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Ukrainian activists and relatives gathered at Sofiivska Square in Kyiv to show their support to the soldiers of the Azov battalion

Ukrainian activists and relatives gathered at Sofiivska Square in Kyiv to show their support to the soldiers of the Azov battalion

Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 ⴰⵣⵓⵍ!*

Welcome to Friday, where China’s military drills in the Taiwan Strait force airlines to cancel flights, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian leader Vladimir Putin meet in Sochi and a French scientist tricks Twitter with a slice of… chorizo. Meanwhile, French daily Les Echos looks at the phenomenon of “revenge travel” and how it may bring on lasting changes for tourism.

[*Azul - Tamazight, North Africa]

👉 Note to readers: Following tomorrow’s weekend edition, our newsletter team will be taking a one-week summer break. Worldcrunch Today will resume the following week. In the meantime, we invite you to follow our continuing regular coverage of the world on the Worldcrunch website.

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Flights canceled to avoid China’s drills near Taiwan: Airlines have canceled flights to Taipei and rerouted others to avoid airspace that has been closed to civilian traffic, as China continues unprecedented military drills in the Taiwan Strait following Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.

• Russia ready to discuss Brittney Griner deal: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the country is ready to discuss the possibility of a prisoner swap involving basketball star Brittney Griner with the United States. Griner was sentenced Thursday to nine years on charges of trying to smuggle drugs into Russia.

• Erdogan-Putin meeting: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are meeting today at a summit in Sochi. The two leaders are expected to discuss a possible Turkish military intervention against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

• Macky Sall loses majority in Parliament: Senegalese President Macky Sall’s ruling coalition has lost the absolute majority in parliament, making it the first time the party in power does not reach majority since the country’s independence in 1960.

• 13 killed in nightclub fire in Thailand: At least 13 people were killed and dozens injured in a fire at a crowded nightclub in the Chonburi province, eastern Thailand, in the early hours Friday. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

• U.S. police charged with death of Breonna Taylor: Four U.S. police officers have been charged in the death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. The hospital worker was fatally shot by plainclothes police during a “no-knock” search warrant at her home in March 2020, prompting racial injustice protests across the country.

• French scientist’s chorizo planet: Many Twitter users have been tricked by French scientist Etienne Klein’s joke, which presented the photo of a chorizo slice on a black background as if it were a picture of Proxima Centauri, the nearest-known star to the Sun, captured by the James Webb telescope.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Houston’s daily Houston Chronicle dedicates its frontpage to basketball star Brittney Griner, a native of the Texan city. Griner was sentenced to nine years by a Russian court on drug smuggling charges after vape cartridges infused with hash oil were discovered in her suitcase at Moscow airport.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$4.1 million

An Austin, Texas court has ordered U.S. conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $4.1 million in compensatory damages to the parents of a victim of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. The far-right radio show host repeatedly falsely claimed that the shooting was a hoax set up by the government to take away gun ownership rights from Americans, and called the parents of the 20 children killed in the shooting “crisis actors.” The parents of then six-year-old Jesse Lewis said Jones’ claims caused them to endure harassment and emotional distress.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

How our post-COVID travel fever is changing tourism for good

Frenzy has replaced frustration, and some have dubbed it "revenge travel." But far away or nearby, people want to move, move, move...to travel! Beyond the ridiculous moniker, “revenge travel,” this never-before-seen rush may bring on lasting changes for tourism, writes Eric Delon for French financial daily Les Echos.

🌎 Hundreds of thousands of people passionate about traveling all over the world felt frustrated when they could not indulge in their favorite activity during the pandemic. The multitude of restrictive measures adopted by most countries are “to blame” for this. Hence the travel frenzy observed by the tourism industry as restrictions were progressively lifted. It's been dubbed “revenge travel,” with tourists trying to reconnect, to explore new destinations or to go back to their favorite spots, after having had to cancel, give up or radically change their travel plans.

✈️ According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), there were 2 to 3 times more international travelers in January 2022 than in January 2021. Specialists note that revenge travel has been all the more vigorous because high-income populations saved massively during the pandemic. In the U.S., this part of the population’s savings rate went up 15% over the pandemic period. In France, “COVID savings” amounted to around 160 billion euros. The urge to leave was also particularly strong among Millenials and elderly people who were especially affected by the restrictions.

💻 Once the “catch-up” and “revenge” effects are over, how are the post-pandemic tourists expected to behave in the future? This is a big question that tourism professionals are actively working on. According to François de Canson, president of ADN Tourisme, France’s national federation of tourism offices, this profound desire for vacation hides an evolution of practices: amplification of closer-to-home travel, need for disconnection, hybridization of work and leisure places, growing interest for a more responsible tourism.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

Less drag queens and more Chuck Norris.

— At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán shared his views on same-sex marriage and stated that the world doesn’t need more genders. “We must address migration, gender and the clash of civilizations,” he added.

✍️ Newsletter by Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet 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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