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Finland, Sweden Near NATO Membership, Capitol Riot Witness, Serena’s Defeat

Finland, Sweden Near NATO Membership, Capitol Riot Witness, Serena’s Defeat

U.S. tennis star Serena Williams was eliminated in the first round at Wimbledon by France’s Harmony Tan

Joel Silvestri, McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou and Lisa Berdet

👋 Moni moni onse!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Turkey lifts its veto on Finland and Sweden joining NATO, there’s stunning new testimony in the Jan. 6 hearings and Airbnb bans parties forever. Meanwhile, the latest edition of our “Work → In Progress” series zooms in on changes at play in the world of work, from the emergence of digital nomad visas to asynchronous work schedules.

[*Chewa, Malawi and Zambia]


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• Finland and Sweden on course to join NATO: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lifted a veto on Finland and Sweden joining NATO at the alliance’s summit in Madrid after the three countries agreed on a series of security measures. States members’ parliaments will then have to approve their membership, a move prompted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

• Capitol riot hearings update: White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified as part of the January 6 insurrection hearing that former President Donald Trump knew that some of his supporters carried weapons and still urged them to march on the U.S. Capitol, and reportedly tried to join them but was not allowed to by his security team. She said he also threw his dinner plate against a White House wall when he got bad news about the election results.

• Two arrested in migrants Texas tragedy: Two Mexican men living in the U.S. illegally have been charged in connection with the death of 51 migrants in the sweltering back of a semi truck in San Antonio, Texas. The suspects are thought to own the truck in which the migrants were smuggled.

• Philippines shuts down Maria Ressa’s news site: The Philippines government has ordered the shuttering of the independent news website Rappler for “violating restrictions on foreign ownership in mass media.” Its owner Maria Ressa, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for her journalistic work, pledged that she would keep the website running.

• Fear of religious violence in India: Police in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan have banned public gatherings and blocked Internet access in fear of religious violence after two Muslims posted a video in which they claimed they killed a Hindu tailor, whom they accused of insulting Prophet Mohammad.

• Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years in prison: British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in jail for her involvement in the sex trafficking of underage girls alongside Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell did not take responsibility but said she hoped her conviction would bring “closure” to the victims.

• Airbnb party’s over: Airbnb has permanently banned parties and events in homes rented through their platform. A temporary party ban was first implemented as a COVID safety measure two years ago. Non-complying guests will be banned from the website.


French daily Libération reports on the last day of the trial for the November 13 attacks in Paris. The photo featured on the front page was taken in the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks that killed 130, back in 2015. Judges are expected to hand their verdict today. The daily front page reads: “Humanity has won,” highlighting the strength displayed by witnesses during the nine month trial.



A report by Colombia’s Truth Commission has announced that the long-lasting civil conflict in the country killed more than 450,000 people over nearly six decades. The commission is calling for significant changes to Colombia’s drug policies, which it says played a role in prolonging the war and contributed to the loss of life.


Work → In Progress: The ripples of Ukraine war on the world of work

The war (like the pandemic) is another reminder that the future of work is bound to ever more be a global thing, no matter how local your market or employer may be. This edition of Work → In Progress also zooms in on the emergence of digital nomad visas, asynchronous work schedules and other notable stories from the world of work.

🇷🇺🏫 Mastering the Russian language may give children a leg up on the job market, reports German daily Die Welt. Once prominent in Germany’s eastern federal states, Russian language studies for schoolchildren in Germany have been declining for decades — the number of German students studying Russian was down 83% in the 2020/2021 school year compared to 1992/1993 — and replaced by romance languages. With the war against Ukraine, teaching Russian is at a turning point.

🏖️ Digital nomads, people who work remotely while globetrotting in a “nomadic” fashion, may have a new location to stream from on the beaches of Bali. Indonesia recently announced plans to attract high-spending visitors by developing a “digital nomad” visa. Yet Bali already has its fair share of digital nomads, operating in what Fortune calls “a legal gray area at best,” with some using tourist visas or temporary work permits. The new visa would be valid for five years and wouldn’t tax income from outside the country — and would streamline what some nomads are already getting away with.

🗓️ As employers explore options to reduce the hours workers have to spend in the office in the wake of the pandemic, and the resulting rise of remote work, many European countries are testing out the four-day work week. The idea is that the shorter work week will reduce burnout without sacrificing productivity and pay. Some have already been testing the idea, including Iceland which has begun a four-year study on reduced workplace hours in 2015.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


I grabbed a towel and started wiping the ketchup off the wall.

— In her testimony at the January 6 hearing, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson revealed that former U.S. President Donald Trump became furious when then-Attorney General William Barr denied there was any evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election. She recalled hearing noise in the White House’s dining room and found the president’s valet changing the tablecloth as a porcelain plate laid shattered on the floor: "The president was extremely angry at the attorney general's [...] interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall,” Hutchinson said. The episode was one of many disturbing anecdotes about Trump in the wake of his 2020 election defeat, leading up to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

✍️ Newsletter by Joel Silvestri, McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou and Lisa Berdet

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Why Is Homophobia In Africa So Widespread?

Uganda's new law that calls for life imprisonment for gay sex is part of a wider crackdown against LGBTQ+ rights that is particularly harsh on the African continent.

