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In The News

Putin Accelerates Arms Output, Iran Blacklists, Indian Eclipse

birds flying in a dark skiy during partial solar eclipse in India on October 25

A partial solar eclipse, the final one of this year, was visible in several parts of the world, including in Srinagar, Kashmir, India, pictured here.

Sophia Constantino, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin and Renate Mattar

👋 Ki kati!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Putin is cutting red tape to speed up weapons production, Iran bans EU officials and media for “inciting terrorism,” and turtles are louder than we thought. Meanwhile, ahead of Brazil’s election on Sunday, Lisbon-based news website Mensagem reports on those from the Brazilian LGBTQ+ community who fled to Portugal when Bolsonaro was first elected four years ago.

[*Chi kati - Luganda, Uganda]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Putin wants to speed up weapons and food delivery: Russian President Vladimir Putin has created a new committee aimed at circumventing normal bureaucratic procedures to speed up the production and delivery of weapons and food supplies to Russian troops.

• Scholz and Macron meet amid rising Franco-German tensions: Olaf Scholz is meeting Emmanuel Macron in Paris, amid tense Franco-German relations as the two countries called off a cabinet meeting last week. France and Germany are not seeing eye-to-eye on issues such as the war in Ukraine, energy, and Europe-wide defense.

• EU officials and media blacklisted by Iran: Twelve people and eight organizations have been banned from entering Iran, accused of “inciting terrorism.” Among those blacklisted were the “Friends of Free Iran,” an informal group in the European Parliament, the Persian-language services of two French and German broadcast media, and two editors of German tabloid Bild.

• Huge rise in heat-related deaths, as new report measures health effects of climate change: A new WHO study reported that climate change is harming global health, including a two-thirds rise in heat-related deaths over the last two decades.

• China accused of running illegal “police stations” abroad: Several European media and a Spanish NGO have accused China of establishing “overseas service stations” to intimidate Chinese expats into speaking against the Chinese government. The Dutch foreign ministry has called the practice illegal.

• Australia’s inflation hits 32-year high: Inflation in Australia rose to 7.3% by the end of September, the highest level in the country since 1990, the latest country registering record high price hikes.

• Talking turtles: Gabriel Jorgewich-Cohen, a PhD student at the University of Zurich, has discovered that 53 sea creatures thought to be silent actually communicate. The study — published in the magazine Nature and focused on 50 turtles, a tuatara, a lungfish and a caecilian — shows that they are either very quiet or make a sound every two days.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

French daily Libération devotes its front page to the French-German tensions as the countries’ leaders Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz meet today in Paris to talk about future cooperation in Europe. The relationship between France and Germany is under growing strain due to disagreements on multiple fronts, including the war in Ukraine.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$113 million

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ruled Google was guilty of anti-competitive practices by forcing developers on its app store to use its in-app payment system — which charges commissions of up to 30% on purchases. The country's antitrust body fined the U.S. giant $113 million and declared it had to allow third-party billing or payment processing services in India. Last Thursday, the CCI had already fined Google another $162 million for anticompetitive practices related to its Android operating system.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

For LGBTQ+ who fled Bolsonaro’s Brazil, the fear of “homophobe president” winning again

Portugal became a refuge for the Brazilian LGBTQ+ community who faced real danger following Jair Bolsonaro's victory four years ago. Some of those who left say that if Lula beats the right-wing incumbent in Sunday's presidential election, they would move back home, reports João Damião for Lisbon-based news website Mensagem.

🏳️🌈 With Bolsonaro seeking a second term in Sunday’s runoff against former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian LGBTQ+ community — both those living at home and abroad — have something more at stake than others in the outcome. In the past year, 316 LGBTQ+ people were killed in Brazil, according to data from the LGBTQ+ Death and Violence Observatory. ANTRA, the country's main trans association, reports that Brazil is the country where the most transsexuals are killed each year.

🇵🇹 Portugal is the most popular destination for those fleeing Bolsonaro’s regime “for bureaucratic reasons” since Brazilians do not need a visa to enter as tourists. And they weren't the only ones. Immigration reports show a significant increase of Brazilians in Portugal after the election of Jair Bolsonaro. In 2018, there were 105,000, rising to 151,000 in 2019 and almost 184,000 in 2020. It is impossible to quantify how many left the country out of fear of homophobia, but Queer Tropical, a collective that was born on election night in 2018 to help LGBTQ+ Brazilians come to Portugal, estimates it is in the thousands.

