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In The News

Le Weekend: Infamous Festival Reboot, Ben Gvir’s Bad Buzz, Spotless Giraffe

Screeshot of a video posted on X/Twitter showing infamous ​Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland announcing a second edition

Head of infamous Fyre Festival Billy McFarland announcing a second edition


August 26-27

  • Moscow's "mapaganda"
  • Ben Gvir’s bad buzz
  • Health-minded underwear
  • … and much more.


What do you remember from the news this week?

1. Which world leader was conspicuously absent from the first day of the BRICS summit in South Africa, instead sending his commerce minister to deliver a highly-anticipated speech?

2. The plane crash that presumably killed Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin came exactly how many months after his Wagner Group’s short-lived mutiny against the Kremlin?

3. What means of transportation malfunctioned in Pakistan, requiring a high-risk rescue of eight people, including six children?

4. India this week became the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon. Which are the other three? U.S.-Russia-France / U.S.-Russia-China / U.S.-China-France

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


Comments made by Israel's national security minister Itamar Ben Gvir have again made waves on social media and faced major criticism, after he declared that he and his family’s rights “are more important than freedom of movement for the Arabs.” A range of influential figures have denounced the comment, including Palestinian-American model Bella Hadid, Israeli journalists, the Palestinian Authority and the U.S. State Department.


In memoriam:Ron Cephas Jones, best remembered for his Emmy-winning role in TV drama This Is Us, has died aged 66 from a long-standing pulmonary issue. Italian singer and songwriter Toto Cutugno, whose 1983 song “L’Italiano” became a worldwide hit, has passed away at the age of 80 in Milan. David Jacobs, U.S. writer and producer of the revolutionary soap operas Dallas and Knots Landing, has died at the age of 84.

• Massive open-air art festival opens in South Korea: The seventh Anyang Public Art Project (APAP7), the only international public art festival in South Korea and the largest in Asia has kicked off in Anyang, south of Seoul, turning the city into a giant gallery open to the public. The festival, which takes place every three years, runs until Nov. 2 and showcases 88 artworks, from sculptures to media work, from 48 teams in 24 different countries and regions.

• UK actors unite for a sustainable TV and film industry: More than 100 UK actors, including Bill Nighy, Stephen Fry, Bella Ramsey, Paapa Essiedu and Natalie Dormer, have signed the “Green Rider Actors’ Statement”. Created by performing arts and entertainment union British Equity, this proposal of environmentally friendly contract between performers and film and TV production companies outlines terms actors can request to make productions less damaging to the environment.

• It’s-a-me no more! Mario’s voice retires: Charles Martinet, the iconic voice of video game character Mario, is retiring, Nintendo America has announced. Martinet started his career as the Italian 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 such as “Mamma Mia” and “Let’s-a go!”.

• Fyre Festival, take two: Six years after a disastrous first edition cost more than $26m in losses and landed him a six-year prison sentence for fraud, Billy McFarland has announced he is officially rebooting the infamous Fyre Festival. The music event is due to take place in the Caribbean and start on Dec. 6, 2024, but disclaimer on the website warns that the date is subject to change. An initial batch of pre-sale tickets have already sold out in just two days and new passes are supposed to be available later, with a price range going from $799 to $7,999.

🗺️ 🇺🇦 An overlooked tool in Russia’s information arsenal: maps

Mykola Golubei in the Ukrainian news media Livy Bereg delves into Russia’s use of what he calls: “Mapaganda,” where Moscow's influence on cartographic companies influences how we depict and view the world. Through relationships with reputable international entities such as National Geographic, Russia makes efforts to legitimize the occupation of Ukrainian territories and undermine the nation's sovereignty. The results of such narratives are already visible in textbooks in numerous Western countries.

Read the full story: Mapaganda: How The World Falls For Russia's Bogus Maps — National Geographic And All

📺 🇨🇳 Chinese drama, workplace taboo

A televised Chinese drama is tackling workplace sexual assault. In “Imperfect Victim", the story follows Zhao Xun, a successful assistant, during the power dynamics and legal struggle of her rape case. Journalist Zhao Xiaoning of Chinese-language global news site The Initium highlights the series’ nuanced characters and its emphasis on the gender biases that make convicting rape difficult in China.

Read the full story: Imperfect Victim: What A Chinese Series About Sexual Assault Can And Can't Say

🏙️ 🏗️  German building becomes a harder sell

A team of journalists from German daily Die Welt have looked into the developments in the building market. As interest rate surge and remote work continues, a constant interest for office space is no longer a given. Demand has dropped by a third in Germany's seven largest cities, so now both construction companies and realtors struggle to find clients for their older, non central properties as the market continues to shrink.

Read the full story: How Germany's Office Building Market Went From Bubble To Bust


Britain's National Health Service has partnered with Morrisons supermarkets to create a line of underwear with extra labels reminding people to look out for potential symptoms of breast or testicular cancer. The boxer shorts and crop-top bras will be available in 240 stores in England and encourage customers to check for lumps, bumps or "anything unusual" and go to their doctor for a regular check-up.


An unusual birth has taken place at a Tennessee zoo, as Bright Zoo has welcomed a spotless baby giraffe, probably the only such giraffe in the world, as spots serve mainly as camouflage in vegetation. Still unnamed, this baby giraffe is causing a stir not only in its herd but around the world, where attention has been drawn to the plight of giraffes in the wild, as the animal is threatened by habitat fragmentation in Africa and illegal poaching.


• King Charles and Queen Camilla are set to visit France for their first overseas trip, after their scheduled visit in March was canceled due sometimes violent French protests against pension reform. The royal couple will visit Paris and the south-west city of Bordeaux, according to local media. Their trip will “bear witness to the depth of the historical ties that unite [the] two countries”, said a statement released by the French presidential office, the Élysée Palace.

• The U.S. Open tennis championship begins on Monday, running through Sept. 10. While top Spanish player Rafael Nadal won’t participate due to a hip surgery procedure, defending champion Carlos Alcaraz, who became the youngest Wimbledon winner in July, will be on the court and could face 23-time major champion Novak Djokovic. For the women’s competition, Poland’s Iga Swiatek will aim for a fifth major title.

• The 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival will open Aug. 30 for ten days of competition. Several movies will premiere at the festival, including Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, which tells the story of Priscilla Presley, based on her 1985 memoir. David Fincher will be returning to the festival for the first time since Fight Club in 1999 to present The Killer, an adaptation of a French graphic novel series. The festival will take place in a tense context for the movie industry, as the current strikes in Hollywood mean that the A-listers will not be walking the red carpet to promote their movie.

News quiz answers:

1. Chinese leader Xi Jinping failed to attend a key business forum on Day 1 of the annual BRICS summit that opened on Tuesday, without any official explanation. His speech denouncing U.S. hegemony was delivered instead by China's Minister of Commerce, Wang Wentao.

2. Two months to the day after he led a short-lived mutiny against the Kremlin, Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, was presumably killed in the crash of his private jet by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

3. A group of eight people, including six children, got trapped in a cable car after a cable broke in Battagram, Pakistan, and spent almost 15 hours at an altitude of around 356 meters before being rescued.

4. India's Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft landed on the Moon's south pole this week, becoming the first to land in this region of the Moon and joining the club of countries that have successfully landed on the Moon, namely the U.S., Russia and China.

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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