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In The News

Moscow-Washington War Of Words, Kim Jong-un’s Nuclear Threat, World’s Oldest Person Dies

A man holds flowers at a Chernobyl vigil.

A former electrician who used to work at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant pays homage to his colleagues who died during the Chernobyl disaster on this day 36 years ago.

Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Kia ora!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where there’s an escalation of rhetoric between Russia and Washington, Kim Jong-un issues a nuclear threat and the world’s oldest person dies at age 119. Meanwhile, news website Livy Bereg looks at past examples of economic recoveries in countries that were destroyed by war, to see what lessons could be drawn for Ukraine.



Russia reacts to U.S. escalation: After U.S. Defense Secretary Llyod Austin said that seeing Russia not just defeated by Ukraine, but “weakened” by the war, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded with an explicit warning that U.S. actions could lead to “World War III,” with veiled references to possible nuclear attacks.

UN chief to meet Putin: United Nations Secretary General António Guterres is in Moscow for meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin later today. Before an initial meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Guterres declared that a ceasefire “as soon as possible” was his priority, aiming to minimize human suffering. Guterres has been criticized by Ukraine for not coming to Kyiv first, and there is minimal hope that he will make significant progress in his talks with Putin.

— Read all the latest at War in Ukraine, Day 62

Kim Jong-un’s nuclear threat: During a military parade speech in Pyongyang, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un said he would use nuclear weapons if threatened and announced his intention to step North Korea’s nuclear arsenal up.

One killed in West Bank raid: According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, one Palestinian was shot dead and three others wounded by Israeli forces during a West Bank raid near Jericho. Israeli troops said they conducted an overnight raid on the occupied camp and arrested two Palestinians.

Osman Kavala sentenced to life in prison: Turkish civil rights activist Osman Kavala has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a Turkish court on charges related to anti-government protests in 2013. Amnesty International called the sentence "a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions."

Texas mother obtains stay of execution: The Texas Court of Criminal Appeal stayed the execution of inmate Melissa Lucio set for Wednesday to consider new evidence. Convicted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter in 2007, Lucio has always claimed her innocence.

World’s oldest person dies at 119: Japanese Kane Tanaka, certified as the World’s oldest person, has died at the age of 119. She was born on January 2, 1903 in the southern city of Fukuoka. French nun Lucile Randon, 118, is now reported to be the oldest person alive.


Shanghai Daily reports on the new round of city-wide coronavirus tests launched in Shanghai as China hardens its strict zero-covid strategy. Authorities are also conducting mass testing in the capital city Beijing to contain a growing COVID-19 outbreak.


$44 billion

Twitter’s board accepted Elon Musk’s offer to purchase the social media for $44 billion. After weeks of negotiations, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO will finally have total control over Twitter and plans to take the company private.


Rebuilding Ukraine: Lessons from nations that rose from the ashes of war

After two months of war, experts in Ukraine are starting to consider what plan could work to restore the local infrastructure and economy, looking at the experience of Germany, Japan and Italy — countries that went down in history for their economic miracles after being destroyed by war, writes Yaroslav Zheleznyak for Ukrainian news website Livy Bereg.

💥🏗️ World history has many examples of post-war reconstruction. Since the end of World War II, there have been more than 30 major wars and more than 250 military conflicts in the world, involving at least 60 countries. But even with such a seemingly large sample, successful examples of recovery can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Each is unique and depends on many factors — from the banal availability of natural resources to the coincidence of circumstances in the region.

📈 To develop a plan for Ukraine, it makes perfect sense to analyze the Marshall Plan and the recovery scenarios of West Germany, Italy, and Japan: Each faced enormous destruction and each of them was able not just to recover but to make an economic breakthrough. In general, the Marshall Plan, which was primarily aimed at restoring industry, worked. It prompted 30% growth in the economy of the recipient countries compared to the pre-war period.

✅❎ The recipe for renewal of each country is different, but the common tools for success are economy liberalization, job creation, the export-oriented economy and external financial resources. But even having those, it is important to use them effectively. It determines whether a country succeeds or joins a long list of failures like Afghanistan or Iraq.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


I'm the one holding a gun in my hand that everyone was supposed to have taken care of.

— New Santa Fe police footage was released as part of the investigation into the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was killed on the scene of the western movie Rust when U.S. actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun. The video shows Baldwin making frantic phone calls in the immediate wake of the accident, and asking investigators, "Am I being charged with something?"

✍️ Newsletter by Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

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Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

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