Japan’s Next Leader, Asylum For Snowden “Guardian Angels”, Crypto-Trading Hamster

Marking the 2,572nd anniversary of the birth of ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius in China

Anne-Sophie Goninet & Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

👋 Bula!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Japan has a new Prime Minister, Canada grants asylum to four Edward Snowden "guardian angels," and a rodent gives cryptocurrency trading advice. Spanish daily La Razon also crunches the numbers to counter those who blame immigrants for spikes in crime.

[*Fijian]

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Fumio Kishida wins race to become Japan's next prime minister: The former finance minister won a ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) race for the top spot, and with the LDP-led party coalition holding a majority in both parliament houses, Kishida is virtually assured the role, taking over for TK. He will now lead a country rattled by the social and economic consequences of the pandemic, and fallout from the controversial Summer Olympics.

• Canada grants asylum to four Edward Snowden "guardian angels": These four refugees housed the former NSA contractor in Hong Kong while he was on the run for stealing and releasing classified documents. Originally from Sri Lanka, Supun Thilina Kellapatha and Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis and their two children are now resettling in Montreal thanks to the support of the nonprofit For the Refugees.

• Mexican president offers apology to Indigenous people: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador issued an official apology for crimes committed by the state against the Yaqui people, including under Porfirio Diaz's 1884-1911 dictatorship. The government will establish a welfare program for the Yaqui, as well as return their land and grant them water rights.

• UK grants only a dozen licenses to EU fishing boats: Just 12 out of 47 of applications for small boats were accepted, angering French fishers who have become frustrated over the UK's control of its waters post-Brexit. While some boats were rejected based on insufficient evidence, French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin argued that "French fishing must not be held hostage by the British for political ends."

• At least 24 dead in Ecuadorian prison gun fight: The battle in the port city of Guayaquil involved inmates wielding firearms, knives and grenades, resulting in close to 50 injuries. It's the latest bloodshed in a conflict between rival drug gangs that has caused at least 100 deaths this year.

• Manny Pacquiao officially retires from boxing, clearing way for presidential run: The 42-year-old Filipino boxing champion announced he was ending his 26-year long career in a Facebook video. Pacquiao has 12 world titles and won 62 of the 72 fights during his career. As president of the PDP–Laban Party, he will run in the My 2022 elections to replace President Rodrigo Duterte, whose term will expire.

• Meet the crypto-trading hamster: Live streaming on Twitch, a hamster named Mr Goxx runs in his "intention wheel" to decide on his cryptocurrency investments — and has beat out many human experts trading these digital tokens professionally. The rodent even has a separate part of his cage with a trading desk. His human owners, two friends, reassured BBC News that they created "Goxx Capital" to have fun during the pandemic, and not to take the crypto pet's advice too seriously. Should we say the same about the human traders?

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

UK daily The Independent reports on the premiere in London yesterday of much-delayed "No Time to Die," the 25th James Bond movie which will feature actor Daniel Craig for the last time in the role of the debonair English spy.

💬  LEXICON

Ampelkoalition


After the narrow victory of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in German elections to replace retiring Chancellor Angela Merkel, the country's political parties are facing months of negotiations to form a coalition government. The center-left SPD said it was likely to make an alliance with the Greens and the liberal Free Democracy Party, creating a "traffic light coalition," (Ampelkoalition), dubbed as such for the party's colors red, green and yellow. The CDU party of Merkel, which came second at the election, also said it would seek to form a "Jamaika-Koalition" with the Greens and FDP (black, green and yellow), named for the colors of the Jamaican flag.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Immigrants don't drive up crime: Here are the facts

Crunch the numbers, or just look around… and we see that immigrants, wherever they may come from, are not a disproportionate cause of crime or cultural degradation across Europe, reports Alfonso Masoliver in Spanish daily La Razon.

🗺️ In 2019, the 125,100 illegal entries into Europe were at the lowest number in seven years, while 491,000 non-EU nationals were thrown out of the EU. European Commission figures from 2020 indicate that 37 million EU residents, or 8.2% of its population, were born outside the block. Worldwide, the five countries with the most foreign-born residents are Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Norway and the United States, respectively. Only 10% — or about three million — of the world's refugee population is currently in the EU. Most settle in neighboring states like Turkey.

🔪 Comparing crime rates from 2012 to 2020 in the five countries with the most foreign-born residents, does not necessarily yield a rise in crime rates clearly and proportionately attributable to immigration. Australia's crime rate of 41.36 in 2012 stood at 40.36 in 2020. The United States' crime rate rose from 47.2 to 64.93, but Norway's fell from 35.43 to 19.07. The four EU countries with the most foreign-born residents are Germany, France, Italy and Spain. In those same years, Germany's crime rate rose from 21.02 to 34.81, France's rose slightly from 44.76 to 46.79, and Italy's fell from 56.67 to 44.26.

⚠️ The U.S. is facing so many social problems — including the 390 million firearms circulating among 330 million Americans — that blaming migrants for criminality is at best, simplistic. Nor can crime be linked to particular groups, like Muslims, or to regions. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates had the lowest crime rates in 2020 (and numerous migrants), while the Global Peace Index placed several African states like Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia above France as peaceful nations. The idea that migrants export the violence of their home countries is also debatable.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

+29.4%

According to new figures released by the FBI, an additional 4,901 homicides were recorded in the United States in 2020 compared with the year before — an increase of 29.4%, the largest since national record-keeping began in the 1960s. A greater percentage of the homicides were the result of gun violence (76%). While there is no simple explanation for the steep rise, possible factors driving the violence include the economic and social toll taken by the COVID-19 pandemic.

