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In The News

Ukraine Food Corridor, Unapologetic Merkel, Costly Cow Burps

Ukraine Food Corridor, Unapologetic Merkel, Costly Cow Burps

Ukrainians Alesya and Gena photographed after getting married in the southern city of Odessa

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

👋 Dumela!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Russia and Turkey discuss a Ukraine food corridor, Angela Merkel defends her track record with Putin and New Zealand puts a price tag on livestock-produced methane. Meanwhile, for French daily Les Echos, Julie Zaugg reports on slavery-like working conditions experienced by migrants reaching British shores.

[*Tswana - South Africa, Botswana]


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• Ukraine food corridor plans “feasible”: Speaking alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a news conference in Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says that a UN plan for a grain corridor to supply Ukraine with agricultural goods is “feasible.”

• Train derails in Iran: At least 17 died and more than 50 were seriously injured after a train derailed in eastern Iran. Initial reports state that the accident occurred when the train collided with an excavator on the tracks.

• Migration becomes top issue at Summit of the Americas: The issue of migration has come to the forefront as Joe Biden hosts North, South, and Central American leaders. The U.S. hopes to work with other nations to find a more humane solution to mass migration — a task which is proving difficult amid drama that many leaders, including Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador, are boycotting the event.

• Car drives into crowd in Berlin:A car drove into a crowd in a busy shopping street of central Berlin, killing one and injuring at least eight others. The driver is being detained by the police, who are trying to determine if the incident was intentional.

• Hindu Nationalist arrested for anti-Muslim comments: Indian police have arrested a youth leader for the ruling Hindu Nationalist party for posting Islamophobic comments on social media. The arrest was made after another official disrupted diplomacy by making derogatory comments towards muslims.

• Matthew McConaughey pleads for gun control: American actor Matthew McConaughey visited the White House on Tuesday to deliver an emotional speech in which he called for stricter gun control.

• New Zealand to price livestock burps: In a world first, New Zealand lawmakers have drafted a plan to make farmers pay for agricultural emissions, which make up around half of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions — mainly methane produced by livestock. This money will then be invested in research and advisory services for farmers.


“A visit to turn the page,” titles Belgian daily Le Soir, reporting on Belgium’s King Philippe landing in the Democratic Republic of Congo for a historic six-day visit, in an effort to reconcile the two countries after atrocities committed under Belgian colonial rule. It is King Philippe’s first visit in the central African country since ascending the throne in 2013.



China is introducing “spiritual rewards,” (精神奖励, Jīngshén jiǎnglì) in the form of certificates for national security tips. Authorities aim to encourage people to identify others as possible foreign spies, amid supposed fears that espionage is escalating in the country. Citizens can also opt for “material rewards,” anywhere between 10,000 yuan ($1,500) and 100,000 yuan ($15,000) in cash, depending on the value of the tip.


The “British dream” is a dangerous trap for too many migrants

The United Kingdom is seen by migrants as the promised land. Many are prepared to embark on a perilous journey to get there. But on arrival, they often find that life is not what they expected. Some even discover working conditions resembling slavery, Julie Zaugg reports for French dailyLes Echos.

🇬🇧🚨 The British dream is the cause of a migration wave during which thousands of migrants from impoverished countries risk it all to reach the British shores. At the end of this perilous journey, far from finding the Holy Grail they had hoped for, many fall into the clutches of traffickers. According to the Global Slavery Index, there are more than 136,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK. The most represented nationalities are Vietnam, Albania and some Eastern Europe countries such as Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, according to British government figures.

💸 In these migrants’ home countries, the UK appears as a first choice destination since most of them speak English. They are attracted by traffickers’ fake job ads, which promise high salaries, in poorly regulated sectors such as construction, agriculture, nail salons or car wash facilities. Traffickers are particularly talented at identifying vulnerable people. The victim usually pays a tidy sum beforehand to cover travel expenses, which can reach $52,500 to go from Vietnam to the UK.

🚓 Some of the migrants who took their chance on the British soil are left with no choice but to engage in illegal activities such as shoplifting, prostitution or cannabis cultivation. Dozens of those illegal farms, where working conditions are apocalyptic, exist in the UK. The traffickers do not hesitate to make use of physical violence. But some migrants do eventually run away. In this case, they are often intercepted by the police and deported because they are in the country illegally.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


I have nothing to apologize for.

— In a public interview Tuesday night with Der Spiegel in Berlin, her first since stepping down as German chancellor at the end of last year, Angela Merkel says she has no regrets over her policy towards Russia and handling of diplomatic relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. She insisted that she did everything in her power to prevent the war in Ukraine: While calling Russia’s invasion “a great mistake,” the former German leader who served for 16 years, blamed the West for not managing to “create a security architecture that could have prevented this.”

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

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Iran's War On Abortion Rights, A Toxic Mix Of Theocracy And Demographic Panic

Ending a pregnancy has become a major complication, and a crime, for Iranian women who cannot or will not have children in a country wracked by socio-economic woes and a leadership.

photo of a young child surrounded by women in chadors

Iran's government wants to boost the birth rate at all costs

Office of Supreme Leader/ZUMA
Firoozeh Nordstrom

Keen to boost the population, Iran's Islamic regime has reversed its half-hearted family planning policies of earlier years and is curbing birth control with measures that include banning abortion.

Its (2021) Law to Support the Family and Rejuvenate the Population (Qanun-e hemayat az khanevadeh va javani-e jam'iyat) threatens to fine the women who want to abort, and fine, imprison, and dismiss the performing physician, if the pregnancy is not deemed to be life-threatening. The law also bans contraceptives.

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The measures are in line with the dictates of Iran's Supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. He was already denouncing birth control policies by 2018-19, though conservative elements among Iran's rulers have always dismissed birth control as a piece of Western corruption.

Today, measures to boost families include land and credit incentives for young couples, but it is difficult to say how far they will counter a marked reluctance among Iranians to marry and procreate. Kayhan-London had an online conversation with individuals affected by the new rules in Iran.

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