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The night sky turned red in Goma, DRC as the Nyiragongo volcano erupted, killing at least 15
The night sky turned red in Goma, DRC as the Nyiragongo volcano erupted, killing at least 15

Welcome to Monday, where Belarus agents hijack a Ryanair flight, a freak storm in China kills 21 marathoners and Bob Dylan gets sung in 11 languages for this 80th birthday. We also feature a Le Monde reportage from Siberia on Nikita Ouvarov, the Russian teenager busted for hanging anti-government posters, who was jailed without a trial for almost a year on charges of "terrorism."

• Belarus accused of hijacking plane to detain activist: Western officials are accusing Belarus agents of forcing a Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania to land in its capital of Minsk in order to arrest a prominent opposition figure who was on board.

• Stresa cable car accident: Italy is investigating the causes of an accident that left 14 dead, after a cable car fell Sunday into the side of a mountain near Stresa, in northern Italy.

• 21 runners die in China: Freezing rain, hail and extreme winds killed at least 21 ultramarathon runners participating in a high-altitude race in Gansu, northwestern China.

• COVID-19 update: India passes 300,000 coronavirus deaths, with 26 million recorded cases — second only to the U.S. In Japan, the cities of Tokyo and Osaka look to speed up the vaccination program amid a COVID surge less than two months before the Olympics are slated to begin. Singapore authorities give provisional greenlight to a breathalyzer test that shows within 60 seconds whether someone has been infected. Meanwhile, Argentina has resumed a strict lockdown as cases soar in the country.

• Black Lives Matter activist shot in UK: Sasha Johnson, 27, a leader in the UK's Black Lives Matter movement is in critical condition after being shot in the head at a party in London. Though she was subject to numerous death threats, reports indicate that Johnson was not the intended target of the shooting early Sunday.

• Suu Kyi makes first public appearance since coup: Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi made her first appearance Monday since a Feb. 1 military coup. The 75-year-old pro-democracy icon appeared to be in good health, but her lawyers say she has had no access to newspapers during detention.

• Swab right? Matchmaking apps like Tinder, OkCupid and Match are introducing a new feature that allows users to display on their profiles whether they've been vaccinated for COVID-19 yet.

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Geopolitics

NATO Entry For Sweden And Finland? Erdogan May Not Be Bluffing

When the two Nordic countries confirmed their intention to join NATO this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his plans to block the application. Accusing Sweden and Finland of' "harboring" some of his worst enemies may not allow room for him to climb down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO

Meike Eijsberg

-Analysis-

LONDON — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO, it took most of the West's top diplomatic experts by surprise — with the focus squarely on how Russia would react to having two new NATO members in the neighborhood. (So far, that's been a surprise too)

But now Western oversight on Turkey's stance has morphed into a belief in some quarters that Erdogan is just bluffing, trying to get concessions from the negotiations over such a key geopolitical issue.

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

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To be clear, any prospective NATO member requires the consent of all 30 member states and their parliaments. So Erdogan does indeed have a card to play, which is amplified by the sense of urgency: NATO, Sweden and Finland are keen to complete the accession process with the war in Ukraine raging and the prospect of strengthening the military alliance's position around the Baltic Sea.

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