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In The News

Le Weekend: Gustavo Petro Memes, Danish Museum v. Blank Canvas, 3D-Printed Salmon

Le Weekend: Gustavo Petro Memes, Danish Museum v. Blank Canvas, 3D-Printed Salmon

Jens Haaning has been ordered by a court to repay the money lent to him by the Kunsten Museum in Aalborg, after the Danish artist submitted empty frames as his artwork.

Sept. 23-24

  • Russian army sexual crimes
  • Manet in the USA
  • BMX big brothers
  • … and much more.


What do you remember from the news this week?

1. What is the name of the separatist region at the center of clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia?

2. India is in a diplomatic spat with which country, over the June killing of a Sikh leader?

3. In what sport has Swedish track & field champion Mondo Duplantis broken his own world record for the seventh time?

4. An Australian man was slapped with a hefty fine for going surfin’ with… his two-month-old baby / his pet snake / his 6-ft cactus?

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


Colombian President Gustavo Petro delivered a long and very memorable — or rather, meme-able speech at the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on Tuesday. His passionate 20-minute-long intervention included a call to put an end to all wars, support for developing nations, protecting the environment — and ended with Petro formulating a wish of “spreading the virus of life to the stars of the universe.” Posts on X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram circulated in a matter of minutes after the over-the-top quote was broadcast, with many memes going viral.


• Sean Penn releases Ukraine war documentary: Superpower, a documentary directed by two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn about Ukraine before and after Russia’s invasion, premiered this week. The film, now streaming on Paramount+, was originally meant to tell the story of how a comedian, Volodymyr Zelensky, became Ukraine’s president, and led to the two men meeting on Feb. 23, 2022 — one day before Russia launched its invasion.

• Manet’s Olympia in the U.S. for the first time: Édouard Manet’s 1863 masterpiece Olympia has traveled from Paris to New York for its first American showing, as part of the “Manet/Degas” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The show, which had a run at France’s Musée d’Orsay, focuses on the artist’s rivalry with fellow French painter Edgar Degas, throughout more than 160 artworks.

• BTS’ Suga starts military service: Suga, a member of Kpop band BTS, has started his mandatory military service on Friday, with the group’s label asking fans to “refrain” from visiting the artist at his place of duty. Suga is the third member of BTS to join the military, as South Korean law requires all able-bodied men to enlist for about 18 months between the ages of 18 and 35.

• Danish artist to repay museum: Jens Haaning has been ordered by a court to repay 500,000 kroner ($72,000) lent to him by the Kunsten Museum in Aalborg, after the Danish artist submitted empty frames as his artwork, for a project he named “Take the Money and Run.” The museum had intended for Haaning to embed the aforementioned sum, in banknotes form, in two pieces of art meant to represent average incomes.

Oppenheimer beats Bohemian Rhapsody’s record: Christopher Nolan’s movie about J. Robert Oppenheimer has passed $912 million at the box office, overtaking 2018 Bohemian Rhapsody, which told the life story of Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury, as the highest ever grossing biopic.

🇷🇺🇺🇦 The hundreds of sex crimes committed by Russian soldiers in Ukraine

Since the full-scale Russian invasion began in February 2022, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has recorded 231 instances of conflict-related sexual violence, though the actual number is likely 10 times higher. Survivors often hesitate to speak out due to fear, trauma, and the social stigma attached to such incidents. Ukrainian news website Livy Bereg explores how the nation is documenting the crimes and responding to support victims and bring perpetrators to justice.

Read the full story: Fighting The Russian Army's Systematic Campaign Of Sexual Violence In Ukraine

🎓 In Savannah, with the uni students learning from Jordan Peterson

The Canadian-born psychologist Jordan B. Peterson is one of the most prominent opponents of what's been termed: left-wing cancel culture and “wokism.” As part of his mission, he serves as chancellor of Ralston College in Savannah, Georgia, a picturesque setting for a unique experiment that contrasts with his image of provocateur par excellence. For German daily Die Welt, Sandra Ward travels to the city of 147,000 in the U.S. state of Georgia and takes a tour of the college which “claims that it is neither left-wing or right-wing but dedicated to freedom.”

Read the full story: Inside Ralston College, Jordan Peterson's Quiet New Weapon In The Culture Wars

🤤 Even the land of butter is all about oil

Spanish, Italian, Greek, Provençal: in the land of butter and cream, olive oil is all the rage! Buoyed by the wave of the Mediterranean diet, demand has soared in recent years. In France alone, 100 million liters are consumed every year. But production is threatened by drought in Spain, the world's leading producer. The harvest looks set to be a complicated one this year, reports Laurent Guez in Paris-based daily Les Echos.

