Geopolitics

Deadly Vietnam Protests, Cannes Kickoff, Hacking Kate

Nicole Kidman and Lambert Wilson dance briefly during the opening ceremony of the 67th Cannes International Film Festival
Nicole Kidman and Lambert Wilson dance briefly during the opening ceremony of the 67th Cannes International Film Festival
Worldcrunch

DONETSK SETS ULTIMATUM FOR UKRAINE FORCES
Pro-Russian groups in the region of Donetsk have issued a 24-hour ultimatum to Ukrainian armed forces, threatening to take the region by force if they don’t leave, RT reports. This comes as acting President Olexandr Turchynov said the government forces had destroyed two rebel military bases, in Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, while the country’s Defense Ministry said the offensives had caused no casualties. Russian news agency Ria Novosti, however, quotes pro-Russian militants and local media as saying that at least one person died in a gunfight near Kramatorsk and that 11 Ukrainian soldiers and one activist were killed in Sloviansk yesterday.

THE WORLD’S BEST CITIES
A new global ranking of the world’s best cities finds that 10 of them are in Europe, six in the United States, three in Asia and one in Australia. A hint about the No. 1 city? Sushi. Check out the results here.

CLASHES IN TURKEY AS MINE DEATH TOLL RISES
Protesters in Istanbul and Ankara clashed with police yesterday after the worst mining disaster in Turkish history claimed at least 282 lives with scores still missing, according to Hurriyet. Trade unions announced a one-day strike, denouncing recent privatization in the sector as leading to increasingly dangerous working conditions for minors. But Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan tried to distance his government from any responsibility referring to 19th and early 20th century incidents as evidence that mining disasters are “usual things.” Meanwhile, one of Erdogan’s advisors kicked a mourner in Soma yesterday (have a look at the photo) and will make a statement this morning.

SNAPSHOT
Wednesday night marked the opening ceremony of the 67th Cannes International Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals.

VIETNAM’S ANTI-CHINESE PROTESTS TURN DEADLY
More than 20 people have died in Vietnam as anti-Chinese riots continued, with protesters storming foreign-owned factories across the country in response to what they see as Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea, The Guardian reports. According to AFP, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman accused the Vietnamese government of showing “indulgence and connivance” with the rioters. Chinese news agency Xinhua, meanwhile, explained that more than 600 Chinese citizens had crossed the Vietnamese border into Cambodia yesterday to escape the violence.

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD

AFGHAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS
Afghans will be called to the polls a second time on June 14 to vote in the country’s presidential election runoff between the two top candidates. None among the eight candidates was able to secure over 50% of the vote in the first round. Read more from The New York Times.

155
A News of the World reporter hacked into Kate Middleton’s voicemail 155 times.

FERRY CREW CHARGED WITH MANSLAUGHTER
The captain of the sunken South Korean ferry and three other crew members have been charged with manslaughter for abandoning the ship without trying to evacuate the estimated 476 people on board, Yonhap reports. They could face life imprisonment if found guilty. The 11 other sailors were charged with causing death by negligence and violating the marine accident rescue law.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
As Le Nouvel Observateur’s Marie Vaton writes, there is a global race to see who can create 3D printing of living human cells, and a French company appears to be the leader. “In the future, 3D bioprinting could revolutionize the medical world by allowing a totally individualized medicine based on the genetic heritage of each patient,” the journalist writes. “That technology could allow, for example, the production of artificial transplants and reduce the risk of graft rejection.”
Read the full article:
Print Me A Liver: France Claims World's First Laser 3D Bioprinter.

WESTERN AND ARAB LEADERS TO DISCUSS SYRIA
The 11 foreign ministers of the self-described Friends of Syria group are expected to meet later today in London to discuss how to “significantly step-up” their support of the rebels, the BBC quotes a UK Foreign Office spokesman as saying.

NOT BECAUSE THE FOOD IS BAD
Today might not be the best day to pop into your local McDonald's, Burger King or KFC for ghettoized food products, because fast food workers around the world are on strike to demand better pay. Read more from Vice News.

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Queen Elizabeth II with UK PM Boris Johnson at a reception at Windsor Castle yesterday

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Hej!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where chaos hits Syria, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is accused of crimes against humanity and a social media giant plans to rebrand itself. For Spanish daily La Razon, reporter Paco Rodríguez takes us to the devastated town of Belchite, where visitors are reporting paranormal phenomenons.

