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Europe

Coronavirus

Masks And Me: Take This Pandemic Story At Face Value

Even if COVID cases are rising again, the author isn't ready to mask up again. But she's also not quite ready to say goodbye forever...

-Essay-

PARIS — Waiting in line at the pharmacy the other day, I heard a customer ask for a COVID-19 test. The pharmacist let out a long sarcastic sigh: “We’re still doing those?”

Of course they are, as cases are again rising ahead of winter here in France and many other places around the world. But the true sign of the depth of our collective COVID fatigue were the masks at the pharmacy. That is, there were none, not even the pharmacist was wearing one, even if a sign hangs in front saying they’re required.

The regular announcements that have begun airing again on French radio about the importance of masks in containing the virus sound beside the point. Indeed, wearing masks is no longer a requirement anywhere in France, merely a suggestion.

Still, masks have by no means gone away, either in society, or my mind. That becomes clearest when I’m riding the metro in Paris. As I count the ratio of masked to non-masked, and hear the daily announcements on the benefits of wearing one, a dilemma starts to creep in…

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We Still Don't Know How To Fight Fascism

It's no longer accurate to say the "rise" of the far-right — fascism is already here. After Trump's election, a group of prominent analysts gathered to discuss how the left could fight back. Six years later, their insights are more urgent and insightful than ever.

-Essay-

MADRID — There were very few who'd ventured to predict that he would win. That night, Nov. 8, 2016, we in Europe went to sleep watching the United States, and woke up in the middle of a nightmare. Donald Trump, whom both the Republican and Democratic establishments and opinion makers had dismissed, had become real. He had won.

Far-right leaders scattered around the world began to send congratulations while protests began to take place in North American cities. The pundits couldn't understand why their brilliant analyses had failed.

Six years later, fascism continues to triumph, for the simple reason that people continue to vote for it. In Italy, it won last Sunday with Giorgia Meloni. The Vox party arrived in Spain a long time ago.

But no one can say that we were not warned. In December 2016, with the arrival of Trump to power,weat La Marea organized a debate to collect the responses the left was devising in the face of this wave that threatens the basic principles of a democracy. They were interesting then, but perhaps they are even more relevant now because they were never implemented.

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Nord Stream Leaks, Abe Funeral, High-Speed Space Crash

👋 Ha’u!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Japan honors former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a controversial state funeral, unexplained gas leaks are reported on Nord Stream pipelines and NASA’s Dart mission succeeds, at high speed. Meanwhile, German daily Die Welt looks at how European countries are dealing with the prospect of a winter energy crisis and the potential repercussions on their support for Ukraine.

[*Hopi, Arizona, U.S.]

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The Paradox Of Putin's War: Europe Is Going To Get Bigger, And Move Eastward

The European Union accelerated Ukraine's bid to join the Union. But there are growing signs, it won't stop there.

-Analysis-

PARIS — Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has upended the European order as we know it, and that was even before the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline was cut off earlier this month. While the bloc gets down to grappling with the unfolding energy crisis, the question of consolidating its flanks by speeding up the enlargement process has also come back into focus.

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In a critical meeting on June 23-24, the European Сouncil granted candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova and recognized the “European perspective” of Georgia – a nod acknowledging the country’s future belonged within the European Union.

Less than a month later, Brussels brought to an end the respectively 8- and 17-year-long waits for Albania and North Macedonia by allowing them into the foray of accession negotiations.

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin, Lisa Berdet, Chloé Touchard, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

Putin’s New Doctrine, BoJo Bids Farewell, First COVID Inhaler

👋 Ko na mauri!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Vladimir Putin unveils a new “Russian World” foreign policy doctrine, Liz Truss officially takes over from Boris Johnson as UK Prime Minister, and Instagram gets slapped with a hefty fine. Meanwhile, Spain’s Agencia SINC looks at how the distorted and often negative portrayal of women in medicine is being challenged by the research community.

[*Gilbertese, Kiribati]

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Green
Diana Pieper

Why Young People Are Now Nuclear Power's Most Potent Supporters

As the youngest generations worry about the effects of climate change on their lives, some are turning to nuclear power as a "cleaner" source of energy — marking a significant shift from the previous generation of anti-nuclear environmentalists.

BERLIN — The names Chernobyl and Fukushima still have the power to stir up fear and unease in many people. But although nuclear power stations look set to be consigned to the history books in Germany, the current energy crisis has reignited the debate around them. Even some Green Party politicians are now calling for nuclear power plants to remain operational, at least temporarily.

