Sudan Prime Minister Reinstated, Peng Shuai’s Call, No Shuffling Adele

Inauguration of the Christmas lights on the Champs Elysees, Paris.

Jane Herbelin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 မင်္ဂလာပါ!*

Welcome to Monday, where Sudan's ousted prime minister has been reinstated after a deal with the military, Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai says she is safe and well in a video call and a Venezuelan orchestra sets a new world record. We also look at the sons of two of the 20th century's most ruthless strongmen now running for president.

[*Mingalabar - Burmese]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Sudan's military reinstates ousted prime minister: Sudan's military has reinstated ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and promised to release all political detainees, after weeks of deadly unrest triggered by a coup. Still, large crowds took to the streets to reject any deal involving the army. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Hamdok has pledged to introduce a "technocratic government" made up of qualified professionals who will lead the country on a path to democracy.

• Pen Shuai says she is "safe" in video call: Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai held a 30- minute video call Sunday with Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, and told him she was safe and well, amid a wave of global concern about her well-being and whereabouts. The three-time Olympian disappeared from the public eye for almost three weeks after accusing a senior Chinese minister of sexual assault.

• Five dead after car ploughs into Wisconsin parade: At least five people were killed and more than 40 injured after an SUV ploughed into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. One person is in custody, though as of now police say the incident does not appear to be terrorism-related.

• COVID update: Several European cities including Brussels, Vienna and Zagreb were hit with a wave of protests against the sanitary measures enforced in an attempt to contain growing COVID-19 cases. The French Caribbean territory Guadeloupe has been facing major social movements for over a week against the enforcement of the sanitary pass, with fires, looting and roadblocks. The situation was described as "highly explosive" by the French president, Emmanuel Macron. The current dusk-to-dawn curfew is set to last until Tuesday. Meanwhile, Kenyan authorities announced unvaccinated citizens will be prevented from accessing government services.

• Haiti kidnappers release two hostages: Two of the 17 people with a U.S. Christian group who were kidnapped in Haiti over a month ago have been released in Port-au-Prince and were described as "safe" according to the organization. The 16 Americans and one Canadian, including five children, were abducted in October after visiting an orphanage, as violence has deepened amid economic and political crises, and the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

• Taliban ban women in TV dramas: A new set of Taliban guidelines issued to Afghan television channels includes a ban on films considered against Islamic law and Afghan values. The new rules bar women from appearing in television dramas, while female journalists and presenters are required to wear headscarves on screen, though the type of covering hasn't yet been specified.

• Spotify stops shuffling for Adele: Spotify has removed the shuffle button from album pages after Adele commented that the order tracks were placed in was supposed to "tell a story," according to a report by the BBC.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Chilean daily Las Ultimas Noticias features the latest results of the first round of Chile's presidential elections, with far-right candidate and former congressman José Antonio Kast ahead of leftist lawmaker and former protest leader Gabriel Boric. The two will meet in a runoff in December in what some are calling the most polarized election since Chile's 1990 return to democracy.


#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

8,573

A group of 8,573 Venezuelan musicians set the record for the world's largest orchestra during a concert at a military academy in Venezuela's capital city Caracas, with a performance of Tchaikovsky's Slavonic March. The previous record belonged to a Russian orchestra of 8,097 musicians who had played the country's national anthem in St. Petersburg.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Gaddafi and Marcos Jr., when a dictator's son runs for president

The son of the brutal Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi announced last week he is running for president, which followed a similar headline last month from Philippines' Ferdinand Marcos Jr. What does this say about the state of democracy?

🇱🇾 Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the 49-year-old second-born son of the dictator, had spent the last decade out of public sight. At the time of the 2011 uprising that spelled the end to his father's brutal rule, he was captured at the desert outpost of Ubari and taken to the mountain town of Zintan, where he was held by his captors and tried in absentia in 2015 for his role during the uprising. He was sentenced to death for war crimes, including the killing of protesters during the uprising a decade ago, but was later pardoned. He is still wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.

