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In The News

China Protest Crackdown, Iran v. U.S. World Cup, Hawaii Eruption

China Protest Crackdown, Iran v. U.S. World Cup, Hawaii Eruption

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, has erupted for the first time in 38 years

Bertrand Hauger, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Laure Gautherin

👋 Mhoroi!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Chinese authorities move quickly to suppress the anti Zero-COVID protests, Iran and the U.S. face off in a tense World Cup match, and a sleeping giant awakes in Hawaii. Meanwhile, Chinese-language media The Initium reports on a very different type of protest in China’s universities led by students fed up with harsh lockdowns.

[*Shona, Zimbabwe]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• China appears to quell protests: After nationwide protests over the weekend, Chinese authorities have promptly clamped down on anti-lockdown activists the past two days, with police arresting demonstrators, censoring millions of social media posts, and canceling of scheduled protests in Beijing and other cities.

• Kyiv Christmas, Pope v. Russian Minorities: Christmas trees will be put up around Kyiv despite the war, said Vitali Klitschko, mayor of the Ukrainian capital. "We cannot let Putin steal our Christmas." Meanwhile Moscow criticized Pope Francis’ singling out the Chechen and Buryat ethnic minorities as some of the "cruelest" Russian troops fighting in Ukraine.

• Somali troops end hotel siege: After a 20-hour battle, Somali security forces regained control of the Villa Rose hotel, ending a siege Tuesday by the al-Shabab extremist group that had seized the establishment used by government officials in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. At least 14 people were killed, including eight civilians.

• Three Palestinians killed in Israeli forces clashes: Three Palestinian men, including two brothers in their 20s, have been killed by Israeli forces in two separate incidents in the occupied West Bank. Israel’s search-and-arrest raids have left at least 140 Palestinians dead this year, the highest number of casualties since 2006.

• Markets rebound: News that Beijing was mulling changes to its zero-COVID policy sent Asian markets up, with Chinese stocks in Hong Kong jumping 5% by closing Tuesday.

• U.S. Iran face off in Qatar World Cup: The United States and Iran soccer teams will meet today in a politically charged game at the World Cup in Qatar which will see the loser eliminated from the competition.

• Nasa's Orion capsule breaks distance record: The Orion spacecraft, at the core of NASA’s Artemis I mission, has moved some 430,000 kilometers (267,000 miles) from the Earth, the furthest any spacecraft designed to carry humans has ever traveled.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“China stops the call for freedom” titles Amsterdam-based De Telegraaf which dedicates its front page to the protests in China against the Zero-COVID policy. The latest demonstrations led to massive arrests of protesters and authorities presumably censored millions of social media posts about or in support of the citizen uprising.

💬  LEXICON

Mpox

Following complaints that the word monkeypox fueled racist tropes and stigmatization, the World Health Organization will now start using “mpox” to designate the disease that was first discovered in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Health experts also said the old nomenclature was imprecise since monkeys have almost nothing to do with the disease and its transmission. Both names will be used simultaneously for one year until monkeypox is phased out.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Chinese students' “absurd” protest against COVID lockdowns: public crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state, reports Shuyue Chen in Chinese-language media The Initium.

🎓 Crawling in public has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it." The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned.

😷 Lockdowns in schools and the ever-intensifying political atmosphere in China have made university students like Xin depressed. All the news made her feel "suffocated," she said. She wanted to express her emotions, but there were no outlets. State-controlled media limited comments and discussions, while with strict censorship meant social media accounts are regularly blocked if COVID controls are discussed. Xin said that the public group crawling is "for people to forget these things temporarily, and to air our frustration in a simple way."

🚫 But crawling was deemed to be a more radical way of expression — and indeed soon caught the attention of the authorities. The day after Xin's crawl, she received an "urgent reminder" from her friend — photos and videos of students crawling had been leaked to teachers, and school authorities were now tracking down those who had participated. Her school's sports fields were immediately closed down, and students were gathered in an assembly to be told that “one should not crawl on the ground.”

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

“The so-called ‘golden era’ is over.”

