Le Weekend: Venice Film Festival In SAG Strike Times, TikTok’s Granfluencers, Tiny T-Rex Race
Sept. 2-3, 2023
- A Russian soldier’s dilemma
- Portrait of Poland’s 96-year-old critic
- “Menopause blanket” innovation
- … and much more.
What do you remember from the news this week?
1. President Ali Bongo was overthrown by a military coup in which African country?
2. Russian President Vladimir Putin told India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he will not attend the G20 Summit, set to open next week in which city?
3. In a gruesome first, what was found inside the brain of a 64-year-old Australian woman?
4. What did a truck spill onto a Canadian road? 60,000 bouncing balls / 2,000 chickens / 7 tons of maple syrup / 5 million bees
[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]
In a trend with a somewhat ageist name, a wave of “granfluencers” are taking over TikTok. As social media demographics age, these over-50 social media influencers, like @Oldmansteve pictured above, are embracing growing older in fun, fashionable ways — and enjoy a side gig to top-up their retirement fund through brand sponsorships and engagement.
• Venice Film Festival kicks off amid Hollywood strike: The 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival, which opened on Aug. 30, will look very different from past editions. Because of ongoing strikes for Hollywood actors and screenwriters, it will be a notably star-free affair, with union members barred from promoting films during the strike. At the festival’s opening press conference, members of the competition jury wore simple T-shirts which read “Writers Guild On Strike!”
• Salif Keïta appointed “special advisor” to Mali coup leader: Fans of Salif Keïta were surprised to learn that the beloved Malian singer-songwriter, known as the “Golden Voice of Africa,” had been appointed as a special advisor to Col. Assimi Goïta, the leader of the 2021 Mali coup d’état. Keïta expressed his views on political control in a 2019 interview, stating that “To have a democracy, people have to understand democracy, and how can people understand when 85% of the people in the country cannot read or write?"
• ABBA’s Agnetha back with solo album: Agnetha Fältskog, of Swedish pop sensation ABBA, has announced a new solo album. The new project called A+ is a reimagining of her 2013 solo album, A. The first single, “Where Do We Go From Here?” is out now.
• Lost John Constable painting found after 40 years: An oil sketch by English painter John Constable, dated June 1814, was discovered in a private art collection on the Channel island of Guernsey. The painting, which had been missing for 40 years, is set to go on auction on Sept. 21, valued at £80,000-120,000 ($100,000-150,000).
• The Idol canceled after one season: HBO’s much-hyped series The Idol has officially been dropped after its first season. Created by Euphoria filmmaker Sam Levinson and Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, the artist known as The Weeknd, who also starred in the show, The Idol ended on July 2. The show divided audiences, with many viewers critical of the series’ treatment of its female characters.
In addition to the dangers of fighting in Ukraine, Russian soldiers face complex psychological pressures, including misinformation and psychological warfare, says journalist Viktor Kevlyuk in Ukrainian publication Livy Bereg. The relatives of Russian military recruits have been targeted with threatening messages, and some soldiers have realized that being in the armed forces is far from what government misinformation and propaganda had led them to believe it would be like.
Read the full story: Denial And Dissent: On The Deeply Conflicted Psychology Of Russian Soldiers
In Singapore-based media The Initium, sign language expert Shi Wanping explains the importance of sign language and support for hearing-impaired people. The suicide of a hospitalised deaf man in Hong Kong revealed systemic failures, including a shortage of sign language interpreters and other barriers which can deny deaf people access to healthcare and the education system.
Read the full story: Why Have Hong Kong's Hearing Impaired Been Left Behind?
A 96-year-old veteran of the Warsaw Uprising continues her activism in Poland, condemning the ruling party’s restrictive abortion laws and controversial statements about women and gender equality. Wanda Traczyk-Stawska has spent most of her life in activism, recounts Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza. The veteran emphasizes the importance of Warsaw in Polish history and fights for the rights of disabled people and refugees on Poland's eastern border.
Cool Embrace, a company based in Shropshire, UK, has developed a new material that can be used to create a blanket able to control temperature by continuously dissipating heat and moisture away from the sleeper. The inventor, Steve Rawlings, says he was inspired by his wife’s struggle with sleep while suffering from brain tumors. The product is aimed particularly at women affected by menopausal hot flushes, as well as men who experience night sweats.
More than 200 people took part in a race while wearing inflatable dinosaur costumes as part of the 2023 T-Rex World Championships at Emerald Downs, U.S. The wacky tradition started in 2017. In this year’s edition, two 4-year-old best friends lost the race, but won hearts.
➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
• Alice Jill Edwards, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, is scheduled to visit Ukraine from Sept. 4-10. She plans to examine the conditions of Ukraine’s prisoners of war and oversee an ongoing investigation into torture in the context of the war. Meanwhile, unnamed sources have reported that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky may replace Ukraine’s Defense Minister next week as part of an ongoing anti-corruption campaign.
• The G20 summit will kick off next week in India. It will be an important showcase for the country, which just celebrated a successful lunar landing on Aug. 23 – a display of India’s status as a rising power. Russian President Putin told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he will not be attending, and it has been reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping may also miss the summit. It will be Xi’s first absence from the G20 since becoming president in 2013, and may be a result of recent tensions between China and India over an official Chinese map that claims territory which India considers its own.
• Narcan, a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses, is set to become available without a prescription across the U.S. online and in stores next week, with a suggested retail price of $44.99 for two doses. Advocates say the drug – which has been available for free, without a prescription in neighboring Canada since 2016 – will save countless lives amidst America’s ongoing opiate overdose epidemic.
News quiz answers:
1. A group of senior military officers in Gabon seized power on Wednesday, shortly after President Ali Bongo's re-election was announced. Coup leaders will swear in General Brice Oligui Nguema as transitional president on Monday, days after he lead the push to overthrow reelected president Ali Bongo.
2. Russian President Putin informed India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will be Russia's representative at the G20 Summit in Delhi, India.
3. An 8-cm (3.15-in) live parasitic worm has been found inside the brain of a 64-year-old Australian woman by doctors and researchers at the Australian National University and Canberra Hospital, marking the first case of the infection in humans.
4. In Ontario, Canada, a truck spilled crates carrying five million bees onto a road, setting them loose. Local police warned drivers to keep their car windows closed as “swarms of bees were flying around.”
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*Photo: Mickael Chavet/ZUMA