BBC

The Latest: Belarus Hijacking, China Storm Kills 21 Marathoners, Tinder After COVID

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.


India_Today

Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily features some of the more than 1,200 rescuers on a 24-hour search for survivors among ultramarathon runners caught in extreme weather. The storm and freezing temperatures that hit the high-altitude race left at least 21 runners dead. The 100-km, cross-country marathon race held in Baiyin, Gansu province, northern China, involved 172 participants in an area known for its arduous landscapes and unpredictable weather.

The 15-year-old swallowed by Putin's system

For French daily Le Monde, Benoît Vitkine reports on Nikita Ouvarov, the Russian teenager busted for hanging anti-government posters, who has been jailed for almost a year on charges of "terrorism," and has yet to even go to trial.

Nikita was arrested on June 6, 2020, along with his friends Bogdan and Denis, both of them 14 as well. The night before, the three boys pasted "subversive" posters in the city center of Kansk, a rusting, former industrial city located on the edge of Siberia. "Freedom for political prisoners," the posters read. Another one, which they stuck on the front of a police station and on the local headquarters of the FSB RF, Russia's primary security agency, read: "You fatten, we beg."

The three teenagers are now accused of "getting ready to commit terrorist actions' and of making explosive devices. The story, though, says as much about the arbitrary decisions of security services as it does about the escape fantasies of a group of teenagers doomed to live in a bleak city with little opportunity. The boys have yet to go to trial, and it's unclear when, in fact, the trial will take place. All three boys face the same charges — and risk life imprisonment — but it's likely that the heaviest sentence will be given to Nikita.

For a year now, an epidemic of "school terrorism" has spread everywhere in Krasnoïarsk, the region in Siberia where Kansk is located. Dozens of teenagers have been arrested for allegedly planning attacks. In most of the cases, authorities waited for children to celebrate their 14th birthday before taking action.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


Fono

Samoa's Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata'afa was locked out of the Pacific nation's parliament (the Legislative Assembly of Samoa, or "Fono" in the Samoan language) as she was about to take oath as the country's first female prime minister. In what Mata'afa referred to as a coup, Mata'afa's political rival and outgoing Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi refused to cede power despite losing the April general election.


For his diehard fans, there's really no limit to Bob Dylan's reach, in time or space.

Having delivered yet another soul-stirring album at the age of 79, what's left to say for his 80th birthday? This self-described "song-and-dance man" is a category of his own in cultural history (Compare him to William Shakespeare rather than Bruce Springsteen, more a Wolfgang Mozart than a Paul McCartney.) Across a lifetime, his myth and music have circled the planet many times over, from his emergence in the 1960s as the 20-something would-be voice of his generation, through to his never-ending tour that has touched down in 1,000 cities in at least 54 different countries.

That leaves us with the only possible real limit to his reach: language. It was inevitable that his songs — from classics like "Blowin" in the Wind" and "Like a Rolling Stone" to more hidden gems like "Farewell Angelina" and "Simple Twist of Fate" — would end up translated and sung in other languages. So to wish Bob a very "happy birthday" in our own Worldcrunch way, here's a multilingual sampling of Dylan International. Enjoy!

➡️ Check it here on Worldcrunch.com



53

By the time of Friday's ceasefire, 53 schools in Gaza had been damaged by Israeli airstrikes, reports Arab News. The destruction from the 11 days of fighting also included nearly 17,000 homes and businesses destroyed or damaged, as well as six hospitals and four mosques. Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Gaza's Health Ministry put the death toll Friday at 243, but that the number would continue to rise as more bodies were pulled from the rubble. Of the deaths accounted for so far, 66 are children.



Please, guys. Don't say that really, no cocaine.

— Damiano David, lead singer of the Italian rock band Måneskin that won the Eurovision song contest on Saturday, has denied doing drugs on live TV following speculation about a controversial video clip.

✍️ Newsletter by Bertrand Hauger & Dan Wu

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New Delhi, India: Fumigation Against Dengue Fever In New Delhi

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 வணக்கம்*

Welcome to Thursday, where America's top general reacts to China's test of a hypersonic weapon system, Russia is forced to reimpose lockdown measures and Venice's historic gondola race is hit by a doping scandal. French daily Les Echos also offers a cautionary tale of fraud in the crypto economy.

[*Vaṇakkam, Tamil - India, Sri Lanka, Singapore]

💡  SPOTLIGHT

A dove from Hiroshima: Is Fumio Kishida tough enough to lead Japan?

