Welcome to Tuesday, where Biden calls for Gaza ceasefire, 6,000 refugees reach Spanish shores in a day, and a Sicilian Mafioso takes grandparenting to a new low. We also tune in to Hong Kong-based digital media The Initium for some *strait talking* about the stakes in Taiwan.
• Biden calls for Israel-Gaza ceasefire: The U.S. President Joe Biden has called for a ceasefire after eight days of a bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza has left more than 200 Palestinians dead, including dozens of children. Ten Israelis have been killed by Hamas rockets. European leaders are meeting today for a special summit on the conflict.
• Thousands of migrants reach Spanish enclave: More than 6,000 migrants have reached the Spanish enclave of Ceuta from neighboring Morocco by swimming or sailing, a record number over a single day. The Spanish government has deployed troops to patrol the border amid heightened diplomatic tensions between the two countries.
• Myanmar toll since the military coup: At least 800 people have been killed by security forces since the Feb.1 coup, according to the activist group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Some of the most intense fighting is now taking place in northwest Myanmar, close to the Indian border.
• Samoa to appoint first female leader: The Samoa Supreme Court validated Fiame Naomi Mata'afa's shock April election win, making her the first female prime minister and replacing the world's second-longest serving prime minister who has been ruling the country since 1998.
• U.S. Supreme Court to hear major abortion case: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to Mississippi's 15-week ban on abortion in a historic case that could undermine the constitutional right to abortion. It will be the first abortion case heard by the new Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic conservative who was appointed by former President Trump in 2020.
• Rising tensions between Hong Kong and Taiwan: Hong Kong's government suspended operations at its representative office in Taiwan on Tuesday. Tensions have risen since Beijing imposed a controversial national security law last year in the city that encouraged many pro-democracy activists to leave.
• Havana puts on a giant rainbow flag: Cuba's health ministry was draped with a gigantic rainbow flag on Monday to celebrate the International Day against Homophobia, amid recent moves that could lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Indian daily Dainik Bhaskar reports on Cyclone Tauktae, which is hitting the country's western coast. More than 90 people are missing after a barge sank during the storm off the coast of Mumbai.
Strait Talk: China invading Taiwan is mostly just a matter of time
Though Beijing is not likely to launch any overt operation right away, experts predict it's most likely to try to force Taiwan's reunification between 2025 and 2030. This would almost certainly prompt a U.S. response, writes Deng Yuwen in Hong Kong-based digital media The Initium.
Washington's frequent use of the Taiwan card to contain China has sparked military intimidation from Beijing in the past two years. The tensions are a reminder that there is no longer anything like the "1992 Consensus' that had established a diplomatic challenge across the Strait. And yet an even more fundamental cause of the rising conflict is that China's growing might is shifting the structure of the entire Asia-Pacific region. Xi Jinping has set national rejuvenation as one of his goals since he came to power.
The problem for Chinese authorities are the costs of reunification, as the likelihood of a peaceful reunification is quite low. That leaves the only option of invasion. And this of course has its own costs. Not just because there's a risk this can fail, but also because it is very troublesome to manage a place after a war, particularly one strongly opposed by the international community. Apart from Xi's ambition, whether China will attack Taiwan in the next decade depends mainly on whether the cost of a Sino-U.S. or Sino-West confrontation is as great as the cost of occupying Taiwan.
In almost all scenarios of China's possible aggression towards Taiwan, rarely do we hear the role that Taiwan can play mentioned. This is not because experts deliberately ignore Taiwan, but because the island, in comparison with China, is too small in size and unable to guard against China's force just by itself. Still, Taiwan shouldn't just wait to be captured. Even if it cannot ultimately protect itself, it can probably postpone the arrival of a possible invasion. But Taiwan should also not get caught up in stoking hatred toward China. This is a test of wisdom and patience for its ruling administration and for the Taiwanese people.
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Rwanda's President Paul Kagame said in an interview with France 24 that he wanted a fair trial ("urubanza ruboneye" in the Kinyarwanda language) for Paul Rusesabagina, the man represented as a hero in a 2004 Hollywood movie about the Rwandan genocide but who is also accused of terror charges related to deadly attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019. Kagame denounced "racist" attitudes towards the Rwandan judicial system.
Sicilian Mafioso teaches 9 year-old granddaughter to count dirty money
There are countless ways to teach a kid mathematics: fingers, peas in bowls, catchy songs — or, like this Italian grandpa from Partinico, Sicily, by counting dirty money.
As Italian daily La Stampa reports, after taking his nine-year-old granddaughter to school or to the swimming pool, the suspected mobster would sell cocaine. Later, after the deal was done, he would turn to the girl to help tally up his daily gains, using her as his personal cashier-in-training as he taught her to count bills.
The elementary school student also worked part-time as a "mule," carrying the drug money in her pockets, to hide his activities from the authorities as well as from their own family.
The Sicilian police eventually caught wind of the operation and put a tap on the drug-smuggling grandpa. This, as Partinico commissioner Leopoldo Laricchia told reporters, led to the recording of surreal exchanges between the granddaughter and her grandfather.
Having figured out there was something shady behind "grandpa's funny game," the little girl reportedly told him one day as they were watching TV together: "Look Grandpa, they're selling drugs to people, just like we do!"
The man was arrested earlier this week, along with 29 other people as part of a large-scale anti-drug operation in the Palermo region. According to daily La Repubblica, the girl's mother "severely scolded" the grandfather after learning about his special math lessons.
With the investigation still ongoing, there's no word yet on a fine or prison sentence for the Nonno — but that's something he'll have to count on his own.
➡️ Keep up with all the planet's police reports and plot twists on Worldcrunch.com
We are not going to delegate our voice to those who claim to represent us.
— Alondra Carrillo Vidal, one of the independent candidates in Chile who surprised traditional parties in being elected to a seat in the body that will rewrite the country's Pinochet-era Constitution.