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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ Lab-Grown Blood, Nam June Paik Retrospective, Baby Shark Nurse

Le Weekend ➡️ Lab-Grown Blood, Nam June Paik Retrospective, Baby Shark Nurse

Nam June Paik's "Brandenburger Tor" installation

November 12-13

  • Glued to Warhol down under
  • Growing blood in a lab
  • Dancing nurse in Kenya
  • … and much more.


What do you remember from the news this week?

1. What did actor and activist Sean Penn “loan” to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as they met in Kyiv?

2. Which Latin American dictator was seen shaking hands with U.S. envoy John Kerry and French President Emmanuel Macron at COP27?

3. In what pivotal state did Democrats score a Senate seat with John Fetterman during this week’s midterm elections?

4. What may explain the pristine state of 2,300-year-old bronze statues found by archaeologists in Tuscany? They were under an olive tree / They were immersed in thermal waters / They were coated in lava

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


Indian Twitter users must have let out a collective gasp as the hashtag #IndiaLockdown started trending on the social media platform. But it turned out that, in lieu of feared drastic COVID-related restrictions, this was merely the name of a movie that takes place during the pandemic, premiering on Dec. 2 — needless to say, a wave of memes ensued.


• Climate activists target Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans: Climate protesters from the Stop Fossil Fuel Subsidies group glued themselves to Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup I at the National Art Gallery of Australia in Canberra, the latest such action in a global movement of activist demonstrations in art galleries. The organization has called the Australian government to end support for the oil, gas and coal industries.

• Looking back on Nam June Paik’s legacy: South Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Gwacheon will honor Korea-born video art pioneer Nam June Paik with a retrospective exhibition to display his artworks, including the 13-part video sculpture My Faust, and to show his influence on contemporary Korean art.

• Jimmy Kimmel returns as host for Oscars: After three ceremonies without an official host, the Academy Awards have asked late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel to return to emcee the 95th edition of the Oscars in March. The event is still trying to leave behind last year’s shocking moment in which Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage. Rock declined the Academy’s invitation to host the 2023 show. Kimmel had hosted Hollywood’s biggest award show in 2017 and 2018, the last time the ceremony had an official presenter.

• Dubai Design Week focuses on sustainability: The United Arab Emirates’ Dubai Design Week opened this week for an eighth edition, with a series of immersive large-scale installations in line with the festival’s theme, “Design With Impact,” from architect Sara Alrayyes’ Al-Gargoor inspired by Bahrain’s fishing heritage to Stella McCartney’s “Future of Fashion” exhibit.

• Norwegian princess gives up royal duties for guru fiancé: Norway’s Princess Märtha Louise announced in a statement she was withdrawing from official royal duties to focus instead on the alternative medicine business she runs with her fiancé, controversial “shaman” Durek Verrett. The engagement of the 51-year-old princess, who is fourth in line to the Norwegian throne, to Verrett last June had caused a stir in Norway, given his unconventional views on health.

🇨🇺🇻🇪  From Revolutionary To Leader: How Cuba Helped Maduro’s Rise To Power

Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, who has held power since 2013, has presented himself as a humble bus driver who worked his way up to the presidency. But according to a new report by El Espectador, Maduro had help since his youth from Cuba to cement his grip on power. Described as an “outstanding student” of Fidel Castro, Maduro has stuck to the strict line of Marxism he learned as a revolutionary in Cuba. The new evidence also reveals how Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez, was pressured by Cuba into making Maduro foreign minister.

Read the full story: How Cuban Intelligence Helped Secure Maduro's Grip On Power In Venezuela

📚🤫  Out-Of-Print Putin Biographies Reveal More Than The Kremlin Would Like

The question of who Vladimir Putin is has always been a mystery. When he first came to power in 2000, even prominent Russian politicians couldn’t answer the question. Independent Russian news outlet Proekt has tried to piece together the puzzle by looking through previous biographies of Putin, some of which have been sidelined by the Kremlin.

The reason is not necessarily because they reveal too much about Putin’s personal life, his wife, or his daughter by his mistress. The reason is because they portray Putin as an ordinary man with emotions and weaknesses. An official 2018 Russian TV film about him shows the only narrative the Kremlin now allows: Putin is a man saving Russia — and the world.

Read the full story: Who Is Putin? The Long And Subtle Manipulation Of A Public Biography

🇧🇷🚮  Brazil Has Been Closing Its Dumps, Leaving Many Without A Living

Brazil required the closure of massive waste dumps in 2010, but 3,000 are still in operation in the country. So, what is life like for the people who live or once lived in these places?

Many call these places home, living in makeshift homes without sanitation, transportation or government support. And some people still live in the dumps that have been closed down. Maria José, who’s 63, says she misses the place where she raised her children. Her story is true for many who have been left without proper government support.

Read the full story: Meet The Brazilian Waste Pickers Working In Dumps That “Don’t Exist”


In a first-of-its-kind clinical trial, tiny amounts of lab-grown blood are being injected into people to see how it performs in the body. UK researchers say the ultimate goal is to manufacture vital but rare blood groups that are hard to come for people with conditions such as sickle cell anemia.


Elizabeth Robai Lukelesia, a pediatric nurse working at the Kenya Medical Training institute in the western town of Kitale, has won praises on social media after the region's governor retweeted a TikTok video showing her dancing to children’s tune Baby Sharkto cheer up a hospitalized child.


• Former U.S. President Donald Trump has been teasing a “big announcement” he will make in Florida next week, which most assume will be a third presidential run.

The G20 Summit opens in Bali, Indonesia next week. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will take part, most likely attending virtually. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend in person.

• Sweden's parliament will vote on a constitutional amendment that would make it possible to beef up anti-terror laws, a key demand from Turkey to approve Stockholm's NATO membership bid.

News quiz answers:

1. Sean Penn has given one of his Oscars to Volodymyr Zelensky during a meeting in Kyiv. “When you win, bring it back to Malibu," Penn told the Ukrainian president.

2. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had brief encounters with U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and French President Emmanuel Macron at the COP27 summit in Egypt.

3. In one of the key midterm matchups, Democrat John Fetterman defeated Donald Trump-backed Republican Mehmet Oz to take the Pennsylvania Senate race.

4. Archaeologists who found 24 bronze statues in an ancient Tuscan spa, believed to date back 2,300 years, think their exceptional state of preservation may be due to their having been immersed in thermal waters as part of a ritual.

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Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

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