Japan's new prime minister is facing the twin challenges of COVID-19 and regional tensions, and some wonder whether he can even last as long as his predecessor, who was forced out after barely one year.

When Fumio Kishida, Japan's new prime minister. introduced himself earlier this month, he announced that the three major projects of his premiership will be the control of the ongoing pandemic; a new type of capitalism; and national security.

Kishida also pledged to deal with China "as its neighbor, biggest trade partner and an important nation which Japan should continue to dialogue with."

Nothing too surprising. Still, it was a rapid turn of events that brought him to the top job, taking over for highly unpopular predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, who had suddenly announced his resignation from office.

After a fierce race, Kishida defeated Taro Kono to become the president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and pave the way for the prime minister's job.

A key reason for Kishida's victory is the improving health situation, following Japan's fifth wave of the COVID pandemic that coincided with this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The best way to describe Kishida is to compare him to a sponge: not the most interesting item in a kitchen, yet it can absorb problems and clean up muck. His slogan ("Leaders exist to make other people shine") reflects well his political philosophy.

Kishida was born into a political family: His grandfather and father were both parliament members. Between the ages of six to nine, he studied in New York because of his father's work at the time. He attended the most prestigious private secondary school — the Kaisei Academy, of which about half of its graduates go to the University of Tokyo.

However, after failing three times the entrance exam, Kishida finally settled for Waseda University. Coming from a family where virtually all the men went to UTokyo, this was Kishida's first great failure in life.

After he graduated from college, Kishida worked for five years in a bank before serving as secretary for his father, Fumitake Kishida. In 1992, his father suddenly died at the age of 65. The following year, Kishida inherited his father's legacy to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives for the Hiroshima constituency. Since then, he has been elected successfully nine straight times, and served as Shinzo Abe's foreign minister for four years, beginning in December 2012. A former subordinate of his from that time commented on Kishida:

"If we are to sum him up in one sentence, he is an excellent actor. Whenever he was meeting his peers from other countries, we would remind him what should be emphasized, or when a firm, unyielding 'No' was necessary, and so on ... At the meetings, he would then put on his best show, just like an actor."

According to some insiders, during this period as foreign minister, his toughest stance was on nuclear weapons. This is due to the fact that his family hails from Hiroshima.

In 2016, following his suggestion, the G7 Ise-Shima Summit was held in Hiroshima, which meant that President Barack Obama visited the city — the first visit by a U.S. president to Hiroshima, where 118,661 lives were annihilated by the U.S. atomic bomb.

In September 2020 when Shinzo Abe stepped down as prime minister, Kishida put out his candidacy for the first time for LDP's presidency. He didn't even get close. This was his second great failure.

But reading his biography, Kishida Vision, I must say that besides the two aforementioned hiccups, Kishida's life has been smooth sailing over the past 64 years.

When one has had a happy and easy life, one tends to think that human nature is fundamentally good. Yet, the world doesn't work like that. And Japanese tend to believe that "human nature is vice," and have always felt a bit uneasy with the dovish Kishida diplomacy when he was foreign minister.

Hiroshima has always been a city with a leftist political tradition. Kishida's character, coupled with the fact that he belongs to the moderate Kochikai faction within the LDP, inevitably means that he won't be a right-wing prime minister.

Kishida would never have the courage to be engaged in any military action alongside Japan's ally, the United States, nor will he set off to rewrite the country's constitution.

So after barely a year of Yoshihide Suga in office, how long will a Fumio Kishida government last? If Japan can maintain its relatively stable health situation for some time, it could be a while. But if COVID comes roaring back, and the winter brings a sixth wave of the pandemic as virtually all Japanese experts in infectious diseases have predicted, then Kishida may just end up like Suga. No sponge can clean up that mess.

Daisuke Kondo / Economic Observer

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

Top U.S. general says Chinese weapon nearly a "Sputnik moment": China recently conducted a "very concerning" test of a hypersonic weapon system as part of its push to expand space and military technologies, Gen. Mark Milley, the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Bloomberg News. America's top military officer said that this was akin to the Soviet Union's stunning launch of the world's first satellite, Sputnik, 1957, which sparked the Cold War space race. Milley also called the test of the weapon "a very significant technological event" that is just one element of China's military capabilities.

Brexit: France seizes British trawler: A British trawler has been seized by France while fishing in French waters without a license, amid escalating conflict over post-Brexit fishing rights. France's Minister for Europe said it will adopt a zero-tolerance attitude towards Britain and block access to virtually all of its boats until it awards licenses to French fishermen.