Photo of LGBTQ Ugandan group

LGBTQ group in Uganda

Pierre Haski

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. This week we also unpack Uganda's new anti-LGBTQ+ law and what it tells us about the African continent. But first the latest news...

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

TW: This content may address topics and include references to violence that some may find distressing.

🌐 5 things to know right now

• Uganda’s new anti-homosexuality law bans identification as LGBTQ+: Uganda’s government has passed an anti-gay piece of legislation that criminalizes individuals identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community and imposes heavy penalties against same-sex relationships. Supporters of the law said it is aimed at punishing LGBTQ+ activities that threaten the country’s traditional values and religious character.

• Arkansas restricts transgender students' bathroom use: The state of Arkansas in the U.S. has enacted a law that targets the transgender community by prohibiting trans people from using school bathrooms that match their gender identity. The bill was signed by Republican governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and “applies to multi-person restrooms and locker rooms at public schools and charter schools serving prekindergarten through grade 12.” Sanders plans on enacting several laws in the future designed to “protect and educate kids” instead of “indoctrinating them with the left’s woke agenda,” according to Alexa Henning, one of Sanders’ spokespersons.

• Italy orders cities to stop recognizing children of same-sex couples: Hundreds of protesters took over the streets of Milan over the weekend for the “Hands Off Our Sons and Daughters'' demonstration organized by LGBTQ+ rights groups, after the country’s right wing government led by Giorgia Meloni recently severely restricted same-sex parents’ rights. The city of Milan received direct orders to stop registering the children of same-sex couples from Italy’s Interior Ministry. The city had been one of the few in Italy to recognize same-sex parents.

→ To dig deeper into this story, read this piece from Italian daily La Stampa, published exclusively in English on Worldcrunch.

• UFC fighter publicly comes out as bi after being outed: UFC fighter Jeff Molina publicly came out as bisexual on Friday after an alleged sex video online outed him. The MMA world has praised his announcement and showed support to the martial artist, who began his statement by acknowledging the harrowing circumstances under which he was forced to come out: “Not the way I wanted to do this but the chance to do it when I was ready was taken from me,” he wrote.

• Grindr joins a major public health push to distribute free at-home HIV tests: Grindr, the most famous gay dating app in the world, will contribute to distributing 1 million free HIV test kits nationally in a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The effort was initiated in response to a decline in the number of HIV tests administered nationwide, and will enable the platform’s 12 million monthly active users to test themselves “on their own terms”. Users will benefit from this service through a “Free HIV Home Test” button in the app’s main menu.

Why Is Homophobia In Africa So Widespread?

Uganda's new law that calls for life imprisonment for gay sex is part of a wider crackdown against LGBTQ+ rights that is particularly harsh on the African continent.-Analysis-

Uganda has just passed a law that allows for life imprisonment for same-sex sexual relations, punishing even the "promotion" of homosexuality. Under the authoritarian regime of Yoweri Museveni for the past 37 years, Uganda has certainly gone above and beyond existing anti-gay legislation inherited from British colonization.

But the country of 46 million is not alone, as a wider crackdown against LGBTQ+ rights continues to spread as part of a wider homophobic climate across Africa.

There is exactly one country on the continent, South Africa, legalized same-sex marriage in 2006, and another southern African state, Botswana, lifted the ban on homosexuality in 2019. But in total, more than half of the 54 African states have more or less repressive laws providing for prison sentences.

Even in countries where it is not prohibited by law, homosexuality remains a taboo, and LGBTQ+ people are in permanent danger.

Non-Western roots

There is a misunderstanding on the African continent: many consider homosexuality to be an imported phenomenon from the West. This is historically absurd and even contradictory — colonial legislation, especially British and Portuguese, was very severe for homosexuals.

But this idea of importation has spread with the fight against AIDS and the preventive and educational action of many Western NGOs or those benefiting from Western funding. Paradoxically, it is often in the name of conservative Christianity, a religion that came from Europe, that condemnation of homosexuality is made. The Anglican Church in Uganda voted to break away from the Church of England when it showed tolerance towards LGBTQ+ people.

The homosexual question has taken on a political dimension by being part of a rejection of Westernization, perceived as a liberalization of morals as much as an economic and ideological domination.

Neo-colonial overtones?

This is therefore a much broader issue, especially considering that Putin's Russia, in its rejection of the West, never fails to include same-sex marriage and what it calls moral depravity. And it uses this argument in its propaganda campaigns, whether open or indirect, in Africa. It makes homophobia a societal, and even civilizational, marker to discredit a West presented as decadent.

The international debate on LGBTQ rights is complex.

This makes the international debate on LGBTQ rights complex. It is not enough to point an accusing finger at African countries that repress homosexuality to advance their rights. It can, in fact, do more harm than good.

Remember the controversy last year around Senegalese footballer Idrissa Gana Gueye of Paris Saint-Germain, who refused to wear a rainbow-colored jersey? It is easy to condemn him from the comfort of liberal Europe.

How do we defend LGBT+ rights without falling into the trap of a counterproductive North-South divide or a moral judgment with neo-colonial overtones? It is difficult, however, to turn a blind eye when laws as repressive as Uganda's trample undeniable human rights.

This is one of the most difficult questions in the Europe-Africa relationship.

— Pierre Haski / France Inter

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