Welcome to Friday, where at least 19 die as Odessa is hit by Russian missiles overnight, Israel gets a new (interim) prime minister and the world’s most famous cycling race kicks off in Denmark. And in French daily Les Echos, Clara Le Fort reports on the surprising trend of using clay as a building material in modern architecture.
[*Salom - Uzbek]
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• 19 civilians killed by Russian missiles in Odessa region: 19 civilians were killed and 38 Injured in the village of Serhiyivka, in Ukraine’s southern Odessa region, as Russian missiles hit a nine-story residential building and a holiday resort overnight.
• Xi Jinping celebrates Hong Kong handover ceremony: Chinese President Xi Jinping made his first trip to Hong Kong in two years to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Britain returning the city to China. This was the occasion for the president to defend China’s “one country two systems” principle and increased control over Hong Kong, saying it should be preserved in the long term.
• Supreme Court restricts the EPA’s power: The U.S. Supreme Court voted to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating fossil-fuel companies and states’ carbon emissions. The same day, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as a replacement of liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, which will not change the conservative majority of 6 to 3.
• Israel’s new interim prime minister: Israel’s foreign minister and centrist party leader Yair Lapid has become the country’s interim prime minister following the dissolution of parliament. He will occupy this position until Israel’s fifth election in three years on November 1.
• Machu Picchu threatened by wildfires: Peruvian firefighters are having difficulty stopping a wildfire near the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu in the Andean mountains due to the area’s remoteness. The fire was started on Tuesday by farmers preparing to sow crops and had burnt 49 acres by Wednesday.
• North Korea blames COVID on “unusual items”: North Korean authorities have blamed the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the country on “unusual items” brought by the wind and “balloons” through their border with South Korea. For years, activists have sent humanitarian aid and leaflets by balloons across the border.
• Ecuador government and Indigenous leaders reach deal: Following 18 days of violent protests against the rising cost of living, leaders from the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities have obtained that the government would cut fuel prices and increase the monthly aid to the poorest inhabitants.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz devotes its frontpage to Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid who has become interim Prime Minister for four months after the Parliament — or Knesset — was dissolved. Lapid replaces Naftali Bennett, while former longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plots his return ahead of November elections.
The Tour de France kicks off today in Copenhagen with a 3,328 km-long race that includes 21 stages in Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland and France. The world’s most famous cycling race, which includes 176 athletes this year, will end on July 24 on the Champs-Elysées in Paris.
Return to clay: Why an ancient building material is back in fashion
Concrete and glass are often thought of as the only building materials of modern architecture. But Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African winner of a prestigious Pritzker architecture prize, works with clay, whose sustainability is not the only benefit, reports Clara Le Fort in French daily Les Echos.
🌱 "Clay is fascinating. It has this unique grain and is both beautiful and soft. It soothes; it contributes to well-being..." Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize last March, is paying tribute to clay. It's a material that he adores, which has too often been shunned and attributed to modest constructions and peasant houses. Diébédo Kéré has always wanted to celebrate “earthen architecture”: buildings made out of clay. It's a technique that has been used for at least 10,000 years.
🏰 This architecture, mainly associated with underdeveloped countries, was widespread throughout urban and rural Europe, until the 20th century: among the French rural housing built before 1914, and still standing, 15% are made from this material. Palaces, fortifications, entire cities, mosques, cultural landscapes and archeological sites constructed in raw clay are still standing nowadays.
🌡️ Although it is no longer fully appreciated, earthen architecture, including brick, has all the qualities needed: aesthetic, economic, structural and environmental. "This technique does not require any firing and is environmentally friendly as it does not emit any CO2. It also allows for natural insulation of the building: cool inside when it is hot outside, and vice versa, the porous earth regulates the temperature, which remains constant," chief architect Papa Omotayo says.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
There is no reason to change such a good system.
— In a speech to mark Hong Kong’s 25th handover anniversary, China’s President Xi Jinping defended his “One country, two systems” principle of governance that gives Hong Kong its own laws and legislations and whose objective is to protect the sovereignty of the country and its security. Xi Jinping added “it must remain for a long time” as it is a success under Beijing’s “comprehensive jurisdiction.” The former colony returned to China in 1997.
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