🇵🇭 In the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, popularly known as Bongbong, announced his candidacy in a video post on Facebook in early October. The 64-year-old only son of the Filipino strongman is the latest politician to announce an intention to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte, who is barred by the constitution's term limits from running again. A close ally of Duterte, who himself has been accused of authoritarian tactics, Marcos Jr served as a senator from 2010 to 2016, before narrowly losing out in a run for the vice-presidency in 2016.

🗳️ While familial hereditary dictatorship is nothing new, there's something different about the offspring of tyrannical fathers making a democratic bid, and garnering support, for national leadership. The presidential runs of Gaddafi and Marcos Jr. also come at a time marked by the twin advances of authoritarianism and nationalism — a trend that has been further accelerated by the pandemic.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

"These dramatic events may only be a prelude to something much worse."

— Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said during a tour to the Baltic states to discuss the migrant crisis on the Poland-Belarus border, warning that despite Belarus' recent decision to clear a migrant camp and to repatriate some to Iraq, the crisis was far from over. The Polish government said Minsk continues to ferry hundreds of foreigners to the border.

❗❓  WHAT THE WORLD

Poopgate: Is a beloved Istanbul street dog caught in Turkey's political dirty tricks?

Boji, a street dog in Istanbul, has garnered national and international acclaim in recent weeks for his ability to navigate the Turkish megapolis all on his own — commuting on the metro, riding ferries and even taking elevators.

According to Getty Images photographer Chris McGrath, who followed him around the city, Boji loves riding the city's trams and trains. The dog's name comes from the word "bogie" ("boji" in Turkish), the framework of a vehicle that houses the wheel and axle, since his favorite spot is sitting on top of the bogie and feeling the vibrations of the engine.

City workers began to take care of Boji and tracked his movements with a mobile app; and a local dog instructor, Ali Yeşilırmak, set up social media accounts that quickly built major followings, with some reporting that even Istanbul's mayor is a fan.

But this past Friday evening, the mixed-breed canine was suddenly turned into public (transportation) enemy No. 1 after he was blamed for defecating inside one of the city's trams. On social media, a photo of a turd on a seat went viral, with Boji accused of the crime, local daily Hürriyet .

But just hours later, another plot twist was in store: The spokesperson of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality shared a security camera video from the tram in question, showing a bald man in a sweatshirt taking the piece of poop out of his pocket (yes, gross…) and planting it on the seat. Yeşilırmak also tweeted an alibi to the pooch's 100K+ followers: Boji had been hanging out at the shelter that day.

Why would someone choose to slander man's best friend? The answer might just be politics.

Bilge Ebiri, a journalist and filmmaker, tweeted that Boji has become an unofficial mascot for Istanbul and its mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, a center-left politician, who is seen by many as the strongest rival to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his conservative Justice and Development Party.

Was poopgate the ultimate political stinkbomb to make both Boji and Istanbul look bad?

While Boji's Instagram says that he is still waiting for an apology, he seems to have taken the incident in stride, with little damage to his reputation. Anyway, he has a train to catch.

➡️ Keep up with all the planet's police reports and plot twists on Worldcrunch.com

✍️ Newsletter by Jane Herbelin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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Pro-life and Pro-abortion Rights Protests in Washington

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Håfa adai!*

Welcome to Thursday, where new Omicron findings arrive from South Africa, abortion rights are at risk at the U.S. Supreme Court and Tyrannosaurus rex has got some new competition. From Germany, we share the story of a landmark pharmacy turned sex toy museum.

[*Chamorro - Guam]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• COVID update: South Africa reports a higher rate of reinfections from the Omicron variant than has been registered with the Beta and Delta variants, though researchers await further findings on the effects of the new strain. Meanwhile, the UK approves the use of a monoclonal therapy, known as sotrovimab, to treat those at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.The approval comes as the British pharmaceutical company, GSK, separately announced the treatment has shown to “retain activity” against the Omicron variant. Down under, New Zealand’s reopening, slated for tomorrow is being criticized as posing risks to its under-vaccinated indigenous Maori.

