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Palestinians celebrate the ceasefire in the streets of Gaza, after 11 days of open warfare with Israel.
Palestinians celebrate the ceasefire in the streets of Gaza, after 11 days of open warfare with Israel.

Welcome to Friday, where an Israeli-Hamas ceasefire is holding, we find out what Obama really thinks of Trump and cows help Thailand's vaccination drive. Also, Les Echos takes an inside visit to the remote "mines' turning out bitcoin cryptocurrency in China.

• Israel-Gaza ceasefire holding: An Egyptian-mediated truce between Israel and Hamas began late Friday after 11 days of the worst violence in years, which killed 232 Palestinians and 12 Israelis. By early afternoon local time in the Middle East, there were no reports of violations of the ceasefire.

• Biden signs bill to stop Asian hate: U.S. President Joe Biden signs a bill aimed at stemming the rising number of anti-Asian crimes, increasingly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to associations, more than 6,600 cases of anti-Asian violence were reported within the past year.

• African Union demands "democratic transition" in Chad: The African Union has called for a "democratic transition" within 18 months in Chad, where a military government has been in power after former President Idriss Deby was killed by rebels on the frontline in April.

• Prince William accuses BBC over controversial interview: Britain's Duke of Cambridge has blamed the BBC for deceiving his late mother, Princess Diana, and poisoning her relationship with Prince Charles.

• Europe wants to build GPS-like system for the Moon: The European Space Agency has proposed that the same type of navigation system used on Earth be deployed at the Moon, to enable astronauts and spacecraft to precisely know where they are and where to land.

• Farewell to Internet Explorer: Microsoft's Internet Explorer will be retired next year after more than 26 years of service. It will be replaced by the newer, faster and more secure Microsoft Edge browser.

• Cattle for raffle to boost Thai vaccination: In a northern district of Thailand, a raffle campaign for vaccinated residents to win a live cow per week for the rest of the year to boost COVID-19 vaccination drive.

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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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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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