Trump Pleads “Not Guilty,” Zelensky In Poland, Forbes’ Richest
Welcome to Wednesday, where former U.S. President Donald Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony counts, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives in Warsaw, and Elon Musk is dethroned as world’s richest man. Meanwhile, Ukrainian journalist Anna Akage looks at why Vladimir Putin continues to delay a second round of nationwide mobilization, even as Moscow’s troops continue to suffer major losses in Ukraine.
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🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony counts: Former U.S. President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in alleged hush money schemes paid to two women before the 2016 U.S. election. It is the first time a sitting or former U.S. president has been charged with a crime, and is expected to deepen political fractures in the country ahead of next year’s presidential election.
• Zelensky arrives in Poland: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Warsaw Wednesday for meetings with Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in his first extended visit to a neighboring country since the Russian invasion last year. He will also speak to Ukrainian refugees, Polish members of the public and business leaders who could be involved in rebuilding Ukraine. Meanwhile the U.S. unveiled a new military package for Ukraine worth $2.6 billion in military assistance.
• Israeli forces raid mosque in Jerusalem: Israeli police attacked and arrested Palestinian worshippers in a violent raid at dawn on Wednesday at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem. At least 400 Palestinians were arrested and remain in Israeli custody. Palestinian witnesses said Israeli forces used stun grenades and tear gas, and inflicted beatings with batons and rifles, leaving at least 12 people injured.
• Macron and Von Der Leyen arrive in China: French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are arriving in China on Wednesday for a three-day visit where they will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, with plans to discuss trade and the war in Ukraine.
• Sturgeon’s husband arrested in financial probe: The BBC is reporting that Peter Murrell, a top Scottish politician and husband of former Scotland leader Nicola Sturgeon, was arrested as part of an investigation into Scottish National Party funding. Murrell resigned as the party's chief executive last month, a post he had held since 1999, while Sturgeon had also stepped down last month as First Minister of Scotland, after eight years at the helm.
• Mexican judge orders five arrests for homicide in migrant fire: A judge has ordered the arrest of three Mexican immigration officials, a private security guard, and a Venezuelan migrant for an investigation in connection with a fire at an immigration detention center in northern Mexico that killed 40 migrants and refugees.• Musk dethroned from top of billionaire’s list: Elon Musk has officially been dethroned for the top of Forbes’ annual “World’s Billionaire’s List.” He is now the second-richest man, worth an estimated $180 billion, which is $39 billion less than the previous year. The top spot goes to Bernard Arnault, chairman of French luxury goods giant LVMH whose net worth increased more than $50 billion in the past year to $211 billion.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
Like many international newspapers, Brazilian daily O Estado de São Paulo devotes its Wednesday front page to the arrest of former U.S. President Donald Trump, who it says is “doubling down on his gamble to play the victim” after pleading “not guilty” to 34 felony counts and claiming the prosecution was meant to derail his candidacy to the upcoming 2024 election.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
The UK has fined TikTok $15.9 million for breaching data protection laws by mishandling children's personal information. The fine was imposed by the Information Commissioner's Office after an investigation revealed that TikTok failed to obtain adequate consent from parents, and that children's personal data was at risk of being exposed in security breaches and was accessible to unauthorized parties.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
Why Putin hasn’t launched the second mobilization his army so desperately needs
Few believe the Russian government claims that it can recruit 400,000 new troops as volunteers, even with cash bonuses. But the alternative, a nationwide draft, may be too high a risk for Vladimir Putin, writes Ukrainian journalist Anna Akage.
🇷🇺 April 1 has traditionally been the date that Russia calls up all able-bodied males who’ve reached the age of 18 to join the ranks of its military reserves. This year, however, Kremlin watchers were expecting the annual conscription to be called off to clear the way for a massive second round of nationwide mobilization. Yet, April 1 came and went — and Russian President Vladimir Putin balked again at announcing a new draft, even as Moscow’s troops continue to suffer major losses.
💰 Why has Putin continued to delay mass mobilization? The Kremlin’s answer begins with the flipside of a draft: volunteer troops. The Russian press reported last month that the Kremlin had sent a secret directive to the country's regions with the objective of signing up 400,000 new volunteers by the end of 2023. Ordinary Russians report aggressive new recruitment campaigns and propaganda messages, including promises of exorbitant sums of money for those who sign up.
🎖️ The difficulty in getting ordinary Russians to join the war effort has been a problem dating back to the first mobilization last September. According to unofficial data, some 200,000 people were drafted during the first mobilization wave, well short of the 300,000 target. Then too, financial coercion was used. But even with this system, Putin fell short of the required number of soldiers, with many men of conscription age fleeing Russia to avoid the draft.➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
📹 THIS HAPPENED VIDEO — TODAY IN HISTORY, IN ONE ICONIC PHOTO
➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
“It was a cross between a sense of duty to steer a moving freight train … and being hit by one.”
— Outgoing New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivered her final speech in the country's parliament, looking back on her career marked notably by natural disasters, the COVID-19 crisis, and a deadly terrorist attack on a mosque in 2019. Ardern, 42, quit as prime minister earlier this year after five and a half years in office, saying she no longer had "enough in the tank".
✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Renate Mattar Anne-Sophie Goninet and Hugo Perrin
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