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Podcast: Modi's India on the world stage

Transcript

Listen: Is India a US ally? Based on the pomp and circumstance surrounding Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Washington in June, the answer seems obvious, right? They love us! We love them! End of story. Right?

Well ... it’s complicated.

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US ships during an underway replenishment in the Philippine Sea. January 19, 2023.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Greg Johnson via ABACAPRESS.COM via Reuters Connect

Hard Numbers: US camps in Philippines, Malaysia may nix death penalty, Bulgaria’s close vote, Burkina Faso vs. journalists, hungry as a bear in Japan

4: On Monday, the Philippine government confirmed the location of four new military camps that will indefinitely host rotating US forces, despite China’s opposition. The new encampments, which were announced last February, place US forces closer to Taiwan and key trade routes in the South China Sea, where China has territorial disputes with its neighbors.

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A person wearing a protective suit sits in the Beijing Railway Station after China lifted its COVID-19 restrictions in Beijing, January 20, 2023.

REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Hard Numbers: China zeroes out zero, German tanks run low, Turkey jails a journalist, Greek train crash, police find ‘spiritual girlfriend’ in Peru

0 x 0: Remember China’s zero-Covid strategy? No you don’t, at least not if you’re the Chinese Communist Party, which is now aggressively zeroing out public mentions of the draconian lockdowns that kneecapped the country’s economy and provoked rare widespread protests against Xi Jinping. Here’s our own portrait of zero-Covid life from last spring.

62: Despite promising to give tanks to Kyiv, Germany and other NATO allies have struggled to rustle up enough of them — 62 to be precise — to fill two Ukrainian battalions worth. Part of the problem is that no one on the continent has planned for a major European land war in 30 years, so tanks, parts, and trainers are limited.

10: Turkey has sentenced a journalist to 10 months in prison for posting an unsubstantiated allegation that police officers and soldiers had sexually assaulted a young girl. This is the first jail term handed down under a new law meant to combat disinformation that critics fear will be used to stifle criticism of the government.

36: A train collision has killed at least 36 and injured dozens more near the city of Larissa in northern Greece. Railway employees reported that there were issues with electric coordination of traffic control, despite recent modernization of Greece’s railway system, which is operated by Italy’s state-owned railway company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiene.

1.5: The sentence you are about to read does not end the way you think it will: Police searching a delivery man who was acting drunk at a Peruvian archaeological site found in his backpack a 1.5-meter tall pre-hispanic mummy named “Juanita.” He said the mummy, which once belonged to his dad, lives with him as “a kind of spiritual girlfriend.” We love this LatAm remake of "Fin de Semana at Bernie’s.

World Bank Group President David Malpass speaks to the media in Washington, D.C. in 2022.

Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

Hard Numbers: World Bank chief resigns, Another Russian journalist jailed, Ukraine’s humanitarian needs, pessimistic Nigerians, good riddance Johns Hopkins tracker

12: World Bank President David Malpass, tapped by former President Donald Trump, announced Wednesday that he’ll step down this summer, roughly 12 months before his term expires. Malpass has been mired in controversy in recent months after he refused to say whether fossil fuels are warming the planet. (Malpass spoke to GZERO Media amid the controversy, saying he’s not a climate change denier.)

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Philippines court convicts top journalist — what comes next?

Over a year ago, we reported on Maria Ressa's conviction for cyber-libel in the Philippines. While her appeal works its way through the country's byzantine justice system, today she won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. Below is our original piece published on June 15, 2020.

Ever since the rough-spoken populist Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines in 2016, journalists have warned that his open disdain for the media would put press freedom in the country at risk.

On Monday, those fears were underscored when the authorities found Maria Ressa, an internationally-renowned journalist and fierce critic of Duterte's, guilty of libel under the country's cybercrimes law.

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Maria Ressa, the CEO of online news platform Rappler, speaks to the media after posting bail at a Manila Regional Trial Court in Manila City.

REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Maria Ressa: Fearless and fair

The last time I saw my former boss Maria Ressa, about three years ago in New York, she wasn't worried about being arrested upon her return to the Philippines. Her friends and family had told her to consider staying in America, as she's a dual citizen after growing up in New Jersey. But she thought it was her duty to go back to Manila and continue doing her job as CEO of independent news site Rappler.

She wasn't arrested that time for her role in Rappler updating an old article deemed by a judge to be retroactively libelous. But she was detained in February 2019 over the same charge, and again a month later for allegedly violating a ban on foreign ownership of the media. Maria got out on bail both times, but that wasn't the end of her legal troubles.

In June 2020, she was convicted of cyber-libel, and now faces up to 100 years in prison under a very loose and retroactive interpretation of the law that's been panned as an attack on press freedom.

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A protester holds a placard during a protest in defense of free media in Gdansk, Poland.

Tomasz Zasinski / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

What We’re Watching: Polish coalition on the ropes, Ethiopian PM’s call to arms, Russian mercs in Libya

Polish government in trouble: Poland's rightwing coalition government is on the ropes after PM Mateusz Morawiecki fired his deputy, Jaroslaw Gowin, for opposing two key pieces of legislation: a raft of tax reforms that Morawiecki says will help the middle class but Gowin fears will actually hurt them, as well as a proposed new law restricting foreign media ownership, which critics say is meant to silence unfriendly reporting by a US-owned TV network. Without the support of Gowin's small center-right Agreement party, the coalition government — formed by the ruling PiS and the far-right United Poland — could lose its slim majority in parliament, which in turn would force Morawiecki to call an early election. If he does so, he'll face a tough rival in a familiar face for Poles: former PM and European Commission top honcho Donald Tusk, who wants to run for his old job.

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Gabriella Turrisi

The Graphic Truth: Press freedom in pandemic times

During a pandemic, the work of reporters around the world is particularly important to ensure transparency about the scope of outbreaks and the measures that governments are taking to contain them. But in many countries, press freedom has been declining since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Press freedom took a bit hit over the past year, as governments across the world doubled down on censoring media that criticized their handling of the pandemic, and locked up reporters for reporting the facts. Reporters Without Borders this week published its annual World Press Freedom Index, which takes a microscope to every country, ranking the ability of its media to report freely and independently. Here's a look at how countries' scores have changed over the past year.

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