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At least two people were killed by gunshots in Kiev early Wednesday
At least two people were killed by gunshots in Kiev early Wednesday
Worldcrunch

GENEVA 2 PEACE CONFERENCE OPENS

  • - The peace conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva 2, opened this morning in the Swiss city. The meeting gathers around the same table the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem and the leader of the opposition group Syrian National Coalition Ahmad Jarba, along with senior officials from foreign governments and the United Nations. It will be followed by direct talks slated to begin Friday.

  • - In his opening speech, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there was “no way” Bashar al-Assad could be part of a transition government, a remark that earned him a strong reply from the Syrian Foreign Minister.

  • - A BBC correspondent explains that the fact that the conference is taking place is in itself an achievement, though expectations are low.

UKRAINE PROTESTS TURN DEADLY
Officials say at least two protesters have died in Kiev, as the violent fights with the police continue to escalate. According toThe Kyiv Post, there may have been a third victim, after two were killed by gunfire, with one apparently shot four times. The reported third died after a fall. The police deny responsibility for the shooting, and a medical official said the injuries cannot be the result of the rubber bullets used by the police forces. The three main opposition parties however blamed the riot police for the killing. They demanded in a joint statement that the officers be withdrawn from Kiev and that the country’s Interior Minister resign.

Read more on the Ukrainian crisis, with our Kommersant/Worldcrunch piece: The Risk Of Ultranationalism In Ukraine.

SPIRAL OF VIOLENCE IN KIEV
Protestors erect barricades from charred vehicles and other materials in central Kiev.

TWO DEAD IN ISRAELI RAID ON GAZA STRIP
Two Palestinians thought to be militants of the Islamist al-Quds Brigades were killed in Gaza in a raid carried out by the Israeli air force, Ma’an reports. The man targeted in the strike, Ahmad al-Zaanin, was suspected of being a “terrorist operative” who was behind the firing of rockets on Israel during Ariel Sharon’s funeral last week.

PURGE IN TURKISH POLICE AND JUDICIARY CONTINUES
Some 470 police officers in Ankara were either fired or reassigned early this morning, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other top politicians continue to be embroiled in a corruption scandal, AFP reports. According to Hurriyet, 96 judges and prosecutors were also reassigned late yesterday.

For more on the ongoing corruption scandal in Turkey, here’s a Radikal/Worldcrunch timeline of the events.

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM STARTS IN DAVOS
The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum began today in Davos, Switzerland, gathering more than 40 heads of state, including Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, who features in Time magazine’s list of the 5 people to watch during the four-day summit. Follow the latest updates live onThe Guardian.

TALLYING COST OF THAI VIOLENCE
The invoking of the emergency decree in Bangkok and vicinity on Tuesday could cost the tourism sector about 10 billion baht ($300 million) in lost revenue.

CRIME INT’L
A psychiatric male nurse in Switzerland defends his sexual relations with two patients as “therapy.”

INTRODUCING: MY GRAND-PERE’S WORLD

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China

How China's Mass Protest Took The World By Surprise — And Where It Will End

China is facing its biggest political protests in decades as frustration grows with its harsh Zero-COVID strategy. However, the real reasons for the protests run much deeper. Could it be the starting point for a new civic movement?

Photo of police during protests in China against covid-19 restrictions

Security measures during a protest against COVID-19 restrictions

Changren Zheng

In just one weekend, protests spread across China. A fire in an apartment block in Urumqi in China’s western Xinjiang region killed 10, with many blaming lockdown rules for the deaths. Anti-lockdown demonstrations spread to Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Chengdu and other cities. University students from more than half of China's provinces organized various protests against COVID restrictions.

Why and how did the movement spread so rapidly?

At the core, protesters are unhappy with President Xi Jinping's three-year-long Zero-COVID strategy that has meant mass testing, harsh lockdowns, and digital tracking. Yet, the general belief about the Chinese people was that they lacked the awareness and experience for mass political action. Even though discontent had been growing about the Zero-COVID strategy, no one expected these protests.

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