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In The News

Mass Karabakh Exodus, Iraq Wedding Fire Kills 100, 16-Hour Work Day

Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh reach the village of Kornidzor in Armenia.

Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh reach the village of Kornidzor in Armenia. Over the past week, an estimated 42,500 ethnic Armenians have fled the separatist region that Azerbaijan seized last week.

Emma Albright and Valeria Berghinz

👋 Inuugujoq kutaa!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where an estimated 42,500 ethnic Armenians have now fled conflict-torn Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, a fire at a wedding in northern Iraq kills at least 100, and Spain fines major consultancy firms over “marathon working days.” Meanwhile, Katarzyna Skiba looks into new evidence that Gen Z is drinking less than previous generations.

[*Greenlandic]

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• More than 40,000 refugees have fled to Armenia: Some 42,500 ethnic Armenians have now fled Nagorno-Karabakh, more than a third of the population of the enclave that Azerbaijan seized last week. Azerbaijan says residents will be safe, but Armenia's prime minister says “ethnic cleansing” has started. Nagorno-Karabakh, recognized as part of Azerbaijan, had been run by ethnic Armenians for three decades.

• North Korea to deport U.S. soldier who crossed the border: North Korea says it will deport U.S. soldier Travis King who ran across the border from South Korea during a tour in July. Pyongyang would deport him after finishing its investigation into King's “illegal” entry, state news agency KCNA said. KCNA did not specify how, when or to where King would be expelled.

• More than 100 killed in wedding fire in northern Iraq: At least 100 people have died after a fire broke out at a wedding in Iraq's Nineveh province. At around 10:30 p.m., during a slow dance, a firework hit the roof of the venue setting it on fire. The Iraqi prime minister has declared three days of national mourning.

• Russia claims Black Sea Fleet commander alive: Russia's defense ministry has released a video showing the Black Sea Fleet's commander at a conference, despite Ukraine claiming to have killed him. Ukraine special forces had said on Monday that Admiral Viktor Sokolov and 33 other officers died in a missile strike on the fleet's HQ in Sevastopol in occupied Crimea. Kyiv has expressed doubts over the footage and says it is trying to verify whether he is alive or dead.

• Trump found liable for fraud in New York civil case: A New York judge has ruled that Donald Trump committed fraud by repeatedly misrepresenting his wealth by hundreds of millions of dollars. The ruling, part of a civil case brought against the former president and his family business, said he defrauded banks and insurers for years. The verdict will likely hinder Trump’s ability to do business in the state, and comes as the former U.S. President awaits trials in four criminal cases and leads polls to again be the Republican nominee for the White House.

Canada parliament speaker steps down after honoring Nazi: Anthony Rota, the speaker of Canada’s Parliament, has stepped down, days after he honored a man who fought in a Nazi unit during World War II as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the House of Commons last week. Addressing Canadian lawmakers in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon, Rota said he was resigning “with a heavy heart.”

• Hollywood writers agree to officially end five-month strike: Hollywood writers ended their strike at midnight on Wednesday, after nearly five months. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) said in a statement that union leaders “voted unanimously to lift the restraining order and end the strike.” Its 11,500 members will then vote on whether to approve a three-year deal that offers pay raises and protections around use of artificial intelligence.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

U.S. daily The Detroit News lends its front page to U.S. President Joe Biden, who on Tuesday joined in walking the picket line with striking Michigan autoworkers. Biden spoke to the strikers through a bullhorn, supporting their demands for pay raises by stating that “they should be able to bargain” for a 40% increase. Read this Worldcrunch article from last year about COVID’s impact on the labor movement, with Sweden as a possible model for the future.

#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS

16 hours

Spain’s Labour Ministry has announced it would slap the so-called “Big Four” consulting firms (Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG) with a 1.4 million-euro fine for normalizing “marathon working days.” A year-long investigation has shown that employees of the consultancies were working longer hours than their records showed. In some cases, workers complained about spending 16 hours per day at the office.

📰 STORY OF THE DAY

Europeans are the world’s heaviest drinkers — is Gen Z finally breaking the habit?

Young people across Europe are drinking less, which is driving a boom in non-alcoholic alternatives, and the emergence of new, more complex markets.

🍸🚫 From Irish whisky to French wine to German beer, Europe has long been known for alcohol consumption. But that may be starting to change, especially among Gen Z Europeans, who are increasingly drinking less or opting out entirely, out of concern for their health or problematic alcohol use. The alcohol-free trend is propping up new markets for low- or zero-alcoholic beverages, including in one of Europe’s beer capitals: Germany.

🍺 In Germany, which has the world's seventh-highest consumption of beer per capita, non-alcoholic beer has exploded in popularity among those looking to live a healthier lifestyle. Though the land of Oktoberfest and Biergartens remains one of the highest consumers of alcohol worldwide, Germans’ average consumption of beer has drastically decreased. In 2022, Germans drank an average of 87.2 liters of beer per year, compared to nearly 100 liters 10 years earlier, according to statistics from the German government.

📈 Brewers have responded to the changing market, and are developing a wider variety of non-alcoholic beverages than ever before. Since 2007, the production of non-alcoholic beers, which can contain at most 0.5% alcohol, has doubled, according to Les Echos. In Germany, the beverages account for 7% of the beer market, and are expected to take off in the years to come.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

“How could we not be scared?”

— Fifteen-year-old André Oliveira, one of the six young Portuguese taking 32 European countries to court on the basis of their climate in-action, discusses how what’s called “eco-anxiety” has hindered his personal life and ability to do schoolwork. The landmark case accuses European countries of failing to reduce greenhouse emissions in accordance with the Paris agreement, thereby affecting the young people’s fundamental human rights. The trial will begin on Wednesday, and if the courts rule in favor of the Portuguese youth, the accused countries would be legally binded to accelerate their efforts towards limiting emissions. Read about how the ecological crisis is pushing France back into the mining industry — not for coal, but for the rare earths essential for renewable energy.

✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Valeria Berghinz and Anne-Sophie Goninet


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Society

Influencer Union? The Next Labor Rights Battle May Be For Social Media Creators

With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor.

​photograph of a smartphone on a selfie stick

Smartphone on a selfie stick

Steve Gale/Unsplash
David Craig and Stuart Cunningham

Hollywood writers and actors recently proved that they could go toe-to-toe with powerful media conglomerates. After going on strike in the summer of 2023, they secured better pay, more transparency from streaming services and safeguards from having their work exploited or replaced by artificial intelligence.

But the future of entertainment extends well beyond Hollywood. Social media creators – otherwise known as influencers, YouTubers, TikTokers, vloggers and live streamers – entertain and inform a vast portion of the planet.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

For the past decade, we’ve mapped the contours and dimensions of the global social media entertainment industry. Unlike their Hollywood counterparts, these creators struggle to be seen as entertainers worthy of basic labor protections.

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