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In The News

Putin’s New Doctrine, BoJo Bids Farewell, First COVID Inhaler

👋 Ko na mauri!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Vladimir Putin unveils a new “Russian World” foreign policy doctrine, Liz Truss officially takes over from Boris Johnson as UK Prime Minister, and Instagram gets slapped with a hefty fine. Meanwhile, Spain’s Agencia SINC looks at how the distorted and often negative portrayal of women in medicine is being challenged by the research community.

[*Gilbertese, Kiribati]

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UK’s New Prime Minister, Saskatchewan Manhunt, Chile Says “No” To New Constitution

👋 Bonjour!*

Welcome to Monday, where Liz Truss is the new British prime minister, Chileans reject drastic changes to the country’s Constitution, and the new Lord of the Rings series becomes Amazon Prime's biggest premiere. Meanwhile, German daily Die Welt and Ukraine's Livy Bereg show how the Ukraine grain deal may actually play in Putin’s hands.

[*French]

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Is Mexico's President Pushing For "Mexit" From Trade Pact?

In irking Mexico's chief trading partners with decisions affecting energy firms, the country's leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is tinkering with the free-trade pact that is the very engine and ballast of Mexico's vast, and vulnerable, economy.

-OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — The key to having a nuclear bomb is to never use it. Its fundamental value is in its deterrence of other powers wielding the bomb. The same applies to negotiations between governments in areas like investments or trade. Clearly the risk is inferior, as the country will not face physical destruction, which may be why Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) sees no risk at all in raising the stakes in his spat over energy with the United States and Canada — the country's paramount free-trade partners.

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Russia Cuts Gas To Europe, Myanmar Protests, SpaceX Rival

👋 Yokwe!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Europe braces for Russia turning off gas, an architect of Northern Ireland peace deal dies and a European rival to SpaceX is taking shape. Meanwhile, we look at what makes the Ukrainian port city of Odessa such a strategic and symbolic target for Vladimir Putin.

[*Marshallese, Marshall Islands]

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Geopolitics
Shaun Lavelle

How Dutch Farmers Became The New Protagonists For Global Conspiracy Theorists

As anti-vax protests fade from public debate, “alternative media” have found an unlikely new hot topic: Dutch farmers. And across the Atlantic, some sources claim a convenient would-be connection to Canadian truckers who blockaded trade earlier this year.

AMSTERDAM — Tractor-riding farmers in the Netherlands have descended on different parts of the country over the past few days, blocking supermarkets, distributions centers, and roads in and out of major cities. The protests have escalated, with a few cases of violence.

The agriculture sector is protesting Dutch government plans to reduce the nitrogen oxide and ammonia pollution produced by livestock. The plans would require farmers to use less fertilizer and reduce livestock numbers, with cuts reaching 70% in some cases and about 30% of farms expected to have would to give up raising livestock altogether.

The agriculture protests aren’t new. They’ve been happening sporadically since 2019. What is new this time around is that the Dutch farmers have unlikely new allies — conspiracy theorists around the world.

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Society
Candace Johnson

To California Or Canada? Crossing State And National Borders For Abortions

Among the most immediate effects of the overturning of Roe v. Wade is that women who find themselves in states where abortion is outlawed will travel to where it is legal. But that of course requires the right information and economic means to do so.

GUELPH — After the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights for American women, what will it mean for the countries that share a border with the United States? What will be the impact for Americans who want to travel to Mexico or Canada to get access to abortions?

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In The News
Cameron Manley, Lila Paulou, McKenna Johnson, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Stark World Divisions, As BRICS And EU Meetings Coincide

Russian President Vladimir Putin is being hosted (virtually) by China, along with Brazil, India and South Africa, as Europe is set to offer precious EU candidate status to Ukraine.

The synching of the diplomatic calendar is pure coincidence, but it offers a clear picture of a world starkly divided nearly four months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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China is hosting the 14th BRICS summit alongside the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa to discuss global economic recovery, climate action and public health. The meeting is the clearest opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin since his invasion of Ukraine to demonstrate that he is not isolated diplomatically.

