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In The News

Global Banks Slump, Aukus Deal, Vinyls Outsell CDs

U.S. President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and UK counterpart Rishi Sunak

Under the multi-decade AUKUS deal, the U.S., UK and Australia will build a combined fleet of elite nuclear-powered submarines. The three leaders met in San Diego. In a joint statement, U.S. President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and UK counterpart Rishi Sunak said the “historic” deal will build on past efforts by all three countries to “sustain peace, stability, and prosperity around the world.”

Emma Albright & Inès Mermat

👋 אַ גוטן טאָג*

Welcome to Tuesday, where bank stocks slump around the world following the Silicon Valley Bank debacle, the U.S., UK and Australia agree on creating a new fleet of nuclear powered submarines, and the vinyl world keeps spinning. Meanwhile, Flora Toelo Karambiri for news website Burkina 24 follows the rafistoleurs crisscrossing the streets of Ouagadougou, ready to sew and mend anything.

[*A gutn tog - Yiddish]


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• Aukus agreement on nuclear submarines: The U.S., UK and Australia have revealed details of their plan to create a new fleet of nuclear powered submarines aimed at countering China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region. Beijing’s foreign ministry criticized the naval alliance as going “further down the path of error and danger." U.S. President Joe Biden has tried to downplay the threat, noting the submarines are “nuclear-powered, not nuclear armed.”

• Bank stocks slump around the world: Bank shares in Asia and Europe have slumped following the collapse of U.S. based Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank, even after U.S. President Biden tried to reassure markets that Washington would take measures to protect the banking system from fallout. Japan's Topix Banks share index was down by more than 7% at closing, while Spain's Santander and Germany's Commerzbank saw their share prices dive by more than 10% in morning trading.

• More U.S. sanctions on Russian oligarchs: The U.S. has levied new sanctions on Russia’s economy, focusing on efforts to legally liquidate the property of Russian oligarchs, expanding financial penalties on those who evaded sanctions as well as close loopholes in the law that allows oligarchs to use shell companies to move through the U.S. financial system.

China to reopen borders to foreign tourists: China says it will start issuing all categories of visas to foreigners, lifting cross-border control measures Wednesday that it imposed three years ago at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision comes after Beijing retreated from its long-implemented zero-COVID policy.

• Cyclone Freddy death toll passes 100:More than 100 people have been killed in Malawi and Mozambique after Cyclone Freddy returned to southern Africa’s mainland. The search for survivors is ongoing. The storm system first hit the region back in February and it is believed to be the longest lasting cyclone on record.

Taliban launches polio vaccination campaign: The Taliban administration has launched the annual polio vaccination campaign in Afghanistan with the goal of reaching more than 9 million children under the age of five. The ministry said the campaign that started on Monday will cover 31 of the country’s 34 provinces and last four days.

• Happy Pi day: Every March 14, mathematics enthusiasts from all around the globe celebrate Pi day and International Day of Mathematics. The day aims to raise awareness about the importance of mathematics and its role in shaping the world. And also eat pie.


Canadian daily Le Journal de Montréal devotes its front page to “another murderous madness” after a pick-up truck drove through a crowd in the town of Amqui, killing two and injuring nine. The driver of the vehicle turned himself in to police and an investigation has been launched to determine whether the incident was a deliberate attack. This comes just a month after a bus driver drove into a daycare center in Montreal, killing two children.


41 million

With over 41 million vinyl records sold in 2022, amounting to $1.2 billion, vinyl records outperformed CDs for the first time since 1987 in the US. In comparison, only 33 million CDs were sold to the tune of $483m.


Meet the “patchers,” Burkina Faso's mobile tailors cutting corners on-the-go

Seven days a week, the “patchers” of Burkina Faso roam the streets of the country's capital, looking out for any clothes that might need mending, reports Flora Toelo Karambiri for Ouagadougou-based news website Burkina 24.

✂️ With sewing machines on their shoulders and scissors in hand, they travel around in search of their daily tasks. Many in urgent need make use of their services to adjust an outfit, mend holes, replace a zipper, sew on buttons or repair a tear. These are the mobile tailors or rafistoleurs ("patchers") of this West African nation of 22 million. They save people time, trouble and often money, and are a common sight on the streets of Ouagadougou.

💸 The job is not easy. Walking with the weight of the machine on his shoulder can be particularly difficult, Mahamat, a young Nigerian in his twenties, says. Some customers also complain that the service is too expensive and refuse to pay what they owe after Mahamat finishes the repairs. Language can also pose a challenge for some tailors, many of whom are immigrants. But Mahamat has a goal: saving enough to open a sewing workshop where he can showcase his talent.

👕 For many clients, Mahamat and other tailors offer a fast and cheap service. Families with children are often among their most loyal clients. Madame Yaro's family is among them: "I have young children who play a lot. Every time I end up with torn clothes," she says. "Before, I used to collect everything to go to the local tailor. But he took too long and it didn't suit me. That's when I started working with the rafistoleurs. They are cheap, fast and I really appreciate having my children's clothes mended."

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“We do not recognize this court, we do not recognize its jurisdiction.”

— Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia does not acknowledge the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, Russian-run news agency TASS reports, after the ICC issued warrants against several Russians for allegedly abducting Ukrainian children and targeting civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Inès Mermat, Hugo Perrin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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The Pope's Bronchitis Can't Hide What Truly Ails The Church — Or Whispers Of Succession

It is not only the health of the Pope that worries the Holy See. From the collapse of vocations to the conservative wind in the USA, there are many ills to face.

 Pope Francis reaches over to tough the hands of devotees during his  General Audience at the Vatican.​

November 29, 2023: Pope Francis during his wednesday General Audience at the Vatican.

Evandro Inetti/ZUMA
Gianluigi Nuzzi

ROME — "How am I? I'm fine... I'm still alive, you know? See, I'm not dead!"

With a dose of irony and sarcasm, Pope Francis addressed those who'd paid him a visit this past week as he battled a new lung inflammation, and the antibiotic cycles and extra rest he still must stick with on strict doctors' orders.

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The Pope is dealing with a sensitive respiratory system; the distressed tracheo-bronchial tree can cause asthmatic reactions, with the breathlessness in his speech being the most obvious symptom. Tired eyes and dark circles mark his swollen face. A sense of unease and bewilderment pervades and only diminishes when the doctors restate their optimism about his general state of wellness.

"The pope's ailments? Nothing compared to the health of the Church," quips a priest very close to the Holy Father. "The Church is much worse off, marked by chronic ailments and seasonal illnesses."

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