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Palestinians waiting at the Rafah border, which reopens today
Palestinians waiting at the Rafah border, which reopens today

Welcome to Tuesday, where Myanmar's junta hints at new elections, Trump's impeachment trial (part II) gets started, and Motown loses a star. Meanwhile Bogota-based daily El Espectador explains how Pablo Escobar's hippos have sparked an ecological debate in Colombia.

• COVID-19 latest: Iran begins using Russia's Sputnik V vaccine as part of the vaccination campaign, and the WHO-China team gives a joint press conference on their study of coronavirus in Wuhan. Meanwhile, South Korea begins testing on domestic animals in the capital city of Seoul. The White House has expressed concerns over the potential spread of the UK variant after photos of Super Bowl celebrations with maskless party-goers went viral.

• Myanmar military promises elections: Despite a new ban on gatherings of more than five people, demonstrators once again take to the streets, and riot police increased their use of force. The military government has called for elections, promising to render power to a "suitable" minister.

• Trump impeachment: As former U.S. President Donald Trump"s second impeachment trial opens today, his lawyers say they will argue that he was not responsible for inciting the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, and that the trial itself is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office.

• Bitcoin heading to $50,000: After Elon Musk's investment in the cryptocurrency, more and more investors appear to believe Bitcoin is here to stay as its market value approaches $50k.

• Glacier disaster toll: Rescue efforts intensify in the Himalayas, as the confirmed death toll rises to 26, with 171 still missing after a glacier burst in northern India.

• North Korea hackers avert sanctions: A UN report shows that North Korean hackers siphoned $300 million (€250 million) stolen from cyber attacks in 2020 to fund nuclear programs, a clear violation of international law.

• Supremes singer dies:Mary Wilson, co-founder of Motown super group the Supremes, has died at the age of 76.

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Geopolitics

Venezuela-Iran: Maduro And The Axios Of Chaos In The Americas

With the complicity of leftist rulers in Venezuela, Bolivia and even Argentina, Iran's sanction-ridden regime is spreading its tentacles in South America, and could even undermine democracies.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro visiting Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, Iran on June 11. Venezuela is one of Iran's closest allies, and both are subject to tough U.S. sanctions.

Julio Borges

-Analysis-

CARACAS —The dangers posed by Venezuela's relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran is something we've warned about before. Though not new, the dangers have changed considerably in recent years.

They began under Venezuela's late leader, Hugo Chávez , when he decided to turn his back on the West and move closer to countries outside our geopolitical sphere. In 2005, Chávez and Iran's then president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, signed collaborative agreements in areas beyond the economy, with goals that included challenging the West and spreading Iran's presence in Latin America.

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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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