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Le Weekend ➡️ Long COVID App, UNESCO Baguettes, Word Of The Year

Le Weekend ➡️ Long COVID App, UNESCO Baguettes, Word Of The Year

The French baguette has been included in UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage


December 3-4

  • Unpacking China’s protests
  • Camel beauty contest
  • Rosetta Stone quarrel
  • … and much more.


What do you remember from the news this week?

1. What did Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko decide to do across his city, to prevent Putin from “stealing our Christmas”?

2. What item became the rallying symbol for China’s ongoing anti-lockdown protests?

3. What word, another way of saying “manipulating”, was picked as Word of the Year?

4. The music world mourned the death of singer-songwriter Christine McVie at age 79. What band was she in? Bananarama / Eagles / Fleetwood Mac / Wings

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


A video of a South Korean influencer being harassed while she was livestreaming in Khar, India quickly spread across the internet. The influencer, known as Mhyochi, was streaming live from the streets of a Mumbai suburb when a man approached her and tried to pull on her hand. He showed up soon after on a motorbike, insisting on giving her a lift. “Last night on stream, there was a guy who harassed me. I tried my best not to escalate the situation and leave because he was with his friend. And some people said that it was initiated by me being too friendly and engaging the conversation. Makes me think again about streaming,” Mhyochi tweeted.


• Dua Lipa granted Albanian citizenship: Pop star Dua Lipa, who was born in the UK from Kosovan-Albanian immigrants, has been granted Albanian citizenship for promoting the country through her music. Albania’s president Bajram Begaj said the artist had made the country “proud with her global career and engagement in important social causes.”

• Egyptians ask UK to give Rosetta Stone back: As the British Museum is busy marking the 200-year anniversary of the decipherment of hieroglyphics, two petitions signed by thousands of Egyptians are demanding the return of the museum’s most visited piece, the Rosetta Stone. The petitions argue the stone was seized illegally and that it is “a symbol of Western cultural violence against Egypt.”

• Movie about Kashmir starts row at India film festival: Nadav Lapid, jury chief at the International Film Festival India (IFFI), has caused outrage at the event’s closing ceremony after he criticized the inclusion of a controversial Bollywood film on Kashmir. Lapid, an Israeli filmmaker, described The Kashmir Files as “propaganda” and said he was “shocked” at the screening of the film. A box office hit set during the exodus of Hindus from Indian-administered Kashmir in the 1990s, the movie set off a heated debate in India with some arguing it aimed to stoke anti-Muslim sentiments.

• Nigeria artist tops first ever Official Mena Chart: The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has launched this week the Official Mena Chart, its first ever musical ranking in the Middle East and North Africa. Its inaugural No 1 song: Calm Down by Nigerian artist Rema.

• UNESCO World Heritage list now includes French bread & Japanese dance: A UNESCO committee has approved several proposed “human treasures” to add in its Intangible Cultural Heritage list, including the French baguettes, Japan’s ritual furyu-odori dances, and “Alheda'a,” the oral traditions of calling camels in Saudi Arabia and Oman. The committee has gathered in Rabat to examine 56 nominations until Dec. 3.

🇨🇳✊ The deeper reasons behind China’s protests

For Chinese language media The Initium, Changren Zheng explores how the protests across the country, in reaction to Beijing’s tough Zero-COVID policy, have taken form over the past weeks — suggesting that perhaps more is brewing under the surface, and that these protests are a starting point for a new civic movement.

“General belief about the Chinese people was that they lacked the awareness and experience for mass political action,” Zheng writes. “Opposition to ‘Zero-COVID’ has become a fight against tyranny and a possible starting point for China's civic movement.”

Read the full story: How China's Mass Protest Took The World By Surprise — And Where It Will End

🇷🇺 The Arctic, a strategic region for both Russia and the West

The Arctic holds significant importance for Russia, which owns 60% of its coastline — in particular because of its natural resources, from oil and gas to its deposits of rare earth metals, that have become more accessible for mining due to climate change.

