Biden-Xi Meeting, EU v. Belarus, Valentino Rossi Retires

MotoGP Legend Valentino Rossi Final Race

Meng Dingbo/Xinhua/Zuma
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Bonghjornu!*

Welcome to Monday, where leaders of the world's two superpowers meet (virtually), the EU is set to tighten sanctions against Belarus, and an Italian racing legend retires on top. We also have a Ukrainian news report on the methods used by Russian authorities to target the Muslim minority Crimean Tatars.

[*Corsican]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Joe Biden and Xi Jinping virtual summit today: The U.S. and Chinese leaders will discuss how to responsibly manage competition between the two global superpowers and work together where their interests align. The highly anticipated event comes amidst rising tensions over militarization and strained global supply chains.

• Liverpool attack: Three men have been arrested under the United Kingdom's Terrorism Act following a Sunday taxi explosion outside of Liverpool Women's Hospital. The attack occurred just before a national two minutes of silence for Remembrance Sunday, honoring British servicemen and women. The passenger died on the scene and the driver is in a stable condition in hospital.

• COVID update: Austria has implemented a lockdown for about two million people who are not fully vaccinated — a first in the EU — as the country faces a new surge in cases and has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe. Germany has reached an incident rate of 303 per 100,000 people, the highest since the pandemic began, with just 67.5% of the population being fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, Israel has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged five to 11.

• Belarus-Polish border update: The European Union will increase sanctions against Belarus for condoning the movement of thousands of migrants now facing freezing temperatures and a lack of supplies along the Eastern European border. Meanwhile Iraq will repatriate some of the hundreds of Iraqi migrants at the border, many coming from Iraq's northern autonomous Kurdish region. Pressure also grows to cut off all international flights into Belarus.

• 10th victim of Astroworld: Ezra Blount, 9 years old, died on Sunday after being put in a medically induced coma for injuries sustained during the Astroworld music festival. More than 300 were injured during a crowd surge while rapper Travis Scott was performing. A criminal investigation is currently underway into both the event management and Scott's roles in the disaster.

• Journalist jailed in Sudan, another released in Myanmar: Al Jazeera's Sudan bureau chief El Musalmi El Kabbashi was arrested after security forces raided his home in the capital Khartoum. No reason was given for action but it's not the first time the bureau has been targeted. In Myanmar, American journalist Danny Fenster was freed three days after being sentenced to 11 years in jail

• New (old) look for French flag: Why so blue? President Emmanual Macron has updated France's "Tricolour" with a darker shade of navy blue used during the French Revolution. A lighter and brighter blue was adopted in 1976 by President Giscard d'Estaing to match the blue on the flag of Europe.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Austrian daily Kronen Zeitung reports on the government's decision to impose a new lockdown for unvaccinated citizens, who will only be allowed to leave their house for limited reasons such as working, buying food or… getting vaccinated.

📣 VERBATIM

"Lukashenko got it wrong."

— "EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell spoke on Sunday with Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei about "the precarious humanitarian situation," but reiterated the European Union's tough line on Minsk's encouraging migrants to cross over the border into Poland. Borrell told the French weekly Journal du Dimanche that Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko had miscalculated Europe's reaction. "He thought that by acting in this way he would twist our arm and force us to cancel the sanctions. The opposite is happening."

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

How Russia targets Crimean Tatars, long oppressed Muslim minority

Seven years after Moscow annexed Crimea, arrests and trials of Crimean Tatars are used as weapons to repress this ethnic minority that has already suffered for centuries, reports Oksana Rasulova in Ukrainian news website Livy Bereg.

🚨 The ethnic Muslim minority of Turkic descent are indigenous to Crimea and today accounting for 13% of its population. Crimean Tatars had lived as Ukrainian citizens during the eras of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, before being caught under direct rule by Moscow seven years ago when Crimea became part of Russia. Since then, Tatar citizens have been regularly detained and charged for being a "threat to the integrity and sovereignty of the Russian Federation and terrorist activities." Searches, unwarranted arrests and criminal trials have taken place in violation of human rights and international laws.

⚖️ The latest targeting came late last month, with more than 80 people arrested for coming to an open trial. The Tatar defendants were given harsh sentences of up to 17 years in penal colonies. The trial was against members of the religious organization Hizb-ut Tahrir, which Russia has targeted as a dangerous and radicalized group even though members are largely focused on educational activities.

❌ Though largely ignored, even warnings and sanctions from the international community have had virtually zero effect on forcing Moscow to improve the situation in Crimea. And for this indigenous population of the peninsula — the Crimean Tatars — it is another painful page of history of being persecuted or even forced out of their land. On May 18, 1944, by order from Moscow, the Crimean Tatar population of Crimea was deported. They were accused of collaborating with the Nazis and it became one of the swiftest deportations in world history.


➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

💬  LEXICON

Kamo'oalewa

A chunk of rock that hangs out near Earth's orbital path along the Sun has been found to be made of the same material as the Moon according to a new study. This suggests that the object known as (469219) Kamo'oalewa ("wobbling celestial object" in Hawaiian), was shorn off the moon by a meteor impact before becoming a quasi-satellite of our planet.

✈️ 😵  IN OTHER NEWS

"Terminal" saga, Argentine student stuck in Madrid airport since August

It's ripe for a Kafkaesque movie script, with no happy ending so far for a 24-year-old Argentine student who has been sharing on social media her saga about being stuck in Madrid's Barajas airport since August. Milagros Almeida has described a perfect storm of pandemic-related restrictions and bureaucracy, on top of a serious problem of excess luggage, that has left her broke and stranded at Europe's second largest airport.

Recalling the Steven Spielberg-directed movie The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks, Almeida says she has been eating and washing at the airport, buying what she can to survive.

Speaking to Buenos Aires daily Clarín by phone, the anthropology student said she has not received adequate aid from the Argentine consulate, and gotten "sick, physically and psychologically" from the ordeal. But Almeida has also thanked several people who have helped her financially, as she has tried to raise money online to buy a new ticket home.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

✍️ Newsletter by Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin


Send space debris and old French flags, and let us know what's making the news in your part of the world!

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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.

It's easy (and free!) to sign up to receive it each day in your inbox: 👉 Sign up here

🌎  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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