📣 VERBATIM

Fighting the only democracy in the Middle East doesn't make you 'woke'.

— Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in his first ever speech at the United Nations, slamming those who oppose Israel out of ignorance. "Adopting clichés about Israel without bothering to learn the basic facts, well, that's just plain lazy," added the leader, who also called on the international community to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet & Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

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Pro-life and Pro-abortion Rights Protests in Washington

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Håfa adai!*

Welcome to Thursday, where new Omicron findings arrive from South Africa, abortion rights are at risk at the U.S. Supreme Court and Tyrannosaurus rex has got some new competition. From Germany, we share the story of a landmark pharmacy turned sex toy museum.

[*Chamorro - Guam]

​✅ SIGN UP

This is our daily newsletter Worldcrunch Today, a rapid tour of the news of the day from the world's best journalism sources, regardless of language or geography.

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• COVID update: South Africa reports a higher rate of reinfections from the Omicron variant than has been registered with the Beta and Delta variants, though researchers await further findings on the effects of the new strain. Meanwhile, the UK approves the use of a monoclonal therapy, known as sotrovimab, to treat those at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.The approval comes as the British pharmaceutical company, GSK, separately announced the treatment has shown to “retain activity” against the Omicron variant. Down under, New Zealand’s reopening, slated for tomorrow is being criticized as posing risks to its under-vaccinated indigenous Maori.

• Supreme Court poised to gut abortion rights: The U.S. Supreme Court signaled a willingness to accept a Republican-backed Mississippi law that would bar abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest. A ruling, expected in June, may see millions of women lose abortion access, 50 years after it was recognized as a constitutional right in the landmark Roe v. Wade case.

• Macri charged in Argentine spying case: Argentina’s former president Mauricio Macri has been charged with ordering the secret services to spy on the family members of 44 sailors who died in a navy submarine sinking in 2017. The charge carries a sentence of three to ten years in prison. Macri, now an opposition leader, says the charges are politically motivated.

• WTA suspends China tournaments over Peng Shuai: The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) announced the immediate suspension of all tournaments in China due to concerns about the well-being of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, and the safety of other players. Peng disappeared from public view after accusing a top Chinese official of sexual assault.

• Michigan school shooting suspect to be charged as an adult: The 15-year-old student accused of killing four of his classmates and wounding seven other people in a Michigan High School will face charges of terrorism and first-degree murder. Authorities say the suspect had described wanting to attack the school in cellphone videos and a journal.

• Turkey replaces finance minister amid economic turmoil: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan appointed a strong supporter of his low-interest rate drive, Nureddin Nebati, as Turkey’s new finance minister.

• A battle axe for a tail: Chilean researchers announced the discovery of a newly identified dinosaur species with a completely unique feature from any other creatures that lived at that time: a flat, weaponized tail resembling a battle axe.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

South Korean daily Joong-ang Ilbo reports on the discovery of five Omicron cases in South Korea. The Asian nation has broken its daily record for overall coronavirus infections for a second day in a row with more than 5,200 new cases. The variant cases were linked to arrivals from Nigeria and prompted the government to tighten border controls.


#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

¥10,000

In the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin, a reward of 10,000 yuan ($1,570) will be given to anyone who volunteers to take a COVID-19 test and get a positive result, local authorities announced on Thursday on the social network app WeChat.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Why an iconic pharmacy is turning into a sex toy museum

The "New Pharmacy" was famous throughout the St. Pauli district of Hamburg for its history and its long-serving owner. Now the owner’s daughter is transforming it into a museum dedicated to the history of sex toys, linking it with the past "curing" purpose of the shop, reports Eva Eusterhus in German daily Die Welt.

💊 The story begins in autumn 2018, when 83-year-old Regis Genger stood at the counter of her pharmacy and realized that the time had come for her to retire. At least that is the first thing her daughter Anna Genger tells us when we meet, describing the turning point that has also shaped her life and that of her business partner Bianca Müllner. The two women want to create something new here, something that reflects the pharmacy's history and Hamburg's eclectic St. Pauli quarter (it houses both a red light district and the iconic Reeperbahn entertainment area) as well as their own interests.

🚨 Over the last few months, the pharmacy has been transformed into L'Apotheque, a venture that brings together art and business in St. Pauli's red light district. The back rooms will be used for art exhibitions, while the old pharmacy space will house a museum dedicated to the history of sex toys. Genger and Müllner want to show that desire has always existed and that people have always found inventive ways of maximizing pleasure, even in times when self-gratification was seen as unnatural and immoral, as a cause of deformities.

🏩 Genger and Müllner want the museum to show how the history of desire has changed over time. The art exhibitions, which will also center on the themes of physicality and sexuality, are intended to complement the exhibits. They are planning to put on window displays to give passers-by a taste of what is to come, for example, British artist Bronwen Parker-Rhodes's film Lovers, which offers a portrait of sex workers during lockdown.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

"I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them. Never."

— U.S. actor Alec Baldwin spoke to ABC News, his first interview since the accident that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust last October. The actor said that although he was holding the gun he didn’t pull the trigger, adding that the bullet “wasn't even supposed to be on the property.”

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

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