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​Tens of thousands of protesters stormed the President's office in Colombo, forcing Sri Lanka’s leader Gotabaya Rajapaksa to confirm his resignation this Monday

Tens of thousands of protesters stormed the President's office in Colombo, forcing Sri Lanka’s leader Gotabaya Rajapaksa to confirm his resignation this Monday

McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Joel Silvestri

👋 Goeie!*

Welcome to Monday, where Ukraine plans a counteroffensive in the South, Sri Lanka’s president resigns after protesters stormed the presidential palace on Sunday and there’ll soon be 8 billion of us on Earth. Meanwhile, The Conversation sees Shinzo Abe’s assassination as the continuation of Japan’s history of political violence.

[*Frisian - The Netherlands and Germany]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Ukraine plans to retake Kherson: Ukraine is urging civilians to evacuate the Russian-occupied southern region of Kherson as they plan to mount a counteroffensive and take back control of the area later this summer. The Kremlin and Kherson’s occupying officials have stated that the people of the region should hold a referendum to decide whether or not to secede to Russia.

• President of Sri Lanka resigns amid financial crisis: After Sri Lanka’s presidential palace was stormed by protesters on Sunday, president Gotabaya Rajapaksa has confirmed that he will be stepping down as the country’s leader. Protestors have been calling for Rajapaksa to resign as Sri Lanka faces a crippling financial crisis causing food and fuel shortages and making medicine and basic necessities unattainable.

• “Uber files” international probe: Newly leaked corporate documents from Uber have revealed that the company received significant aid from multiple top politicians in Europe, most notably France’s President Emmanuel Macron, then France’s Economy Minister. The “Uber Files” leak includes over 124,000 records of emails and other communications made between 2013 and 2017, detailing the aggressive lobbying campaigns by Uber to evade regulatory oversight around the world.

• Israel to investigate mass grave: Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid has announced an investigation into a reported mass grave of Egyptian soldiers from 1967. Recent articles cite evidence that dozens of captured soldiers were buried under what is now a tourist park.

• Macau shuts down casinos as COVID cases soar across China: For the first time in over two years, the Chinese territory of Macau is temporarily shutting down more than 30 casinos in an attempt to prevent a major COVID-19 outbreak. Macau has recorded around 1,500 cases since June as China battles outbreaks caused by the new, highly contagious BA.5 variant in cities across the country and tensions continue to simmer in Shanghai after it ended a two-month lockdown.

• 19 killed in South Africa shootings: 19 people are dead after gunmen opened fire on patrons at two bars in South Africa on Saturday night. Police are investigating a potential link between the shootings, but no details have been released regarding the attackers.

• California wildfire threatens giant sequoia trees: The Washburn fire, which began on July 7th in California is growing rapidly, threatening some of the oldest and largest trees in the world. Among the trees at risk of burning is the famous “Grizzly Giant”, which has drawn the attention of tourists and travelers for years.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

The cover of Serbian daily Blic celebrates Novak Djokovic’s win over Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon final. Djokovic’s victory marks the Serbian’s seventh Wimbledon title and his 21st major crown. In the women’s singles, Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina won her first Grand Slam title after beating Tunisian player Ons Jabeur.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

8 billion

The world’s population is expected to reach eight billion this November, the UN released in a report on Monday to coincide with World Population Day. According to the report, the world’s population should grow to 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and peak at 10.4 billion in the 2080s before steadying until 2100. The report also says that the world’s population is growing at its slowest pace since 1950, and that India will surpass China to become the most populous country in the world in 2023.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Shinzo Abe's killing is part of Japan's long, dark history of political violence

There have been countless cases of Japanese politicians targeted over the past century, including Abe’s own grandfather, Kishi Nobusuke, who survived an assassination attempt.

⏪ At first glance, Abe’s assassination harks back to the 1920s and 1930s when the assassination of sitting and former prime ministers (Hara Kei, Hamaguchi Osachi, Inukai Tsuyoshi, Takahashi Korekiyo, Saitō Makoto) was a feature of Japanese politics. We do not readily associate political assassination and violence with democratic and pacifist post-war Japan. In this light, it is not surprising that many reports focused on political violence in Japan as “almost unheard of”. However, like any country, sudden and extreme acts of political violence are not without precedent in the country.

🇯🇵 Japan is also not a stranger to organized political violence by groups of people. The most devastating incident of post-war political violence, was undoubtedly the Tokyo sarin gas attacks in March 1995. At the hands of a religious cult, Aum Shinrikyō, key subway stations serving political centers in Tokyo were targeted with the aim to initiate the end of the world. The nerve agent claimed 14 lives, and injured more than 1,000 people. The cult leader, Asahara Shōkō alongside key members of the cult, were executed in 2018.

📈 As the numbers show, gun crime is rare in Japan so political violence is shocking and extreme. However, as is the case in other countries (one need only think of the murders of MPs Jo Cox and David Amess in the UK), it is sadly far from unheard of. Sadly, Shinzo Abe is only the most recent in a long line of politically motivated attacks. Unfortunately, the highly visible nature of criminal prosecution in Japan gives perpetrators a large platform to announce their views.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

We have a new Hitler in Russia.

— Maria Alyokhina, member of the Russian feminist and punk-rock group Pussy Riot, tells The Guardian about her years since fleeing her homeland and why she thinks the current situation could have been avoided, had sanctions been put in place back in 2014 invasion.

✍️ Newsletter by McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Joel Silvestri


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Geopolitics

A Ukrainian In Belgrade: The Straight Line From Milosevic To Putin, And Back Again

As hostilities flare again between Serbia and Kosovo, the writer draws connections between the dissolutions of both the USSR and Yugoslavia, and the leaders who exploit upheaval and feed the worst kind of nationalism.

On the streets of Belgrade, Serbia

Anna Akage

-Analysis-

At high school in Kyiv in the late 1990s, we studied the recent history of Yugoslavia: the details of its disintegration, the civil wars, the NATO bombing of Belgrade. When we compared Yugoslavia and the USSR, it seemed evident to us that if Boris Yeltsin or Mikhail Gorbachev had been anything like Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic, bloody wars would have been unavoidable for Ukraine, Belarus, and other republics that instead had seceded from the Soviet Union without a single shot being fired.

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Fast forward to 2020, when I visited Belgrade for the first time, invited for a friend's wedding. Looking around, I was struck by the decrepit state of its roads, the lack of any official marked cabs, by the drudgery, but most of all by the tension and underlying aggression in society. It was reflected in all the posters and inscriptions plastered on nearly every street. Against Albania, against Kosovo, against Muslims, claims for historical justice, Serbian retribution, and so on. A rather beautiful, albeit by Soviet standards, Belgrade seemed like a sleeping scorpion.

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