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Nepal reopened schools on Sunday, after a month of virtual classes fueled by the Omicron variant.

Nepal reopened schools on Sunday, after a month of virtual classes fueled by the Omicron variant.

Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

👋Yáʼátʼééh!*

Welcome to Monday, where German Chancellor Sholz goes to Kyiv and then Moscow to try to avert a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the trucker blockade has ended at the U.S.-Canada border and we’ve got one perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your ex. For weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique, Eva Sauphie reports on the women flipping the conversation on sexuality in West Africa.

[*Navajo]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Ukraine update: Ukraine has called for an urgent meeting with Russia and members of Europe’s top security body within the next 48 hours over the escalating tensions on its border. Meanwhile, German chancellor Olaf Scholz has landed in Kyiv before visiting Moscow on Tuesday, following the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron last week in an attempt to defuse tensions. Airlines have been canceling or diverting flights in and out of Kyiv as Westerners are scrambling out to get out of Ukraine.

• Russian Olympic skater cleared despite failed drug test: Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva will be able to continue competing at the Beijing Winter Olympics after sport’s highest court cleared the 15-year-old athlete due to “exceptional circumstances,” and particularly her age, which meant Valieva should not be provisionally suspended for a failed drug test. However the International Olympic Committee announced on Monday the athlete won’t feature in any medal ceremonies, saying it “would not be appropriate.”

COVID update: Coronavirus infections have hit a new record in Hong Kong as daily cases have surged by some 20 times over the past two weeks, leaving the city’s hospitals overwhelmed and struggling to cope. Meanwhile, Germany has registered a drop in case numbers as the government plans to loosen restrictions in the coming weeks.

U.S.-Canada bridge reopens after protests cleared: The Ambassador Bridge border crossing between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, North America’s busiest trade link, reopened late Sunday evening after the Canadian police ended a six-day blockade by clearing anti COVID-19 measures protests.

Saudi-led coalition bombs Yemeni capital: The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels destroyed a telecommunication system used for drone attacks in Yemen’s capital Sanaa. It is not clear if there were any casualties.

LA Rams win Super Bowl LVI: The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in Super Bowl LVI, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. The halftime show saw rapper Eminem take a knee, a gesture which had become a subject of controversy when former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick used it to protest against police brutality and racial injustice in 2016.

Naming a cockroach after your ex for Valentine’s day: A zoo in the southeast of England is offering jilted lovers to take revenge by naming a cockroach after their ex for Valentine’s Day for just £1.50.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“Panic attack,” titles Ukrainian daily Vesti as mounting tensions between the West and the Kremlin over a possible Russian invasion have led some airlines to scrap or divert flights in and out of Ukraine. The country allocated $592 million to guarantee the continuation of flights as many foreigners are rushing to book flights to leave Ukraine.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

17.6 meters

The biggest rogue wave ever recorded has been confirmed off the coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. The wave spotted by MarineLabs Data Systems in November 2020 measured 58 feet (17.6 meters) tall, or the height of a four-story building. Such an event is believed to only happen once every 1,300 years.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Unzipped! The African women breaking taboos of sexuality

In countries and communities where sexuality is often kept under wraps, more and more women are taking up their microphones, pens and keyboards to talk about intimate issues without filters, reports Eva Sauphie in weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique.

💑 When the subject of African women's sexuality gets media coverage it's almost always a bad thing, says Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, a Ghanaian writer based in London: "through the spectrum of disease, HIV or repeated pregnancies." While universal access to sexual and reproductive health services remains a central issue in West Africa, Sekyiamah wants to share other narratives. To do this, she co-founded the blog: Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women. Sex outside of marriage, interracial relationships, threesomes, asexuality or practical and anatomical questions: no sex topic escapes Sekyiamah.

🗨️ Forget about relations only for procreation and make room for pleasure: "It is a space open to African women where we can talk about sex freely and honestly," says Sekyiamah. More than 10 years after the creation of her blog, she has dedicated her work to sharing a range of sexual experiences, most recently with the book Sex Lives of African Women. The text is a sociological look into the love lives and intimacies of African households through the testimonies of women from 30 countries on the continent.

🏳️ 🌈 Herself polyamorous and bisexual, Sekyiamah explores a wide spectrum of living one’s sexuality in the 21st century, including heterosexual and queer relationships as well as monogamous, polygamous or polyamorous couples. But as a sex educator, Sekyiamah says she can more easily address these practices and preferences in the United Kingdom, as homosexual relationships are prohibited in Ghana.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

“This money belongs to the people of Afghanistan.”

— At a packed news conference, former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai sought the help of Americans to urge U.S. President Joe Birden to unfreeze $3.5 billion in Afghan assets held in the United States for families of 9/11 victims, saying the money belongs to Afghans who have also been victims of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

Keeping an eye out for rogue waves and Valentine gifts. Let us know what’s happening in your corner of the world! info@worldcrunch.com
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Coronavirus

In Shanghai, A Brewing Expat Exodus As COVID Crackdown Shows "Real" China

Not only strict rules of freedom of movement as part of Zero-COVID policy but also an increase in censorship has raised many questions for the expat population in the megacity of 26 million that had long enjoyed a kind of special status in China as a place of freedom and openness. A recent survey of foreigners in the Chinese megacity found that 48% of respondents said they would leave Shanghai within the next year.

People walk in Tianzifang, located in Huangpu District, a well-known tourist attraction in Shanghai.

Lili Bai

SHANGHAI — On the seventh day of the lockdown, Félix, a French expat who has worked in Shanghai for four years, texted his boss: I want to "run,' mais je sais pas quand (but I don’t know when). A minute later, he received a reply: moi aussi (me too).

Félix had recently learned the new Mandarin word 润 (run) from social network postings of his local friends. Because its pinyin “rùn” is the same as the English word “run,” Chinese youth had begun to use it to express their wish to escape reality, either to “be freed from mundane life”, or to “run toward your future.”

For foreigners like Félix, by associating the expression “run” with the feeling of the current lockdown in Shanghai, “everything makes sense.” Félix recalled how at the end of March, the government denied rumors of an impending lockdown: “My Chinese colleagues all said, Shanghai is China’s top city, there would be no lockdown no matter what.”

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