Thai Preschool Attack, OPEC To Cut Oil Production, French Literature Nobel
Welcome to Thursday, where at least 31 people, including 23 children, have been killed in an attack at a daycare center in Thailand, OPEC stuns the energy market and the Nobel Prize in literature goes to a French author. Meanwhile, for Paris-based daily Les Echos, Guillaume Ptak draws a parallel between the growing militarization of Ukrainian citizens and life in Israel.
[*Namaskar - Kannada, India]
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🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• More than 30 killed in Thailand preschool attack: At least 31 people, 23 of them children, were killed Thursday in an attack at a preschool daycare center in the Nong Bua Lamphu province of Thailand. The motive is unclear, but authorities say the attacker shot and stabbed his victims, before killing himself and his family during the ensuing manhunt.
• Russian rockets strike Zaporizhzhia civilian targets: At least seven Russian missiles struck the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia early Thursday, with an apartment building hit and at least two deaths reported. The rocket attacks on civilian targets come as forces loyal to Kyiv continue to gain ground on the frontline.
• OPEC cuts oil production: OPEC stunned energy markets late Wednesday with the announcement of further cuts to oil production, in a move OPEC leader Saudi Arabia says is necessary to curb prices in light of extreme inflation rates and a weaker global economy. U.S. President Joe Biden has expressed disappointment in the decision “while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact” of the war in Ukraine.
• Inaugural European Political Community meeting: Leaders from Ukraine, Britain, Turkey and the EU will meet Thursday in an inaugural summit of the “European Political Community” to assist political coordination among the 44 nations. Absent from the invite list is Russia as discussions will focus on the economic and security fallout resulting from its war with Ukraine.
• Mexico mayor assassinated: The mayor of a small town in western Mexico has been killed, along with 17 others, in an attack at the San Miguel Totolapan town hall on Wednesday. Authorities are blaming the attack on the Los Tequileros criminal gang, which is linked to a powerful drug cartel.
• Nobel Prize in Literature: French author Annie Ernaux was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory.”
• Woman becomes first Native American in space:Nicole Mann has become the first Native American woman in space as SpaceX launched its space mission to the International Space Station on Wednesday. A Marine Corps pilot and NASA astronaut, as well as a member of the Wailacki tribe of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, she will head the expedition as mission commander.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
“In face of the energy crisis, are you ready for sobriety?,” asks French daily Libération as France’s government is set to present its energy savings plan, which will include measures to renovate public buildings, reduce street and shop lighting as well as heating. The front page is also a tongue-in-cheek reference to French politicians who in recent weeks dressed in turtlenecks and winter clothes, in a clumsy effort to lead by example.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
In an effort to make up for the tourism profits lost during the COVID-19 crisis, Hong Kong has announced it will give away 500,000 plane tickets worth HK$2 billion ($257 million) to lure travelers back and reconnect with the rest of the world once the island nation removes all coronavirus restrictions for arrivals next year.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
Ukraine is turning into a “new Israel,” where everyone is a soldier
From businessmen to farmers, Ukrainian society has been militarizing for the past six months to defend its sovereignty. In the future it may find itself like Israel, permanently armed to protect its sovereignty, French daily Les Echos’ Guillaume Ptak reports from Kyiv.
🇺🇦🇮🇱 On April 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that at the end of the conflict, Ukraine would become a “big Israel.” The problem of national security will be the country's most important one in the next decade. An “absolutely liberal, and European” society would therefore no longer be on the agenda, according to the Ukrainian president. Having long since swapped his suit and tie for a jacket or a khaki T-shirt during his public appearances, Zelensky has undeniably become one of the symbols of this growing militarization of Ukrainian society.
🎖️ While the comparison with Israel, a geographically small country of only nine million people, may seem surprising, it is not without merit, according to the former U.S. ambassador to Israel. David Shapiro wrote last April that both countries face similar threats to their national security and sovereignty, and both have "highly mobilized" populations. Even if it is far from Russia's nationalist and warmongering propaganda, Ukrainian culture is now influenced by references to war and the army.
📚 The war has even entered school textbooks: According to Andriy Vitrenko, the deputy minister of education and science, changes will be made to the curriculum for the new school year. For example, a new teaching module will be added to the "Defense of Ukraine" course. This is a "logical" process, according to Catherine Wanner, a professor of history and cultural anthropology: "This phenomenon of militarization is not surprising, given the Russian aggression and the considerable loss of human life and infrastructure that Ukraine has already suffered."
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This absolutely cannot be tolerated.
— Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reacts to a new launch of missiles from North Korea in the direction of Japan. On Thursday, Pyongyang fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea, just as a U.N. Security Council meeting was held in response to the North's recent tests. The launch is "the sixth […] just counting the ones from the end of September," Kishida noted. In total, North Korea has launched about 40 missiles this year.
✍️ Newsletter by Sophia Constantino, Laure Gautherin, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger
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