Welcome to Wednesday, where Syria cuts diplomatic ties with Ukraine, the UK tries to keep cool and carry on and Netflix keeps losing subscribers. Meanwhile, Les Echos falls down the rabbit hole of French treasure hunters and their decades-old quest for a golden owl.
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• Leaders pledge cooperation in Tehran: In a trilateral statement in Tehran, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkey and Iran’s leaders Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to continue their ongoing cooperation to “eliminate terrorist individuals, groups, undertakings and entities” in Syria. Meanwhile, Syria announced it was cutting ties with Ukraine in support of its Russian ally.
• European heatwave update: A major wildfire rages in the north of Athens, forcing evacuations, as a heatwave spreads across Europe. For the first time in history, temperatures of over 40 °C have been recorded in many parts of the UK, with 40.3 °C reached in the city of Coningsby, England.
• Ranil Wickremesinghe elected Sri Lanka’s president: Sri Lanka’s parliament elected former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the new president amid a political and economic crisis in the country. As Sri Lanka chose its new leader, some fear that former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa may not willingly give up power.
• COVID-19 outbreak in Australia: As Australia faces a major new COVID-19 outbreak, the government urged residents to work from home and recommended wearing masks indoors in order to further ease the pressure on hospitals, already swamped.
• Twitter-Musk trial in October: A Delaware court sided with the social-media platform Twitter’s request to fast-track the trial against Tesla CEO Elon Musk over the attempt to cancel the $44 billion buyout deal. The five-day trial is set for October.
• New investor migrant visa in New Zealand: New Zealand announced the creation of a new investor migrant visa category that will replace the Investor 1 and 2 categories from September, in a move to “encourage active investment into New Zealand”, according to Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash.
• Record EuroMillions jackpot: A EuroMillions ticket-holder won the jackpot of £195,707,000 — just under 230 million euros — in the UK, the biggest win of all time for the transnational lottery. (FYI, the winning numbers were 6, 23, 27, 40 and 41.)
Turkish daily Sabah devotes its front page to the Tehran summit gathering Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Erdogan delivered “a clear message” on Syria, the daily writes, after the three leaders vowed to continue their cooperation to “eliminate terrorists” in the country.
A new report has revealed that streaming giant Netflix lost 970,000 subscribers in the second quarter of 2022 — its worst loss in its 25 years of existence. But the numbers still outperformed expectations, which forecast a loss of 2 million subscribers. The latest report also anticipates a gain of 1 million subscribers in the third quarter of 2022.
The "Golden Owl," France's enigmatic treasure hunt still unsolved 30 years later
For nearly 30 years, this treasure hunt has brought together tens of thousands of players in a frantic quest involving wild excavations, low blows and even lawsuits. Based on mysterious clues from a book, this treasure hunt has turned into a flourishing business, while keeping thousands of hunters hooked over decades, reports Valérie de Senneville in French daily Les Echos.
🦉💎 On the night of April 22 to 23, 1993, at 3 a.m., a man buries an object somewhere in France. The man, who calls himself Max Valentin, has just concealed a bronze owl statue, an artifact. The original, a gold and silver owl covered with diamonds worth 1 million francs (150,000 euros), was somewhere in a safe — a real treasure. To recover it, treasure hunters must solve eleven enigmas, written like parables, contained in a book of about 60 pages published a few weeks after the nocturnal burial: On the trail of the golden owl signed by Max Valentin and Michael Becker, two accomplices who joined forces.
🤔 In 1995, there are 150,000 people participating in the quest. Radio and TV broadcasts, as well as newspaper articles, devote themselves to the tireless researchers who sometimes give up all reason for the golden owl, the object of all fantasies. The mystery fascinates as much as it deepens, because there is another secret: who is Valentin, who reigns over this motley community of chouetteurs? The wildest theories are put forward: a showbiz star, an eccentric billionaire. The reality is more prosaic. Behind the pseudonym hides a marketing and communication specialist: Régis Hauser.
🔍 On April 24, 2009, there was an earthquake: sixteen years to the day after burying the owl, Valentin died. Could the game continue? Last October, as the game fell silent, Becker revealed that he had signed an agreement with Valentin’s heirs. This brought new life to the world of the chouetteurs, who learned that Becker had access to the solutions and that the hiding place “has remained unchanged since 1993 and corresponds to the nearest centimeter to that resulting from the resolution of the final enigma (‘super-solution’),” as the artist wrote on his blog.
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Had you not taken the initiative, the other side would have taken the initiative and caused the war.
— Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday after the two met in Tehran. Khamenei said that had Putin not started the war, the “dangerous creature” NATO would have done it eventually, adding that “NATO would know no bounds if the way was open to it, and if it was not stopped in Ukraine, it would start the same war using Crimea as an excuse.” Putin also met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. The meetings come ahead of a trilateral summit on Syria with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
✍️ Newsletter by Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, McKenna Johnson and Anne-Sophie Goninet
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