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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ Another Climate Delusion: How The French Election Ignored The Nation’s Youth

Photo of a climate protest in Marseille on April 9

Protest in Marseille on April 9

April 23-24

  • Russian oligarchs in Dubai
  • Life hacks for Ukrainians
  • Revolutionary chopsticks
  • … and much more.


What do you remember from the news this week?

1. Vladimir Putin appeared on Russian national television this week in a one-on-one conversation with which high-ranking government minister?

2. A German man has been identified as a suspect in the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann. In what country was the British girl reported missing during a family holiday in 2007?

3. What country said this week it would not oppose the extradition of WikiLeaks whistleblower Julian Assange to the U.S.: Sweden, Australia, Ecuador, or the UK?

4. What is the purpose of the “Oreometer,” a groundbreaking device developed by researchers from the prestigious MIT?

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


Another Climate Delusion: How The French Election Ignored The Nation’s Youth

Fatigue. The word has been used a lot in recent weeks (in French and international media alike) to describe the current state of mind of France’s voters — and in particular, its younger voters. Incumbent President Emmanuel Macron, who is up for reelection Sunday against far-right challenger Marine Le Pen, himself acknowledged the situation: “There’s a sense of fatigue, linked to the two-and-a-half years of COVID we’ve been going through — a fatigue in our lives, a worry among the youth,” he told French radio France Inter.

But alas, Macron is one of the main sources of the fatigue.

French youth, to quote local daily Ouest France, are tired of being the “great forgotten” of the presidential campaign, and beyond. As highlighted in a recent FAGE-Ipsos survey, 57% of the 18-30 year olds believe their concerns are not being taken into account either by centrist Macron or Le Pen: education, women’s and minority rights, and toward the top of that list, the environment — a top priority for 32% of young French people.

And indeed, ecology has taken a back seat in this presidential campaign, superseded by what are seemingly more pressing matters such as the war in Ukraine, immigration or purchasing power in a post-COVID economy. All valid topics, of course, but if addressing global warming keeps getting delayed, well, all else will burn with it. It’s a reality that was understood by left-winger Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who missed the second round of the presidential election by a hair’s breadth on the strength of huge youth support.

This absence became a particularly visible one Wednesday night, when over the course of three hours, fatigue met ennui as Macron and Le Pen danced the dance in a low-octane televised debate, wasting precious air time on questions like the display of religious symbols in the public space that mean far more to politicians than most people.

Worried as they are by the looming deadlines of the recent IPCC report, there is no doubt that young voters would have welcomed some outlining of how to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions during the five years of the next presidential term. But when it comes to climate goals, neither Macron nor Le Pen — to borrow from this week’sLibération front page — seem to be “up to the challenge”. Greenpeace went further, calling the faceoff “a defeat for the climate and the environment.”

Sunday’s runoff is a rematch: Five years ago, Macron beat Le Pen hands down; this time around, it risks being a much closer affair, with Le Pen now deemed a more “acceptable” candidate. For Macron to emerge victorious, many young French people who voted for Mélenchon in the first round must opt for a “lesser-of-two-evils” vote against the far-right candidate. But that will by no means count as an endorsement of Macron’s climate commitments, or lack thereof.

In June, the country’s legislative elections will give France’s youth a second chance to make their demands for a more livable planet. But if they keep being ignored, we’ll probably hear some words beyond fatigue or ennui aimed at the nation’s politicians — and this time, you may have to pardon their French.

— Bertrand Hauger


Waterstones launches #ReadForUkraine scheme: British book retailer Waterstones has teamed up with major publishers and authors, including Bernardine Evaristo and Jasper Fforde, to raise 1 million pounds ($1.3 million) for Ukraine. All the proceeds of the books picked for this collection will go to Oxfam's Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

Rio carnival returns after two-year hiatus: After the 2020 and 2021 editions were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, samba schools paraded again in the streets of Rio de Janeiro for the first day of the carnival Wednesday, with celebrations lasting until April 30.

