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U.S. To Send Controversial Shells To Kyiv, Mexico Decriminalizes Abortion, Vi$it V€nice

👋 Dumêlang!*

Welcome to Thursday, where the U.S. says it will supply Ukraine with controversial uranium-based anti-tank shells, Mexico throws out all criminal penalties for abortions, and Venice will soon start charging daytrippers. Meanwhile, for French economic daily Les Echos, Leïla Marchand looks at the “Wild West” of bosses monitoring their remote workers.

[*Northern Sotho, South Africa]

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Summer Paradises Lost: Seven Vacation Spots That Time Forgot

Luxury havens abandoned overnight, summer resorts that were the victims of bad business decisions. As summer ends, we look at seven abandoned vacation spots that were once the height of glamor before fading — or rusting — away.

This summer has seen record tourist numbers in many parts of the world. Yet amid the over-tourism, it's hard to imagine that all over the world there are resorts and beautiful destinations that have been completely abandoned.

Defunct tourist destinations have become popular attractions in their own right. The sight of a once grand structure, now eerie and destroyed, excites the imagination.

But why do once-popular sites get left to ruin? Sometimes the economy falls on hard times, draining the pockets of owners and investors. Other times, people simply become disinterested. Sometimes an environmental disaster washes away something that was once glorious.

From Italy to Indonesia, we rounded up seven former tourist destinations that have fallen on hard times so you can jet-set around the world from the comfort of your own home.

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This Happened — August 9: Second Atomic Bomb Is Dropped On Nagasaki

Nagasaki was bombed on this day in 1945, towards the end of World War II.

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This Happened — August 6: Atomic Bombing Of Hiroshima

The atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima by the United States on this day in 1945, during World War II.

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Yann Rousseau

Why Japan Is Struggling So Much With Falling Birth Rates

The world’s third largest economy will see its population shrink by 40 million people by 2060. Among the root causes: millions of men in precarious employment, excluded from the marriage market, and work pressures that weigh heavily on families.

TOKYO — It’s the last chance. It’s almost time for the last train back to the suburbs. Disinhibited by drinks at an “izakaya” in Tokyo’s Shimbashi district offering “nomihodai” (all-you-can-drink), young employees, still wearing dark suits but with their ties undone, try the old techniques of “nampa," street flirting. One runs after a young girl with a packet of aperitif crackers in hand, assuring her that she has just dropped it. She apologizes, explaining that it’s not hers. “Let’s go and eat together over a drink then," attempts the bold, almost desperate young man.

It’s so complicated to find a partner in Japan, to get married and, maybe, one day, to have a child. A true obstacle course. “Twenty six per cent of Japanese men aged 50 have never been married. The rate is 16.4% for women. And it’s rising,” says Seiko Noda, former Minister for Children’s Policies, at a seminar with the foreign press in Tokyo. “And since we don’t traditionally have children outside of marriage, the decline in the number of marriages has led to a fall in the number of births since 1973,” she explains.

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Yann Rousseau

The Eternal Whims Of Economics, As Seen By Japanese Artist Murakami

Japanese artist Takashi Murakami has unveiled a large fresco capturing the history of economics, from the Sumerians to Elon Musk, at a gallery in the suburbs of Paris. French journalist Yann Rousseau met him in his studio near Tokyo.

PARISElon Musk is done. Keynes hangs on the wall. They’re killing Marx on the floor.

In the vast, windowless studio of Takashi Murakami, in Miyoshi, on the outskirts of Tokyo, about 10 assistants are working, kneeling on laminated cushions, above new giant portraits designed by the Japanese artist.

Barefoot, with a ponytail and washed-out jeans, the artist gives a few brief instructions, before heading to the back of the studio, where a separate team works on other projects.

Clothes for a new collaboration, paintings of blue and white carps inspired by Chinese porcelain, a new deck of cards or several tormented versions of his favorite character, Mr. Dob, a kind of avatar created in the 1990s — the artist never stops, too filled with ideas.

He sleeps a bit at night or during short naps in a corner of the studio, always in a cardboard box. “He also has a small space to cook his meals," whispers an assistant. There are no restaurants in the small industrial park where the studio is based, except for a McDonald’s.

