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In The News

Top EU Officials In Kyiv, U.S. Philippines Pact, King-less Banknotes

Photo of the ​USS Antietam maneuvering in the Philippine Sea, just as the U.S. and Philippines forces announce the reinforcement of a defense pact, which will provide the United States with expanded access to Filipino military bases.

USS Antietam maneuvers in the Philippine Sea, just as the U.S. and Philippines forces announce the reinforcement of a defense pact, which will provide the United States with expanded access to Filipino military bases.

Emma Albright, Inès Mermat and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Bone die!*

Welcome to Thursday, where top European officials arrive in Ukraine for talks, Israel launches airstrikes on Gaza, and Australia snubs King Charles on its new banknote. Meanwhile, Claudio Andrade in Buenos Aires-based daily Clarin reports on the armada of 500 fishing boats who gather yearly off the coast of southern Argentina for an "industrial harvest."

[*Sardinian, Italy]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• EU officials visit Kyiv as Russia strikes apartment building: Top European officials led by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv on Thursday for talks with Ukrainian officials. Meanwhile, the search for survivors continues in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, after a Russian rocket hit an apartment building overnight, killing at least three and injuring 20.

• North Korean threats after U.S. military drills in the region: North Korea said that drills on and around the Korean peninsula by the United States and its allies have reached an "extreme red-line" and threaten to turn the peninsula into a "critical war zone." The Foreign Ministry statement also said Pyongyang was not interested in dialogue as long as Washington pursues hostile policies.

• Israel carries out airstrikes on Gaza: Israel conducted airstrikes on central Gaza on Thursday morning, coming hours after the military intercepted a rocket fired from the Palestinian territory. This comes amid heightened tensions and immediately following the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to both Jerusalem and the West Bank to try to defuse the situation.

• U.S. and Philippines expand defense pact: The Philippines will provide the United States with expanded access to its military bases, providing U.S. forces with a greater strategic footing on the southeastern edge of the South China Sea close to self-ruled Taiwan. This new deal will also give the U.S. access to four more locations, allowing the U.S. to rotate troops to a total of nine bases throughout the Philippines.

• Four jailed over deadly jihadist attack in Vienna:Four men have been convicted of being accomplices to murder in a deadly terror attack by a lone jihadist gunman in Austria's capital in November 2020.

• Indian Muslim journalist walks out of jail after 2 years: Indian journalist Siddique Kappan, who spent 28 months in jail without trial, was charged under anti-terror laws for reporting on a gang-rape case. Kappan was initially charged under various sections of the Indian penal code, before being hit by terror and money laundering charges.

• Australia’s new $5 note won’t feature King Charles: King Charles III will not feature on Australia’s new five dollar note. The new design will pay tribute to "the culture and history" of Indigenous Australians. A portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II appears on the current design of the five dollar note.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“How useful was the mask requirement?,” asks German daily Tagesspiegel, writing that scientists are now questioning whether the face covering actually helped contain the pandemic of COVID-19.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$39.9 billion

British multinational oil and gas giant Shell has recorded unprecedented profits in its 115-year history, reaching $39.9 billion in 2022 — double last year's total after energy prices skyrocketed following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Tracking the Asian fishing “armada” that sucks up tons of seafood off Argentina's coast

A brightly-lit flotilla of fishing ships has reappeared in international waters off the southern coast of Argentina as it has annually in recent years for an "industrial harvest" of thousands of tons of fish and shellfish, reports Claudio Andrade in Argentine daily Clarin.

🚢 Recently visible off the coast of southern Argentina, aerial photographs showed the well-lit armada of some 500 vessels, parked 201 miles offshore from Comodoro Rivadavia in the province of Chubut. The fleet had arrived for its vast seasonal haul of sea “products,” confirming its annual return to harvest squid, cod and shellfish on a scale that activists have called an environmental blitzkrieg.

🌊 In principle the ships are fishing just outside Argentina's exclusive Economic Zone, though it's widely known that this kind of apparent "industrial harvest" does not respect the territorial line, entering Argentine waters for one reason or another. The frontier can be as narrow as either side of a big wave, and is rarely able to prevent those that drift into Argentina's national waters.

🐬 For some years now, activists and organizations like Greenpeace have repeatedly denounced industrial-style fishing as exhausting marine resources worldwide and badly affecting regional fauna. Luisina Vueso, coordinator of the Greenpeace oceans campaign, called the fleets "floating freezers" that end up violating protected waters as "trawling is not selective. In this biological corridor there are orcas, whales, elephant seals, sea lions and dolphins. They're all netted."

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

“Serbia doesn't know where its borders are.”

— Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, has faced intense pressure from both the U.S and European allies to reach an agreement with Serbia, in the face of increasing tensions in this troubled corner of Southeastern Europe, as Belgrade continues to refuse to recognize Kosovo's independence. In an interview with AFP, Kurti has declared "It is Belgrade that should be under pressure. Serbia is not a normal country. Serbia doesn't know where its borders are".

✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Inès Mermat and Anne-Sophie Goninet


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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Palestinian Olive Trees Are Also Under Israeli Occupation — And That's Not A Joke

In the West Bank, a quieter form of oppression has been plaguing Palestinians for a long time. Their olive groves are surrounded by soldiers, and it's forbidden to harvest the olives – this economic and social violence has gotten far worse since Oct. 7.

A Palestinian woman holds olives in her hands

In a file photo, Um Ahmed, 74, collects olives in the village of Sarra on the southwest of the West Bank city of Nablus.

Mohammed Turabi/ZUMA
Francesca Mannocchi

HEBRON – It was after Friday prayers on October 13th of last year, and Zakaria al-Arda was walking along the road that crosses his property's hillside to return home – but he never made it.

A settler from Havat Ma'on — an outpost bordering Al-Tuwani that the United Nations International Law and Israeli law considers illegal — descended from the hill with his rifle in hand.

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After kicking al-Arda, who tried to defend himself, the settler shot him in the abdomen. The bullet pierced through his stomach, a few centimeters below the lungs. Since then, al-Arda has been in the hospital in intensive care. A video of those moments clearly shows that neither al-Arda nor the other worshippers leaving the mosque were carrying any weapons.

The victim's cousin, Hafez Hureini, still lives in the town of Al-Tuwani. He is a farmer, and their house on the slope of the town is surrounded by olive trees — and Israeli soldiers. On the pine tree at the edge of his property, settlers have planted an Israeli flag. Today, Hafez lives, like everyone else, as an occupied individual.

He cannot work in his greenhouse, cannot sow his fields, and cannot harvest the olives from his precious olive trees.

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