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In The News

Russia-Ukraine Drone Tit-For-Tat, BRICS 2.0, Game Over For Mario’s Voice

Russia-Ukraine Drone Tit-For-Tat, BRICS 2.0, Game Over For Mario’s Voice

Scattered debris of a downed drone near Moscow.

Marine Béguin, Chloé Touchard and Valeria Berghinz

👋 Sveiki!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where BRICS leaders meet in South Africa aiming to expand the alliance, former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is arrested upon returning to Bangkok after 15 years in exile, and everybody’s favorite Italian plumber gives his voice a rest. Meanwhile, for Spanish online media Ethic, David Lorenzo Cardiel says the word on the street is literally worth preserving.



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• BRICS summit opens in South Africa: Leaders of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are meeting in Johannesburg for their annual summit, as tensions from the Ukraine war and a growing rivalry between China and the U.S. has put pressure to strengthen and expand the bloc. For the next two days, the group will discuss expanding membership and boosting the use of member states’ local currencies. Here’s a recent Les Echos/Worldcrunch piece about the prospects of BRICS common currency.

• Ukraine-Russia update: Russia reported several drone attacks during the night, shooting down a drone in Moscow's western suburbs and two over the Black Sea. The Russian Defense ministry says a fighter jet also destroyed a Ukrainian reconnaissance boat in the Black Sea. Meanwhile, images posted on social media show a Russian long-range bomber being damaged by a Ukrainian drone strike south of Saint Petersburg.

• Thailand’s fugitive ex-PM arrested upon return: Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was arrested at Bangkok's Don Mueang airport, 15 years after his self-imposed exile. The billionaire figurehead of the populist Pheu Thai Party was taken to the Supreme Court after paying his respects to the king and was charged with abuse of power and other “politically motivated” criminal offenses, for which he faces 8 years in jail. Thatskin fled the country in 2008 after the military overthrew him and accused him of corruption and disloyalty to the monarchy.

• Cambodia approves longtime ruler’s son as prime minister: Cambodia’s newly elected parliament has endorsed Hun Manet, son of longtime leader and outgoing premier Hun Sen, as Prime Minister. Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge guerilla who led the country for almost four decades, will stay in politics, most likely becoming head of the Senate and of the Supreme Council of the King.

• Japan to start releasing Fukushima radioactive water: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida gave the go-ahead to start releasing 1 million metric tons of treated and diluted radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, starting Thursday. The Prime Minister said the release of the water is essential for the work needed to decommission the facility, which could take decades. The plan has drawn criticism from local fishing groups, to whom the Japanese government has promised long-time support and protection measures until the release ends.

• Eight trapped in cable car in Pakistan: A group of eight people, including 6 children, got trapped in a cable car 274 meters above ground after a cable snapped in Battagram, Pakistan. The passengers have been trapped for at least four hours. According to images online, the cable car is stranded in the middle of a deep ravine and gusty winds are making the rescue missions particularly delicate. In this remote and mountainous region, about 150 people take the cable car daily to reach their school.

• It’s-a-me no more! Mario’s voice retires: Charles Martinet, the iconic voice of video game character Mario, is retiring, announced Nintendo America. Martinet started his career as the mustachioed plumber’s voice in 1996 on Super Mario 64 and has voiced the character in over 150 Nintendo games, bringing to life iconic catchphrases like “Mamma Mia” and “Let’s-a go!”.


As the BRICS summit starts today, the Durban-based daily The Mercury devotes its front page to BRICS agreements signed ahead of the summit, such as by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) with the China Africa Development Fund and by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Bank of China. The summit aims to discuss the bloc's possible expansion to 22 other countries including Turkey, Indonesia, Egypt and Argentina, trade and partnerships in what is being described as a "new world order", but also how BRICS countries can trade in local currencies.


41,6 million

Passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport reached 41.6 million, surpassing pre-pandemic levels with a 49% increase over 2022. This increase is part of a tourism boom, with over 14 million international tourists in 2022, almost double the previous year's figure.


Saving urban typography in a digital world

Typography is a familiar sight on the streets, but it has also succumbed to fashions and the passage of time. In Madrid, Ethic’s David Lorenzo Cardiel looks at efforts to rescue urban signage and what is done in the Spanish capital to preserve this part of our collective heritage.

🔠 Typography has accompanied humanity since the origin of printing techniques, an extension of the ancient art of calligraphy. Tens of thousands of styles, aiming to unite beauty and intelligibility — but in the age of the Internet we seem to limit typography to just a uniform few. Is this the end of typography, or are we in a new stage of its reinvention?

🇪🇸 The work of poster and typographic art lovers is vital to maintain the love and legacy of these scraps of our recent past. This is the case of the Iberian Network for the Defense of Graphic Heritage, which has rescued more than 200 posters from historic establishments in the Spanish capital alone. The National Library has also carried out projects to restore signage, including some from bullfighting events.

✍🏻 Efforts to preserve the typographic arts are not trivial. Calligraphy has become a rarity: as handwriting becomes less common and simpler, limited to brief notes and informal contexts, the need to take care of the way we write has been limited to those who choose to practice it. This makes sense: there is hardly any need to make our handwriting legible to any reader but ourselves. Therefore, calligraphy is neither required in basic education nor does it end up being an imperative that represents basic literacy.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“Wagner [...] makes Russia even greater on all continents, and Africa even more free..”

— Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has made what appears to be his first video address since the paramilitary group’s short-lived mutiny in late June. The Telegram clip shows Prigozhin in combat gear in what is thought to be an African country, stating that his Wagner mercenaries (of which an estimated 5,000 are currently stationed in nations like Mali and the Central African Republic) are making the continent “more free.” He adds that currently, the Wagner group is exploring for minerals and fighting Islamic extremists and other criminals for the “justice and happiness” of the African people. Here’s a recent piece on Wagner in Africa.

✍️ Newsletter by Marine Béguin, Chloé Touchard and Valeria Berghinz

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How Parenthood Reinvented My Sex Life — Confessions Of A Swinging Mom

Between breastfeeding, playdates, postpartum fatigue, birthday fatigues and the countless other aspects of mother- and fatherhood, a Cuban couple tries to find new ways to explore something that is often lost in the middle of the parenting storm: sex.

red tinted photo of feet on a bed

Parenting v. intimacy, a delicate balance

Silvana Heredia

HAVANA — It was Summer, 2015. Nine months later, our daughter would be born. It wasn't planned, but I was sure I wouldn't end my first pregnancy. I was 22 years old, had a degree, my dream job and my own house — something unthinkable at that age in Cuba — plus a three-year relationship, and the summer heat.

I remember those months as the most fun, crazy and experimental of my pre-motherhood life. It was the time of my first kiss with a girl, and our first threesome.

Every weekend, we went to the Cuban art factory and ended up at the CornerCafé until 7:00 a.m. That September morning, we were very drunk, and in that second-floor room of my house, it was unbearably hot. The sex was otherworldly. A few days later, the symptoms began.

She arrived when and how she wished. That's how rebellious she is.

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