COVID update: Russia confirmed a new record of coronavirus deaths, forcing officials to reimpose some lockdown measures, including a nationwide workplace shutdown in the first week of November. Germany also saw its numbers spike, with more than 28,000 new infections yesterday, adding to worries about restrictions this winter there and elsewhere in Europe. Singapore, meanwhile, reported the biggest surge in the city-state since the coronavirus pandemic began. Positive news on the vaccine front, as U.S. pharmaceutical giant Merck granted royalty-free license for a COVID-19 antiviral pill to help protect people in the developing world.

Iran nuclear talks to resume: Iran's top nuclear negotiator said multilateral talks in Vienna with world powers about its nuclear development program will resume before the end of November. The announcement comes after the U.S. warned efforts to revive the deal were in "critical phase."

First U.S. passport with "X" gender marker: The U.S. State Department has issued its first American passport with an "X" gender marker. It is designed to give nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming people a marker other than male or female on their travel document. Several other countries, including Canada, Argentina and Nepal, already offer the same option.

China limits construction of super skyscrapers: China has restricted smaller cities in the country from building extremely tall skyscrapers, as part of a larger bid to crack down on wasteful vanity projects by local governments. Earlier this year the country issued a ban on "ugly architecture."

Doping scandal hits Venice's gondola race: For the first time in the history of the Venice Historical Regatta, a participant has tested positive to marijuana in a doping test: Gondolier Renato Busetto, who finished the race in second place, will be suspended for 13 months.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

"End of the ice age," titles German-language Luxembourgish daily Luxemburger Wort, writing about how the ice melting in the Arctic opens up new economic opportunities with a new passage for countries like Russia and China but with potentially devastating effects for the environment. The issue of the Arctic is one of the topics that will be discussed at the COP26 Climate Change Conference which kicks off in Glasgow on Sunday.


#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$87 billion

A new United Nations report found that extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, floods and droughts have caused India an average annual loss of about $87 billion in 2020. India is among the countries which suffered the most from weather hazards this year along with China and Japan.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Air Next: How a crypto scam collapsed on a single spelling mistake

It is today a proven fraud, nailed by the French stock market watchdog: Air Next resorted to a full range of dubious practices to raise money for a blockchain-powered e-commerce app. But the simplest of errors exposed the scam and limited the damage to investors. A cautionary tale for the crypto economy from Laurence Boisseau in Paris-based daily Les Echos.

📲 The story began last February, when Air Next registered with the Paris Commercial Court. The new company stated it was developing an application that would allow the purchase of airline tickets by using cryptocurrency, at unbeatable prices and with an automatic guarantee in case of cancellation or delay, via a "smart contract" system. Last summer, Air Next started recruiting. The company also wanted to raise money to have the assets on hand to allow passenger compensation.

📝 On Sept. 30, the AMF issued an alert, by way of a press release, on the risks of fraud associated with the ICO, as it suspected some documents to be forgeries. For employees of the new company, it was a brutal wake-up call. They quickly understood that they had been duped, that they'd bet on the proverbial house of cards. Challenged by one of his employees on Telegram, the CEO admitted that "many documents provided were false", that "an error cost the life of this project."

⚠️ What was the "error" he was referring to? A typo in the name of the would-be bank backing the startup. A very small one, at the bottom of the page of the false bank certificate, where the name "Edmond de Rothschild" is misspelled "Edemond". Before the AMF's public alert, websites specializing in crypto-assets had already noted certain inconsistencies. The company had declared a share capital of 1 billion euros, which is an enormous amount. Air Next's CEO also boasted about having discovered bitcoin at a time when only a few geeks knew about cryptocurrency.


➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


📣 VERBATIM

"A weapon was handed to Mr. Baldwin. The weapon is functional, and fired a live round."


— Following the Oct. 21 on-set shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Sante Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza told a press conference that the "facts are clear" about the final moments before Hutchins was shot. The investigation continues to determine what led up to that moment, and any possible criminal responsibility related to how the "prop" gun that actor Alec Baldwin fired was loaded.

📸  PHOTO DU JOUR

Fumigation is used as a precautionary measure against the spread of dengue disease in New Delhi, India, where more than 1,000 cases have been reported — Photo: Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images/ZUMA

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

Share with us your favorite gondola memories or worst crypto scams — and let us know what the news looks like from your corner of the world! - info@worldcrunch.com

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