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In The News
Meike Eisberg, Anna Akage, Lisa Berdet and Emma Albright

New Probe Finds Russia's “Relentless” Bombing Of Kharkiv Is War Crime

Amnesty International has accused Russia of committing war crimes, causing “widespread death and destruction by relentlessly bombarding residential neighborhoods of Kharkiv” since the war began on February 24.

Amnesty International has accused Russia of committing war crimes during its efforts to capture the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. According to the international NGO’s 40-page report, Russian forces have caused “widespread death and destruction by relentlessly bombarding residential neighborhoods of Kharkiv” since the war began on February 24.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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“People have been killed in their homes and in the streets, in playgrounds and in cemeteries, while queueing for humanitarian aid, or shopping for food and medicine,” Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser, said. “The repeated use of widely banned cluster munitions is shocking, and a further indication of utter disregard for civilian lives.”

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In The News
Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

EU’s Russian Oil Ban, Canada Handgun Ban, Caked Mona Lisa

👋 Xin chào!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where EU leaders agree on a partial embargo on Russian oil, Canada proposes a total freeze on handgun ownership, and the Mona Lisa gets smeared with cream. Meanwhile, Jacques Attali in French daily Les Echos asks: Are we ready for the return of Donald Trump?

[*Vietnamese]

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Society
Diane Peters

Indigenous Tribes Use High-Tech Tools To Unearth Buried Crimes Of The Past

Indigenous groups in the U.S. and Canada are using ground-penetrating radar to look for burial sites at former schools. The technology has the potential to help a reckoning with a dark chapter in the countries' histories.

Over four days last May, members of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc — a First Nations community in the interior of British Columbia — oversaw a site survey of around two acres of land surrounding the province’s former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Using an electromagnetic technology called ground penetrating radar (GPR), an archeology professor charted what appeared to be the grave shafts of 215 children lying below the ground. The technology furthered the long-held suspicion that there were remains of missing children hidden on the land of the school.

Former students at the school recall being woken at night to dig graves, for example, and a child’s rib bone and a juvenile tooth had surfaced in the area. Kamloops was the largest of the 139 government-sanctioned residential schools in the country that operated between the 1880s and 1990s. The facilities separated 150,000 Indigenous children from their families and educated them in English or French while banning native languages and indoctrinating them into Christianity.

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

Scholz In Kyiv, Canada Trucker Blockade Ends, Valentine For Your Ex

👋Yáʼátʼééh!*

Welcome to Monday, where German Chancellor Sholz goes to Kyiv and then Moscow to try to avert a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the trucker blockade has ended at the U.S.-Canada border and we’ve got one perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your ex. For weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique, Eva Sauphie reports on the women flipping the conversation on sexuality in West Africa.

[*Navajo]

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Coronavirus
Boucar Diouf

Anti-Vaxxers Of Yore: Pandemic History Is Rife With Conspiracy Theories

Debates around COVID-19 are now fueled by conspiracy theories, fake news and scapegoats. But as the story of Quebec in the 19th century makes clear, pandemics have always been linked to outbreaks of mass skepticism and witch hunts.

Last summer, Quebecois comedian, storyteller and biologist Boucar Diouf featured an episode of a radio show with Denis Goulet, an associate professor at the University of Montreal and a specialist in the history of medicine. They talked about Goulet’s book, "Brève histoire des épidémies au Québec – du choléra à la COVID-19" (“A Brief History Of Epidemies in Quebec — from Cholera to COVID-19”).

MONTREAL — Let’s go back to Montreal between 1875 and 1885. Although waves of smallpox were raging like Facebook trolls, many francophones refused the vaccine to protect themselves against the disease. Some columnists and clergymen even started a rumor that the British authorities were trying to weaken the French Canadian population by injecting poison into their veins! An anglophone newspaper went as far as to peddle the idea that the virus was spreading due to the bad hygiene of francophones.

That’s just how it goes; the witch hunt for scapegoats is tied to the history of epidemics. You can even find doctors ready to testify that vaccines are useless. It should be noted that at the time, vaccines — made using a virus with a weakened virulence — had their risks. Contrary to today’s hyper-safe vaccines, the vials of yore sometimes contained microbes that were “healthy” enough to infect someone during their vaccination.

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