Oasis’ breakup guitar up for grabs: Just before they performed at the 2009 Rock en Seine festival in Paris, Oasis’ brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher got into a heated argument during which Noel smashed his guitar, heralding the end of the iconic band that very night. The fateful guitar — now repaired — is being put up for auction at the Artpèges gallery alongside other rock’n’roll memorabilia.

Latin American Music Awards: About 30 Latin artists attended the Latin American Music Awards on Thursday night in Las Vegas. The show opened with a rendition of “Where Is The Love” by the Black Eyed Peas and Ukrainian singer NK, in solidarity with Ukraine. Singer Karol G won six awards including Artist of the Year, while Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny came second with five trophies.

Netflix plans to put an end to account sharing: Following a loss of 200,000 subscribers in early 2022, Netflix says it’s exploring new revenue opportunities, as competition grows from rivals Amazon and Disney+. The streaming platform has hinted at an ad-powered version, while saying it might also start charging users who share the same password while living in different households.

📣  Ovsyannikova: Finding The Courage To Tell The Truth

Now a columnist for German daily Die Welt, Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova — whose anti-war protest on Moscow’s state television made world headlines — addresses her critics.

“Of course I wish I had quit earlier,” she writes. “I should have left in 2014. But I overcame my fear, I found the courage to tell the truth.”

Read the full story: "You Need More Russians Like Me To Beat Putin" — A Response To My Ukrainian Critics

🇺🇦 ✊  Life Hacks For Ukrainians

Everyday life in Ukraine has changed dramatically since the Russian invasion on February 24. But despite the extreme circumstances that the population is facing, every little bit can help, writes Victor Kruglov for Ukrainian media Livy Bereg.

Sharing positive news with relatives, evacuating areas where combat is ongoing, boycotting companies that are still making business with Russia are all actions that every Ukrainian can take on.

Read the full story: A Ukrainian Guide Of "Life Hacks" To Help Yourself And Help Win The War

🇦🇪💸  A Convenient Tax Haven For Russian Oligarchs

Since 2014, Russian oligarchs have been looking for ways to get around sanctions. In the UAE, they have found a safe haven, with hard-to-trace bank transactions, a growing cryptocurrency scene and plenty of luxurious leisure opportunities. This investigation from business daily Les Echos looks at the marriage of convenience between the UAE and Russian oligarchs, and wonders how long it will last.

Read the full story: Dubai Postcard: Russian Oligarchs Find Refuge From Sanctions In UAE


Russian amateur golfer Marta Silchenko posted a selfie that went viral on Instagram after she found herself in the same elevator as some of the world’s most famous soccer players, in a Paris hotel where she (and the Paris Saint-Germain team) was staying. Which floor, messieurs Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé?


Feeling salty lately? Japanese researchers might have found a solution by developing taste-enhancing chopsticks. An electrical stimulation produced by a mini-computer creates a sensation of saltiness in the user’s mouth. This invention could help people reduce their sodium intake and consequently lower their risk of health hazards related to excessive salt consumption, including high blood pressure and strokes.


Who’s this adorable two-year-old? Hint: This picture was posted by her family to celebrate her 96th birthday this week …


After Tokyo Olympic golds, Uganda guns to become Africa's next sports powerhouse

Success at the Tokyo Olympics inspired Uganda to step up its efforts to become a long-distance running powerhouse, write Edna Namara and Beatrice Lamwaka in Global Press Journal.

Agong Micheal wants to become a Ugandan Olympic champion so badly that he skips his lunch every day to go for a run.

“Lunchtime is a waste of time,” he says.

The 17-year-old says his dream is to qualify for the Ugandan athletics team, win medals and receive the prize money that the country gives winners. Agong is on an athletic scholarship at Gombe Secondary School in Mpigi, a town in central Uganda. But when schools closed due to the coronavirus, he sought work as a laborer at the National High Altitude Training Centre, a state-of-the-art training facility under construction in Kapchorwa, in the eastern highlands. Although the facility is not open yet, working there gives Agong a rare opportunity to try out the course.

