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Sicily’s Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, spewed ashes and smoke in a new eruption
Sicily’s Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, spewed ashes and smoke in a new eruption

Welcome to Wednesday, where a "vaccinegate" scandal shakes Peru, videos emerge of Dubai princess in "villa prison" and North Korea's first lady reappears after one year. Le Monde goes back in time to understand the proposal of an "immunity passport" for the vaccinated to be free to travel.

• COVID-19 latest: New research from Oxford Brookes University shows taking selfies with endangered gorillas in zoos are putting the animals at risk for contracting COVID. Dozens of Peruvian politicians, including former president Martin Vizcarra, are under fire for secretly getting vaccinated before anyone else. Gaza has received its first vaccine shipment after Israel approved the transfer across its border.

• Myanmar coup protests: In the biggest protest yet, citizens block roads despite an internet shutdown, while UN officials warn that the rising number of soldiers in the streets could be a sign that a violent government crackdown is imminent.

• Trump blasts McConnell: Donald Trump ripped Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him a "dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack," just days after the Senator voted to acquit the former president during the impeachment trial, but told the press that, "Trump bears moral responsibility."

• Detained princess in Dubai: The UN has announced it will question the United Arab Emirates about the detention of Princess Latifa, the daughter of the country's vice-president and ruler of Dubai. In videos released by the BBC, she has accused her father of holding her hostage in Dubai since she tried to escape the UAE in 2018.

• Japan wants meetings to look equal: The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has proposed a new plan to make meetings more gender-inclusive. However, the five female observers cannot speak and will only be able to submit their ideas on paper afterward. This comes after the head of the Tokyo Olympics was forced to resign for saying women talk too much.

• Cyberattacks in French hospitals: Three hospital buildings near Lyon have been hit by cyberattacks, with computer systems blocked and attackers demanding payment for their release. The attack forced the suspension of surgeries and intensive care patients were relocated to other hospitals.

• Wife of Kim Jong Un reappears: After more than a year out of public view, North Korean first lady Ri Sol Ju has appeared in a photo of the couple attending a concert. South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) speculated that she has been staying at home to avoid the coronavirus.

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In The News

War in Ukraine, Day 92: Is Severodonetsk The Next Mariupol?

Russian troops are attempting to encircle Severodonetsk, the last key city remaining under Ukrainian control in the Luhansk region, as Vladimir Putin looks to claim victory in a war that is not going Moscow's way. But will the toll be for civilians?

Inside a shelter in Severodonetsk.

Meike Eijsberg, Shaun Lavelle and Cameron Manley

Severodonetsk, the last key city remaining under Ukrainian control in the Luhansk area, is now the focal point of Russia’s war. In 2014, it had been recaptured from the pro-Russian separatists in a hard-fought battle by Ukrainian forces. Now, eight years later, Moscow is launching an all-out attack to try to take it back again.

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Alex Crawford, a Sky News correspondent in the region, says Russian forces have the means to conquer the city that in normal times has a population of circa 100,000 — and Moscow will be eager to cite it as the “victory”. But, Crawford wrote, “the path to victory comes – like the capture of the port city of Mariupol – strewn with the broken and battered bodies of the city's citizens.”

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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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