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In The News

North Korea Fires Missiles, R. Kelly Guilty, New John Lennon Song

North Korea Fires Missiles, R. Kelly Guilty, New John Lennon Song

At a march in Baku to pay tribute to the soldiers, officers and civilians killed in action as Azerbaijan marks the one-year anniversary of the Nagorno-Karabakh campaign against Armenia

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin & Bertrand Hauger

👋 Hyvää huomenta!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where North Korea conducts its third weapon tests in just over two weeks, R&B singer R. Kelly is found guilty of sex trafficking, and an unearthed John Lennon tape is up for auction in Denmark. Meanwhile, we take a look at why despite being an oil- and gas-rich country, Iran has been marred by widespread blackouts in recent years.



• North Korea fires missile into the sea: North Korea has launched a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan, officials in South Korea and Japan say, Pyongyang's third weapon tests in just over two weeks. The launch came just before the country's ambassador to the United Nations urged the U.S. to scrap its "double standards" on weapons programs.

China lets American siblings return home after 3 years: U.S. citizens Cynthia and Victor Liu, whose father Liu Changming is one of China's most wanted fugitives, have returned to the U.S. after being prevented from leaving China since 2018. The move coincides with a U.S. deal that led to the high-profile release from Canada of top Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou last weekend.

• UK puts military on standby to ease fuel pressures: After a fourth day of panic buying that left fuel pumps dry, the UK is training military drivers to deliver fuel supply to stations if necessary. The surge in demand came after a driver shortage led to empty supermarket shelves and raised fears about fuel deliveries.

• COVID update: U.S. president Joe Biden received a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, just days after booster doses were approved by federal health authorities. Meanwhile, the Philippines approves coronavirus vaccines for children as young as 12 as the country battles a surge in cases linked to the Delta variant, as Japan is set to lift its state of emergency in all regions at the end of this week.

• Three Polish regions repeal anti-LGBT declarations: Following the lead of the Swietokryskie region, three other regions in Poland voted to scrap resolutions that declared them free of "LGBT ideology." The EU had threatened to withdraw funding earlier this month.

• R. Kelly found guilty of sex trafficking: American R&B star R. Kelly was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking after running a scheme to sexually abuse women and children for two decades. The singer could face decades in prison at sentencing, due in May.

• Never released John Lennon song up for auction: A long-lost tape containing an interview and an unheard song by John Lennon, which was recorded in 1970 in Denmark by a group of schoolboys, will be auctioned in Copenhagen this Tuesday.


Greek daily Nea Kriti reports on the magnitude 6 "deadly earthquake" which struck the island of Crete yesterday, killing one man, injuring 20 and destroying several old buildings.


Why the power keeps getting cut in oil-rich Iran

Iran has no shortage of oil and gas. And yet, its people and industries are having to contend right now with regular power cuts. The question, then, is why, and what — if anything — the Iranian government can hope to do about it, writes Roshanak Astaraki in Persian-language daily Kayhan-London.

⚡ Power cuts began in mid to late 2020, for some evident reasons such as the use of outdated gas power plants, reduced rainfall that has severely cut hydroelectric output, and lagging plans to boost solar power production. Their effects have included interruption of basic services, including in hospitals, and in production, which has led to layoffs. These are fueling dissatisfaction among a population already exasperated with state mismanagement in various areas.

🔋 For 50 years now, countries have focused on the need to replace fossil fuels with alternative energy sources. The UN held a conference on new energy sources as early as 1961. Iran engaged in those debates at the time, but its diversification plans were forgotten after the 1979 revolution. This neglect has turned a country once tipped to play a decisive role in energy markets into a fuel beggar. The regime's sixth development plan (2016-2021) envisaged a 5% share for renewables in Iran's energy production mix, but as of now, it's barely 1%.

🛢️ Iran has the world's second largest natural gas reserves and is fourth with regards to oil reserves. Nevertheless, it cannot meet domestic fuel needs. In the winter of 2020-21, many gas-powered plants had to use mazout as fuel, which reduced their output and caused severe pollution in cities. Shortages are expected this winter too, as demand is set to rise. The government is at an advanced stage in talks with Turkmenistan to import gas.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com



Move over, Quattro Formaggi: At the Sirha gastronomic in Lyon, Parisian chef Julien Serri, cheesemaker François Robin and YouTuber Morgan VS broke the world record for the most cheese varieties on one pizza. According to Robin, the resulting taste was "surprising."


"Islam first."

— As the Taliban toughen up their restrictions on women, the new chancellor for Kabul University, Mohammed Ashraf Ghairat, tweeted that "as long as real Islamic environment is not provided for all, women would be barred from teaching or studying at the institution". Such policy reflects the Taliban's first time in power in the 1990s, when women were banned from school, beaten up for transgressing the rules, and were only allowed to go out in public in the presence of a male relative.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin & Bertrand Hauger

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How WeChat Is Helping Bhutan's Disappearing Languages Find A New Voice

Phd candidate Tashi Dema, from the University of New England, discusses how social media apps, particularly WeChat, are helping to preserve local Bhutanese languages without a written alphabet. Dema argues that preservation of these languages has far-reaching benefits for the small Himalayan country's rich culture and tradition.

A monk in red performing while a sillouhet of a monk is being illuminated by their phone.

Monk performing while a sillouheted monk is on their phone

Source: Caterina Sanders/Unsplash
Tashi Dema

THIMPHU — Dechen, 40, grew up in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Her native language was Mangdip, also known as Nyenkha, as her parents are originally from central Bhutan. She went to schools in the city, where the curriculum was predominantly taught in Dzongkha, the national language, and English.

In Dechen’s house, everyone spoke Dzongkha. She only spoke her mother tongue when she had guests from her village, who could not understand Dzongkha and during her occasional visits to her village nestled in the mountains. Her mother tongue knowledge was limited.

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However, things have now changed.

With 90% of Bhutanese people using social media and social media penetrating all remotes areas in Bhutan, Dechen’s relatives in remote villages are connected on WeChat.

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