Welcome to Monday, where a team of UN inspectors is traveling to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant as the area is hit by new shelling, tolls rise in Pakistan floods and Bogota breaks the record for biggest peace concert. Meanwhile, Les Echos Lucie Robequain takes us to Transnistria, a part of Moldova that’s like a bit of USSR frozen in time.
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• Experts on their way to Zaporizhzhia: A team of UN experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency is traveling to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine to ensure security in Europe’s biggest nuclear facility, as the area withstood renewed shelling over the weekend. The team is expected to arrive later this week.
• Venezuela and Colombia diplomacy resumes: Venezuela’s socialist leader Nicolas Maduro and Colombia’s first leftist president Gustavo Petro have announced that they will restore the diplomatic ties between their countries, three years after they were severed following rising tensions between Venezuela and Colombia’s successive conversative governments.
• Pakistan floods rescue: Pakistani armed forces are providing assistance to the inhabitants of the country’s southern provinces, which have been the worst hit by the unprecedented floods ravaging the country since mid-June. The death toll has risen to 1,033, including 348 children.
• Sumatra island struck by quakes: Indonesia’s Sumatra island was hit by three consecutive earthquakes on Monday morning, with the last one striking at a 6.1-magnitude. There have not been reports of casualties yet, but the public was warned of potential aftershocks.
• Gibraltar officially a city: Gibraltar, a British overseas territory located on the southern coast of Spain, was granted the status of city as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Eight other towns were awarded the status, including Dunfermline in Scotland and Stanley in the Falkland Islands.
• NASA cancels Moon launch: NASA’s next-generation rocketship Space Launch System was set to begin its 6-week uncrewed test flight around the Moon and back as part of the Artemis I mission. The launch, which was scheduled for 12:33 p.m. GMT from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, was cancelled after last-minute technical problems.
• Sleepless Taylor Swift: U.S. singer Taylor Swift had a big night on Sunday at the MTV Video Music Awards. While accepting the video of the year award for her song “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)”, she announced that she would release her 10th studio album on Oct. 21. Called Midnight, the album will feature “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout [Swift’s] life.”
On Pakistan Today’s front page, another 119 people are reported dead and 72 districts have been declared "calamity hit" after monsoon floods. The Federal government is increasing rescue efforts and calling for further international assistance after violent rains stranded millions of people across the country and killed 1,033.
A mint-condition 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card sold for $12.6 million at auction, setting the record for the highest paid item of sports memorabilia in history. The rare card of the New York Yankees legend surpassed Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” jersey, which went under the hammer for $9.3 million in May.
Welcome to Transnistria: a trip in time back to the USSR
The breakaway republic of Transnistria declared its independence 30 years ago, but not even Russia recognizes it as a country. Transnistria is both nostalgic for the Soviet era and prosperous thanks to Russian funds. And a trip there is the closest you can get to visiting the USSR, Lucie Robequain writes for French financial daily Les Echos.
🛠 Transnistria was built through historical wars and ethnic mixing. Now, they talk, eat and dream in Russian. The 500,000 inhabitants believe they were shackled at the beginning of the 1990s when Moldova, which speaks Romanian, forbade them to speak Russian. After that, the distrust never stopped: In a 2009 referendum, 97% of Transnistrians voted once again to be reattached to Russia. They even display a clear nostalgia for the USSR.
🇲🇩 Gratitude for Russia is on everyone’s lips and appears completely rational: It funded the electric plant responsible for the city’s wealth and supplies all of Moldova. Up until today, it provides them with free electricity … or almost: The bill is sent to Moldova, which refuses to pledge allegiance to the Kremlin. This free electricity makes Transnistrians much richer than other Moldovans. But although Transnistria claims its independence, its football club plays in the Moldovan championship.
💥 Transnistria displays some kind of neutrality in the Ukrainian conflict and for good reason: Most of its exports go to the European Union and trade with Russia keeps decreasing. Even though he is close to Moscow, the president released a statement in which he neither condones nor condemns the war in Ukraine. What is more worrying is the amount of ammunition stored in the north of Transnistria, in Cobasna, which could contain about 20,000 tons of munitions, grenades and rockets. If the site was to catch on fire, it would cause an explosion at least equivalent to Beirut’s port two years ago.
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This country has been destroyed.
— Brazil’s exiting far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and left-wing former president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva traded barbs during their first campaign debate ahead of Brazil’s presidential election in October. Bolsonaro accused Lula of massive corruption, alluding to the "Car Wash" scandal, for which the former president was jailed from 2018 to 2019 before the controversial sentence was annulled by the Supreme Court. Lula said Bolsonaro had destroyed his center-left party’s legacy of economic growth, denouncing Brazil’s increased poverty and inflation, as well as the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Both front-runners repeatedly accused each other of lying, drawing criticism overall about the level of the debate performances.
✍️ Newsletter by Lisa Berdet, Chloé Touchard, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger
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