1.Argentina wins its third World Cup, and Leo Messi is enshrined in football's Olympus.
Last Sunday Argentina became world champions. After a fateful final against France, the "scaloneta" won in a penalty shoot-out to win their third world title.
The final was epic and hard-fought, with a blistering first half, Argentina took the lead; first with a penalty taken by Di Maria and scored by Leo Messi, and then with a second goal scored by "el fideo" after a spectacular counter-attack.
In the second half, Argentina continued to dominate the game, but little by little the physicality of the French was imposing itself, and out of nowhere, with a penalty and a great goal by Mbappé, managed to tie the game in just two minutes, when the game was facing its final stretch: we were going to extra time.
In extra time, the Spanish Americans went ahead again with another goal from Messi, but France equalised with another penalty, also caused and executed by Mbappé. In the last minute of the match, the Argentinian goalkeeper "Dibu" Martinez, saved with a great save to keep out a shot from Kolo Muani who would have sealed France's comeback.
Finally, in the penalty shoot-out, "Dibu" was once again the hero, saving two shots from France, which, together with the absolute efficiency of the Argentinians, sealed the shoot-out with a 4-2 win for Argentina.
In this way, the South American country managed to win its third World Cup trophy, which comes at a time of social and political upheaval for the country, and which has brought the country together once again around a football. This third title is also accompanied by the consecration in the Olympus of Argentinean football of Lionel Messi, for many already considered the best player in history; at the same time, Messi was also crowned MVP of the World Cup, and is a leading candidate to lift his eighth golden ball.
The Argentinian triumph was celebrated in different parts of the world, with displays of joy from countries as far away geographically as India and Bangladesh, as well as celebrations in twin cities, such as Maradona's Napoli, or Messi's Barcelona, which filled its triumphal arch. Finally, it is worth noting that the Argentinean fans' reception of their heroes has been a national earthquake, to such an extent that the Argentinean government decreed Tuesday a "bank holiday" so that citizens could celebrate the triumph with them.
Iran sentences footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani to death while imprisoning Taraneh Alidoosti, one of the country's most famous actresses.
A few weeks ago we commented on the uprisings in Iran and the effects they were having. But it seems that, as the waters are calming down, the Iranian regime's reactions are changing direction.
The re-establishment of the so-called "morality police" was announced last week, and now it seems that the regime wants to take exemplary measures against celebrities or public figures who supported the uprisings.
Among these figures is the footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani, currently a member of a second-tier team, the Gol Reyhan AlborzHe had played for a number of national teams a few years earlier, playing in the two most important categories of Iranian football. After his arrest, several organisations such as FIFPRO, or prominent figures in the world of football, such as Radamel Falcao, called for his immediate release.
Amir was sentenced to death after participating in and publicly supporting the uprisings. Charged under the offence of "Moharebeh" (hatred of God), he joins the list of 26 people convicted of the same offence, including 11 sentenced to death. More specifically, Amir is accused of participating in the murder of an Iranian colonel, to which, according to the authorities, the footballer himself has confessed.
Another of the "celebrities" arrested is Taraneh Alidoosti, a well-known Iranian actress, who in recent days has published some writings against her country's regime, as well as texts of solidarity with the first people executed after the uprisings. On the pretext of "spreading false information to create unrest", she was arrested on Monday, pending trial. In response, several film personalities have expressed their disgust at this act.
In conclusion, with the uprisings now stabilised, it seems that the Iranian regime is not willing to give an inch of its power, and seems to have begun a series of arrests and actions to intimidate any future discussion or movement of disenchantment against the regime. We will have to watch for international reactions, or the Iranian population's own reactions, which could fuel the protests once again.
3. The EU agrees a cap on the price of gas imports: 180 euros. Renewables continue to gain momentum
After several months of negotiations in which the different interests of the member states have been weighed up, it seems that the EU has reached an agreement that will apply from next February.
In addition, this agreement implies joint purchasing by all EU member states, as well as the orientation towards the deployment of renewables, as we pointed out last week.
Despite the agreement, we cannot forget that the states most reluctant to apply this cap, such as Germany or the Netherlands, are still not "entirely convinced" (as the Dutchman Rob Jetten commented) about this proposal, as they do not know whether it is the most appropriate mechanism to ensure gas supply while guaranteeing the management of high prices.
The key point for the agreement to be reached was the acceleration of the implementation of renewables, according to German minister Robert Habeck. Spain's vice-president for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, was pleased with the agreement, saying that "with the pact, we also achieved joint approval for joint gas purchases and accelerated deployment of renewables, which was pending ratification pending the agreement".
4. Ukraine: Putin and Lukashenko bring positions closer together
The presidents of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, and Russia, Vladimir Putin, met in Minsk on Monday. Kiev's reaction was one of concern and mistrust, fearing that the country north of its borders, which is also Russia's main ally, would be implicated in the conflict. The Kremlin, for its part, stressed that the meeting had been cordial and that Kiev's warnings were unfounded fabrications.
Officially, the meeting was about economic and energy issues (remember the Russian giant's favourable treatment of Belarus in its oil and gas sub-ministerial agreements).
But military matters were also discussed. Russia is interested in a strong Belarus, capable of defending itself and securing a strong ally to the west. Thus, the training of Belarusian pilots was agreed, as well as the delivery of state-of-the-art anti-aircraft missiles. But the highlight of the agreement is the creation of a single defence space between the two countries, as well as joint military exercises on the Belarusian borders, in which 9,000 Russian soldiers will participate.
Although Lukashenko has repeatedly reiterated that Belarus is not interested in intervening in the Ukrainian conflict, recent statements by the president suggested that "the conflict is dragging on". These statements could be understood in different ways, but they have undoubtedly alerted Kiev, which is aware of its neighbour's continued rapprochement with Russia, as well as its role in the ground invasion a few months ago, when Moscow used Belarus as a platform to bring thousands of Russian soldiers into Ukrainian territory.
5.Climate emergency: UN urges action to halt species extinction by 2030
Yesterday a total of 194 countries signed a historic pact with the aim of protecting 30% of the planet's ocean land and waters by 2030. This pact also includes multiple mentions and proposals to protect biodiversity in these spaces, due to the impact of human activities, either by exploitation processes of fishing areas or by polluting waste dumped into the sea.
Among the objectives set, the reduction of the use of highly polluting chemical products and pesticides, as well as the reduction of the production and consumption footprint, stand out.
With regard to the main measure, it is worth recalling that currently only 7% of the ocean surface is protected, with this new agreement implying an increase of 23%.
With regard to financing, an agreement was reached in extremisAfter some delegations from Asian, African and South American countries almost walked away from the table when their demands were not met. In the end, the budget demanded will be 200 billion dollars a year, raised from public and private, national and international funds, as well as an increase in resources for the least developed nations.
Some activists and ministers of ecological transition have been happy with the agreements, but have pointed out that the most important (and difficult) thing is compliance with them. In this vein, Marco Lembartini, director of WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), stated that "History will judge whether or not promises are not kept".
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