Welcome to Friday, where Sudan’s paramilitary group announces a 72-hour truce to mark the Eid al-Fitr holiday, UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab resigns over bullying accusations, and Twitter begins its “blue checks” purge. Meanwhile, Argentine daily Clarín looks at the life of an 18th-century nun hailed as the first “feminist” who would become a Catholic saint.
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• 72-hour truce in Sudan: Sudan’s paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has announced it will soon begin a ceasefire amid continued heavy fighting with the army in the capital Khartoum. The RSF said in a statement it would start a 72-hour truce, which would come into effect early Friday, which marks the beginning of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. There have been reports today of continued skirmishes, and a ceasefire earlier this week was quickly broken.
• UK deputy prime minister resigns: British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has resigned following an independent investigation into complaints of bullying. Raab denies bullying staff and says he always "behaved professionally". He is facing eight formal complaints about his behavior as a minister.
• Russian warplane accidentally bombs own city: A Russian warplane’s “accidental discharge of aviation ammunition” caused an explosion in the Russian city of Belgorod, near Ukraine, leaving three people injured. Meanwhile, the Russian military launched a video advertising campaign to encourage men to sign up for the war. Reports suggest Moscow is seeking to recruit as many as 400,000 volunteer professional soldiers.
• India court acquits 69 Hindus of murder: An Indian court has acquitted 69 Hindus of the murder of 11 Muslims during the 2002 riots in the western state of Gujarat. A total of 86 Hindus were accused of the killings in the Naroda Gam district of Ahmedabad. Of those accused, 17 passed away during the course of court proceedings. Shamshad Pathan, who represented the victims, said they would challenge the court’s decision in a higher court.
• SpaceXplosion: After successful liftoff, SpaceX's Starship rocket — the most powerful ever built — tumbled out of control and exploded two minutes in. The maiden flight illustrates what Reuters refers to as SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s “successful failure formula.”
• Evgeniy Maloletka wins World Press Photo of the Year award: Associated Press photographer Evgeniy Maloletka won the World Press Photo of the Year award for his shocking image of emergency workers carrying a pregnant woman through the destroyed grounds of a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
• Twitter begins purge of blue check marks: Twitter began a purge of blue verification check marks from users who have not signed up for its subscription service, with the checks disappearing from the accounts of journalists, academics and even celebrities. The checks disappeared from the accounts of some of the most widely followed people on social media like Bill Gates, Donald Trump and even Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
Granma, the official newspaper of Cuba’s Communist Party, devotes its front page to the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the island nation, where he met with top leaders including newly re-elected President Miguel Díaz-Canel and semi-retired leader Raul Castro. During the last leg of his Latin American tour, Lavrov condemned U.S. sanctions on Cuba and thanked the nation for its “full understanding” over the war in Ukraine.
An air cargo container carrying $20 million Canadian dollars ($15 million) worth of gold and other valuables was stolen from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Authorities are still searching for the perpetrators of the high-value heist, who seized the container from a holding facility after it was unloaded from an aircraft.
An 18th-century feminist may be the next Catholic saint
The Vatican may soon canonize Mama Antula, an Argentine woman who started a spiritual movement at a time when religious intellectualism was strictly the domain of the men, report Nunzia Locatelli and Cintia Suárez in Argentine daily Clarín.
♀️ Some see Mama Antula as an early defender of women's rights — and of the poor — in the Americas. She is also being hailed as the first "feminist" who would become a Catholic saint. On March 7, Pope Francis declared "the time is very close when she could be a saint." The Pope, himself another Argentine, is an admirer of Mama Antula. When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, he said "this woman is worth gold."
⛪ María Antonia was born to a family of notables in Santiago del Estero, and enjoyed the comforts of a prosperous home. She turned her back on all this aged 15, joining a community of Jesuit laywomen who lived as devout Christians without being nuns. She renounced her personal estate as part of a vow of poverty and devoted her life to worship and to helping the destitute. At this time, religious life for an unmarried woman meant strictly entering a convent.
✝️ Mama Antula was hailed as a saint even before her death in 1799. The movement to canonize her began in 1905. On Aug. 27, 2016, she was beatified, or declared venerable, with the recognition of a posthumous miracle attributed to her. This happened in 1904, when a follower in Buenos Aires was inexplicably cured of an acute and generalized infection (and clearly without antibiotics). The sick girl, María Rosa Vanina, recovered days after praying for Mama Antula's intercession.
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“Both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to China”
— Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang at a forum in Shanghai declared that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to China, and that it is within their right to uphold their sovereignty, warning that those who try to interfere would face severe consequences. Qin’s statement comes after Beijing conducted military exercises in Taiwan in response to President Tsai Ing-Wen’s meeting with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
• "And If We Must Kill Our Countrymen" — Meet The Russian Defectors Fighting For Ukraine — VAZHNYYE ISTORII/IMPORTANT STORIES
• Tourists Are About To Literally Take Over Venice — LA STAMPA
✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Inès Mermat, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger
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