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In The News

New Zaporizhzhia Fears, Cough Syrup Deaths, Laptop Sales Dive

New Zaporizhzhia Fears, Cough Syrup Deaths, Laptop Sales Dive

Ukrainian firefighters battle a fire caused by Russian missile attacks in Zaporizhzhia, where the nuclear power plant has lost all of its external power for the second time in five days.

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin, Sophia Constantino and Bertrand Hauger

👋 مَرْحَبا*

Welcome to Wednesday, where continued Russian shelling across Ukraine is raising new risks at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, India stops producing cough syrup after dozens of child deaths are reported in Gambia, and Murder, She Wrote actress Angela Lansbury dies at 96. Meanwhile in Colombian daily El Espectador, Juan Felipe Acosta looks into the legal no-man’s land of the Metaverse.

[*Marhaba - Lebanese]


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• Ukraine war updates: For a third day, Russian missile and drone attacks have continued across Ukraine, with the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant taken offline due to the shelling. Meanwhile Russia's Federal Security Service on Wednesday announced the arrest of several suspects in the Crimea bridge explosion, blaming the “Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense” and its director, Kyrylo Budanov for masterminding the attack.

• Biden vows "consequences" for Saudi Arabia after oil cut: Following the surprise announcement last week that OPEC+ would cut its oil production, U.S. President Joe Biden said that Washington would take action (which he did not specify) against Saudi Arabia for the decision that comes as world markets are particularly vulnerable to energy flows in the midst of the war in Ukraine.

• Death toll rises in Nepal floods: At least 33 people have been killed in floods and landslides across western Nepal over the past week, after heavy monsoon rains hit the northwest Karnali province.

• New complaint against Peru president: Prosecutors in Peru lodged a constitutional complaint Tuesday against President Pedro Castillo, after detaining five of his allies on corruption allegations. Castillo took office a year ago and has faced two impeachment attempts, as well as five separate criminal investigations. The president has denied any wrongdoing.

• India halts cough syrup production at factory linked to Gambia deaths: An Indian state minister said Wednesday that production will halt at a cough syrup factory belonging to Maiden Pharmaceuticals after a WHO report that the medicine caused dozens of child deaths in Gambia. Authorities inspected the Maiden factory near the town of Sonipatand found 12 health practice violations.

• NASA Dart Mission: NASA has offered news details about its mission last month attempting to deflect the path of an asteroid, saying it was even more successful than previously thought. After making measurements using a range of space and Earth-based telescopes, researchers have concluded that the orbit of the 160m-wide space rock Dimorphos was altered when it was struck by NASA’s Dart probe.

• Angela Lansbury dies at 96: After a fruitful career spanning eight decades across theater, film, and TV, Angela Lansbury has died at 96. Winning international fame for her role in the US TV crime series Murder, She Wrote, she was one of the last surviving stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.


Israeli daily Hayom reports on the historic deal reached by Lebanon and Israel to demarcate a disputed maritime border in the gas-rich Mediterranean Sea, ending a decade-long conflict. The U.S.-brokered agreement will be presented at the Knesset parliament today for review, after president Joe Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Lebanese President Michel Aoun to congratulate them, telling Lapid: “You’re making history.”



Global demand for personal computers dropped by close to 20%, the steepest plunge in more than 20 years for the market, as smartphones continue to expand and back-to-school promotions failed to reignite sales.


The Metaverse: Lots of big legal questions and virtually zero answers

The Metaverse evokes utopian visions of an escape from reality or a life lived online. But for now, as Juan Felipe Acosta writes in Colombian daily El Espectador, it's still just interactive gaming or networking spaces that do not have the rules or laws necessary to manage its full potential.

💻👤 The Metaverse’s proponents point to its potential for the virtual world to create a parallel reality that offers people to live a second virtual life. Yet for all the innovative promise, this new digital frontier is still governed by the same rules as the old physical world. There is no consensus on what exactly constitutes the Metaverse, but these virtual spaces share certain characteristics. They are virtual or digital, and allow the interplay of people who can, with regulated freedom, interact through alter egos, personae, drawn figures, avatars or pseudonyms.

⚠️ The Metaverse has become a challenge and an opportunity for intellectual property. In certain spaces, you can buy clothes by recognized brands. Or there is so-called "catfishing," which is anonymous misuse of a real personal identity, and fraud and falsifications. In other words, the Metaverse hosts all the vices, virtues, and same practices of the real world, depending on its users.

🚫 There are currently no specific norms governing the Metaverse per se. If one steals a person's identity there, one is liable to the same penalties as in real life. If you exploit a name or brand without the owner's authorization, or plagiarize, the offense is the same in the virtual and real worlds. One particular consideration, however, is that Metaverse spaces are absolutely under the control and supervision of their creators. Users can be included, excluded, erased or censored if rules are broken.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


I think he is a rational actor who has miscalculated significantly.

— In an exclusive interview with CNN, U.S. President Joe Biden said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin misjudged his country’s ability to invade Ukraine, thinking he would be “welcomed with open arms” in Kyiv. Biden declined to describe how the U.S. would respond if Russia deployed nuclear devices on the battlefield, but warned of catastrophic “mistakes” and “miscalculation” as fighting escalates in Ukraine.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin, Sophia Constantino and Bertrand Hauger

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Turkey: The Blind Spots Between Racial And Religious Discrimination

Before the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war, a social media campaign in Turkey aimed to take on anti-Arab and anti-refugee sentiment. But the campaign ultimately just swapped one type of discrimination for another.

photo of inside Istanbul's Eminonu New Mosque

Muslims and tourists visiting Istanbul's Eminonu New Mosque.

Levent Gültekin


ISTANBUL — In late September, several pro-government journalists in Turkey promoted a social media campaign centered around a video against those in the country who are considered anti-Arab. The campaign was built around the idea of being “siblings in religion,” and the “union of the ummah,” or global Muslim community.

(In a very different context, such sentiments were repeated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the Israel-Hamas war erupted.)

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While the goal is understandable, these themes are highly disconnected from reality.

First, let's look at the goal of the campaign. Our country has a serious problem of irregular migrants and refugees, and the administration isn’t paying adequate attention to this. On the contrary, they encourage the flow of refugees with policies such as selling citizenship.

Worries about irregular migrants and refugees naturally create tension in the society. The anger that targets not the government but the refugees has come to a point which both threatens the social peace and brought the issue to hostility towards the Arabs, even the tourists. The actual goal of this campaign by the pro-government journalists is obvious if you consider how an anti-tourist movement would hurt Turkey’s economy.

However, as mentioned above, while the goal is understandable, the themes of the “union of the ummah” and “siblings in religion” are problematic. The campaign offers the idea of being siblings in religion as an argument against the rising racism towards irregular migrants and refugees; a different form of racism or discrimination.

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