Lysychansk, the Armed Forces had managed to stabilize the situation.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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In fact, a better way to characterize the situation is that we've been in a stalemate since June. The enemy is no longer able to actively attack, and the defenders cannot yet counter-attack.

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Writing contest - My pandemic story
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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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