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Sloviansk Shelling, Top UK Ministers Resign, Mumbai Floods

Boys swim in the flooded streets of Mumbai as the city was hit with heavy rain.

Joel Silvestri, McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Salam!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Russia intensifies its bombing campaign in eastern Ukraine, BoJo’s troubles deepen as two top ministers resign and Japan offers some yummy incentive to voters. Meanwhile, news website Livy Bereg has a rare in-depth, no-holds-barred interview with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

[*Azeri - Azerbaijan]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• First Ukrainian soldiers arrive in UK: As Russia ramps up its bombardments of Sloviansk, the first round of Ukrainian troops has arrived in the UK for military training. The UK has pledged to train 10,000 Ukrainian recruits as part of its aid packages in response to Russia’s invasion.

• Two top UK ministers resign: UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid have resigned in protest of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership, which may put Johnson’s standing in jeopardy. Sunak suggested in a statement that Johnson is an incompetent leader who does not take his role seriously.

• 22 Malians die in boat disaster:22 people from Mali died in the Mediterranean sea after a group of 83 migrants was stranded for nine days at sea. The victims, including three children, died of drowning and dehydration. The remaining 61 survivors were found off the coast of Libya and brought ashore.

• 85,000 evacuated due to Australian storms: At least 85,000 people have now been asked to evacuate in New South Wales, Australia, due to heavy rain storms and flooding. The number is up from 50,000 on Tuesday, but there are signs that the storm system will move away on Thursday.

• Suspect charged in July 4 shooting: Robert Crimo, 21, has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder in the wake of the July 4 attack in Highland Park, near Chicago, that left seven dead and wounded more than 30 others.

• OPEC General Secretary dies: Mohammad Barkindo, the 63-year-old General Secretary of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, has died just hours after meeting with the president of Nigeria and delivering a speech in which he said that the oil industry is under attack.

• Japan offers free noodles to increase turnout: A ramen chain in Japan is offering endless free noodle refills upon proof of voting as the country faces low voter turnout among its younger population ahead of its upper house elections.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Today’s British daily newspaper The Times features an anxious-looking Boris Johnson “on the brink” after Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid dramatically resigned yesterday, within minutes of each other. The decision was led by Johnson's choice to appoint Chris Pincher, faced with misconduct allegations, as deputy chief whip earlier this year. Although Johnson has apologized for the appointing “mistake,” he insists he will not quit, despite pressure from his party.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

-56%

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has invested more than $106 million in Bitcoin, which has become the national currency. In the past trimester, the cryptocurrency has lost 56% of its value, with an average price of $49 million. This adoption of Bitcoin as currency was meant to give a boost to the Central American country’s collapsing economy, but has come as markets are imploding.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

"Welcome to our hell..." Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks

In a rare in-depth interview with news website Livy Bereg, Ukraine's top diplomat didn't hold back as he discussed NATO, EU candidacy, and the future of the war with Russia. He also reserves a special “thank you” for Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

🇪🇺 How difficult was it to get E.U. candidate status? “The hardest thing is to find the right argument to explain to every skeptic that granting Ukraine the status of a candidate for EU membership must be done here and now. Because for the last 30 years, no one in the European Union actually talked about it seriously or thought about it. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi also played a very important role. He wanted to show that not only our traditional best friends – the Poles, Baltic states, and other countries — support the candidacy, but that there is a large country, traditionally considered more favorable to Russia, that made a strategic decision for itself.”

🤝 When can we open the door to NATO, and will we do it at all? “I really want Ukraine to be a NATO member, but let's look at things sensibly, and not through the prism of religion. Ukraine is still on the path to Euro-Atlantic integration, but I do not see the potential in the near future for NATO to change its position, like the European Union, and begin to take concrete steps to ensure Ukraine's entry into the Alliance.”

🇸🇪🇫🇮 When you watched the news about Finland and Sweden being accepted into NATO, didn't you feel bitter that we should be in their place? “On the contrary, I smiled. I smiled for two reasons. Firstly, I am happy for the Swedes and Finns, and secondly, everything that individual partners told us about why Ukraine should not join NATO was simply nullified by the membership of Sweden and Finland. We were told: ‘We cannot expand towards the border; we will have a common border with Russia. Hey, this is... escalation.’ Come on, they now have 2,000 kilometers of a common border and NATO will stand at the gates of St. Petersburg.”

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

Time for peace has come.

— Colombia’s President-elect Gustavo Petro said he had sent a message to the National Liberation Army (ELN), the last major rebel group in the country, to propose a bilateral ceasefire and resume stalled peace negotiations in order “to bring an end to the war in Colombia.” Unlike the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the ELN didn’t lay down arms under the country’s 2016 peace agreement. Petro, a former rebel fighter who is set to become Colombia’s first left-wing president, had vowed to resume talks with the ELN during his campaign.

✍️ Newsletter by Joel Silvestri, McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Anne-Sophie Goninet


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Can machines be ironic?

Charles Barbour

What was your first reaction when you heard about Blake Lemoine, the Google engineer who announced last month the AI program he was working on had developed consciousness?

If, like me, you’re instinctively suspicious, it might have been something like: Is this guy serious? Does he honestly believe what he is saying? Or is this an elaborate hoax?

Put the answers to those questions to one side. Focus instead on the questions themselves. Is it not true that even to ask them is to presuppose something crucial about Blake Lemoine: specifically, he is conscious?

Keep reading...Show less

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