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The Latest: Iran Vows Revenge, New Ecuador President, Remembering Gagarin

In Semarang, Indonesia, residents wash mosque prayer mats (and have some fun) in a river to purify them, a tradition in preparation for the Ramadan fasting month that will start tomorrow.
In Semarang, Indonesia, residents wash mosque prayer mats (and have some fun) in a river to purify them, a tradition in preparation for the Ramadan fasting month that will start tomorrow.

Welcome to Monday, where Iran vows revenge for the attack on one of its nuclear sites, Ecuador elects a new president and Russia celebrates the 60th anniversary of its pioneering space mission. French daily Le Monde also takes us on the Myanmar-Thailand border where the military coup has reignited a longstanding simmering war.

Black man shot by police in Minneapolis: Protests erupted after a Black man, identified as Daunte Wright, was shot and killed by a police officer at a traffic stop in a suburb of Minneapolis yesterday. The incident comes amid the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.

Iran vows revenge for attack on nuclear site: The Iranian foreign minister blamed Israel for an attack on the underground nuclear site Natanz, and said his country will "take revenge." According to US intelligence officials, it could take more than nine months to resume enrichment in the nuclear facility.

England eases lockdown as COVID surges in India: Pubs and restaurants begin serving outdoors as lockdown restrictions are eased in England, while across the Atlantic protests erupt in Montreal after the city's toughest COVID curfew went into effect. Meanwhile, India overtakes Brazil for the world's highest daily tally of 168,912 COVID-19 infections, amid fears of a surge in cases as crowds gather for a ritual bath in the Ganges river.

Four dead in a migrant boat: At least four people were found dead on a migrant boat near the Canary Island of El Hierro. The Spanish Red Cross also reports that 16 of the 23 persons on board were in "serious condition."

Ecuador's new conservative president: Former banker Guillermo Lasso has won the presidential elections in Ecuador, defeating leftist economist Andrés Arauz.

60th anniversary of Gagarin maiden mission: Thousands of people gathered in Saint Petersburg to celebrate Russian astronaut Yuri Gargarin, who became the first human to enter space on April 12, 1961.

California's Sugar Rush theme park: A pop-up theme park has recently opened in Los Angeles displaying giant lollipops, cupcakes and other treats. Visitors are allowed in only if wearing a face mask.

Ecuadorian daily El Universo features the country's newly elected president Guillermo Lasso, 65, a former banker who carried more than 52% of the vote Sunday in his third run for the presidency.

An old war is rekindled on the Myanmar-Thailand border

For the first time in 20 years, Myanmar regime fighter jets dropped bombs on territory partly controlled by the KNU, an armed group that has been fighting the central government for seven decades and bears the name of a large ethnic minority, the Karen, reports Bruno Philip in French daily Le Monde.

The interminable war had been put on hold a few years ago following a ceasefire agreement signed in 2015 by a dozen ethnic guerrillas, including the Karen National Union (KNU), one of Myanmar's oldest guerrilla groups. But the rekindled flames of conflict have shaken these far-flung corners of the Thai kingdom. Nearly 3,000 Karen have fled to the Thai side of the border river. But most of them were quickly "summoned" by military force and forced to return home by men in black uniforms, members of Thai "rangers' regiments.

For the Thai government, which had announced a few weeks ago that it was preparing for an "influx of refugees," this prospect brings back bad memories of the 1990s. At that time, the war was already raging between a preceding Burmese military junta and KNU fighters. Not to mention other battles that took place further north between soldiers of the same junta and other ethnic groups. Since then, some 100,000 refugees from Myanmar have continued to live in camps along the 2,416-kilometer border between the two countries.

The links between the current Thai government — headed by a former coup general — and the Myanmar regime are close. The man behind the Myanmar coup, General Min Aung Hlaing, called Prime Minister Prayuth the day after the strike to ask him, without irony, for advice on how to protect "democracy" in the country. In mid-March, a new controversy erupted, fueling suspicions of "collusion" between the two countries. A mysterious shipment of 700 bags of Thai rice, ostensibly intended to supply the Burmese barracks opposite Mae Sam Laep, had been deposited on the riverbank.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


Russia marks today the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's historic space mission, when the whole world learned how to say "astronaut" in Russian: Космонавт or cosmonaut. The 27-year-old Gagarin became the first human in space on April 12, 1961 in a single-orbit flight and was hailed a hero in the Soviet Union.

