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LGBTQ+ International: Good And Bad News From Singapore, Great Gatsby Makeover — And The Week’s Other Top News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

This week featuring:

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Napalm Girl, 50 Years Ago: This Happened, June 8

It's been exactly 50 years since the photograph was taken that many say is the most powerful image of innocent war victims ever. "Napalm Girl," which was captured at the height of the Vietnam War in 1972, is also the story of that girl at the center of the image.

Taken exactly 50 years ago, “Napalm Girl” has become a timeless symbol of the horrors of war as Vietnamese civilians flee their village after it had been hit by airstrikes.

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The 'British Dream' Is A Dangerous Trap For Too Many Migrants

The United Kingdom is seen by migrants as the promised land. Many are prepared to embark on a perilous journey to get there. But on arrival, they often find that life is not what they expected. Some even discover working conditions resembling slavery.

LONDON — Huong was full of dreams. “I thought I’d live like a queen in the United Kingdom, that I’d eat well, that I’d be well-dressed and find an easy job with a high salary,” the Vietnamese young woman recalls. Her neighbors had a close relation who emigrated to the UK and regularly sent them money. “They built a beautiful house and bought themselves a huge car,” she remembers.

So she went on a quest for a migration agent. The British dream is the cause of a migration wave during which thousands of migrants from impoverished countries risk it all to reach the British shores. At the end of this perilous journey, far from finding the Holy Grail they had hoped for, many fall into the clutches of traffickers, having to work in conditions of modern slavery.

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Why So Many Asian Countries Are Staying Neutral On Putin

Western countries want to isolate Russia on the world stage. But for many Asian countries, the war in Ukraine is distant geographically and economically, and represents an existential debate between dictatorships and democracies.

-Analysis-

TOKYO — Vladimir Putin could not have put it better than Zaw Min Tun, the spokesman of the junta in power in Myanmar. “Russia has taken the necessary actions to protect and strengthen its own sovereignty," Min Tun said the day after the invasion of Ukraine. "As a great power, it ensures the balance of world forces, which allows the preservation of peace.”

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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The war launched against Ukraine prompted a unanimous condemnation of Russia in Western countries and triggered a coordinated and rapid implementation of very severe sanctions. But the same cannot be said for Asia.

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Vietnam

Fortunate Nations: Six Coronavirus Success Stories

Vietnam and Slovakia are among those that have stood out in the response, though the apparent reasons vary.

With much of the world still overrun by the pandemic, we can look to a handful of countries that have either largely avoided or quickly recovered from COVID-19. A handful of countries (16 at recent tally), mostly small and remote, have had no cases at all. But there are others that have been more exposed, but have done well to limit the spread, as well as the death toll. Looking at these cases, there's apparently not one perfect solution — rather a variety of steps, strategies and most probably also luck, that have shown to be the most effective to claim a kind of victory of the coronavirus. And just as importantly, there are some lessons for the rest of us:

VIETNAM: has an impressive coronavirus record for a country of 93 million people: 268 cases and zero deaths, reports Les Échos. What did Vietnam do differently? The government opted for a low-cost strategy: instead of mass testing, the country relied on rapid identification and isolation of infected individuals and tracking of their contacts via a mobile app. As a result, nearly 75,000 Vietnamese went through a 14-day quarantine in military camps and state-run hotels. Six townships and neighborhoods were cut off from the world. Above all, Vietnam was one of the first countries to close its border with China, even though its economy is highly dependent on its larger neighbor.

NEW ZEALAND: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared this week that the country has won the battle against coronavirus as "there is no widespread, undetected community transmission." Throughout the outbreak, the country has reported 19 coronavirus deaths in total – meaning 4 deaths per one million. After nearly five weeks in one of the world's toughest lockdowns – with offices, schools, bars and restaurants closed, including takeaway and delivery services – New Zealand now begins to ease the restrictions, reports SBS News.

SOUTH KOREA: From being Asia's worst-hit country outside China a few months ago, South Korea is now hailed as a role model for successfully containing the outbreak. At the heart of its success lies the strategy of widespread testing and intensive contact tracing.

Lantern decorations in Seoul, South Korea, on April 24 — Photo: Simon Shin/SOPA/ZUMA

In an impressive demonstration of speed, South Korean authorities have made tests freely available and set up drive-in stations for anyone to get tested. Isolating only those who tested positive, the epidemic was swiftly controlled while successfully avoiding a nationwide shut down.

