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Your Monday Brief: Russia Seeks Support in Africa


We are supporting Russia’s campaign to gain support in Africa and WHO’s decision to declare monkeypox a global emergency.

Russia’s top diplomat, Sergey Lavrov, has embarked on a tour of four African countries – Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda and the Republic of Congo – seeking to blame the West for war-related grain shortages. The war raised concerns about hunger.

He is likely to find a receptive audience in a region that has managed to maintain access to Russian exports despite pressure from the West. There is no benefit in alienating either side, and some African countries have tried to simply stay out of the conflict.

Global grain shortages due to war look set to ease on Friday as Russia agrees to a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey allow Ukraine to export grain. However, the next morning, Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian port of Odesa, raises questions about Moscow’s intentions to abide by the agreement.

News from the war in Ukraine:

  • Russian forces have tortured and beaten civilians in the southern regions of Ukraine they control, according to Human Rights Watch.

  • Maksym Butkevych has made a name in Ukraine campaigning on behalf of refugees and internally displaced persons. But after his arrest at the end of June, his reputation makes him susceptible to treatment.

  • During the 80-day siege of the vast Azovstal steel plant, a relentless Russian assault was met with unyielding Ukrainian resistance, resulting in incomprehensible horror. This is the story of the battle.


The World Health Organization over the weekend labeled monkeypox – the disease has spread in just weeks to 75 countries and infected more than 16,000 people – global health emergency.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of WHO, overcame an advisory panel, who could not come to a consensus, to declare a “public health emergency of international concern”. That distinction, which has been used seven times in the past 15 years, is now used to describe two other diseases: Covid-19 and polio. Monkeypox has been a concern for many years in several African countries and has only recently spread worldwide.

Nearly all infections outside of Africa occur in men who have sex with men. Many in the LGBTQ community have accused monkeypox of not getting the attention it deserves, reminiscent of the early days of the HIV pandemic.

What does it mean: The WHO statement signals the need for a coordinated international response, such as investing substantial resources to control outbreaks and encouraging countries to share vaccines and treatments. and other important resources.

China launched a large Long March 5B rocket into space Sunday afternoon, carrying new modules to its space station.

Now, for the next week or so, a 10-stage, 23-ton rocket is needed to launch the heavy payload will attract interest by space observers as it fell back to earth. Unless China secretly changes the missile’s design, there will be no control over where its debris will land.

Several tons of the metal that is thought to be able to survive on the ground could end up anywhere along the rocket’s path, including Los Angeles, New York, Cairo and Sydney. The chances of it hitting any human are low but significantly higher than what many space experts consider acceptable.

Story: Space holds great prestige for the Chinese government, the only country other than the US that can land and operate rovers on Mars. “China hasn’t and hasn’t done anything that the United States hasn’t done in space,” said Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor at the US Naval War College. “But it is reaching technical parity, which the US is very interested in”

Last year, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr became the first writer from sub-Saharan Africa to win France’s top literary prize. One theme in his novel is the French literary establishment, which he describes with a mixture of harshness, mockery and sentimentality. Now he wonders if the awards are endorsements or “a way to silence me.”

The movie “One Second” – directed by famous Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou – is about a prisoner who escapes from a labor camp. The plot mirrors the 2011 novel “The Criminal Lu Yanshi” written by Geling Yan.

But when the movie is released in 2020, Yan’s name is not in the credits nor promotional materials. She and her husband have started asking companies in Asia, Europe and North America to add her name but have so far received no response.

In the fall of 2018, a literary advisor to Mr. Zhang told Ms. Yan via WeChat that “One Second” could not credit “The Criminal Lu Yanshi”, according to screenshots of their correspondence. The adviser said that doing so could create a legal problem for the director as he had an unrelated copyright dispute with a Chinese production company.

Yan, who has publicly criticized the Chinese government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, said she was not surprised to see her name removed. However, she said, she thinks companies that distribute and promote the film outside of China might agree to credit her in some way.



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