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In The News

More U.S. Aid To Ukraine, Armenian Amnesty?, Hollywood Strikes Marathon

More U.S. Aid To Ukraine, Armenian Amnesty?, Hollywood Strikes Marathon

Striking writers and actors protest outside Sunset Bronson studios in Los Angeles.

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Valeria Berghinz and Michelle Courtois

👋 खुरुमजरी*

Welcome to Friday, where the U.S. agrees to a new military package for Ukraine, Azerbaijan considers amnesty for Armenian separatists, and a Guinean student rides his bike to his dream university some 4,000-km away. Meanwhile, Ukrainian publication Livy Bereg helps us understand the significance of the so-called “Surovikin line” in Ukraine's counteroffensive.

[*Khurumjari - Manipuri]


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• Ukraine to get U.S. aid, Zelensky in Canada: Ukraine secured a new $325-million military aid deal from the U.S. after President Volodymyr Zelensky met with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden in Washington on Thursday. A larger $24-billion package is still held up by political disagreements in Congress. Both countries also agreed to launch joint weapons production. Zelensky landed in Ottawa late Thursday night in a surprise official visit to Canada, his first since the start of the Russian invasion.

• Azerbaijan envisages amnesty for Armenian separatists who give up arms: Hikmet Hajiyev, foreign policy adviser to Azerbaijan's president, told Reuters that the country was considering an amnesty for Karabakh Armenian fighters who give up their arms, although some groups have said they “will continue resistance.” Peace talks which started on Thursday in the Azeri city of Yevlakh didn’t conclude with an agreement but Azerbaijan vowed to send petrol and water to villagers in Nagorno-Karabakh.

• Trudeau asks New Delhi to cooperate in murder probe in India-Canada row: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reiterated there were “credible reasons” to believe Indian agents were behind the murder of a Sikh separatist leader on Canada soil and called on India to collaborate with the investigation. The leader added Canada would not release its evidence.

• No end in sight for Hollywood strike: The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Hollywood studios are set to continue negotiations on Friday to end a strike that has lasted for nearly five months, after no agreement was reached during a “marathon session” on Thursday. If the strike continues to October, it will be the longest in WGA’s history and the longest Hollywood strike since 1945.

• Big win for Brazil’s Indigenous in land claim case: Brazil’s top court has ruled in favor of Indigenous rights in a case that questioned the constitutionality of setting a time limit for making claims to ancestral territory. The policy, which pitted business owners and farmers against Indigenous land communities, would have required Indigenous groups to prove they were on the land they claimed in 1988 (when Brazil’s current constitution was ratified) to reassert their rights.

• Studio Ghibli sold to Nippon TV: Television network Nippon TV has bought Studio Ghibli (of Spirited Away, Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro fame) after the iconic Japanese animation company failed to find a successor for its legendary co-founder and director Hayao Miyazaki.

• 4,000-km bike ride to uni: The BBC shares the story of Mamadou Safayou Barry, a 25-year-old student from Guinea who reportedly cycled for some 4,000 kilometers to Egypt, to study at his dream university. Unable to afford the Islamic Studies course at the prestigious Al-Azhar university, he hopped on a bicycle and crossed Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Niger and Chad in a span of four months. He was offered a full scholarship when he reached Cairo.


The Financial Times marks the “end of an era” as media mogul Rupert Murdoch announced his decision to relinquish control of his firms after 70 years. Murdoch, 92, will step down as chairman of Fox Corp. and News Corp., leaving his son, Lachlan, in charge of his media empire.



The southern white rhino population has increased for the first time since 2012, as reported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) on Thursday. “White rhinos now number around 16,803 animals, an increase of 5.6%” from the previous year. The black rhino population also increased and reached nearly 6,500 last year. However, Michael Knight, the chair of the IUCN said that despite the growth of Africa’s rhino population, conservation was still very much necessary as poaching remains high. In 2022, Africa lost 561 rhinos to poaching, 448 of which were killed in South Africa.


Piercing the “Surovikin line” — inside the biggest win of Ukraine's counteroffensive

The area around Robotyne, in southeastern Ukraine, has been the center of a fierce two-month battle. Ukrainian publication Livy Bereg breaks down how Ukrainian forces were able to exploit gaps in Russian defenses and push the counteroffensive forward.

🇷🇺🇺🇦 Since the fall of 2022, Russian forces have been building a series of formidable defensive lines in Ukrainian territory, from Vasylivka in the Zaporizhzhia region to the front in Vremivka in the Donetsk region. Such an extensive and intricate defensive network had not been seen in Europe since World War II. Spanning 130 kilometers (81 miles), this formidable barrier earned the name "Surovikin Line," after the former commander of Russia's aerospace forces.

💥 The region around Robotyne became the epicenter of a fierce two-month battle, garnering significant attention due to its pivotal position on the front, since the launch of Ukraine's counteroffensive late last spring. Despite the formidable defense, the Russian forces eventually crumbled. After two months of intense fighting, Russia retreated this week to the south of Robotyne and began constructing new defenses along the nearby forested areas and the outskirts of Novoprokopivka in the Zaporizhia region.

🎯 One significant factor contributing to the Russian retreat was the lack of infantry support for their elaborate defensive infrastructure. While they used ATGM teams, drone operators, and concealed artillery positions effectively, they could not maintain a continuous line of motivated infantry along the entire Surovikin Line. This vulnerability allowed Ukrainian forces to exploit the gaps in the defense.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“We must not leave Haiti behind.”

— Kenyan President William Ruto addressed the United Nations Security Council on Thursday to formally support a security support mission to Haiti. Diplomats have stated that the council may already vote next week on a U.S. drafted resolution backing a multinational police development. Ruto urged the general assembly to not forget Haiti whilst mobilizing for countries in crisis such as Ukraine, Libya, Morocco and Hawaii.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Valeria Berghinz, Michelle Courtois and Bertrand Hauger

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Second Front? Tension In West Bank Reaching New Heights–  Mideast War, Day 21

Death count rises above 100 in the West Bank, as sources reports weapons flooding in through Iran.

Photo of people Palestinians throwing stones toward Israeli troops

Masked Palestinians youths use slingshots to hurl stones Friday toward Israeli troops during clashes with them following a solidarity march with the Palestinians living in Gaza

Jakob Mieszkowski-Lapping and Emma Albright

Massive protests materialized around the West Bank on Friday, and were particularly potent in Ramallah, the administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority, according to Al Jazeera journalist Hoda Abdel-Hamid who is reporting from the ground. The protestors are reportedly chanting in support of Hamas.

“You must not underestimate the amount of anxiety and fear that exists across the occupied West Bank,” said Abdel-Hamid. “I’ve been reporting for weeks now about the nightly Israeli raids and detentions. There is also the settler violence – an average of eight attacks a day and they are increasing.”

Weapons are “flooding” into the occupied West Bank through a complex network organized by Iran and its allies, mainly in Iraq and Syria, according to the Wall Street Journal. Israeli settlers are reportedly being armed by Israel’s government, at the direction of its far-right national security advisor Itamar Ben-Gvir.

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The Palestinian Health Ministry reported on Thursday that Israeli forces shot and killed a 17-year-old boy near Ramallah, bringing the total death count since October 7 in the West Bank to 105, according to Turkish state-run outlet Anadolu Agency.

Many of those deaths are attacks on Palestinians by Jewish settlers, which U.S. President Biden has denounced as “pouring gasoline on the fire.”

“The army has said it is ‘taking off its gloves’. So people are afraid,” said Abdel-Hamid.

Many have described the situation as a “powder keg.”

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