Welcome to Tuesday, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warns of Russia’s plans for a drawn-out drone campaign, Palestinians condemn Israeli far-right leader Ben-Gvir’s visit to Jerusalem holy site, and a new poll shows how many Britons want a new Brexit vote. Meanwhile, Ukrainian media Livy Bereg looks at the dramatic effects of the Russian invasion on what used to be the world's granary: Ukraine soil.
[*Salem - Kazakh]
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• Zelensky warns Russia plans prolonged attack with drones: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia is preparing a prolonged campaign of attacks using Iranian-made exploding drones to “exhaust” Ukraine. Also, Moscow has admitted at least 63 Russian soldiers were killed in a Ukrainian strike in the Donbas region, with Kyiv officials saying the death count was in the hundreds.
• Far-right Israeli minister visits contested Jerusalem holy site: Israel’s newly installed right-wing National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound, provoking the outrage of Palestinians who called the move an “unprecedented provocation.” A visit to the contested site in 2000 by then opposition leader Ariel Sharon was one of the main triggers for the second Palestinian intifada.
• Mexico’s Supreme Court elects first female president: Justice Norma Lucia Pina was sworn in for a four-year term as president of Mexico’s Supreme Court, becoming the first female chief justice in the history of the nation’s highest judicial body.
• Republican leader faces battle to be elected House Speaker: House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy is facing a battle to become the new Speaker of the House of Representatives as he struggles to secure enough support ahead of a vote in Congress today. If McCarthy fails to win the initial round of voting, the race could go to multiple ballots, which hasn’t happened since 1923.
• Rally driver Ken Block killed in snowmobile accident: American pro rally driver and YouTube star Ken Block has died aged 55 after a snowmobile accident in Utah.
• NFL player in critical condition after cardiac arrest during game: American football player Damar Hamlin is in “critical condition” after the 24-year-old Buffalo Bills safety suffered a cardiac arrest during a primetime U.S. National Football League game.
• Top French film award show bans nominees investigated for sexual assault: The César film Awards, France’s equivalent to the Oscars, announced a ban on anyone being investigated for allegations of sexual violence from its ceremony next month. This follows a backlash when Roman Polanski, who is wanted in the U.S. for statutory rape, won best director in 2020.
Palestinian authorities had warned that the visit of Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s new minister of national security, to Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound (Temple Mount) would end the status quo of the holy site, equating the move with a “declaration of war.” Despite Palestinian leaders' reactions and threats from militant group Hamas, ultranationalist Ben-Gvir maintained his trip, under heavy security. As part of its front-page coverage of the showdown, The Jerusalem Post features an OpEd by American-born Israeli journalist Yaakov Katz, who writes that Ben-Gvir should be allowed on the site since it has long been declared to be under Israeli sovereignty, and that any violence that may ensue cannot legitimately use the visit as a justification, but as a mere excuse.
Two years after the UK left the European Union, a solid majority of Britons now say it was a mistake — with almost two-thirds (65%) now saying they want a second chance to vote on rejoining their continental neighbors. According to a new poll from The Independent, a majority of Brits now think Brexit has been bad for the economy, made the UK less influential around the world and given the nation less control over its borders.
How the war is doing long-term damage to Ukraine's fertile soil
Ukraine's fertile soils used to feed the world. But even when the war ends, food production will take decades to recover because of damage to the land, report Oleksandr Decyk and Vitaly Alekseev in Ukrainian media Livy Bereg.
🌾💥 According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, during the war in Ukraine, significantly degraded agricultural land increased by 13%. A significant percentage of the land is at risk of degradation. Scientists call it ecocide — the deliberate destruction of Ukraine's ecosystem. More than 200,000 hectares of territories in the combat zone are contaminated with mines, shells, and debris.
☣️ Scientists note that the issue of restoring land fertility after Russia's aggression is already something that should be a priority. The areas of agricultural land filled with mines and ammunition or contaminated with oil products and chemical compounds are increasing every day. And this is primarily in the regions with the most fertile soils in Ukraine.
⏳ The destruction of the upper nutrient-rich layer due to the toxic effects of explosive devices, ammunition and military equipment ultimately leads to a loss of soil fertility and makes the fields unsuitable for agricultural production. As history shows, the recovery will take more than a year. Because, for example, according to Belgian scientists, even 90 years after the First World War, the concentrations of heavy metals exceeded maximum permissible limits at the sites of former battles.
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“The entry restrictions adopted by some countries targeting China lack scientific basis.”
— At a daily briefing today, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning reacted to the news that more countries will require Chinese travelers to provide a COVID-19 test before boarding their flight. Australia and Canada this week joined the U.S. and several European nations in strengthening restrictions for passengers from China, as the country faces a renewed coronavirus outbreak after relaxing its strict “zero-COVID” policies. Saying that “the entry restrictions adopted by some countries targeting China lack scientific basis,” Mao Ning added that China would “take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity.”
• Why Olaf Scholz Is Still Not Convincing On Ukraine — DIE WELT
• Climate Change Is Bad For Your Brain — UNDARK
✍️ Newsletter by Laure Gautherin, Bertrand Hauger, Riley Sparks and Anne-Sophie Goninet
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