The younger generation is interested in nuclear power, especially in its potential to be used as a bridging technology.

Although there has not been much research into this change in attitudes, the representative study “Young Europe 2022”, which surveyed people from seven European countries, found that 42% of 16- to 26-year-olds in Germany were in favor of using nuclear power plants as a bridging technology to help us reach climate goals.

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Society
Ignacio Pereyra*

Invisible Work: The Weight Of A Family That Men Don’t See

A father’s role is not to help the mother out, but to take on the “mental load” of knowing what needs to be done.

Last winter in Greece, I ended up spending several full days with Lorenzo, my now three-year-old son, because he had been sick and could not attend daycare. My wife is the main breadwinner in the house and I am the one who gets to leave behind work in case there are emergencies like that.

When Lorenzo got better, we went to a café in the outskirts of Athens. I envisioned a win-win situation where I could have a break — eat lunch, check emails, answer some messages — while he could play in an area designed for children — with a ball pit, tables for drawing and painting, a book corner… how important it is to have such spaces!

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Economy
Cosima Lutz

Fried And Drizzled: Soaring Cooking Oil Prices Spark New Ethical Questions

The price of cooking oils and fats has gone up dramatically. Indonesia has even banned exports of palm oil. Suddenly, what type of oil and how we use it to fry foods, dress salads and process products has become an ever more important question.

-Analysis-

BERLIN — In July 1940, 74 Swiss soldiers sat down to a meal of fried bread and cheese. Afterwards, they suffered severe – in some cases, irreversible – paralysis. The men, who became known as the “oil soldiers,” suffered from the after-effects their entire lives. They could not have known that the cooks had inadvertently added a poisonous machine gun coolant to the frying pans. The mineral oil mixed with tricresyl phosphate looked and tasted no different from standard cooking oil.

Humans and machines both need oil, but it’s not always clear from the look or taste which kind of oil should be used for which purpose. As long as there is enough cooking oil on supermarket shelves, discerning chefs make their choice based on taste, healthiness and environmental impact. Now, concerns around production, prices and health implications mean that, more than ever before, the choice of cooking oil is taking on a moral dimension.

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Geopolitics
Daria Badior and Ksenia Bilash

Why Macron's New EU Membership Scheme Is All About Appeasing Putin

French President Emmanuel Macron has proposed a new European Political Community, with support from Germany's Olaf Scholz, that would include Ukraine in a second-tier union. No, this is not about European "core values" — it's just the latest attempt by the EU's two biggest players to be sure not to upset Vladimir Putin.

-OpEd-

KYIV — French President Emmanuel Macron said that Ukraine's accession to the European Union will take years, if not decades. He also proposed the creation of a new union on the continent — the European Political Community, which may include countries that must wait to join the EU, or which have left (like the UK).

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At the same time, according to Macron's plan, joining the new union will mean other states cannot gain membership to the European Union.

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Ideas
Farid Kahhat

We Can't Choose Our Refugees Or Enemies — What Racists Don't Understand About War

The European far-right's sympathies for "white and Christian" Ukrainians shows its devotion to the idea of the "clash of civilizations." But it fails to see the basic paradoxes of war, where you may be fighting those who most resemble you and be forced to welcome those who look different.

-OpEd-

In a recent tweet, Hermann Tertsch, a far-right member of European Parliament, clarified what his ilk understood refugees to be. The member of Spain's populist Vox party wrote that "in Ukraine, they are real refugees. Christian, white refugees."

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He was supposedly listing criteria relevant only to the state of Ukrainians, while ignoring the fact that the Russian soldiers who have brutally turned them into refugees are just as white and Christian.

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Ideas
Aïda N'Diaye*

Why Western Outrage At War In Europe Never Makes It To Africa

The way armed conflicts have been represented in fiction for decades could explain the racism that has been revealed in Western media coverage of the war in Ukraine compared to multiple conflicts over the years in Africa.

Double standards. That is what is striking when we compare the political and media treatment of the war in Ukraine — and the massive exodus this conflict is creating — to the treatment (or non-treatment) of the multiple crises that have similarly affected African countries in recent decades.

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For example, think back to CBS News special correspondent Charlie D’Agata’s statement on Feb. 25: ”This is not a place […] like Iraq or Afghanistan […]. Kyiv is a relatively civilized city,” he said to underline what he found particularly shocking about the images shot in Ukraine.

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