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Memorial to Alexei Navalny, Russian political opponent, in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin.

Benoit Durand / Hans Lucas

The Russian opposition leader who died suddenly at an Arctic penal colony earlier this month, will be laid to rest Friday in Moscow — around 6am for you East Coast early birds.

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Windmills generate electricity in the windy rolling foothills of the Rocky Mountains near the town of Pincher Creek, Alberta, September 27, 2010.

REUTERS/Todd Korol

0: New regulations from the Alberta government will permitzero new renewable energy projects to be built on private property that has high value for irrigation, specialty crops, or other farming importance, as well as areas where projects would interfere with “pristine viewscapes.” Alberta, which leads Canada in renewables development, has drawn nearly $5 billion into the sector in recent years, stoking concerns about the balance of farmland vs. alternative energy.

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Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA)

REUTERS/Alan Ortega

2: Two mayoral candidates in the central Mexican farming town of Maravatío were shot dead within hours of each other earlier this week. One of the candidates was from President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador’s Morena party, the other from the opposition National Action Party. Maravatío is in Michoacán state, where cartel wars have raged recently, spotlighting broader concerns about narco-fueled political violence across the country ahead of nationwide elections in June.

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FILE PHOTO: Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni attends her end-of-year press conference in Rome, Italy, January 4, 2024.

REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane/File Photo

0.4: The rugged island of Sardinia has dealt rightwing Italian PM Giorgia Meloni the first serious electoral blow she’s suffered since taking office in 2022. In local presidential elections (Sardinia has special autonomy from Rome, and its own president) a candidate from the left-leaning anti-establishment 5-Star Movement beat the Meloni-backed candidate by a mere 0.4 points. Alessandra Todde will now become not only Sardinia’s first female leader, but the first 5-Star member to head any of Italy’s 20 regions.

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Brazil's former president Jair Bolsonaro during a protest where he called his supporters to gather, as police investigate him and his cabinet for allegedly plotting a coup after the 2022 election, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, February 25, 2024.

REUTERS/Carla Carniel

He may be barred from electoral politics for the next six years because of convictions for abusing his power. He may be facing a flurry of serious legal charges over his alleged attempts to foment a coup last January after losing his 2022 re-election bid.

But in a deeply polarized country, Brazil’s firebrand former rightwing president Jair Bolsonaro is still immensely popular. Over the weekend he showed it, calling tens of thousands of protesters into the streets of São Paulo, the country’s business capital and most populous city. Among them were a number of lawmakers and even the state governor of São Paulo.

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South Korean doctors march towards the Presidential Office while holding a banner during the protest. South Korea has raised its public health alert to the highest level, authorities announced on February 23, saying health services were in crisis after thousands of doctors resigned over proposed medical reforms.

KIM Jae-Hwan / SOPA Images via Reuters

4: The South Korean government has given junior doctors four days to end a mass walkout over government plans to increase medical school admissions. The authorities say the admissions plan is meant to solve doctor shortages, but the junior docs say med schools can’t cope with larger student bodies, and that the biggest shortfalls are actually due to low pay. At the end of the four days the government will suspend medical licenses and open criminal cases against the strikers.

43: Social media posts showed a ghost train careening through northern India on Monday, after the crew hopped out for a tea and forgot to set the parking brake. The freight train began rolling down a hill and managed to travel without a conductor for 43 miles before it was stopped by officials who laid woodblocks across the tracks. Not quite as cinematic a save as the time that guy caught a runaway Indian locomotive on a bike, but still, with 53 cars laden with stone chips barreling down the track, this version had plenty of blockbuster appeal of its own.

2: There have now been two incidents of pro-Palestine protesters setting themselves on fire in front of Israeli diplomatic buildings in the US. On Sunday, a 25 year old US airman died after igniting himself outside the Israeli embassy in Washington DC. In December, an unidentified protester self-immolated outside the consulate in Atlanta.

17: A full seventeen months after mysterious explosions rocked the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines linking Russia to Europe, Denmark has closed its investigation into the incident. The Danes follow the Swedes who did the same earlier this month. The explosions occurred in the two countries’ economic zones. Copenhagen says it’s sure there was “deliberate sabotage” but doesn’t have more than that. Remember our piece on who likely did it? Read or watch it again here

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Annie Gugliotta

How does Vladimir Putin manage to keep this up? For all the destruction he’s visited on Ukraine, his invasion has also inflicted so much damage on Russia.

There are the financial and economic costs. There’s the diplomatic isolation. There’s the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Russians who’d rather bet on a future abroad than support Putin’s war for the past at home.

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Yang Yang, the giant panda that China loaned to Zoo Atlanta, looks on in its enclosure in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., on Dec. 7, 2023.

REUTERS/Megan Varner
4: The pandas are coming back! The four remaining pandas in the US, currently at the Atlanta Zoo, are set to be joined by others again. Beijing has reportedly reached an agreement with other American zoos to send them pandas, which are native to China. The breakthrough avoids a situation in which the US would be without pandas for the first time since 1972, when detente between Beijing and Washington enabled the fluffy bears to come to the US as part of “panda diplomacy.”
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