India's carjacking monkeys: animals trained to rob people in rickshaws

This was a different kind of monkey business. Police say they've arrested two men in New Delhi for allegedly using monkeys to rob people in motorized rickshaws.

The case came to light in early March, when a man in the Indian city's Malviya Nagar neighborhood reported that three men carrying monkeys had robbed him of ₹6,000 (about $80). The victim was sitting in an autorickshaw — a three-wheeled vehicle — when the men directed two monkeys to sit in the front and back seats, with one monkey snagging the man's wallet and running away, The Hindu Times reports.

Two of the three men were caught by the police on Thursday at a bus stand and later arrested. The monkeys were immediately handed over to the Wildlife SOS center, an animal rescue shelter, reports the Indian news site Mint. Police believe the primates had been captured from Tughlakabad Fort jungle about three months ago.

The suspects face charges for robbery, acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention, as well as violation of the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act.

➡️ Keep up with all the planet's police reports and plot twists on Worldcrunch.com

Iran's response will be revenge against the Zionist regime in its place and time.

— Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said during a news conference as the country accuses Israel of sabotaging its Natanz nuclear site, after an explosion caused an electricity outage. The incident occurred as Iran and the United States are trying to revive the 2015 nuclear deal that Israel fiercely opposes.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet & Emma Flacard

Al Jazeera is a state-funded broadcaster in Doha, Qatar, owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current-affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty television channels in multiple languages.
Reuters is an international news agency headquartered in London, UK. It was founded in 1851 and is now a division of Thomson Reuters. It transmits news in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Urdu, and Chinese.
The New York Times (sometimes abbreviated to NYT) is an American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. It has won 117 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. Its daily circulation is estimated to 1,380,000.
This leading French daily newspaper Le Monde ("The World") was founded in December 1944 in the aftermath of World War II. Today, it is distributed in 120 countries. In late 2010, a trio formed by Pierre Berge, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse took a controlling 64.5% stake in the newspaper.
Gazeta Wyborcza ("Election Gazette") is a leading daily newspaper in Poland, and the country's most popular news portal. Founded in 1989 by Adam Michnik and based in Warsaw, the paper is now owned by Agora SA, and is described as center-left.
The BBC is the British public service broadcaster, and the world's oldest national broadcasting organization. It broadcasts in up to 28 different languages.
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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

That Man In Mariupol: Is Putin Using A Body Double To Avoid Public Appearances?

Putin really is meeting with Xi in Moscow — we know that. But there are credible experts saying that the person who showed up in Mariupol the day before was someone else — the latest report that the Russian president uses a doppelganger for meetings and appearances.

screen grab of Putin in a dark down jacket

During the visit to Mariupol, the Presidential office only released screen grabs of a video

Russian President Press Office/TASS via ZUMA
Anna Akage

Have no doubt, the Vladimir Putin we’re seeing alongside Xi Jinping this week is the real Vladimir Putin. But it’s a question that is being asked after a range of credible experts have accused the Russian president of sending a body double for a high-profile visit this past weekend in the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

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Reports and conspiracy theories have circulated in the past about the Russian leader using a stand-in because of health or security issues. But the reaction to the Kremlin leader's trip to Mariupol is the first time that multiple credible sources — including those who’ve spent time with him in the past — have cast doubt on the identity of the man who showed up in the southeastern Ukrainian city that Russia took over last spring after a months-long siege.

Russian opposition politician Gennady Gudkov is among those who confidently claim that a Putin look-alike, or rather one of his look-alikes, was in the Ukrainian city.

"Now that there is a war going on, I don't rule out the possibility that someone strongly resembling or disguised as Putin is playing his role," Gudkov said.

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