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Haiti Assassination Attempt, Elizabeth Holmes Verdict, Winnie the Pooh Public Domain

A destroyed poultry farm in a rebel-held enclave close to the Bab al Hawa border crossing with Turkey, which was reportedly hit by a Russian airstrike

Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

👋 Khulumkha!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Haiti’s prime minister reveals assassination attempt, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is found guilty of fraud, and Winnie the Pooh is up for grabs. We also turn to French daily Les Echos to see what happens when the world of fine wine and champagne collides with the NFT market.

[*Kokborok - India and Bangladesh]


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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• COVID update: As China continues its zero-COVID policy, Yuzhou, a city of 1.2 million, is locked down after three asymptomatic coronavirus cases; while Xi’an, a city of 13 million under lockdown for nearly two weeks, 95 fresh cases were recorded on Tuesday. India reported the highest number of COVID-19 infections since early September, bringing the total number of infections to 34.9 million. Meanwhile, France's lower house of parliament suspended debate over a controversial bill to make it mandatory for people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to go to a restaurant or cinema, or take the train.

• Haiti Prime Minister survived assassination attempt: Gunmen unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Haitian Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, during an event on Saturday commemorating the Caribbean country’s independence, Henry’s office said in a statement on Monday.

• Embattled tech icon Elizabeth Holmes found guilty: The former CEO and founder of failed blood testing startup Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, was found guilty on four charges of defrauding investors after a months-long landmark trial in California. She denies the charges, which carry a maximum term of 20 years each.

• Israel lifts restrictions on same-sex surrogacy: Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced that Israel has lifted restrictions barring same-sex couples and single men from becoming parents through surrogacy within the country, upholding a Supreme Court ruling to end the ban.

• Hong Kong’s Chow Hang-tung jailed over unauthorized Tiananmen vigil: Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Chow Hang-tung was sentenced to 15 months in prison in a second conviction for inciting people to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square deadly crackdown.

• Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro in hospital with intestinal blockage: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was hospitalized with an intestinal blockage after falling ill on holiday and may need to undergo surgery in the latest complication from a 2018 stabbing.

• Winnie the Pooh enters public domain: One of the most valuable media franchises in the world, which accumulated revenues of more than $80 billion over the years, Winnie the Pooh is public domain now. This means that characters from A.A. Milne can now be used by anyone, including companies and brands, without having to obtain permission or make any payments to Disney.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“The fear of the minority,” titles Luxembourgish daily Luxemburger Wort, reporting that in the small western European country of about 634,000 inhabitants, 110,000 people have so far have refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, partly for fear of potential side effects.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$3 trillion

Apple became the world’s first publicly traded company ever to hit a market cap of $3 trillion, when the U.S. technology giant’s shares were briefly up 3% to a new all-time high of $182.88. Since the release of the iPhone in 2007, Apple’s share price has risen by around 5,800%.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Blockchain uncorked, champagne and fine wine hit the NFT market

In just a few months, NFTs, the digital equivalent of collectables, have generated over $10 billion. Now, luxury champagne and wine brands are moving into the world of digital assets. But as investors and vineyards toast to the future, will the concept pop or fizzle? asks Béatrice Brasseur in French daily Les Echos.

🍾 In October, Dom Pérignon demonstrated its perpetual creative effervescence by launching limited edition boxes of its 2010 vintage and its 2006 rosé, which were "designed" in collaboration with the megastar Lady Gaga. The 100 bottles and their digital versions were offered for sale in a 100% virtual space. In search of new fans and eager to "create rarity within rarity," the champagne brand has thus become the very first in its sector to take the plunge into NFTs, the digital answer to collectibles.

💎 Rarity, exclusivity, desirability, traceability: NFTs are obviously of interest to the luxury industry. Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Karl Lagerfeld and Givenchy are already exploring their potential with limited-edition pieces, often created in collaboration with artists. All this can be transposed to the world of great champagnes, wines and spirits, which are covetous and collectable objects. Glenfiddich has put a rare 1973 single malt for sale at $18,000 and other limited edition NFTs on BlockBar, a platform that offers NFTs directly from liquor brands.

💸 “Tomorrow, sales can be delivered from the physical and the temporal,” says Guillaume Jourdan, brand strategy consultant at Vitabella Luxury for major wine companies. “This is the ultra-positive side of NFT, beyond the cool message sent to the younger generation." Obviously, the winners of this new virtual economy will be the strongest and most desirable brands that have the means and the talent to afford the necessary technology.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

💬  LEXICON

Flurona

Israel recorded its first case of an individual infected with both the seasonal flu and coronavirus at the same time, prompting some on social media to create the portmanteau word "Flurona."

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

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Geopolitics

Russia's Military Failures Are Really About Its Soldiers

No doubt, strategic errors and corruption at the highest ranks in the Kremlin are partly to blame for the Russian military's stunning difficulties in Ukraine. But the roots run deeper, where the ordinary recruits come from, how they are exploited, how they react.

Army reserve soldiers go to Red Square to attend a Pioneer Induction ceremony

Anna Akage

To the great relief of Ukraine and the great surprise of the rest of the world, the Russian army — considered until February 24, the second strongest in the world — is now eminently beatable on the battlefield against Ukrainian forces operating with vastly inferior firepower.

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

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After renouncing the original ambitions to take Kyiv and unseat the Ukrainian government, the focus turned to the southeastern region of Donbas, where a would-be great battle on a scale comparable to World War II Soviet victories has turned into a quagmire peppered with laughable updates by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on TikTok.

The Russians have not managed to occupy a single significant Ukrainian city, except Kherson, which they partially destroyed and now find difficult to hold. Meanwhile, Ukrainian civilians are left to suffer the bombing of cities and villages from Lviv to Odessa, with looting, torture and assorted war crimes.

The reasons for both the poor performance and atrocities are many, and include deep-seated corruption and lack of professionalism up through the highest ranks, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had never served in the army, and arrived in his position only because of his loyalty to the No. 1 man in the Kremlin.

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