Welcome to Tuesday, where Syria agrees to open two new crossing points from Turkey to let the UN deliver quake aid, the Catholic Church in Portugal issues its mea culpa on sex abuse and two 18th-century portraits are reunited just in time for Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile, Oana Sandu for Romanian independent quarterly magazine Decât o Revistă focuses on the uniquely lonely trauma of children whose mother is killed in a femicide.
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• Syria to open 2 new crossings to let quake aid in: Syria’s president agreed to open two new crossing points from Turkey to the country’s rebel-held northwest to deliver desperately needed aid and equipment to help millions of earthquake victims for an initial period of three months. Currently, the U.N. has only been allowed to deliver aid to the northwest Idlib area through a single crossing at Bab Al-Hawa, at Syrian ally Russia’s insistence. The announcement followed a meeting in Damascus earlier Monday between Assad and U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths.
• Three Russian military aircraft intercepted near Poland: Two Dutch F-35 fighters intercepted a formation of three Russian military aircraft near Poland and escorted them out, the Netherlands' defense ministry said late Monday. This comes ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of NATO defense ministers to discuss providing more arms to Kyiv, including the possibility for the first time of fighter jets.
• Chinese balloon sensors recovered from ocean: Sensors from the first suspected Chinese spy balloon shot down over the U.S. have been recovered from the Atlantic Ocean. The FBI is examining the items, which Washington says were used to spy on sensitive military sites.
• Iranian president's first state visit in China: Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi met his counterpart Xi Jinping on Tuesday at the start of a three-day visit to China aimed at boosting trade and economic ties. This is Raisi’s first state visit to the Asian economic giant and the first by an Iranian president in 20 years.
• Tunisia arrests president’s critics: Police in Tunisia have detained the head of an independent radio station, on the third day of a wave of arrests of politicians and activists opposed to President Kais Saied. The country's biggest opposition party Ennahda has described the detentions as the "kidnapping of Saied's opponents.” In 2021, President Saied sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and pushed through a constitution enshrining his one-man rule.
• Tour bus crash in South Africa: A head-on collision between a tour bus and an armored cash-in-transit van has killed 20 people and wounded 68 others in Makhado in the Limpopo province. The vehicles collided on a motorway bridge Monday evening, and the bus then tumbled into the river below.
• 18th century Valentines reunited: Portraits of landowner John Bragge and his wife Elizabeth painted by Thomas Gainsborough in 1767 have been reunited for Valentine’s Day after spending 100 years apart. The two paintings remained together for 140 years before they were sold to separate buyers and will be on display at the Dorset Museum in Dorchester.
Portuguese daily Público devotes its front page to the apology issued by the Portuguese Bishops Conference, following the publication of an inquiry that found Catholic clergy in the country abused at least 4,815 children since 1950. “We ask forgiveness from all the victims,” said Bishop Jose Ornelas, adding that Portugal’s bishops will convene next month to discuss the report and take necessary actions. This comes after similar reports of paedophilia within the Catholic Church have been published in other countries, adding pressure on Pope Francis to tackle the issue.
South Korea’s antitrust regulator has fined Kakao Mobility, the nation's leading taxi-hailing service, for 25.7 billion won ($20 million) for secretly manipulating its algorithm to favor cabs under its franchise. The app is also open to non-franchise taxis, but since its launch, the country’s Fair Trade Commission found the company was actually giving “priority to its franchise taxis in allocating rides.”
After a femicide, what happens to the children?
Children orphaned by domestic violence are a uniquely vulnerable kind of victim. An investigation from Oana Sandu for Romanian independent quarterly magazine Decât o Revistă.
🇷🇴 Maybe you've read the dramatic headlines, or heard them on TV: “A little girl was orphaned by her own father.” “A Romanian man in Germany killed his wife in front of their two children.” “A woman was killed by her husband in front of her child.” Such murders happen about 40 times every year in Romania. While the government boasts about implementing electronic bracelets, we know nothing about the long-term consequences for the child victims of intimate partner murders.
💬 When your mother is killed by your father, you go through a devastating experience, with traumatic consequences that you will feel for the rest of your life. Children sometimes need to understand what they’ve experienced before the adults around them are ready to talk about it. "Because of their own pain and shame, surviving families want to put the story aside and encourage children not to think about it — but these actions can harm children, because they don't get what they need," says U.S. psychiatrist Charles Zeanah.
⚖️ In Italy, child victims of domestic crimes have been called special orphans since 2018, when Italy became the first country in Europe to pass a law in support of the children of femicide — thanks to the research work of civic activist Anna Constanza Baldry. Under Italy's new law, these children receive education grants, legal aid and financial support for medical and psychological services. The family caring for them receives a monthly allowance of €300.
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➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
“I loved E.T., the movie — but I’m just going to leave it there.”
— Asked during a press conference about the four unidentified objects shot down by U.S. planes in recent days, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre humorously referenced Steven Spielberg’s 1982 cult movie, adding that there was ”no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity.”
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✍️ Newsletter by Ginevra Falciani, Bertrand Hauger, Hugo Perrin and Anne-Sophie Goninet
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