Welcome to Thursday, where the fate of hundreds trapped in the rubble of Mariupol theater is still unknown, with the Russian-led attack prompting U.S. President Biden to call Putin a “war criminal”. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Zelensky conjures up history in a moving speech before Germany’s Bundestag. For Worldcrunch, Ranjani Iyer Mohanty argues that Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland risks letting her emotional attachment to Ukraine, where she has family roots, undermine her ultimate responsibility of doing what’s in the best interest of Canada.
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• Ukrainian civilians, Biden v. Putin: The fate is still unclear of hundreds of locals who’d taken shelter in a theater in the port city of Mariupol, which was hit by Russian bombs yesterday. In the face of such attacks, and the rising civilian death toll, U.S. President Joe Biden called Vladimir Putin a “war criminal,” which the Kremlin called an “unforgivable” statement.
• Zelensky evokes history in Germany speech: After addressing the U.S. Congress yesterday, Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky spoke by video conference to Germany’s Bundestag, citing both the Berlin Wall and the Holocaust to call on the members of parliament to offer more military support,
• Earthquake in Fukushima: A 7.4-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan's eastern Fukushima prefecture killed at least four and wounded dozens — the same region that was devastated by a quake and tsunami in 2011.
• COVID-19 surge: The World Health Organization warns that the number of recorded coronavirus cases is just the “tip of the iceberg,” as the world sees an 8% jump in new infections as compared with last week, in spite of a drop in testing rates. Asia has been particularly hit by the new COVID wave, with a 25% increase in cases while Africa saw a 12% rise.
• U.S. expels Chinese telecom for possible spying: Washington has barred another state-owned Chinese phone carrier from the U.S. market over national security concerns amid rising tension with Beijing.
• Saharan dust storm reaches UK: Dust from the Sahara desert continues moving north, across Europe, and reaching the UK, turning the skies red and orange over southern parts of the country. The colors are caused by a phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering from additional particles in the air.
• “No” for Ye: U.S. rapper Kanye West, a.k.a. Ye, has been suspended from Instagram for 24 hours after using a racial slur to address The Daily Show host Trevor Noah.
A smiling Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe appears on the front page of London-based The Times, on a flight back to the UK after being released following six years in detention in Iran on charges of trying “to topple” the Iranian government. Successive UK governments had tried in vain to have the dual British and Iranian citizen released. Another British-Iranian Anoosheh Ashoori was also released yesterday.
18 million poundsNASA's Artemis I mission, set to be the first manned mission to the Moon since 1972, is getting a “dress rehearsal” before its test launch in early 2022. On Thursday night, the agency’s 322-foot and 18-million-pound Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule will be rolled out to their launchpad at Kennedy Space Center. The four-mile journey should take about 11 hours.
The Problem With The Ukrainian Identity Of Canada’s Most Powerful Woman
Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, like many others, is rightly outraged at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Yet her emotional attachment to Ukraine, where she has family roots, risks undermining what should be her priority: the interests of Canada.
🇺🇦🇨🇦 Over the years, Freeland’s deep attachment to that country has been obvious – and that’s wonderful. In fact, as Ukrainians are now facing such hardships, with heartrending images repeatedly filling our screens, we’re all thinking of them and praying for their safe passage out of this crisis. But as Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Freeland’s first priority should be the welfare of Canada. As Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, she cannot allow her emotional attachment to Ukraine guide her behavior and her decisions. In her impassioned speeches of the previous weeks, she has called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “reviled European dictator” and an “international pariah.” Are these the words of a national political leader or the personal thoughts of a deeply incensed Ukrainian-Canadian?
🌍 Granted, the 1.3 million Ukrainian-Canadians form the world’s third largest Ukrainian population, after Ukraine and interestingly, Russia. But just as there are Ukrainian-Canadians, there are also some 600,000 Russian-Canadians. (The top hyphenated populations are Indian-Canadians (1.3 million) and Chinese-Canadians (1.7 million). Then there are other wars currently going on in the world – in Ethiopia, Yemen, and of course, Israel/Palestine. But watching the Canadian news channels and hearing the Canadian political leadership talk, there is only one: the Russia-Ukraine war.
🙅🏻♀️ There’s no doubt that Freeland’s in-depth knowledge of Ukraine and Russia makes her invaluable at the decision table as Canada decides how to best help the Ukrainians. But her skewed perspective of the situation, her singular focus on Ukraine, and her desire to help Ukraine at all cost makes it dangerous to let her lead the Canadian response. The global situation is currently risky and fragile; we cannot afford a third world war. Canada’s response to the Ukraine-Russia war needs to be calculated and measured. It cannot be an instinctive gut response with scant regard for the consequences.
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I never thought I would be ashamed of Russia.
— Olga Smirnova, star ballerina of Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet for which she has danced for 11 years, has quit the Russian company over invasion of Ukraine. Before her decision, she posted a statement on Telegram saying she was "against war with all the fibers of my soul." She was immediately offered a prima ballerina position at the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam.
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