— In his first major foreign policy speech, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it was the end of the “golden era” between the UK and China, as the “naïve idea that trade would lead to social and political reform” had shown its limits. Sunak added that it was time to “evolve our approach to China,” albeit without resorting to “simplistic Cold War rhetoric.” During his party leadership campaign earlier this year, Sunak was criticized for being too soft on China.

✍️ Newsletter by Bertrand Hauger, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Laure Gautherin


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LGBTQ+ International: Gender Recognition Changes In Scotland, Same-Sex Ice-Skating — And Other News

Skate Canada has announced it is now allowing “two skaters” to compete in the ice dance and pairs figure skating competitions

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!

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

TW: This content may address topics and include references to violence that some may find distressing.

🌐 5 things to know right now

• Poland to veto discriminatory law: Polish President Andrzej Duda said he would veto a controversial bill that limits access to comprehensive sex ed and anti-discrimination classes in schools, after weeks of protests led by students and activists.

• Protests against homosexuality trial in Tunisia: Activists gathered on Dec. 19 in front of a court in Kairouan, Tunisia, to denounce the trial of six men prosecuted for homosexuality — which is punishable by up to three years in prison in the country.

• Scotland to introduce “gender recognition” changes: The Scottish government has introduced a bill to reform how transgender people can change the sex on their birth certificate, in favor of a self-declaration system that removes the need for a psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

• Anti-LGBTQ+ Ghana churches received millions in Western aid: An exclusive investigation by CNN shows how over the past six years, some Western governments spent millions aiding churches in Ghana that have a long history of anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda and activities.

• Canada okays same-sex ice-skating teams to compete: Skate Canada, the national governing body for figure skating, has announced it is now allowing “two skaters” to compete in the ice dance and pairs figure skating competitions at the most elite levels of the sport.

🇦🇷🎧 From church choir to DJ icon: the singular rise of Anita B Queen

Alex Zani, writing for Buenos-Aires-based news agency Agencias Presentes, draws the portrait of Ana Belén Kim, daughter of conservative Korean immigrants to Argentina and a rising star in Latin America's electronic music club scene who's impossible to categorize.

In a world that insists on labels, Ana Belén Kim, also known as Anita B Queen, considers herself a "degenerate." That is: someone impossible to classify. The 26-year-old daughter of a Catholic mother and an Evangelical father, both of whom were Korean immigrants who came to Argentina in their early childhood, her musical career began at Cheil, the First Korean Presbyterian Church in the country.

Anita was still a teenager and was surprised to see so many instruments she could use. She taught herself how to play and was soon in charge of the youth band of the church. When she turned 18, her life turned upside down as she questioned her values and her sexuality.

“Imagine, a lifelong Christian girl, growing up in a small, closed, conservative and orthodox Korean community, trying to understand what she was feeling and trying to accept herself.” That year she left the church, withdrew from her peers, separated from her boyfriend, and began dating other women.

Photo of Anita B Queen with other musicians while in Madrid on Europe tour

Anita B Queen with other musicians on Europe Trip in Madrid — Photo: anitabqueen

"It was at that moment that I started working as a DJ, making electronic music, learning from local and foreign DJs who, without knowing it, were my mentors." It was a world commanded by men into which Anita stormed confidently, without asking for permission. "It's simple," she says. "Breaking through is a matter of attitude.”

Read the full story on Worldcrunch.com

👉 Otherwise

• LGBTQ Nation focuses on Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the Russian composer of Swan Lake and Nutcracker fame, and how his being homosexual was carefully from Russian history.

• 76Crimes highlights the challenges transgender Pakistanis have to overcome today, faced with both a strong conservative Muslim society and a groundbreaking transgender rights law.

• “You've probably heard of the male gaze, but what exactly is the lesbian gaze?” asks Pride.

• T’is the season for queer couples to try to survive Christmas with the family ...

• Feeling nostalgic and looking to binge some good flicks for the holidays? Here’s a nice list of 17 Gay Period Dramas That Will Take You Back in Time.

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