💥🗳️ Ironically, the law that punishes “discrimination and prejudice related to sexual identity or orientation” was passed by the Brazilian Senate in 2019, during the term of Jair Bolsonaro. But the reality is different. A study conducted by journalists in 2020 shows that 50% of LGBTQ+ respondents were victims of aggression on the very day of Jair Bolsonaro's election. More than 90% said that violence increased after his election. “Being gay and black in Brazil is a statement that puts your life at risk. I even got punched on the street out of nothing for being gay”, recalls Delso Batista, one of the main members of Queer Tropical in Lisbon.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

An unparalleled scale of response would be necessary if North Korea pushes ahead.

— The U.S. and its allies believe that North Korea could resume nuclear bomb testing for the first time since 2017, South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong said. These are not the first major tests North Korea has been carrying out, having fired more than two dozen ballistic missiles over the past year. The United States, South Korea and Japan have committed to further cooperation in response.

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


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LGBTQ+ International: Gender Recognition Changes In Scotland, Same-Sex Ice-Skating — And Other News

Skate Canada has announced it is now allowing “two skaters” to compete in the ice dance and pairs figure skating competitions

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

TW: This content may address topics and include references to violence that some may find distressing.

🌐 5 things to know right now

• Poland to veto discriminatory law: Polish President Andrzej Duda said he would veto a controversial bill that limits access to comprehensive sex ed and anti-discrimination classes in schools, after weeks of protests led by students and activists.

• Protests against homosexuality trial in Tunisia: Activists gathered on Dec. 19 in front of a court in Kairouan, Tunisia, to denounce the trial of six men prosecuted for homosexuality — which is punishable by up to three years in prison in the country.

• Scotland to introduce “gender recognition” changes: The Scottish government has introduced a bill to reform how transgender people can change the sex on their birth certificate, in favor of a self-declaration system that removes the need for a psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

• Anti-LGBTQ+ Ghana churches received millions in Western aid: An exclusive investigation by CNN shows how over the past six years, some Western governments spent millions aiding churches in Ghana that have a long history of anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda and activities.

• Canada okays same-sex ice-skating teams to compete: Skate Canada, the national governing body for figure skating, has announced it is now allowing “two skaters” to compete in the ice dance and pairs figure skating competitions at the most elite levels of the sport.

🇦🇷🎧 From church choir to DJ icon: the singular rise of Anita B Queen

Alex Zani, writing for Buenos-Aires-based news agency Agencias Presentes, draws the portrait of Ana Belén Kim, daughter of conservative Korean immigrants to Argentina and a rising star in Latin America's electronic music club scene who's impossible to categorize.

In a world that insists on labels, Ana Belén Kim, also known as Anita B Queen, considers herself a "degenerate." That is: someone impossible to classify. The 26-year-old daughter of a Catholic mother and an Evangelical father, both of whom were Korean immigrants who came to Argentina in their early childhood, her musical career began at Cheil, the First Korean Presbyterian Church in the country.

Anita was still a teenager and was surprised to see so many instruments she could use. She taught herself how to play and was soon in charge of the youth band of the church. When she turned 18, her life turned upside down as she questioned her values and her sexuality.

“Imagine, a lifelong Christian girl, growing up in a small, closed, conservative and orthodox Korean community, trying to understand what she was feeling and trying to accept herself.” That year she left the church, withdrew from her peers, separated from her boyfriend, and began dating other women.

Photo of Anita B Queen with other musicians while in Madrid on Europe tour

Anita B Queen with other musicians on Europe Trip in Madrid — Photo: anitabqueen

"It was at that moment that I started working as a DJ, making electronic music, learning from local and foreign DJs who, without knowing it, were my mentors." It was a world commanded by men into which Anita stormed confidently, without asking for permission. "It's simple," she says. "Breaking through is a matter of attitude.”

Read the full story on Worldcrunch.com

👉 Otherwise

• LGBTQ Nation focuses on Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the Russian composer of Swan Lake and Nutcracker fame, and how his being homosexual was carefully from Russian history.

• 76Crimes highlights the challenges transgender Pakistanis have to overcome today, faced with both a strong conservative Muslim society and a groundbreaking transgender rights law.

• “You've probably heard of the male gaze, but what exactly is the lesbian gaze?” asks Pride.

• T’is the season for queer couples to try to survive Christmas with the family ...

• Feeling nostalgic and looking to binge some good flicks for the holidays? Here’s a nice list of 17 Gay Period Dramas That Will Take You Back in Time.

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