USA AND CANADA
Mysterious downed UFOs
The US military destroyed three “unidentified flying objects” over Michigan, Alaska and Canada between February 11 and 12; a week after shooting down a Chinese balloon described as a spy by Washington. The aircraft was part, according to the United States, of a fleet sent by Beijing over more than 40 countries on five continents.
U.S. officials say the program is part of China’s effort “to hone its ability to collect data on U.S. military bases — those of most interest to it — as well as those of other nations in the event of a conflict or growing tensions”, notes the New York Times. CThis type of operation could explain the recent unidentified aerial phenomena.
Lula’s first visit to Biden
President Lula traveled to Washington on February 10 – the capital which, two years before Brasilia, was the scene of a populist uprising. Objective: to reactivate bilateral relations with Joe Biden. Lula also intends to regain the international posture that was that of Brazil in the 2000s, explains the daily State of Sao Paulo. “He revived the idea of a permanent seat on the UN Security Council for Brazil, advocated for international funds for the Amazon and countries with high biodiversity, proposed to reinvest Africa to curb the Chinese advance and advocated the creation of a group of ‘uninvolved’ countries to help build peace between Russia and Ukraine.”
Paris and Algiers cold again
Two weeks after the visit of the Chief of Staff of the Algerian army to France, a first for seventeen years, the relationship between Paris and Algiers has taken a hit. Algeria recalled its ambassador to France on February 8 in response to the “illegal exfiltration” of the Franco-Algerian activist Amira Bouraoui.
Arrested in Tunisia, she was subject to a ban on leaving the territory in Algeria but was able to reach Paris thanks to the help of the French authorities. This episode marks a “sudden return to square one” deplores the Algerian site TSA and mortgages the visit of the Algerian president to France, scheduled for May.
Record drug seizure
Securely held in fishing nets with floats, the 81 bales of cocaine (3.2 tons) were recovered in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The New Zealand police announced on February 8 that they had seized this cargo worth nearly 300 million euros, probably intended for neighboring Australia. “This seizure is equivalent to thirty years of cocaine supply in New Zealand and one year in Australia,” says the New Zealand Herald, who judges that she “has dealt a heavy blow to the traffic [dans la région]from South American producers to distributors”.
Two symbolic releases
After imprisoning thousands of protesters in recent months, the Islamic Republic announced the release of two famous detainees on February 10: French researcher Fariba Adelkhah, in prison since 2019, and human rights activist Farhad Meysami, on hunger strike for four months. “The release of the latter comes only a few days after the dissemination, on social networks, of photos of him emaciated, the protruding ribs, underlines the site IranWire. These particularly shocking images had provoked indignation.” Six French people are still prisoners in Iran.
In Brussels, Zelensky the European
Almost a year after the start of the Russian invasion, Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise European tour to ask for more help from his allies. After London and Paris, the Ukrainian president went to Brussels on February 9 to meet the Twenty-Seven and deliver a speech to the European Parliament. “The objective was to cement the ties between Ukraine and the European Union, summarizes Politico. Kyiv hopes to join the EU in record time, but also wants to convince the Europeans to deliver more sophisticated weapons as Russia prepares for a new offensive.”
Netanyahu facing the street
For the sixth consecutive week, tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated against the justice reform initiated by the Netanyahu government, which aims in particular to weaken the Supreme Court. On February 13, on the occasion of the first reading of the text by the Israeli Parliament, a massive strike blocked the Jewish state. “No Israeli government had to face such a wave of protests,” writes time, who believes that “even if the government manages to eviscerate the Supreme Court, Netanyahu has already lost the battle of opinion”. Joe Biden himself warned Israel, stressing the importance of “the independence of the judiciary”.