Welcome to Wednesday, where we're following the breaking news of the assassination of Haiti's president. Also Iran acknowledges it is enriching uranium and the ship that blocked the Suez canal is finally free to sail away. In other news, we look at the rock'n'roll statue controversy that pits Paris greens vs. Harley-Davidson.
• Haitian President assassinated: Haitian President Jovonel Moïse, 53, was killed in his private residence at 1 a.m. local time by armed assailants, amid political instability in the impoverished Caribbean nation. First Lady Martine Moïse was injured in the gunfire. Moïse had been ruling by decree for more than two years after the country failed to hold elections and parliament was dissolved.
• Iran begins enriched uranium production: Iran says it plans on starting the process of enriching uranium metal, a move that could help the country create a nuclear weapon, reports International Atomic Energy Agency, a U.N. atomic watchdog. The United States and European powers warned that these steps could muddle attempts to restore the 2015 nuclear deal.
• Taliban enter key western Afghan city: As American troops and NATO allies withdraw from Afghanistan, the Taliban has rapidly advanced through the country, seizing dozens of government controlled districts. Most recently, the group has entered the city of Qala-e-Naw, the capital of Afghanistan's Badghis province, liberating a local prison and continuing to battle government troops as they advance on the center of the city.
• Eric Adams wins NYC Mayoral Primary: Eric Adams, a former police captain, has been declared the winner of the New York City Democratic Primary, beating opponent Kathryn Garcia by a single percentage point. As Adams did not originally receive over 50% of the vote in the city's new ranked-choice voting system, results took longer than usual to count. If elected, Adams will be the city's second Black mayor.
• First indigenous woman appointed Canadian governor-general: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Mary Simon to be the country's first indigenous governor-general. The move comes amid a national reckoning over the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of indigenous children and the intergenerational harm caused to indigenous communities through the residential school system.
• Ever Given ship finally leaves Suez Canal: After blocking the Suez Canal for six days and severely disrupting international trade routes in March, the Ever Given ship has been released from the waterway. The ship had been held at Great Bitter Lake while the Suez Canal Authority sought compensation for salvaging efforts and losses incurred.
• Meth in water may turn fish into addicts: A new study has shown that Brown trout can become addicted to methamphetamine when it accumulates in freshwater rivers. The research demonstrates that when trout are placed in waters containing trace levels of methamphetamine, the fish develop withdrawal when moved to a clean tank.
"From lockdown comforter to outcast," titles German daily Hamburger Morgenpost: After an initial boom in puppy sales "in times of home office and loneliness," pets now tend to end up in animal shelters, "or even worse."
Regional disparity trap: Why China's economy resembles Europe
Professor Lu Ming of Shanghai Jiaotong University was the first to refer to the sharp differences within China as the "Europeanization" (or Eurozoneization) of the Chinese economy. For Yang Lu, writing for Hong Kong-based digital media The Initium, the Northeast is becoming the Chinese equivalent to Greece in the UE.
Greece and Germany use the euro, but Germany's GDP per capita is more than twice that of Greece, with much higher productivity levels. But the Euro exchange rate is the same in Germany and Greece. So, if the European Central Bank sets the exchange rate under conditions favorable to Germany, then the currency will be "too expensive" for Greece. In China, too, the 31 provincial administrative regions of mainland China use the same currency, the RMB, which serves as a unified market. But economic conditions vary greatly from province to province.
This divide is accelerating. In 2010, for example, Shanghai's GDP per capita was 3.7 times that of Heilongjiang's. By 2019, the gap had widened to 4.3 times. Like Greece in the Eurozone, Heilongjiang can't unilaterally devalue its currency to stimulate its economy. What is even more difficult for the province, compared to Greece, is that there are many ambiguities around the division of responsibilities between China's local and central authorities.
In light of these developments, the population census in China has attracted particular attention this year, especially from the real estate sector. The days when any estate in China could appreciate are over; 900 million of China's 1.4 billion people already live in cities and towns, and according to the experience of developed countries, the rate of urbanization would only slow in the future, which means that property investors need to pay more attention to the demographic split. If the population is decreasing, investors should be careful.
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Bollywood legend Dilip Kumar has died in Mumbai at the age of 98. Tributes have been pouring for the beloved movie legend nicknamed ट्रेजिडी किंग (Hindi for "The Tragedy King"), who starred in more than 65 films over 50 years.
Paris environmentalists say non to statue of ""French Elvis'" with Harley
Johnny Hallyday is perhaps the most American icon France has ever produced. Dubbed the "French Elvis', the late rocker put a je-ne-sais-quoi touch on a quintessentially U.S. musical genre, gave himself a Yankee stage name and wore leather and faded Levi's. And bien sûr, his motorcycle of choice was a Harley-Davidson.
Still, Hallyday, who died four years ago at the age of 74, was also sooo French. Born and raised in a rugged corner of the 9th arrondissement of Paris, the megastar singer (whose given name was Jean-Philippe Smet) was beloved by generations of French fans. The honors and street namings and tribute bars have continued around the country since his passing.
But it is in his hometown that the sanctification of the man simply known as "Johnny" has suddenly hit a wall. To coincide with the renaming of the square of the Palais Omnisports arena in Hallyday's honor, renowned gallery owner Kamel Mennour commissioned an artist to design a statue in front of the concert hall. The artwork conceived by French artist Bertrand Lavier, famous for his works of assemblage, features a real Harley-Davidson fixed atop a 15-foot-high guitar handle.
Although Hallyday's wife welcomed the statue, the top official in Paris' 12th arrondissement, where the arena is located, has blocked a vote on the statue. "I have my doubts," Emmanuelle Pierre-Marie, a member of the Green party, told Le Monde. "We want a sustainable city and the project puts on the foreground a Harley-Davidson – which symbolizes everything but this."
Other politicians in Paris have rushed to defend the popular singer, including some officials who are typically supportive of the capital's ongoing push to reduce traffic and other environmental measures. One called it "ecological punishment" for a national icon. After all, it was a different time: when Johnny was Johnny … and a Harley was a Harley.
This is an attack on journalism, a cornerstone of our rule of law.
— King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands has condemned the shooting of famous Dutch crime journalist Peter de Vries who was shot in Amsterdam on Tuesday evening and is currently in a hospital fighting for his life. Three suspects were arrested shortly after, but no further details have emerged. As Dutch royals generally abstain from commenting on individual incidents, the king's remarks are a sign of de Vries' popularity.
✍️ Newsletter by Genevieve Mansfield, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Clémence Guimier, Meike Eijsberg and Bertrand Hauger