Read the full story: Butter Beware, Olive Oil Is Conquering French Kitchens


Revo Foods, a food-tech startup based in Austria, has announced that its 3D-printed salmon is about to hit European store shelves. The vegan fish filet, made from mycoprotein and plant proteins and “inspired by salmon,” marks the first time a 3D-printed edible product is available for purchase in grocery stores.


West, a three-year-old BMX racer found himself on his own when no one else from his age group signed up for the race in south Ottawa, Canada. But as the event was about to get canceled, a group of teenagers stepped up so the young racer could show his BMX skills and win a medal by taking first place. The heartwarming video shared by his mother went viral on social media, with the teenagers earning praises from users.


• The first U.S.-made Abrams tanks are expected to be delivered to Ukraine next week, U.S. President Joe Biden announced, after meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Washington, DC. The shipment will be part of a larger package that includes ammunition, anti-tank weapons, and artillery.

• Starting Monday, residents of Lahaina, Hawaii, will be allowed to return to their properties for the first time since the island’s historic town was devastated by wildfires last month.

• Paris’ Techno Parade is celebrating its 25th anniversary on Saturday, with a 6-km itinerary through the streets of the French capital and dozens of floats dedicated to electronic music.

News quiz answers:

1. The Nagorno-Karabakh region is at the heart of a long simmering dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which has escalated this week when Baku launched an “anti-terrorist” operation in the breakaway area this week. Both sides agreed to a ceasefire and started peace talks in the Azeri city of Yevlakh.

2. A diplomatic rift has emerged between Canada and India, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country was investigating “credible allegations” linking Indian government agents to the murder of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil. In response, India expelled one of Canada’s top diplomats.

3. Swedish athlete Armand Duplantis broke his own world record for the seventh time in the pole vault, clearing 6.23 meters on his first attempt during the Diamond League Final in Eugene, U.S.

4. Australian surfer Higor Fiuza was fined AUS$2,322 ($1,495) by the country’s wildlife authorities for taking with him his pet snake in the water, a python named Shiva. Officers said the man endangered the reptile and breached his permit by taking her out in public.

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*Photo: Niels Fabæk/Kunsten Museum of Modern Art

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Zelensky And Putin Agree On One Big Thing Right Now

Even with the war at a stalemate, and as far away as victory may be for both sides, negotiations are an absolute non-starter for both the presidents of Ukraine and Russia.

photo of zelensky looking tired

Zelensky in Kyiv on Dec. 6 to honor those killed in the war.

Pool /Ukrainian Presidentia/Planet Pix via ZUMA
Yuri Fedorov

Updated Dec. 6, 2023 at 7:20 p.m.


The Russian-Ukrainian war appears to have reached a strategic impasse — a veritable stalemate. Neither side is in a position at this point to achieve a fundamental change on the ground in their favor. Inevitably, this has triggered no shortage of analysts and politicians saying it's time for negotiations.

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

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These conversations especially intensified after the results of the summer-autumn counteroffensive were analyzed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhny, with not very optimistic details.

Though there are advances of the Ukrainian army, it is mostly “stuck in minefields under attacks from Russian artillery and drones,” and there is a increasing prospect of trench warfare that “could drag on for years and exhaust the Ukrainian state.”

Zaluzhny concluded: “Russia should not be underestimated. It suffered heavy losses and used up a lot of ammunition, but it will have an advantage in weapons, equipment, missiles and ammunition for a long time," he said. "Our NATO partners are also dramatically increasing their production capacity, but this requires at least a year, and in some cases, such as aircraft and control systems, two years.”

For the Ukrainian army to truly succeed, it needs air superiority, highly effective electronic and counter-battery warfare, new technologies for mining and crossing minefields, and the ability to mobilize and train more reserves.

China and most countries of the so-called global South have expressed their support for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. Meanwhile in the West, certain influential voices are pushing for negotiations, guided by a purely pragmatic principle that if military victory is impossible, it is necessary to move on to diplomacy.

The position of the allies is crucial: Ukraine’s ability to fight a long war of attrition and eventually change the situation at the front in its favor depends on the military, economic and political support of the West. And this support, at least on the scale necessary for victory, is not guaranteed.

Still, the question of negotiations is no less complicated, as the positions of Russia and Ukraine today are so irreconcilable that it is difficult to imagine productive negotiations.

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