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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]


This is our daily newsletter Worldcrunch Today, a rapid tour of the news of the day from the world's best journalism sources, regardless of language or geography.

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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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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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