Putin orders mobilisation, Italy's elections, Iranian protests, Lebanon closes banks


With Russia in retreat on the battlefield, Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the stakes on Wednesday with the announcement that Russian reservists would be mobilised and referendums held in areas of Ukraine on joining Russia, all while he made threats to the West. The evening after Putin's address, an estimated 1,300 arrests were made at protests against the partial mobilisation. 


Polls ahead of Sunday's general election are predicting the hard-right trio of Georgia Meloni, Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi are favourites to form the country's 70th coalition government since World War II and the first with a far-right prime minister since the war. Meloni has been squarely on the side of Ukraine in the war with Russia, but her post-fascist Brothers of Italy party also has a proven track record of bashing Brussels. 

The death in detention of a 22-year-old Iranian woman who had gone to Tehran to visit her family has sparked a groundswell of protests in Iran. Mahsa Amini was arrested by the morality police for improperly wearing her mandatory hijab. The outrage is spreading fast. The Iranian regime staged pro-hijab rallies across the country on Friday while the country's conservative president, Ebrahim Raisi, has promised an investigation. 

Finally, just when we thought Lebanon's economic meltdown could not get any worse, the country's retail banks are shutting their doors. They had already restricted cash withdrawals, triggering the wrath of a one-woman army. Last week, a furious Sali Hafiz brandished a toy gun to access her family's $13,000 in savings to pay for her sister's medical bills. The 28-year-old interior designer sparked at least six copycat bank robberies before the banks were temporarily closed. 

Produced by Charles Wente, Juliette Laurain and Florence Viala.

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