SLOVAKIA: With 20 coronavirus deaths so far, Slovakia has the lowest death rate per capita in Europe. The country enforced one of Europe's harshest and earliest lockdowns, including early bans on international travel as well as all public, religious, cultural and sporting events. Schools and most shops have been closed and people returning from abroad have to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Slovakia was also one of the first places to impose compulsory wearing of face masks in public. But severe restrictions cannot be the only factor explaining such low numbers, since other central and eastern European countries proceeded in a similar way and ended up with significantly higher per capita figures of deaths and infections. In fact, epidemiologists and demographers don't have a clear explanation for how the country, as Slovak daily Dennik N put it, became "an island in the sea of mortality".

OTHER ISLANDS: There are still a handful of countries with zero reported cases of coronavirus, mostly among Pacific Islands in Oceania. Islands like Vanuatu, Samoa, and Micronesia were quick to implement travel restrictions and some of them also enforced lockdowns. At the same time, countries like Tuvalu or the Solomon Islands are some of the least visited countries in the world, which has been a massive help in preventing an outbreak.

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Vietnam

Watch: OneShot — Thích Quảng Đức's Saigon Self-Immolation

Our new OneShot commemorates Vietnamese monk Thích Quảng Đức's self-immolation, which took place exactly 55 years ago, on June 11, 1963. The images of this dramatic moment by Associated Press photographer, Malcom W. Browne, won both the World Press Photo of the Year and the Pulitzer Prize.

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Vietnam
Worldcrunch

Eddie Adams' Iconic Saigon Shot, 50 Years Later (Video)

Even in a pre-internet era, the impact was almost immediate.

Eddie Adams' Feb. 1, 1968 photograph of Lt. Col. Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a North Vietnamese prisoner hit the Associated Press wires, and would soon appear in newspapers in the United States and around the world. The graphic image stunned the public and politicians alike, quickly adding to the mounting opposition to the war in Vietnam. Some historians say it may have changed the course of the war itself.

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Vietnam
Kannikar Petchkaew

Not Just Harvey, How Climate Change Is Ruining Vietnam's 'Rice Bowl'

A vital source of agricultural crops, fish and shrimp, the Mekong Delta is Vietnam's most fertile area. But it's also the most fragile.

CAN THO — Vietnam's Mekong Delta is a land carpeted in endless shades of greens, a water world that moves to the rhythms of the mighty Mekong River. Boats, houses and markets float upon innumerable tributaries, canals and streams that crisscross the landscape like arteries.

Some 20 million people call the Delta home, and 60 million rely on its river system. The natural environment, needless to say, is essential to life. The Mekong, as on local folk song suggests, is a lifelong partner that provides the people wisdom and guidance.

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blog

U.S.-Vietnam Breakthrough, Austrian Dead Heat, Olympic Condoms

SPOTLIGHT: OBAMA VIETNAM PIVOT

Following last year's diplomatic breakthrough on Cuba and ahead of an unprecedented trip to Hiroshima, Japan, U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement this morning of an end to the longstanding weapons embargo on Vietnam can be quickly dropped into the "historic" file of his presidency. The presence of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran, in Hanoi added a touch of poignancy to the news.


Still, to observers of the region, the breakthrough is much more about the future than the past. The closer ties of the former enemies reflect simmering fears the two countries share about the extent of China's military ambitions. In some sense, the end of the embargo marks a symbolic late-term bookmark on Obama's declaration early in his presidency of Washington's diplomatic "pivot" towards Asia, and away from historic areas of focus in Europe and the Middle East.


On the eve of Obama's visit to the region, a sharply worded piece in the Singapore-based Straits Times from top Chinese diplomat Xu Bu offered a view of how Beijing sees Washington's presence in the region. American officials, Xu writes, "repeatedly made irresponsible remarks about China's policy, rendered support to the countries having disputes with China, and (have) gone even further to drive wedges between China and Southeast Asian countries." Yes, in Hanoi today, history was made — with plenty more to come.


BOMBS KILL MORE THAN 100 IN ASSAD STRONGHOLDS

More than 100 people have died in multiple bomb attacks in the Syrian coastal cities of Tartus and Jableh, two Syrian government strongholds, Reuters reports, citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, the scale of which was "unprecedented", according to the head of the Observatory. This part of Syria had been largely quiet despite the chaos engulfing most of the country. Tartus is also home to a Russian naval base.

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food / travel
Lien Hoang

A Profit-Minded Quest For Reducing Food Waste

With half of the world's food tossed out, how can we be less wasteful? For starters, looking for smart new ways to earn money by decreasing waste.

HO CHI MINH CITY — Here's a novel idea: To improve your health and looks, use chicken. Not to eat. But to rub on your skin ... well, sort of.

A team of Malaysian researchers has been trying to find a use for chicken skin, which contains high levels of elastin — similar to collagen — and can be turned into such beauty products as anti-aging lotions and cosmetics. It can even be used to make health drinks.

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