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    Earthquakes in Syria: “A country that goes from tragedy to tragedy”

    On the front page of the press, this Wednesday, February 8, the shock wave of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, the toll of which continues to grow. The risk of political recovery after the earthquakes. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, delivered last night, with a balance sheet that looks like a program. And very far-sighted woodpeckers in California.

    On the front page of the press, this Wednesday, February 8, the shock wave of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, whose toll continues to grow

    Over the hours, the scale of the disaster gradually becomes apparent: in total, 23 million people could be directly affected by the earthquakes, according to the World Health Organization, which expects a close toll. of the 20,000 dead. A figure quoted by The Independentwhich evokes “life and death in the midst of the ruins”, with these two very symbolic images, relayed this morning by several daily newspapers around the world: the photo of an infant rescued from the rubble and that of a father holding the hand of her dead child in Kahramanmaras, Turkey (see our report on the France 24 website).

    Beyond these human tragedies, the Lebanese newspaper The Orient By Day is concerned about the risk of political recuperation, in particular the possible use, by Turkish President Erdogan, of international aid to “show good management of the crisis in the run-up to the elections next May”. A risk also mentioned by the Swiss newspaper The weather, which also also states “solidarity not devoid of ulterior motives” towards Erdogan’s Turkey, including among its traditional adversaries, Greeks, Armenians, and even Kurds. The daily returns to the “challenge posed to NGOs to come to the aid of the Syrian population, in particular in the rebel area of ​​Idleb” – overwhelmed Syrian civilians, in Chappatte’s cartoon: “This time, the bombardment came from ‘below’.

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    Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, already destroyed by nearly 12 years of civil war. The Spanish newspaper El País speaks of a state that is going “from tragedy to tragedy” and recalls that this war has left nearly half a million dead and more than 6.5 million refugees – to which have been added the epidemics of Covid-19 then cholera and the repercussions of the Lebanese economic crisis.

    Foreign Policy is particularly alarmed at the situation in northwestern Syria, an area controlled by the opposition, and already hit by “one of the most acute humanitarian crises in the world”. The American review specifies that Russia, thanks to its right of veto at the UN, forced the closure of two of the three crossing points used for humanitarian aid in northern Syria, and threatened to close the last, the Bab al-Hawa crossing point, whose access road was damaged by the earthquakes. This nightmarish scenario would have been further aggravated, in the hours following the earthquakes, by bombardments by Syrian government forces on the town of Marea, north of Aleppo, according to Middle East Eyewhich cites Syrian and British sources.

    The Syrian regime could try to profit from the disaster, according to The Tribune of Geneva, who thinks that Bashar al-Assad could “take advantage (of the situation) to denounce” the Western sanctions, which strike in particular on medical equipment and food. The Syrian president will perhaps find a more attentive ear on the side of Emmanuel Macron – hypothesis, this time, of the Figarowhich reports a possible “reconciliation”, the earthquakes being considered by Paris as “an opportunity to gently renew relations with Damascus”.

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    Also on the front page is Joe Biden’s State of the Union address tonight. A program-like balance sheet. Even before the American president speaks, The New York Times had settled the debate and pulled the rug out from under the president’s feet. “Biden is a great president. His record is quite honorable. But he must not run again”: the newspaper recalls that Joe Biden had declared that he wanted to be “a bridge” to the next generation of Democrats. “There are a lot of promising and (sufficiently) qualified people to cross it”, estimates the newspaper. Unsurprisingly, the very conservative Washington Examine is not convinced either. “No one elected Biden to ‘restore the soul of the nation’. Those who voted for him voted for competent government and a return to normalcy.” “Unfortunately, he produced neither, and his efforts to become ‘chief pastor’ do not make up for that.”

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    He gave total satisfaction. On Tuesday February 7, French skier Alexis Pinturault won the combined World Championships in Courchevel. The local child, who grew up in the Savoyard resort, offered himself his second world title in the discipline after “a mastered slalom”, according to The Teamhappy with the coronation of “Pinturoi”.

    Before telling you tomorrow, I also wanted to share with you the astonishing discovery made by a worker in an uninhabited house in California: more than 300 kilos of acorns, stored there, for years, by woodpeckers, my faith , very far-sighted. An unusual and tragic story, since the acorns ended up in the trash. All my thoughts for the poor critters, who worked so hard to have their treasure go up in smoke. Read in The Sacramento Bee.

    Source: France 24


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