Ukraine Peace Talks, Novaya Gazeta Final Issue, Will Smith Apologizes
👋 Mari mari!*
Welcome to Tuesday, where Ukraine and Russia delegates meet in Turkey for face-to-face peace talks, Peru’s president survives an impeachment vote, and Will Smith apologizes to Chris Rock after Oscars’ “Slapgate.” Meanwhile, German daily Die Welt looks at the ramifications of Europe’s plans to wean itself off Russian natural gas by the end of the year.
[*Mapuche - Chile & Argentina]
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🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• Ukraine reports fresh counterattacks as negotiations resume: Ukrainian forces have reported potentially significant gains in the south of the country and have started counterattacks in parts of Kyiv, as delegations from Ukraine and Russian meet in Istanbul for the first face-to-face talks in more than two weeks. Ukraine said its top priority was to secure an immediate ceasefire.
• Abramovich appears in Istanbul peace talks after poisoning reports: Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has been spotted at the peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul, hours after reports surfaced that the Chelsa soccer club owner and two Ukrainians negotiators had shown poisoning symptoms after talks earlier this month. The billionaire is facing sanctions from the West over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
• Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta suspends publication: Russia’s investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta, whose editor Dmitry Muratov won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, announced it was suspending its online and print activities “until the end of the 'special operation on Ukraine's territory.” The independent paper said it received several warnings from state communications regulator Roskomnadzor about its reports.
• Peru’s President survives impeachment vote: Peru’s President Pedro Castillo survived an impeachment push (the second in eight months) from opposition lawmakers in Congress, after they failed to secure enough votes to oust the leftist eight months into his term. The lawmakers have accused Castillo of “moral incapacity” as he faces “three preliminary investigations into possible corruption.”
• Deadly cockfight shooting in Mexico: Gunmen opened fire at an illegal cockfighting pit, killing 20 in Las Tinajas, western Mexico. The area has long been plagued by drug cartel-related violence.
• Queen Elizabeth attends Prince Philip’s memorial service: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth joined the royal family and other dignitaries in Westminster Abbey for a memorial service in honor of her late husband Prince Philip. It was her first public appearance in five months.
• Smith apologizes to Chris Rock, Academy opens investigation: American actor Will Smith has publicly apologized to comedian Chris Rock for slapping him at the Academy Awards, saying his behavior was “unacceptable and inexcusable.” The Academy condemned Smith and said it was investigating the incident.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
This is the front page of Russian daily Novaya Gazeta on Monday, before the Moscow-based newspaper was ordered from Roskomnadzor (the Russian agency responsible for monitoring, controlling and censoring Russian mass media) to suspend publication “until the end of the "special operation on the territory of Ukraine." Novaya Gazeta is known for its unsparing coverage of Russian political and economic powers, and its investigative reports. Since 2001, six journalists, including Anna Politkovskaya, have been murdered in connection with their investigations. This front page was devoted to Moscow’s “Procrustean lies” and how to neutralize aggressive state propaganda.
Pizzę Joego Bidena
A pizza restaurant in the small Polish town of Głogów Małopolski is renaming its pepperoni and jalapeño pizza “Pizzę Joego Bidena” (Joe Biden pizza) after the U.S. president was pictured over the weekend eating a slice while meeting with American paratroopers stationed in the area. As Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza reports, Biden went on to blame the spiciness of the pizza, now all the rage, for flubbing a speech during a meeting.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
Exclusive: Inside Europe's plans to become independent of Russian gas
The European Commission is busy trying to get Europe to be completely independent from Russian natural gas by the end of the year. It won’t come without hardships, including for consumers and the climate. Die Welt has details on how it will happen, and what it will cost.
🇷🇺🇪🇺 The staff of EU Industry and Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton has drawn up a scenario of how the EU can become independent of gas supplies from Russia by the end of the year. “It is high time that we prepare for all eventualities, this year,” Breton told Die Welt. “This includes a complete supply freeze for Russian gas and even all the other fossil fuels we purchase from there. We need to prepare and discuss a scenario with zero fossil fuels from Russia.”
🏭 The plans include some measures that are already known. These include additional imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), primarily from the U.S. and Qatar. They could replace 50 billion cubic meters of Russian gas. The big challenge, however, is to direct additional supplies to where Russian gas fails. Building new terminals in northern Europe will take several years. One much-discussed option is floating LNG terminals, which can be operational more quickly.
☀️⚡ The authority also sees great potential in renewable energies: planned wind, solar and biogas projects are to be accelerated so that even more capacity can be connected to the grid this year than was already planned. Newly completed biogas plans could replace 3.5 billion cubic meters of Russian gas by the end of the year, new wind turbines ten billion cubic meters, and new solar parks 12.5 billion cubic meters.
☢️ In addition to such largely uncontroversial measures, Breton’s staff have identified savings opportunities that offer far more cause for conflict. Environmental and climate activists in particular are unlikely to be enthusiastic. For example, Breton proposes to keep the three German nuclear power plants that are scheduled to go offline in the next few months, running.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
On March 18, Concordia Research station atop Dome C on the Antarctic Plateau — a.k.a. the coldest place on Earth — registered a temperature of 70 °F (38°C) warmer than normal. The temperature that day reached 11.3 °F (-11.5 °C) when it should have been as low as -56 °F (-49 °C). This extraordinary heatwave is likely to set up a new world record of the largest temperature excess above normal ever measured at an established weather station. It also raises concern about long-term effects on the ice if the phenomenon, harmless as a stand-alone incident, was to reproduce repeatedly due to climate change.
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin and Bertrand Hauger
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