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In The News

Russia Defies Oil Price Cap, Iran’s Morality Police In Limbo, Tasmanian Tiger Mystery

Photo of ​Firefighters battle a blaze in self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

Firefighters battle a blaze after following a reported attack from Ukrainian forces on the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

Laure Gautherin, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Aniin!*

Welcome to Monday, where a new Western price cap on Russia kicks in, conflicting reports are swirling about the fate of Iran’s “morality police,” and a thylacine mystery gets solved. Meanwhile, Beate Strobel in German daily Die Welt introduces us to the working world’s new ailment that is like burnout with a dose of denial: burn-on.

[*Ojibwe, Canada]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Russia says it will defy G7 oil price cap that kicks in today: Russia says it will only do business with countries that will “work under market conditions,” as a new $60/barrel price cap on oil was imposed today by G7 countries and Australia. Traders and politicians will gauge how and if the price cap will function in practice, as part of one of the major paradoxes about the war in Ukraine: that despite imposing sanctions on Russia and arming Ukraine, the West has continued to purchase Russian natural gas and oil.

• Uncertainty over Iran’s suspension of morality police: Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was quoted as saying that Iran’s morality police had been “shut down” as protests in the country continue into the third month. But the government didn’t confirm the move and local media are reporting his remarks were “misinterpreted.”

• More Chinese cities ease COVID curbs: An increasing number of Chinese cities — including Shenzhen, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chengdu and Chongqing — have started to relax stringent COVID-19 restrictions, following weeklong anti-government protests target at Beijing’s tough handling of the pandemic.

• North Korea fires 100+ artillery rounds near border with the South: North Korea said it had fired more than 130 artillery shells on Monday into the water near its western and eastern sea borders with South Korea as a warning against the Seoul’s ongoing military drills.

• Trial over Brussels terror attacks begins: Ten men will go on trial today to face accusations of participating in the Brussels terror attacks of 2016 that left 32 people dead and injured hundreds, in what will be Belgium’s largest-ever criminal trial. The suspects include Salah Abdeslam, who was sentenced to life in prison last year for his role in the 2015 Paris attacks.

• Indonesia’s Java on high alert after major eruption: Thousands of residents in Indonesia’s East Java have been evacuated after Mount Semeru erupted Sunday. Authorities have raised the alert level of volcanic activity to its highest and imposed a 8-kilometer no-go zone.

• Tasmanian tiger mystery solved: It’s the end of an 85-year-old mystery, as the remains of the last known Tasmanian tiger were found in the cupboard of a Tasmanian museum. The last of the extinct species, also known as thylacine, died back in 1936 and its skin and skeleton had gone missing.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

French newspaper Libération is wondering whether it’s time to panic about potential large-scale outages, as it investigates France's electricity network amid the energy crisis and increased winter demand. “Despite Emmanuel Macron’s reassuring communication, the risk of a blackout has never been more tangible,” the daily states, featuring an unlit Eiffel Tower.

#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS

$592 billion

The sales of arms and military services by the 100 largest companies in the industry reached $592 billion in 2021 — a 1.9% increase compared to 2020, according to data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It is the seventh consecutive year that global arms sales rose, although the rise has been mitigated by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global supply chain. The Institute predicts even more disruption in the industry following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which created a new demand for both countries while affecting companies’ production capacity, Russia being a major supplier of raw materials.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Now they're diagnosing burnout's never-quit cousin: burn-on

Feeling overworked but not yet burned out? Often the problem is “burn-on,” an under-researched phenomenon whose sufferers desperately struggle to keep up and meet their own expectations — with dangerous consequences for their health, writes Beate Strobel in German daily Die Welt.

😵💼 Burn-out is the result of sustained periods of stress at work. Being overworked reduces productivity. The affected individual tries to combat this by working even harder, which raises stress levels further and reduces productivity even more. So, how is burn-on different? Schiele, the lead psychologist at the Kloster Dießen Psychosomatic Clinic, uses the image of a hamster wheel to explain how it works: whereas those suffering from burn-out or bore-out have already given up running and are lying helplessly next to the wheel, burn-on patients are still driving the wheel round, desperately struggling to keep up and meet their own expectations.

🏥 Of course, not every headache or backache is a sign of being overworked. It’s not easy to determine how often these complaints point to cases of burn-on. Firstly, because research into this condition is still in its infancy.

🧘 Self-awareness is the first step to making a change. Professor Bert te Wildt and psychologist Timo Schiele advise people who are showing signs of burn-on to think about their personal values and order them by importance. How important are areas of my life such as my partner and family, career, culture, friendships and hobbies? And how much time do I dedicate to each of these?

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

It's a little bit childish.

— Russian rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Irina Scherbakova criticized hasty calls for peace, saying she did not believe in a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine. Speaking in German at a ceremony in Hamburg where she was presented with an award for her human rights work, Scherbakova said, “I am absolutely convinced that there is not a diplomatic solution with Putin’s regime,” before adding “The solution that there will now be is a military one.”

✍️ Newsletter by Laure Gautherin, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet


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Society

Imperfect Victim: What A Chinese Series About Sexual Assault Can And Can't Say

A new melodrama broadcast in China about sexual assault in the workplace is a sign that some difficult questions are being addressed, but that serious taboos remain in Chinese society and public life.

Poster from a series showing two women and a man.

Poster for the "Imperfect Victim" series.

Zhao Xiaoning

-Analysis-

BEIJING — Seeing the trailer for Imperfect Victim on TV was a harrowing experience: on a screen that is usually used as a backdrop, the face of an overwhelmed girl suddenly appears, along with several keywords, including "power imbalance." The advertisement explains that a drama about sexual assault in the workplace is being broadcast on Beijing Satellite Television and multiple other channels. It looks from the spot like a repeatedly banned subject is diving straight into the drama.

The story begins with a rape case reported anonymously by a third party. The victim, Zhao Xun, is a successful female assistant to the chairman of the board of directors, Cheng Gong. She is questioned by the police, her lawyer and the perpetrator of the crime, who sometimes affirms and sometimes denies the case.

During the course of the investigation, it was also discovered that after working in the company for only three months, she was transferred to a position that other colleagues had not reached despite working for several years, and that she had received luxury items purchased by Cheng Gong on the company's dime, which made her an "imperfect victim."

Cheng, as a perpetrator of sexual violence, was by no means unaware of Zhao’s conflict, or else he would not have covered up for himself by repeatedly bribing people who knew about it. Even he himself admitted that he likes Zhao not only because she is young, but also because he likes to see her "troubled face." However, Cheng still refuses to admit his crime on the grounds that Zhao did not resist.

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