What We’re Watching: Argentine VP assassination attempt, Ethiopian escalation, Zaporizhzhia tour
Argentine VP survives assassination attempt
Argentina's influential VP Cristina Fernández de Kirchner survived an assassination attempt on Thursday night outside her residence in Buenos Aires. A gunman took aim from close range, but his loaded weapon failed to fire. Cops then arrested the man, a Brazilian national with a history of following hate groups on social media. We don’t know the motive and political violence in the country rarely gets bloody, but political tensions have been running very high since last week, when a prosecutor asked for the far-left firebrand VP and former president to be sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption. Still, her trial will be anything but swift, and Cristina — as she’s universally known — is unlikely to go to jail for charges she calls a "witch hunt." President Alberto Fernández (no relation, nor a big fan of the VP) declared a national holiday on Friday, which the conservative opposition decried as a gambit to turn out crowds in favor of Cristina.
Eritrea jumps back into Ethiopia’s civil war
Eritrean troops have joined Ethiopian government forces in a fresh attack on the Tigray region, according to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. If confirmed independently, this would represent a major (re)escalation in the nearly two-year-long conflict between the Ethiopian government and Tigray militants who are seeking greater autonomy. Last year, Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed admitted Eritrean involvement in the war, after initially denying it. Until the resumption of fighting last week, the front had been largely quiet for months under a tenuous humanitarian truce, and diplomats were working to broker a more durable peace. That path looks closed now as both sides gear up for a full-fledged fight again. The war has already led to a humanitarian catastrophe in Tigray that is spilling into neighboring Sudan, and the UN has accused both sides of grave human rights violations and war crimes.
UN nuclear inspectors assess Zaporizhzhia damage
Arriving hours later than expected, a team of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors on Thursday visited the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine. After touring the facility for the first time, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi tweeted an on-site video vowing to set up shop there. But the last leg of the trip was almost derailed by heavy shelling, which Kyiv and Moscow blamed on each other. The Ukrainians say Russian artillery fire forced them to briefly shut down one of the reactors, while the Russians claim that the Ukrainians tried — and failed — to use the visit as cover for an assault to retake the site. Zaporizhzhia, Europe's largest nuclear power plant, seemed on the brink of disaster after six months of intense fighting near the perimeter, overworked staff, and likely damage to the facility. But the odds of another Chernobyl have now been reduced by the presence of the IAEA team — as long as Russia, keeps its word and lets the foreign scientists stay.