[*Danish]

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Syrian violence erupts: Army shelling on residential areas of the rebel-held region of northwestern Syria killed 13 people, with school children among the victims. The attack occurred shortly after a bombing killed at least 14 military personnel in Damascus. In central Syria, a blast inside an ammunition depot kills five soldiers.

• Renewed Ethiopia air raids on capital of embattled Tigray region: Ethiopian federal government forces have launched its second air strike this week on the capital of the northern Tigray. The air raids mark a sharp escalation in the near-year-old conflict between the government forces and the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) that killed thousands and displaced over 2 million people.

• Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity: A leaked draft government report concludes that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro should be charged with crimes against humanity, forging documents and incitement to crime, following his handling of the country's COVID-19 pandemic. The report blames Bolsonaro's administration for more than half of Brazil's 600,000 coronavirus deaths.

• Kidnappers in Haiti demand $17 million to free a missionary group: A Haitian gang that kidnapped 17 members of a Christian aid group, including five children, demanded $1million ransom per person. Most of those being held are Americans; one is Canadian.

• Putin bows out of COP26 in Glasgow: Russian President Vladimir Putin will not fly to Glasgow to attend the COP26 climate summit. A setback for host Britain's hopes of getting support from major powers for a more radical plan to tackle climate change.

• Queen Elizabeth II cancels trip over health concerns: The 95-year-old British monarch has cancelled a visit to Northern Ireland after she was advised by her doctors to rest for the next few days. Buckingham Palace assured the queen, who attended public events yesterday, was "in good spirits."

• A new name for Facebook? According to a report by The Verge website, Mark Zuckerberg's social media giant is planning on changing the company's name next week, to reflect its focus on building the "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

"Oil price rise causes earthquake," titles Portuguese daily Jornal I as surging demand coupled with supply shortage have driven oil prices to seven-year highs at more than $80 per barrel.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

98

For the first time women judges have been appointed to Egypt's State Council, one of the country's main judicial bodies. The council's chief judge, Mohammed Hossam el-Din, welcomed the 98 new judges in a celebratory event in Cairo. Since its inception in 1946, the State Council has been exclusively male and until now actively rejected female applicants.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Spanish civil war town now a paranormal attraction

Ghosts from Spain's murderous 1930s civil war are said to roam the ruins of Belchite outside Zaragoza. Tourists are intrigued and can book a special visit to the town, reports Paco Rodríguez in Madrid-based daily La Razon.

🏚️ Between August 24 and September 6, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, more than 5,000 people died in 14 days of intense fighting in Belchite in north-eastern Spain, and the town was flattened. The fighting began on the outskirts and ended in house-to-house fighting. Almost half the town's 3,100 residents died in the struggle. The war annihilated centuries of village history. The town was never rebuilt, though a Pueblo Nuevo (or new town) was built by the old one.

😱 Belchite became an open-air museum of the horror of the civil war of 1936-39, which left 300,000 dead and wounds that have yet to heal or, for some today, mustn't. For many locals, the battle of Belchite has yet to end, judging by reports of paranormal incidents. Some insist they have heard the screams of falling soldiers, while others say the Count of Belchite wanders the streets, unable to find a resting place after his corpse was exhumed.

🎟️ Ordinary visitors have encountered unusual situations. Currently, you can only visit Belchite at set times every day, with prior booking. More daring visitors can also visit at 10 p.m. on weekends. Your ticket does not include a guaranteed paranormal experience, but many visitors insist strange things have happened to them. These include sudden changes of temperature or the strange feeling of being observed from a street corner or a window. Furthermore, such phenomena increase as evening falls, as if night brought the devastated town to life.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

We still cling to the past because back then we had security, which is the main thing that's missing in Libya today.

— Fethi al-Ahmar, an engineer living in the Libyan desert town Bani Walid, told AFP, as the country today marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The leader who had reigned for 42 years over Libya was toppled in a revolt inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings and later killed by rebels. Some hope the presidential elections set in December can help the country turn the page on a decade of chaos and instability.

🇮🇷🎓  IN OTHER NEWS

Iran to offer Master's and PhD in morality enforcement

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.

Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.

Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."

Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.

Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

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