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In The News

Macron Calls Putin’s Airstrikes On Civilian Infrastructure A War Crime

The French President leads a growing chorus of outrage against Russia, including the strongest condemnation to date from Pope Francis.

Macron Calls Putin’s Airstrikes On Civilian Infrastructure A War Crime

Rescue workers on site after Russian shelling

Cameron Manley, Shaun Lavelle, and Emma Albright

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday led a rising chorus of outrage after unprecedented Russian air attacks on civilian infrastructure targets, which left up to 75% of Kyiv residents without power and water, and killed 10 people across Ukraine.

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“Strikes against civilian infrastructures are war crimes and cannot go unpunished,” Macron said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to the United Nations Security Council to take action against the Russian strikes, which have accelerated as the cold weather sets in.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock called Russia's attacks on the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine an inhumane crime and initiated a meeting of G7 foreign ministers to consider how to support Ukraine in the face of constant missile attacks.

"Russia's attacks on civilian infrastructure are an intolerable, inhumane crime. Putin likes to plunge the people of Ukraine into cold and darkness with his missiles. He will never break your desire for freedom and our support," Burbok wrote on Twitter.

In the wake of the attacks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky requested an urgent UN Security Council meeting to address leaders, urging them to “take concrete steps to protect humanity and life … the world should not be held hostage by one international terrorist.” He also invited UN experts to visit the damaged infrastructure in order to better assess the situation.

Ukraine Struggles To Reconnect Energy Grid After Mass Shelling

View of Kyiv from the observation deck in the evening during a blackout

Mykhaylo Palinchak/SOPA/Zuma

Following Russia’s latest large-scale missile attack across Ukraine, blackouts and water shortages were reported across the country, including Kyiv, Lviv and even parts of neighboring Moldova. As many as 25% of Kyiv households are still without power and water on Thursday.

In a Facebook post, Ukrainian Interior Minister, Denys Monastyrskyi, reported that the massive bombardment had killed ten people. Half of those were killed in Vyshhorod, where Russian strikes wiped an apartment building. Power supply to critical infrastructure facilities has already been restored, the minister reported.

Ukraine’s nuclear power plants are again set to be connected after having been cut off on Wednesday due to Russia’s mass missile attack on energy infrastructure. This should “significantly reduce the deficit” caused by Russian missile attacks, according to Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko.

Power was also largely back in the northern region of Sumy, where 3,000 miners who had been trapped underground during an outage had been rescued in central Ukraine, regional officials said.

“Rain Of Missiles” On Italian Daily Front Page

Rome-based daily La Repubblica reports on how “Putin turns Ukraine off” as a barrage of rockets hit Ukraine overnight, targeting critical energy infrastructure across the country.

Pope Compares War To Holodomor Genocide In Strongest Condemnation To Date

Pope Francis compared Russia's war on Ukraine to the “terrible Holodomor genocide,” the famine experienced by Ukrainians under the Soviet authorities, which killed millions in 1932-1933.

With Vladimir Putin’s strategy increasingly an attempt to starve and freeze Ukrainian civilians, comparing the current situation with Holodomor amounted to the pope's strongest condemnation of the Russian invasion to date.

“The terrible Holodomor genocide, the extermination by hunger of 1932-33 artificially caused by Stalin,” the Pope said. “Let us pray for the victims of this genocide and let us pray for all Ukrainians, the children, the women and the elderly, the babies who are today suffering the martyrdom of aggression.”

EU Officially Calls Russia “State Sponsor Of Terrorism,” Prompting Harsh Response

The European Parliament designated Russia a state sponsor of terrorism on Wednesday, saying its strikes on Ukrainian civilian targets, including energy infrastructure, hospitals and schools violated international law.

Moscow responded furiously: "I propose designating the European Parliament as a sponsor of idiocy," Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Telegram.

Gulf States Mediate Possible Major Prison Exchange 

Russian and Ukrainian representatives met last week in the UAE to discuss prisoner-of-war exchanges.According to Reuters, the exchanges, which could include a large number of Russian and Ukrainian prisoners, would be contingent on the resumption of Russian ammonia exports via a Ukrainian pipeline.

Ammonia is a crucial ingredient to making fertilizer. The talks were apparently mediated by the Gulf States without the involvement of the United Nations, which had been previously involved in negotiating the export of agricultural products from three Black Sea ports.

Forget Russia When Thinking About The Future

In Kyiv-based Livy Bereg, David Stulik, senior research analyst at the Prague-based European Values Research Center, explains the risks of continuing to calculate all our choices according to hypothetical fears of and future compromises with Russia.

“It will be up to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Ukraine included, to point out that Russia has not really changed. On its face, yes—but the system itself will have remained as it was. Instead, it is up to us to determine the future that we want, and let everything follow from there.” Read more here

Ukrainian Modern Art In Madrid After Works Transported As Shells Were Falling

Oleksandr Bohomazov’s Sharpening the Saws (around 1927) features in the show

Courtesy of National Art Museum of Ukraine

An exhibition of Ukrainian Modernist works will debut next week in Madrid in what is considered the largest ever legal transfer of art from a war-torn country, after the paintings were transported amid shelling in Kyiv.

In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900-1930s will open at Madrid’s Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, and will include 51 works loaned from the National Art Museum of Ukraine Namu, and the State Museum of Theater, Music and Cinema of Ukraine, both located in Kyiv.

The works of art were secretly packed into trucks and transported to Madrid on November 15, a day of heavy Russian shelling.The show will open with an address by President Volodymyr Zelensky and a symposium calling for a European cultural deal with Ukraine.

The exhibition will depict the development of the Ukrainian Modernist period amid various political shifts, including the First World War and the creation of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

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Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere?

Streaming video channels of people shopping has been booming in China, and is beginning to win over customers abroad as a cheap and cheerful way of selling products to millions of consumers glued to the screen.

A A female volunteer promotes spring tea products via on-line live streaming on a pretty mountain surrounded by tea plants.

In Beijing, selling spring tea products via on-line live streaming.

Xinhua / ZUMA
Gwendolyn Ledger

SANTIAGOTikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has spent more than $500 million to break into online retailing. The app, best known for its short, comical videos, launched TikTok Shop in August, aiming to sell Chinese products in the U.S. and compete with other Chinese firms like Shein and Temu.

Tik Tok Shop will have three sections, including a live or livestream shopping channel, allowing users to buy while watching influencers promote a product.

This choice was strategic: in the past year, live shopping has become a significant trend in online retailing both in the U.S. and Latin America. While still an evolving technology, in principle, it promises good returns and lower costs.

Chilean Carlos O'Rian Herrera, co-founder of Fira Onlive, an online sales consultancy, told América Economía that live shopping has a much higher catchment rate than standard website retailing. If traditional e-commerce has a rate of one or two purchases per 100 visits to your site, live shopping can hike the ratio to 19%.

Live shopping has thrived in China and the recent purchases of shopping platforms in some Latin American countries suggests firms are taking an interest. In the United States, live shopping generated some $20 billion in sales revenues in 2022, according to consultants McKinsey. This constituted 2% of all online sales, but the firm believes the ratio may become 20% by 2026.

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