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North Korean Missiles Over Japan, Zelensky To Never Negotiate With Putin, Ian Toll Tops 100

Members of the search and rescue team from Miami search the rubble for missing persons at Fort Myers Beach, after Florida was hit by Hurricane Ian.

Sophia Constantino, Laure Gautherin, Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Shlamaloukh!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where North Korea reportedly fires a missile over Japan for the first time in five years, Ukrainian President Zelensky signs a decree vowing to never negotiate with Russia while Putin is in power, and a lottery win raises eyebrows in the Philippines. Meanwhile, Argentine daily Clarin looks at how the translation of a Bible in an indigenous language in Chile has sparked a debate over the links between language, colonialism and cultural imposition.

[*Assyrian, Syria]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Zelensky says “never” to negotiations with Putin: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed an official decree stating that Kyiv would not conduct negotiations with Russia as long as Vladimir Putin is its president.

• North Korea fires missile over Japan: North Korea fired a suspected missile over Japan on Tuesday. It was for the first time tests invaded Japan’s air space since 2017, setting off a rare alert to some Japanese citizens to take cover.

• Hurricane Ian death toll tops 100: As rescue teams continue to search for missing people, the death toll from Hurricane Ian has reportedly risen to more than 100 in Florida. President Joe Biden is expected to visit the state on Wednesday, after his Monday visit to Puerto Rico, which was struck by Hurricane Fiona just days before Ian hit Florida.

• Ecuador prison fight kills 15: A clash between prisoners in Ecuador's Cotopaxi jail has left at least 15 inmates dead. Authorities say that prisoners fought with guns and knives before guards managed to regain control.

• Trial over alleged rape in Australia parliament begins: Bruce Lehrmann, a former Australian government staffer charged with raping coworker Brittany Higgins in a Parliament House office in March 2019, will stand trial in Australia starting Tuesday. A panel of 16 jurors was selected for the trial, which is expected to run for between four and six weeks, and has provoked nationwide protests about the treatment of women in politics.

• Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to 3 scientists: Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger, scientists respectively from France, the U.S. and Austria were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their pioneering work on quantum information science.

• Suspicious Philippines lottery win:433 people won the top prize of the Philippines’ Grand Lotto on Saturday, drawing scrutiny from officials, including Philippines senate minority leader Koko Pimentel, who has called for an inquiry into the "suspicious" results.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Greek daily Nea Kriti devotes its front page to soaring fuel prices, writing that a full tank is now equivalent to the price of 100 liters of milk, 33 liters of oil or two lambs. Greece plans to submit a proposal for a cap on natural gas prices to the European Union later this week to mitigate the impact of sky-rocketing gas and power prices linked to the war in Ukraine.

🗨️ LEXICON

असुर

Police had to intervene over a row in Kolkata, India, in the middle of Durga Puja, an annual Hindu festival to honor the goddess Durga. Visitors were outraged by one particular element of decoration depicting the goddess killing an Asura (असुर), a power-seeking deity: Bald, wearing little round glasses and holding a walking stick, the demon bore a strong resemblance with Mahatma Gandhi, the “Father of the Nation.” Calling the similarity purely “coincidental,” the organizers were forced to change the look of the idol, adding a wig and a thick mustache and removing the glasses.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Jehovah's witnesses translate the Bible in indigenous language — Is this colonialism?

The Jehovah's Witnesses in Chile have launched a Bible version translated into the native Mapudungun language, evidently indifferent to the concerns of a nation striving to save its identity from the Western cultural juggernaut, reports Claudia Andrade in Argentine daily Clarin.

✝️📖 The Bible can now be read in Mapuzugun, the language of the Mapuche, an ancestral nation living across Chile and Argentina. It took the Chilean branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a latter-day Protestant church often associated with door-to-door proselytizing and cold calling, three years to translate it into "21st-century Mapuzugun". The church's Mapuche members in Chile welcomed the book when it was launched in Santiago last June, but some of their brethren see it rather as a cultural imposition.

✊ The Mapuche were historically a fighting nation, and fiercely resisted both the Spanish conquerors and subsequent waves of European settlers. They are still fighting for land rights in Chile. The Mapuche Confederation of Neuquén made clear on Facebook that they view the Biblia Mapuzugun Mateo-Apocalipsis as another attempt "at colonization and religious domination" using that church's "enormous economic power." For the Mapuche, the language is both "a symbol of identity" and "vehicle of ethical values."

💬 The head of the Jehovah's Witnesses remote translation office in Chile, Rodrigo Pérez, says the Mapuche are traditionally respectful of religion, though "the majority" had no literacy in their own language. Geraldine Abarca, a bilingual education specialist who attended the Bible launch in Chile, said it is "interesting" and probably more effective to promote "an understanding of the world" in one's own language. Is this patronizing? They're repeating in different words what the Europeans have been telling native Americans for 500 years — that they are not civilized.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

I say clearly that these riots and the insecurity were engineered by America and the occupying, false Zionist regime.

— In his first public comments since the protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini started in Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has blamed the U.S. and Israel for the unrest, saying foreign powers could not tolerate Iran “attaining strength in all spheres.” The Supreme leader added that although the young woman’s death “broke [their] hearts,” it was not normal that some people “without proof or an investigation, have made the streets dangerous.”

✍️ Newsletter by Sophia Constantino, Laure Gautherin and Anne-Sophie Goninet


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Coronavirus

Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Lockdowns: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached a boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and shames the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling, as a kind of absurdist expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart was beating fast as her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, within a larger demonstration of other small groups. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and embarrassment start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Yes, crawling in public has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

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