“One day I will be as famous as [Joshua] Cheptegei and [Peruth] Chemutai,” he says, referring to two Ugandans who won gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

Success in the Tokyo Olympics has inspired Uganda to step up efforts to groom the next generation of elite athletes and make the east African country a powerhouse in the region. Uganda is a relative newcomer in long-distance running events, which its neighbors Kenya and Ethiopia have long dominated. But in Tokyo, Uganda outperformed Ethiopia in the number of gold, and equaled it in overall medals. The four medals (two gold, one silver and one bronze) were the most Uganda has ever won in a single Olympics. Officials now want to build on that success by providing aspiring athletes like Agong with world-class training facilities and special incentives. A similar center in Iten, Kenya, founded in 1999 by famed long-distance runner Lornah Kiplagat, has become a top destination for local and international athletes seeking to train in high altitude.

Uganda’s success in athletics didn’t happen overnight, says Otucet Domenic, president of the Uganda Athletics Federation, the athletics governing body. In 2010, the federation drafted a strategic plan to support athletes who compete internationally.

Officials sought to provide athletes with funding to pay for equipment and to hire qualified international-class coaches. They hired Addy Ruiter, a world-renowned Dutch coach who specializes in endurance running, to train athletes at Kapchorwa.

Some of Uganda’s earliest success came in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, when Moses Kipsiro won double gold in 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters, Otucet says. That year, Uganda won 28 international gold medals in races around the world. In 2011, in Maputo, Mozambique, Uganda won four more gold medals. The success caught the attention of President Yoweri Museveni.

“We explained to the president why it was important to invest in athletics, and he agreed,” Otucet says.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


• UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced Britain would reopen its embassy in Kyiv next week, after the country had temporarily relocated it in Lviv, days before the Russian invasion began on February 24.

• A mentally disabled Malaysian man will be hanged next week in Singapore despite international outcry and arguments that executing a man with an IQ of 69 contravenes international law. The 34-year-old was arrested in 2009 for trying to smuggle less than 1.5 ounces of heroin into the city-state, which has some of the world’s harshest drugs laws.

• Incumbent French president Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen face off in the second round of the country’s presidential election on Sunday.

News quiz answers:

1. Putin appeared Thursday on television across a desk from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, announcing a change of plans to not storm the last bastion of Ukrainian military resistance in Mariupol. The appearance sparked speculation about Putin’s health.

2. In two weeks, it will be 15 years since Madeleine McCann was reported missing in Portugal. The new suspect has not been charged and denies any involvement in the case.

3. After a UK court allowed the extradition of Australian activist Julian Assange to the United States over spying charges on Wednesday, Australia said it trusts the British justice system. The decision is now in the hands of UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, although Assange can choose to appeal.

4. A study published Tuesday in the journal American Institute of Physics, MIT researchers have proudly unveiled their “Oreometer” allows users to perfectly split an Oreo in two halves with an equal amount of cream on each side.

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*Photo: Gerard Bottino/SOPA/ZUMA

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

And If Ukraine's Fate Was In The Hands Of Republican Senators And Viktor Orban?

In the U.S., Republican senators called on to approve military aid to Kyiv are blackmailing the Biden administration on an unrelated matter. In Europe, French President Macron will be dining with the Hungarian Prime Minister, who has threatened to block aid to Ukraine as well.

photo of viktor orban walking into a room

Orban will play all his cards

Sergei Savostyanov/TASS via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — Make no mistake: military aid to Ukraine is at risk. And to understand why, just take a look at the name of French President Emmanuel Macron’s dinner guest Thursday at the Elysée palace in Paris: Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Prime Minister, and Europe’s No. 1 troublemaker.

Orban is threatening to veto a new 50 billion euro aid package for Ukraine at a European Council meeting next week. He could also block Ukraine’s negotiations to enter the European Union, an important issue that has provided some hope for this war-torn country. These are votes on which the unanimity of the "27" EU member states is required.

But this is not the only obstacle in the path of Western aid: the United States is also immersed in a political psychodrama, of which Ukraine is the victim. A new $60 billion aid package from the Biden administration has stalled in Congress: Republicans are demanding legislation to shut down the border with Mexico to stop immigration.

What does this have to do with Ukraine? Nothing, besides legislative blackmail.

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