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Thai Parliament Dissolved, Brazilian Brawl, More
Worldcrunch

While U Slept

THAI PM DISSOLVES PARLIAMENT, CALLS FOR NEW ELECTIONS
Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced this morning the dissolution of the country’s parliament, a move that paves the way for new elections on Feb. 2, The Bangkok Post reports. Shinawatra will remain PM until a new cabinet is formed. Anti-government protests have resumed after last week’s truce for th king’s birthday. According to local media, an estimated 200,000 people were marching in the streets this morning.
For more on Thailand, we offer this Le Monde/Worldcrunch piece: Unrest In Bangkok Reveals Thailand's Deep Social Divide.

“HISTORIC” AGREEMENT BETWEEN ISRAEL, JORDAN AND PALESTINIANS
Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority are closing in on a “historic” agreement to distribute desalinated water from the Red Sea via pipeline to the Dead Sea, whose water level has been dropping, The Jerusalem Post reports. Environmental activists have denounced the project, which will cost around $9.97 billion, as destructive.

TECH COMPANIES DEMAND PROFOUND REFORM OF SPYING LAWS
In a bid to preserve the public’s “trust in the Internet,” tech giants Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter and AOL are demanding that President Obama and Congress profoundly reform surveillance laws. Read more fromThe Guardian.

MADURO WINS ELECTION
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro’s United Socialist Party won yesterday’s election with 49.2% of the vote, news agency EFE reports.

RIOTS IN SINGAPORE
The death of a migrant worker from India in an accident with a Singapore bus ignited the most violent riots there in over 40 years. Four hundred South Asian migrant workers clashed with police and set vehicles on fire. According to Al Jazeera, 27 were arrested after the fights, which left 15 people injured, including 10 policemen.

FOTO

One man plays piano for Ukranian riot police during the Kiev protests. For more on Ukraine, we offer this Kommersant/Worldcrunch article.

ON AUSTERITY AND MERKEL
Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar was awarded a honorary prize in Berlin and seized the opportunity to criticize austerity policies in his country … and explain in which movie he would picture Angela Merkel.

BY THE NUMBERS
The current French President François Hollande and his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy are both attending the funeral of Nelson Mandela, but they’re taking separate state-financed planes.

CRIME INT’L
Fans started a violent brawl at a Brazilian soccer match as helpless players could only look on. One fan was seriously injured, and players and coaches spoke out against the violence.

BOHEMIAN STARS
Ever wondered what a Star Wars version of Queen’s classic “Bohemian Rhapsody” would sound like? Here’s one possibility in a expand=1] video clip that pushes the boundaries of the Star Wars universe far far away.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine’s Offensive Raises A Big Question: Is It Time To Attack Inside Russia?

The successful Ukrainian counteroffensive in the northeast has brought Kyiv’s troops to the border, now with the artillery capacity to strike inside Russian territory. What are risks of launching a “counter-invasion”? What are risks of not doing so?

Yurii Rylchuk/Ukrinform/ZUMA

Anna Akage

The Ukrainian Armed Forces' startling counter-offensive has entered its fifth day, with overnight news outdated by lunchtime as the advance continues at a pace unprecedented since the start of the war. Since the beginning of September, the Ukrainian army has liberated more than 3,000 square miles of territory in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

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Meanwhile in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin appears to be in denial as his troops collapse and retreat, and his generals panic. Putin spent the weekend presiding over the grand opening of a new Ferris wheel in Moscow, and his spokesman released a statement saying all is going according to plan.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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