And while NATO has not been overly concerned with the defense of the region so far, it is now changing since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. “Arctic countries are actively arming themselves and coordinating their actions. Recent events in Norway confirm that Russia poses a threat in the north,” writes Kateryna Mola in Ukrainian media Livy Bereg.

Read the full story: How The War In Ukraine Could Overturn Everyone's Plans For The Arctic

😷 To mask or not to mask?

“During the pandemic, and for what seemed like an eternity, masks became our outside faces,” writes Worldcrunch’s Emma Albright.

But now that the immediacy and necessity of mask-wearing has gone out the window (even in crowded places like Paris’ metro), she can’t let them go completely, particularly with COVID-19 cases on the rise again as winter approaches.

Read the full story: Masks And Me: Take This Pandemic Story At Face Value


Alarmed by the lack of understanding of long COVID, a British innovator named Harry Leeming — suffering from the condition himself — created an app, called “Visible”, that allows patients to track symptoms. The app, currently downloadable for free, offers morning and evening check-ins and enables users to keep an eye on the quality of their sleep and menstrual cycle. According to its creator, the aim is to make long-COVID symptoms more visible “to the patient, to clinicians, and to research” so the disease can be better understood.


While soccer teams are battling it out at the World Cup, another contest is underway is Qatar: The country hosted a camel beauty contest — with more than 700 camels from across the Arab world competing in a beauty pageant. The camel deemed best-looking was awarded a 45,000-euro prize.


• The memorial service for former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, who died Wednesday at age 96, is scheduled for Dec. 6 at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

• Newly-elected Brazilian President Lula da Silva is set to announce his first cabinet minister picks.

• The knockout stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup begins for the remaining 16 teams, with the quarterfinals slated for Dec. 9 and 10.

News quiz answers:

1. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced that Christmas trees would be put up around the Ukrainian capital, despite the ongoing war with Russia.

2. Blank sheets of paper became the rallying symbol for China’s ongoing anti-lockdown protests, hinting at everything demonstrators wish they could say, but cannot.

3. Online dictionary Merriam-Webster has named “Gaslighting” as its 2022 Word of the Year, after “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage” saw a 1,740% increase in definition searches throughout 2022.

4. Singer-songwriter Christine McVie, who rose to fame with the British-U.S. band Fleetwood Mac, died on Wednesday, at age 79, following a brief illness. McVie was behind some of the band’s most famous hits, including “Everywhere,” “Little Lies,” and “Songbird.”

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*Photo: Jules Darmanin

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Smaller Allies Matter: Afghanistan Offers Hard Lessons For Ukraine's Future

Despite controversies at home, Nordic countries were heavily involved in the NATO-led war in Afghanistan. As the Ukraine war grinds on, lessons from that conflict are more relevant than ever.

Photo of Finnish Defence Forces in Afghanistan

Finnish Defence Forces in Afghanistan

Johannes Jauhiainen


HELSINKI — In May 2021, the Taliban took back power in Afghanistan after 20 years of international presence, astronomical sums of development aid and casualties on all warring sides.

As Kabul fell, a chaotic evacuation prompted comparisons to the fall of Saigon — and most of the attention was on the U.S., which had led the original war to unseat the Taliban after 9/11 and remained by far the largest foreign force on the ground. Yet, the fall of Kabul was also a tumultuous and troubling experience for a number of other smaller foreign countries who had been presented for years in Afghanistan.

In an interview at the time, Antti Kaikkonen, the Finnish Minister of Defense, tried to explain what went wrong during the evacuation.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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“Originally we anticipated that the smaller countries would withdraw before the Americans. Then it became clear that getting people to the airport had become more difficult," Kaikkonen said. "So we decided last night to bring home our last soldiers who were helping with the evacuation.”

During the 20-year-long Afghan war, the foreign troop presence included many countries:Finland committed around 2,500 soldiers,Sweden 8,000,Denmark 12,000 and Norway 9,000. And in the nearly two years since the end of the war, Finland,Belgium and theNetherlands have commissioned investigations into their engagements in Afghanistan.

As the number of fragile or failed states around the world increases, it’s important to understand how to best organize international development aid and the security of such countries. Twenty years of international engagement in Afghanistan offers valuable lessons.

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