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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ COVID Art, Bionic Pancreas, Doodle Home

Le Weekend ➡️ COVID Art, Bionic Pancreas, Doodle Home

A Chinese artist has filmed about 40 of his coronavirus nucleic acid tests as a way to record living under a pandemic.

October 8-9

  • What Lula needs to win
  • Why Xi won’t let Zero-COVID go
  • The world’s most extreme doodler
  • … and much more.


What do you remember from the news this week?

1. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he will not negotiate with Russia as long as…?

2. North Korea fired a missile over what country’s territory for the first time since 2017?

3. Slovenia became the first Eastern European country to break what civil rights barrier?

4. What did 433 people do at the same time in the Philippines that drew scrutiny from officials? Win the lottery / Give birth to triplets / Buy a yacht

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


Maria Sole Ferrieri Caputi made history last Sunday by becoming the first female referee in Italy’s Serie A male soccer professional league. During the Sassuolo-Salernitana game, attention centered on how to refer to Ferrieri Caputi, given Italy’s highly-gendered language and mentality: Is she an “arbitro” (with masculine ending), “arbitra” (feminine ending) or “arbitro donna” (woman referee)? Most newspapers just ended up referring to her by her first name, Maria Sole — a common way of referring to women in the country, as even Giorgia Meloni, who is slated to become Italy’s first female prime minister, is simply Giorgia for Italy’s media. Italy’s online magazine L'Essenziale reports that Carolina Morace, a coach and former soccer player, said that linguists would pick “arbitra”: it may not sound right now, because it is new, but we need to slowly get used to it.


• Chinese artist turns COVID-19 tests into art work: Siyuan Zhuji, a 33-year-old artist from the Chinese Jiangsu province, has filmed about 40 of his coronavirus nucleic acid tests with a small camera in his mouth and will continue to do so, as long as testing is required, as a way to record living under a pandemic. “This work can represent this era. This is what I want to express. It is to record everyone’s current life,” the artist said.

In memoriam: South Korean visual artist and illustrator Kim Jung Gi died of a heart attack at 47; Sacheen Littlefeather, the Native American actress and activist who had stood in for Marlon Brando to decline his Oscar for The Godfather, died at age 75; American country singer Loretta Lynn died at 90.

• Retracing Ethiopia’s archaeological history: Ethiopia’s president President Sahle-Work Zewde officially inaugurated a new permanent exhibition on the country’s archaeological history at the National Museum in the capital city Addis Ababa. Organized by the Ethiopian Heritage Authority in collaboration with the French Embassy, the exhibition will display objects from the first millennium BC to the 16th century.

• Rare photos of young Beatles uncovered: Rare images of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best, the Beatles’ original drummer, playing at the Cavern Club in Liverpool in July 1961 have been discovered. The previously unseen photographs were taken more than a year before the famous band released their debut single “Love Me Do” (and before they displayed the equally famous “Beatle haircut”).

• No Egyptian films at the 2023 Academy Awards: Egypt has announced it will not submit any movies for the Best International Feature Film category at the 2023 Academy Awards, due to some films’ non-compliance with the conditions and regulations of the competition and because others “did not live up to their expectations to be nominated for the Oscars.” Mohamed Hefzy, Egyptian producer, scriptwriter and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences concluded: “The competition is very tough, and in my opinion when there aren’t any Oscar-worthy movies worth nominating it’s better to not nominate any.”

🇺🇦💬  The stories of Ukrainian civilians detained and tortured by Russian forces

In the early days of the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military moved quickly to the outskirts of Kyiv and began conducting searches and arrests there. Residents of three settlements have recounted to human rights activists in recent months how they had been detained, beaten, and tortured during the occupation.

These testimonies have formed the basis of the report “Unlawful Confinement and Torture in Dymer, Kozarovychi, and Katyuzhanka in Ukraine,” which Russian-language media Vazhnyye Istorii was able to read. Among the victims was Vladyslav, 29, who recounted how he was tortured and beat with a hammer on his fingers by Russian soldiers because they found photos of Russian equipment on his phone. “He threatened to cut my wrists. He hit my head hard, and I started screaming because it felt like my head would explode,” Vladyslav said.

Read the full story: "Better If They Shot Me" — New Details Revealed Of Russian Torture Of Civilians

🇧🇷🗳️ Lula needs to come clean to ensure victory in the second round

Leftist candidate and former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and incumbent Jair Bolsonaro will face each other in the Brazilian elections runoff on Oct. 30. Despite Lula’s first-place finish with 48% of the votes and recent polls showing him trailing behind the head of the Workers Party, Bolsonaro also came close to convincing half the electorate.

“This tie-break situation is in fact an indicator of the socio-political direction Brazilian society has chosen,” writes Marcelo Cantelmi in Argentine daily Clarin, arguing that if he wants to win, Lula will have to garner votes from the center electoral and utter a real mea culpa over the massive corruption that marked his latter years as president.

Read the full story: What Lula Needs Now To Win: Move To The Center And Mea Culpa

🇨🇳😷  Eternal lockdowns: When will China’s zero COVID policy end?

China’s zero COVID is based on good intentions: to protect the health and lives of the public. During the first phase of the pandemic, and the onslaught of the Delta virus, the policy did serve to protect the population, bringing the spread under control to the greatest extent possible, and allowing the economy to recover quickly. But while Zero COVID has kept China's infection rate low since the emergence of the Omicron, the social costs, with strict lockdowns, large-scale COVID testing and social isolation, has long since surpassed its benefits.

So when will China end this policy? “The scenario most likely to end the harsh lockdowns are more signs that the economy simply can longer sustain it,” Deng Yuwen writes in Chinese-language media The Initium.

Read the full story: Xi's Burden — Why China Is Sticking With Zero COVID


A new bionic pancreas in trial at Harvard Medical School has proved to be more effective than pumps or injections at lowering blood glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes. The device takes much of the burden off the patient, using an algorithm to calculate a meal’s carbohydrates and automatically releasing insulin.


British artist Sam Cox, known as Mr. Doodle for his hand-drawn cartoonish drawings, has spent the past two years covering his house in Kent in doodles, using 401 cans of black spray paint, 286 bottles of black drawing paint and 2,296 pen nibs. Cox immortalized his work with a stop motion video made out of nearly 2,000 photos taken while painting the house.


• Japan will drop its strict coronavirus border policy and reopen for international visitors on Oct. 11.

• Palestinian delegations, including Hamas and Fatah members, are expected in Algiers by the end of this week. They will hold roundtable talks in an effort to reach a unified Palestinian draft, to be presented at the upcoming Arab summit.

• Monday, Oct. 10 marks World Mental Health Day.

• As part of the Nintendo Live 2022, the Japanese video game maker announced it will stream two Japanese concerts in Tokyo (one Animal Crossing-themed and another for Splatoon 3).

News quiz answers:

1. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed an official decree stating that Kyiv would not conduct negotiations with Russia as long as Vladimir Putin is its president.

2. North Korea fired a suspected missile over Japan on Tuesday. It was for the first time tests invaded Japan’s air space since 2017, setting off a rare alert to some Japanese citizens to take cover.

3. The Slovenian parliament passed an amendment on Tuesday allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt, making it the first Eastern European country to do so.

4. In the Philippines, 433 people won the top prize of the country’s Grand Lotto on Saturday, drawing scrutiny from officials, including Philippines senate minority leader Koko Pimentel, who has called for an inquiry into the "suspicious" results.

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*Photo: Siyuan Zhuji 

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