U.S. Strikes In Syria, Netanyahu Doubles Down, King Charles’ France Trip Canceled
Welcome to Friday, where the U.S. military carried out multiple airstrikes in Syria, King Charles III’s first trip abroad is called off because of anti-government unrest in France, and Israel’s Netanyahu presses on with legal reforms despite protests. Meanwhile, independent Russian media Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories gets exclusive access to a Kremlin data leak that shows the scale of anti-war sentiment across Russia.
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🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• U.S. strikes Iran-backed facilities in Syria: The U.S. military carried out multiple airstrikes in Syria on Thursday night against Iran-aligned groups blamed for a drone attack that killed an American contractor, wounded another and hurt five U.S. troops at a coalition base near Hasakah in northeast Syria. Both the attack on U.S. personnel and the retaliation were disclosed by the Pentagon at the same time late on Thursday.
• Charles III’s visit to France postponed as protests against pension reform continue: Amid growing anti-government protests, French President Emmanuel Macron has postponed King Charles III's visit to France slated for Sunday, which would have been his first trip abroad since taking the throne. More than a million people took to the streets across France on Thursday against the controversial pension reform, with 80 people arrested across the country, and another major strike and protest slated for Tuesday.
• North Korea’s new nuclear-capable underwater attack drone: North Korea tested a new nuclear-capable underwater attack drone, as leader Kim Jong Un warned joint military drills by South Korea and the U.S. should stop. During the test, the new North Korean drone cruised underwater at a depth of 80 to 150 meters (260-500 feet) for over 59 hours and detonated a non-nuclear payload in waters off its east coast on Thursday.
• U.S. and Canada reach deal to reject asylum seekers: The US and Canada have reached a deal to block asylum seekers at unofficial border crossings. The move closes a loophole created by Ottawa’s 2004 asylum agreement with the U.S. where migrants have to make their asylum claims, which prevented Canada from turning away people trying to enter at unofficial crossing points. As a part of the deal, Canada will now also create a new refugee program for 15,000 migrants fleeing persecution and violence in South and Central America.
• Netanyahu vows to continue with legal reforms: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will press on with controversial reforms to the nation’s justice system that critics say undermine democracy. One piece of the reform was passed on Thursday making it harder for courts to remove a leader deemed unfit for office, which coincides with Netanyahu currently standing trial for corruption.
• Fugitive “cryptocrash” boss arrested in Montenegro: South Korea police say that Do Kwon, the fugitive cryptocurrency boss behind the $40 billion collapse of the terraUSD and Luna tokens, has been arrested in Montenegro. Charged with fraud by U.S. prosecutors, Kwon is also being pursued by Seoul authorities who believe his company, Terraform Labs had violated capital market rules.
• Orbán v. AI rap battle: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has found himself at the center of an unlikely rap battle, after a German member of European Parliament, Daniel Freund, turned to AI-powered conversational chatbot ChatGPT to compose a takedown track about corruption in Hungary.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
Demonstrations intensified across France to protest against the government's reform which raises the legal retirement age from 62 to 64. French daily Sud Ouest features the “anger that set Bordeaux ablaze,” as demonstrators in the southwestern city set off a fire in front of city hall.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
Ford Motor Company announced its electric vehicle unit has lost $3 billion before taxes during the past two years, and is expected to lose another $3 billion on EVs in 2023. The U.S. company says its unit called “Ford Model e” will be profitable before taxes by late 2026, and should be viewed as a startup within Ford. “As everyone knows, EV startups lose money while they invest in capability, develop knowledge, build (sales) volume and gain (market) share,” said Chief Financial Officer John Lawler.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
Russian leak reveals extent of country’s anti-war protests that Kremlin was hiding
Independent Russian media Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories has obtained a major data leak from the top Kremlin information agency that reveals the scale and extent of anti-war protests across the Russian Federation.
🇷🇺🔍 Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian government information agencies have repeatedly published public opinion polls showing that the overwhelming majority of Russians support Vladimir Putin's domestic and foreign policies, especially the war against Ukraine. However, an unprecedented large-scale leak of data from the Russian federal propaganda and surveillance agency shows that protest movements in 2022 were expanding across much of the Russian Federation.
✊ The most frequent protest causes were anti-war sentiments and the fight for ecology. Nearly half of all protests in Russia are one-person pickets. Only one in five protests gathered more than ten people. So-called "flower protests" were notable: Russians in various cities secretly brought flowers to places associated with Ukraine in solidarity with the victims of the missile attack on the apartment building in Dnipro.
🗺️ It is worth noting that the fewest anti-war protests were registered in the border regions of Russia, the only areas affected by military actions. On the contrary, the Bryansk and Kursk regions, close to the border with Ukraine, had the most activities supporting the war. Local activists and representatives of the communist and liberal-democratic parties of Russia are among the organizers of the protests.
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📹 THIS HAPPENED VIDEO — TODAY IN HISTORY, IN ONE ICONIC PHOTO
➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
“Thank you, Mr Chew, for bringing Republicans and Democrats together.”
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s quip came during a Congressional hearing of Tiktok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, over the social media platform’s alleged security threats. Chew’s evasive answers during the hearing, which was meant to assess the handling of U.S data and the effect of such platforms on children’s mental health, failed to convince lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum that Tiktok did not represent a security threat. The Chinese social media risks being blocked in the U.S.
👉 MORE FROM WORLDCRUNCH
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• Why Is Homophobia In Africa So Widespread? — FRANCE INTER
• Mendoza's "Recycled" Winery — Argentine Eco Architecture With A Splash — CLARIN
✍️ Newsletter by Ginevra Falciani, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Inès Mermat and Renate Mattar
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