• Supreme Court poised to gut abortion rights: The U.S. Supreme Court signaled a willingness to accept a Republican-backed Mississippi law that would bar abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest. A ruling, expected in June, may see millions of women lose abortion access, 50 years after it was recognized as a constitutional right in the landmark Roe v. Wade case.

• Macri charged in Argentine spying case: Argentina’s former president Mauricio Macri has been charged with ordering the secret services to spy on the family members of 44 sailors who died in a navy submarine sinking in 2017. The charge carries a sentence of three to ten years in prison. Macri, now an opposition leader, says the charges are politically motivated.

• WTA suspends China tournaments over Peng Shuai: The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) announced the immediate suspension of all tournaments in China due to concerns about the well-being of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, and the safety of other players. Peng disappeared from public view after accusing a top Chinese official of sexual assault.

• Michigan school shooting suspect to be charged as an adult: The 15-year-old student accused of killing four of his classmates and wounding seven other people in a Michigan High School will face charges of terrorism and first-degree murder. Authorities say the suspect had described wanting to attack the school in cellphone videos and a journal.

• Turkey replaces finance minister amid economic turmoil: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan appointed a strong supporter of his low-interest rate drive, Nureddin Nebati, as Turkey’s new finance minister.

• A battle axe for a tail: Chilean researchers announced the discovery of a newly identified dinosaur species with a completely unique feature from any other creatures that lived at that time: a flat, weaponized tail resembling a battle axe.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

South Korean daily Joong-ang Ilbo reports on the discovery of five Omicron cases in South Korea. The Asian nation has broken its daily record for overall coronavirus infections for a second day in a row with more than 5,200 new cases. The variant cases were linked to arrivals from Nigeria and prompted the government to tighten border controls.


#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

¥10,000

In the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin, a reward of 10,000 yuan ($1,570) will be given to anyone who volunteers to take a COVID-19 test and get a positive result, local authorities announced on Thursday on the social network app WeChat.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Why an iconic pharmacy is turning into a sex toy museum

The "New Pharmacy" was famous throughout the St. Pauli district of Hamburg for its history and its long-serving owner. Now the owner’s daughter is transforming it into a museum dedicated to the history of sex toys, linking it with the past "curing" purpose of the shop, reports Eva Eusterhus in German daily Die Welt.

💊 The story begins in autumn 2018, when 83-year-old Regis Genger stood at the counter of her pharmacy and realized that the time had come for her to retire. At least that is the first thing her daughter Anna Genger tells us when we meet, describing the turning point that has also shaped her life and that of her business partner Bianca Müllner. The two women want to create something new here, something that reflects the pharmacy's history and Hamburg's eclectic St. Pauli quarter (it houses both a red light district and the iconic Reeperbahn entertainment area) as well as their own interests.

🚨 Over the last few months, the pharmacy has been transformed into L'Apotheque, a venture that brings together art and business in St. Pauli's red light district. The back rooms will be used for art exhibitions, while the old pharmacy space will house a museum dedicated to the history of sex toys. Genger and Müllner want to show that desire has always existed and that people have always found inventive ways of maximizing pleasure, even in times when self-gratification was seen as unnatural and immoral, as a cause of deformities.

🏩 Genger and Müllner want the museum to show how the history of desire has changed over time. The art exhibitions, which will also center on the themes of physicality and sexuality, are intended to complement the exhibits. They are planning to put on window displays to give passers-by a taste of what is to come, for example, British artist Bronwen Parker-Rhodes's film Lovers, which offers a portrait of sex workers during lockdown.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

"I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them. Never."

— U.S. actor Alec Baldwin spoke to ABC News, his first interview since the accident that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust last October. The actor said that although he was holding the gun he didn’t pull the trigger, adding that the bullet “wasn't even supposed to be on the property.”

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

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