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In The News

Submarine Search Sounds, Biden Calls Xi A “Dictator”, Stonehenge Solstice

Image of people gathered in Stonehenge, UK, to watch the the Summer Solstice.

Around 8,000 people gathered in Stonehenge, UK, one of the world's most famous prehistoric monuments that was built to align with the sun on solstices

Yannick Champion-Osselin, Sophie Jacquier, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Katarzyna Skiba

👋 Kamusta!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where time is running out to find the missing Titanic submarine explorer, Joe Biden calls Xi Jinping a “dictator,” and the“best in the world” restaurant is in a surprising city. Meanwhile, Laura Berlinghieri in Italian daily La Stampa highlights renewed efforts by the country's right-wing government to crack down on same-sex parents.

[*Tagalog, Philippines]


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• Ukraine update: An accounting error by the Pentagon has created a surplus of weapons by overestimating the value of what it has sent to Ukraine since the war began by $6.2 billion. This additional money will be used to continue to support Ukraine. Meanwhile, the UK is hosting a conference of more than 60 countries to discuss funding to help Ukraine recover from the war. Russia has also accused Ukraine of an attempted drone attack in the Moscow region.

• "Banging sounds" heard in search zone for missing submarine: As the search for the OceanGate miniature sub continues, an aircraft detected noises underwater near where the vessel went missing. Contact with the five people on board was lost on Sunday as it descended 3,800 meters to visit the Titanic wreckage. The rescue mission is a race against time as experts predict the sub's air supply will run out in less than 24 hours.

• Hunter Biden to plead guilty: Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden's son, is set to plead guilty for two tax misdemeanors, which may spare him from jail time. He has also made a deal with federal prosecutors about a felony gun charge. Ex-President Donald Trump, who is facing his own criminal cases, reacted by attempting to delegitimize the legal system, claiming that the president's son benefited from political favor.

• Honduras prison riot kills 41 women: At least 41 women have died in a riot at a women’s prison in Honduras. An interviewed inmate said that imprisoned gang members had shot and set fire to other inmates. At least seven female inmates were hospitalized with gunshot and knife wounds, and Honduran President Xiomara Castro promised to “take drastic measures” against this violence.

• West Bank shooting kills 4:Four Israelis were shot dead, and another four wounded in an attack near the settlement Eli in the occupied West Bank. The two Palestinian shooters were also killed. Palestinian militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was a retaliation for Monday’s raid on Jenin that killed seven Palestinians.

• Estonia legalizes gay marriage: Estonia has become the first former Soviet country to legalize same-sex marriage. The law will come into effect in 2024. It was voted by the coalition of liberal and social democratic parties with 55 votes in the 101-seat parliament.

• Peruvian restaurant named best in world: Central restaurant in Lima, Peru, has been crowned the Best Restaurant in the World 2023 by the renowned The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking. Run by chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pia Leon, it was rewarded for its "diversity of ingredients" and homage to Peruvian "history and traditions."


The Israeli government recently said it was in active talks with two countries to sell its Merkava battle tank on the international market for the first time. While the identities of the nations haven’t been disclosed, it was revealed that one of them was in Europe, prompting speculation that the tanks could eventually be sold to Ukraine. Split-based daily Slobodna Dalmacija asks on its front page if the country in question could be Croatia, considering its government had attempted to buy used F-16C/D Barak fighters from Israel in 2019 before canceling the deal.



Portugal’s soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first player in the history of the game to make 200 international appearances, after 20 years on the pitch. For that accomplishment, he was honored by Guinness World Records before his game against Iceland on Tuesday, during which he scored a goal.


Italy's crackdown on same-sex parents could retroactively dissolve families

A new measure from the right-wing government could force same-sex parents of children already in elementary school to suddenly lose their parental rights and status, reports Laura Berlinghieri in Italian daily La Stampa.

🇮🇹👪 High on the list of priorities for the far-right government of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has been targeting the rights of same-sex couples with children. In March, Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala was ordered to stop independently registering same-sex couples as parents of newborns, in accordance with an Italian high court ruling. This new enforcement involves halting the legal registration of children of same-sex parents, compromising the children’s ability to access education and medical care.

⚖️ This week, the crackdown has gone one step further in the northern city of Padua, where 33 families with same-sex mothers now risk losing basic recognition of parental status for their children. The Public Prosecutor's Office requests the alteration of their children’s birth certificates years after their children have been born. The administration's policy seeks to make only the biological parent the legal caretaker, leaving the other parent with no rights over their own children.

🧒 The birth certificates must now only hold the name of the biological mothers. The non-biological mother will be the designated “second parent.” The families are also being asked to change the children’s last names so as to exclude that “second parent.” “For our daughter, this ordeal risks becoming a trauma in a delicate phase of her development. She will no longer have a brother and a mother," says the biological mother of one family affected.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“He didn't know it was there. That's a great embarrassment for dictators.”

Speaking at a political fundraiser in California, U.S. President Joe Biden seemed to instantly undermine recent progress on cooling tensions with China. "The reason why Xi Jinping got very upset, in terms of when I shot that balloon down with two box cars full of spy equipment in it, was he didn't know it was there. That's a great embarrassment for dictators. When they didn't know what happened.” The ad lib comments late Tuesday came just a day after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese President Xi Jinping for talks meant to reduce the risks of a showdown between the two superpowers. Responding to Biden’s remarks, Mao Ning, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, called them “extremely absurd and irresponsible”, and “an open political provocation” out of line with the standards of diplomacy.

✍️ Newsletter by Yannick Champion-Osselin, Sophie Jacquier, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Katarzyna Skiba

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When Finding Your “Better Self" Means Not Caring About Others

Many of the contemporary philosophies that promise to help us improve our lives and well-being also require cutting off relationships with other people — one of the most important parts of living in a society with others.

image of a woman with her hand on her chest

Finding inner peace

Darius Bashar/Unsplas
Carlos Javier González Serrano


MADRID — Abundant, insidious… Everyday, everywhere we go, everywhere we look, we receive, whether surreptitiously or explicitly, messages inviting us to acquire and feed our subjective autonomy through personal development exercises, emotional coaching, self-improvement techniques, some dubious self-help method or through different esoteric or "healing" paths, like astrology, tai chi, flower therapy, energy therapies, which promise individual fulfillment.

The rules are simple, but stupefying and, most worryingly, require severe emotional discipline: "Show your self-love," "Be your own universe," "You forge your absolute self," "Embrace your being and it will embrace you” and other similar nonsense and trivialities.

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These sayings, which aspire to be heirs of the Enlightenment (whose Kantian motto – sapere aude! "Have courage to use your own reason" – intended to provide individuals with the intellectual tools to achieve independent free will) or of stoicism, hide a dangerous and alienating political (or apolitical) drift.

Through the trivialization and commercialization of people's emotional insecurity, submerged in an intellectual narcotization caused by various contemporary malaises which have become endemic, these personal development maxims rob us of one of the most essential elements of a healthy society: the ability to feel affected by others.

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