Welcome to Thursday, where New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces her surprise resignation, a probe is opened into the helicopter crash that killed Ukraine’s interior minister and French workers go on a nationwide strike. Meanwhile, feminist digital media outlet LatFem reports on a women-led agricultural program that offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods in southern Ecuador.
[*Namaskār - Marathi, India]
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• New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern to resign: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation on Thursday, in a move that stunned national and international political observers. The 42-year-old, who’d achieved a rare international stature from the small island nation, said she is too exhausted to continue, and will step down no later than early February and won’t seek re-election. A ruling New Zealand Labour Party vote for a new leader will take place on Sunday.
• Zelensky’s new push for more weapons, probe opened into helicopter crash: In a live video address at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called upon Western partners to send more weapons to Ukraine. His request comes as the U.S. is set to finalize $2.5 billion dollars in military aid and pressure rises on Germany to send heavy tanks to Kyiv. Meanwhile, Kyiv has opened a criminal investigation into Wednesday’s crash that killed Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky. Head of the national police service, Ihor Klymenko, has been appointed as acting interior minister.
• Stampede at Gulf Cup in Iraq: At least two people have been killed and dozens injured in a stampede at a stadium in Basra, in southern Iraq, ahead of the Arabian Gulf Cup Final. Since dawn, thousands of fans had gathered outside the stadium hoping to watch the rare home international game.
• China COVID-19 cases rise as Lunar New Year season begins: The number of COVID patients needing critical care in China’s hospitals has peaked. As travel increases during the busy Lunar New Year holiday season, as many as 36,000 people could die each day from the disease, according to the latest forecasts from UK-based health data firm Airfinity.
• More deaths reported in Peru protests: At least three more people have died amid protests against Peru’s President Dina Boluarte. Dozens have been killed in crackdowns over the past few weeks of demonstrations. Protestors want Boluarte to step aside and call for new elections, and for Pedro Castillo, her left-wing predecessor, to be released from custody.
• Mass strikes in France: French teachers, train drivers, and refinery workers are going on a nationwide strike today to protest government plans to raise the retirement age by two years, to 64. This is a major test for French President Emmanuel Macron, whose pension reform plan is hugely unpopular.• Microsoft is laying off 10,000 employees: Microsoft is planning to lay off 10,000 employees as part of broader cost-cutting measures due to growing economic uncertainty, making it the latest tech company to reduce its staff.
Israel daily Haaretz features a distraught Aryeh Deri on its front page, after a top court ruled that the leader of the Shas party (and key ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) should not be allowed to serve as a cabinet minister, due to a February 2022 conviction for fraud tax. Deri reacted by saying he would “pursue the revolution even more strongly and with greater force,” but his refusal to resign could trigger a constitutional crisis between the government and the High Court.
Chile’s government has rejected the Dominga project, which planned to dig an open-pit mine and build processing and desalination plants and a large port in an important area for biodiversity, at a cost of $2.5 billion. A ministerial committee said the project, which would have been located just 30 kilometers of a famed Humboldt penguin reserve, didn’t do enough to mitigate its impact on marine reserves.
Indigenous women of Ecuador set example for sustainable agriculture
In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence, reports Camila Albuja in Argentina-based feminist digital media outlet LatFem.
🌾 With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty. Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.
🗑️ Isabel Pazmiño, a member of the Food Bank, says that Ecuador wastes 939,000 tons of food per year. This would feed 1.5 million people, or 8.8% of the population. According to United Explanations, one of the main causes of food waste is the "perfection myth", which emphasizes that the products on the shelves are the "best quality" depending on their appearance. However, the aesthetics of the product is not related to its nutritional value.
🇪🇨 Mercedes and her companions call themselves the Chasqui Warmi Quna. They have held leadership workshops on handicrafts, ecological pesticides, and the patriarchal and capitalist system. "Community tourism is not sweeping the house for the tourist to come, it is sweeping the house for the family and sharing activities together," says Ricardo, Mercedes' son.
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“He’s not going to do it.”
— Speaking at the “Ukrainian Breakfast” event at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russian President Vladimir Putin wasn’t going to use nuclear weapons, as it would create economic paralysis and risk turning China and India against Moscow. Johnson went as far as to compare Putin to “the fat boy in Dickens who wants to make our flesh creep.”
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