On the wall, just like in a factory, organization charts and detailed schedules with the missions of each “artist." His company Kaikai Kiki has a total of 200 employees. On this Friday afternoon at the end of May, the last few squares of paint on the wig of Scottish economist Adam Smith have to be finished, as well as a blow-dry on the aqua t-shirt of Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum and a final touch-up on the image of Chinese historian Sima Qian, before it all departs on a cargo plane for France.

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This Happened

This Happened — June 15: Sanriku Earthquake

The deadliest tsunami in Japan’s history occurred on this day in 1896. The Sanriku earthquake had an estimated magnitude of 7.6 to 7.9 on the Richter scale.

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Pierre Haski

Japan-South Korea: Why Rapprochement Is Not Always A Sign Of Peace

The weight of history, and of this geopolitical moment, is propelling the current visit of Japanese Prime Minister in South Korea. Washington is happy that its alliances are aligning, but that's a sign of how high tensions are running in Asia right now.


South Korea and Japan have taken a major step to end a paradox. Indeed, both countries face the same threat, that of a nuclear-armed North Korea. They have the same ally, the United States — and are also uncomfortable neighbors of the Chinese giant.

And yet, they've been separated by the weight of history.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio's official visit to South Korea, which began Sunday, is the first by a Japanese leader in 11 years. The visit began at the cemetery of war victims, including those of the anti-Japanese struggle: Japan brutally colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945, and this page of history has never been completely turned.

Korean public opinion is divided on this reconciliation, believing that Tokyo has never truly apologized.

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Work In Progress
Ginevra Falciani, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Work → In Progress: Gen Z And The Workplace, It’s Complicated

Gen Z, those 26 and younger, are entering the workforce. Their lives and values differ drastically from older generations, forcing employers to rethink how they work.

There are a lot of ideas around Gen Z in the workplace. There's a wide range of opinions: they're sometimes described as lazy and other times as promising. Born between 1997 and 2012, this generation is the most diverse in history, and its values have been shaped by growing up alongside various crises, including the climate crisis.

A recent article was published in Forbes France looked at how companies must now adapt to the new generation coming into the workforce. More than half of the young people from Gen Z currently at work say they are not satisfied with their job and their work/life balance. As a result, the turnover has never been so high and costly for companies.

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Yann Rousseau

How Japan Wound Up Stuck With Tons Of Fukushima's Radioactive Soil

Facing 14 million cubic meters of contaminated soil collected during the cleanup of fields and villages near the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Japanese government promised residents it would remove the soil, but now finds itself in a deadlock, despite the tens of billions of dollars spent..

OKUMA — It is the planet's largest ever nuclear cleanup job.

As Japanese authorities continue to dismantle the four reactors destroyed during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, and prepare to gradually release collected and treated water into the sea, they're also trying to clear and store the tons of contaminated soil collected during the cleanup of surrounding fields and villages.

Dozens of former fields, filled rice paddies and hundreds of hectares of forest around the now-disabled power plant have been turned into a giant radioactive landfill. In the municipalities of Okuma and Futaba, some areas are still off-limits to the public.

On a recent day, countless dump trucks came to drop off contaminated soil. An army of construction vehicles including excavators, bulldozers and rollers compress the soil in successive layers, building artificial hills 15 meters high, a sort of layered cake.

"Collection began in 2015 in the villages of the area," explains Yoshitomo Mori, a Ministry of Environment executive working on the project. "We have already recovered a total of 14 million cubic meters of contaminated soil." That's the equivalent of more than five pyramids of Giza.

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Renate Mattar

Which Countries Have The Best Paternity Leave

Leave policies for new fathers differ widely around the world — and some men still worry they'll be perceived as less masculine if they take time off after having a kid. But change iis coming, and in some places where you might not expect.

PARIS — When we think of the countries worldwide which offer the best paternity leave, the Nordic countries immediately come to mind: Finland, Sweden, Norway. There's a good reason for that: after the birth of their child, Finnish fathers can take paternity leave for a maximum of 54 working days — one of the best paternity leave allowances around the world.

But since the beginning of 2023, other countries seem to be catching up — and there are various reasons for it. Of course, paternity can be considered a feminist policy and an improvement for women’s conditions, as women too often are stuck with the majority of a family’s chores and mental workload.

But that is not the only reason why, around the world, some governments are now establishing or extending paternity leave.

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This Happened

This Happened - March 11: Earthquake, Tsunami, Nuclear Meltdown In Japan

One of the deadliest earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan occurred on this day in 2011. Following the natural disaster, a nuclear accident occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

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