Sure, there's the Taj Mahal. But at this moment in the Jain temple of Ranakpur, in northwestern India, everything an amateur photographer like myself could ask for fell into place: the whiteness of the marble contrasting with the visitors' colorful garments, the rays of sunlight gently filtering in, the symmetry of the architecture, the depth of field. Now just frame, focus ... and click.
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Welcome to Thursday, where more Ukrainian soldiers surrender in Mariupol, Sri Lanka defaults on its debt,and George W. Bush offers an epic geopolitical gaffe. Meanwhile, Lili Bai in Chinese-language digital media The Initium looks at what’s driving the current “expat exodus” at play in Shanghai.
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• More than 1,000 have surrendered in Mariupol: Russian authorities say that a total of 1,730 soldiers have now surrendered since Monday, after the Russian army took over the last holdout in the strategic port city.
• Shift to a “smaller” war: A new Pentagon report has found that Russia is continuing to reduce the scale of its military actions toward more "small" operations, which is another sign that it has lowered the ambitions of its invasion of Ukraine.
— Read all the latest at War in Ukraine, Day 85 —
• North Korea may have “welcome” Biden with missile tests: According to the White House, North Korea may be preparing for missile and nuclear tests in the next few days, as the U.S. President Joe Biden heads to South Korea and Japan on Friday.
• Sri Lanka defaults on debt for first time: Sri Lanka’s worst financial crisis in decades has caused the country to default on its debt for the first time in its history. The country is already in talks with the International Monetary Fund to negotiate a bailout and find common ground with its creditors.
• China warns U.S. over Taiwan support: China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi warned the U.S. over its increased support for Taiwan which could “lead to a dangerous situation.”
• Global stock markets in hot water: Global stock markets fell sharply again as investors and traders fear rising inflation and stagflation and move back from riskier investments. On Wednesday, the U.S. Dow Jones set his highest drop since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.
• Vincent Van LEGO: Danish toy maker LEGO has unveiled a new set, inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s 1889 painting The Starry Night. Reproducing the masterpiece will take 2,136 bricks, $169.99, and a lot of patience.
Spanish daily ABC devotes its front page to the brief return of former king of Spain Juan Carlos to the country to visit his family, after spending nearly two years in self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates. Carlos had abdicated in favor of his son in 2014 after a series of scandals, including a corruption investigation involving his daughter’s husband.
Finns are known to be stoic, hard-working people. They even have a word for it: “sisu” — which has no direct equivalent in English but conveys notions of determination and resilience in the face of adversity. “I think that every Finn has sisu in them,” Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in a recent interview, in the context of her country renouncing neutrality and applying to join the NATO military alliance. “No matter the difficulty of the time, we face it to ensure that the next generation has a better future,” she added.
In Shanghai, a brewing expat exodus as COVID crackdown shows “real” China
Not only strict rules of freedom of movement as part of Zero-COVID policy but also an increase in censorship has raised many questions for the expat population in the megacity of 26 million that had long enjoyed a kind of special status in China as a place of freedom and openness. Some are planning on leaving the Chinese megacity within the next year, reports Lili Bai in Chinese-language digital media The Initium.
💼 According to China’s official statistics in 2021, there are more than 160,000 expats living in Shanghai, most of them working in finance, tech, internet and manufacturing. “(Shanghai is) the most open and tolerant city in China,” says Wilson, a Scot who has lived in Shanghai for 17 years. Félix arrived there in 2018, when he was 28. He works in a leading French tech company and has set a goal to stay in Shanghai for at least 10 years. But now, the six-week-long lockdown has shifted the landscape of the city, and expats like Félix and Wilson are thinking of ways to flee this city they once loved so much.
🤐 Wilson has realized recently that the positive sentiments he built up over 17 years for Shanghai could be undermined at any moment: a single concert could catch the attention of the police, a single retweet can get you noticed by public security, and a single policy can make homeless people freeze and ordinary people starve. “It is self-evident to us foreigners that public opinion is constantly being tightened in China. Everyone knows that the cost of communication and the risk is much greater nowadays than when I first came to Shanghai,” Wilson said.
✈️ In mid-April, “This is Shanghai,” a platform owned by HK Focus Media, conducted a survey of 950 foreigners living in Shanghai and found that the number of foreigners in the city may be reduced by half in the coming year, with 48% of respondents said they would leave Shanghai within the next year, if not immediately, while 37% said they would stay until the pandemic was over and see if the situation in Shanghai would improve before deciding whether to stay or go.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
A wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq — I mean, of Ukraine ... Anyway.
— Former U.S. President George W. Bush made an epic slip of the tongue during a speech Wednesday night. Speaking about Vladimir Putin, Bush said the systematic disqualification of political opponents resulted in “an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.” Of course, if that war in 2003 was started by “one man,” his name was George W. Bush
✍️ Newsletter by Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger
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