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In The News

One Million Refugees, Kyiv Bracing, Paralympics Ban

 Two girls paint the glass of one of the carriages at the Lviv train station.

Fleeing Lviv

Anne-Sophie Goninet and Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

👋 Kaixo!*

Welcome to Thursday, where a massive refugee crisis is arriving, with more than one million people having fled Ukraine as Russia’s assault continues. Also, the UN overwhelmingly votes to condemn Russia’s invasion, and Belarusian and Russian athletes are banned from the Beijing Winter Paralympics. Meanwhile, a piece by German daily Die Welt looks at how Turkey’s Generation Z, frustrated with the country’s politics, is turning its back on President Erdogan.



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• Assault on Ukrainian capital: Fearing that a large-scale Russian attack is imminent, many residents still in Kyiv are leaving Ukraine’s capital and most populous city. As a massive Russian military convoy continues to advance southward, gunfire and explosions have begun to spread through Kyiv. Barricades have been set up, as guards check the identification of those entering the subway stations that have become bomb shelters.

• One million refugees from Ukraine: The war in Ukraine has already produced one million refugees who have fled the country a week into the Russian invasion, according to the United Nations. This accounts for a bit more than 2% of the country’s population, with around half of refugees in Poland.

• War crime investigation by ICC: The International Criminal Court is launching an investigation into possible war crimes or crimes against humanity in Ukraine. Karim Khan, the prosecutor of the ICC, said that even though Ukraine isn’t an ICC member, it awarded jurisdiction to the court. Also, in an emergency United Nations General Assembly session 141 of the 193 member states voted to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and called for withdrawal. Thirty-five members abstained and five voted against the resolution, though three key Middle Eastern countries have reversed their stance to support the resolution..

• Russia and Belarus athletes removed from Paralympics: In the latest consequences for Russians (and other supporters of Putin’s regime), Russian and Belarusian athletes can longer compete in the Beijing Paralympics. On the eve of the opening ceremony, it was a shocking turn of events, given that just a day before, event organizers gave the greenlight for them to participate.

• U.S. Congressional panel reports that Trump engaged in “criminal conspiracy”: Former President Donald Trump may have taken part in criminal conduct while trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election, according to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. This finding may formally push prosecutors to charge Trump with criminal wrongdoing.

• Ex-Nissan executive convicted in Tokyo court of Ghosn cover up: Greg Kelly was handed a sixth-month suspended sentence for aiding ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn in hiding his income from financial regulators. This might be the closest that Japanese persecutors get to holding Ghosn accountable, as he fled to Lebanon in 2019 in a box on a private jet.

• Is there life on Mars? What about flowers?: While on its investigation of Martian rocks in the Gale Crater, the Curiosity rover photographed a rock artifact (smaller than the size of a penny) that resembled a piece of coral or a flower. NASA reports that the design was “made in the ancient past when minerals carried by water cemented the rock."


Belgian daily Le Soir reports on the refugee crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the United Nations warning that at this rate, the exodus could become “the biggest refugee crisis this century.” At least one million people have fled Ukraine so far, but it is estimated that the European Union could have to take in up to 4 million refugees.


$6.7 million

An auction organized by UkraineDAO, an initiative backed by the Russian feminist protest punk rock group Pussy Riot, sold an NFT of the Ukrainian flag for more than $6.7 million to be donated to “Come Back Alive,” a campaign to support Ukraine’s military.


Why Gen Z is a real threat to Erdogan's grip on power in Turkey

Erdogan has long sought to mold young Turks into a so-called “pious generation” for his brand of Islamic political rule. Now it seems he has failed, as the younger generation longs for what that the president refuses to grant them. In next year’s elections, their votes may prove decisive, writes Carolina Drüten in German daily Die Welt.

🇹🇷🙅 In Turkey’s upcoming elections, 18 to 25 year olds will make up 15% of the electorate. Their importance is not lost on Erdogan. He once vowed to raise a pious generation of Turkish nationalists, who would be loyal to him. But he miscalculated. Generation Z is turning its back on the man who wants to be their leader. A significant majority — 62.5% – of this age group is dissatisfied with the Turkish government. They are not only frustrated with Erdogan, but with all of Turkish politics.

⏳ “This is because it has been the same politicians and the same political party in power for many years,” says university professor Ali Caglar, who carried out a study on youth and politics. Erdogan, who has been in power for 19 years, was the preferred candidate of 16.8% of respondents. That made him the most popular candidate, but with a very low preference. Even in Turkey’s opposition, it is always the same politicians in charge, says Caglar. “So young people have no hope for the future,” he says. “They think that nothing will change.”

⚖️ The youth’s sense of hopelessness is clear from the study’s findings. Almost three quarters of respondents said they would like to live in a different country if they had the opportunity. The three most common reasons for this were better quality of life abroad, more human rights and freedom. Two thirds of respondents said that human rights were not respected in Turkey; only 11.9% had faith in the courts and the justice system. The values that Erdogan has long disregarded are important to young people.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


We are living through a moment that will be on every syllabus of European history. Now is the time to decide what place each one of us wants to have in that history.

— Olesya Khromeychuk, a Ukrainian historian and writer whose brother joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces and was killed by shrapnel in 2017 in the Luhansk region.

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

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Flexing Against Sexism: Meet The Women Bodybuilders Of Nepal

Women bodybuilders are rare in a society that prefers them thin, soft — and fully clothed. But with sports, gold-medal winners like Rajani Shrestha are helping inspire change.

Photograoph of four female bodybuilders holding their country's flags on stage.

Judges and attendees observe the 55th Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship in Kathmandu

Yam Kumari Kandel/GPJ NEPAL
Yam Kumari Kandel

KATHMANDU — Rajani Shrestha exercises at a gym near Baneshwor Height, a neighborhood in Kathmandu, as she prepares for a major bodybuilding championship. As the 42-year-old lifts around 50 kilograms (110 pounds) in a deadlift, her veiny arms and neck muscles bulge out. A woman with “muscles like a man,” she says, is a very rare sight here.

The men bodybuilders in the club stare at her. “I don’t care what anyone says or does. I must win the competition anyway,” Shrestha says. As the day progresses, she is the only one left in the club. For Shrestha, there is no time to waste. On this August weekday, it’s only a month to go till the 55th Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship.

In 2019, Shrestha won silver medals at the 12th South Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship, held in Kathmandu, and the 53rd Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship, in Batam, Indonesia. The National Sports Council also recognized her for excellence.

Shrestha does not fit the normative definition of an ideal woman in Nepal. In a society where a thin body is considered beautiful, women bodybuilders with brawny bodies are labeled “men” and are often the target of ridicule and derision.

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