- Sex work in Ukraine-Russia war time
- Iron Man-like innovation
- South China Sea map trouble
- … and much more.
What do you remember from the news this week?
1. What extremely dangerous attack have Ukraine and Russia accused each other of plotting?
2. President Macky Sall announced he would not seek reelection. Which African nation is he from?
3. Meta has launched its rival app to Twitter. What is it called?
4. For the 16th consecutive year, Iceland tops the charts as the world’s most [ ____ ] country in the world: Boring / Colorful / Peaceful / Expensive
[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]
A video of action movie star Jackie Chan has gone viral for all the wrong reasons. The clip, which the internet believed to be a heartwarming moment between the actor and his daughter, is actually a scene from the 2023 movie Ride On, in which Liu Haocun plays Chan’s character's daughter. Meanwhile, Jackie Chan’s real life daughter Etta Ng, who came out as lesbian in 2017, says she hasn't had contact with her biological father for two years, accusing him of being homophobic.
• Barbie and Blackpink in trouble over use of disputed South China Sea map: Greta Gerwig's highly anticipated film, Barbie, is under fire in Vietnam over its use of a map of the South China Sea that shows swathes of what Vietnam considers its continental shelf as belonging to China. Barbie is not the first film to be banned in the country for including controversial maps: In recent years, Vietnam also pulled DreamWorks’ animated film Abominable and Sony’s action movie Unchartered for the same reason. Meanwhile, Blackpink is also in hot waters in Vietnam (where the K-pop girl group is due to perform later this month) after their website displayed a similar map.
• Tracy Chapman song tops U.S. country charts: Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” has made music history as it became the first song written by a Black woman to top the U.S. country charts thanks to a new cover by country star Luke Combs. Chapman, who originally wrote and recorded the song in 1988, will be receiving royalties for the cover.
• Colosseum vandal asks for forgiveness: Ivan Dimitrov, the Bulgarian-British fitness instructor who was identified as the man carving the words “Ivan + Hayley 2023” onto Rome’s ancient Colosseum has expressed “sincere remorse” for his actions. Dimitrov now faces a fine of 15,000 euros, and up to five years in prison.
• Paris Fashion Week goes ahead despite riots: Paris Fashion week has begun against a backdrop of riots and unrest in Paris. The death of 17 year-old Nahel in the city of Nanterre has caused public outcry about French police brutality and racism. Though the haute couture event still attracted top celebrities and fashion icons, many have criticized the brands — many of them French — for participating in this context. Only one major label, Celine, pulled its show entirely.
• Seventeen's FML makes K-pop history: In a breakthrough for the music industry, boy group Seventeen's 10th EP, FML, has sold 6.2 million copies, making it the biggest-selling K-pop album of all time. This also marks the first time that a K-pop album has surpassed 6 million copies in sales.
The war in Ukraine has affected the sex work landscape in Russia, the industry shifting and clients becoming more violent in response to the war. There is less work, with men having left to the front, and an influx of refugees is turning to sex work to sustain themselves. Workers also fear police repression, who abuse their power to rob and harass them — additional violence on top of the aggression from men heading to or returning from conflict zones.
Read the full story: Russian Sex Workers — Invisible Victims Of The War In Ukraine
On the peripheries of São Paulo, Brazil both literally and figuratively, Black communities turned to music to give a voice to their marginal experiences. Musicians such as the Racionais collective address social, racial, and identity issues through hip-hop, challenging the dominant narratives of a prosperous São Paulo. The group’s MC’s call for unity and peace all the while denouncing their situation, and so the periphery became a site of cultural production and resistance.
Read the full story: How Black Communities Redefined São Paulo, Facing Down Racism And Poverty
Low cost air travel seems to be on its way out. In recent years, the Ukrainian war, rising energy prices, and personnel scarcity have all put pressure on airlines that continue to deteriorate. Despite numerous government subsidies during the COVID-19 pandemic, airline’s service quality has declined while prices have risen. Flights are constantly delayed or canceled due to rerouting around war zones or climate issues, as the aviation industry struggles to adapt to new challenges.
Read the full story: Why Air Travel Is Unbearable This Summer — And Maybe Unsustainable Forever
Scientists in Japan have developed a wearable robot that gives you four extra arms — giving a glimpse of what a cyborg future could look like. The backpack-like device was created at the University of Tokyo by Masahiko Inami and his team; for their next trick, they plan on making the arms modular, allowing users to add a drone, or wings.
A Taylor Swift fan who called in sick to work to go to the pop superstar’s show in Cincinnati, dressed as the ghost from the Anti-Hero music video to stay anonymous on TV. Interviewed by a local channel, the Swiftie was able to express her love for the singer while staying incognito thanks to her blanket and sunglasses combo.
➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
• The 2023 NATO summit will take place in Vilnius, Lithuania on July 11 and 12. World leaders are expected to discuss defense plans against Russia and boosting munitions stockpiles, as well as Ukraine's membership bid and Sweden's NATO entrance.
• The White House has announced that U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Europe next week for meetings in the UK, Lithuania and Finland. Biden will first be in London to speak with King Charles and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak before heading to the NATO summit, followed by a meeting with Nordic leaders.
• In the U.S., Subway is giving away up to 1 million 6-inch sandwiches on July 11 to promote its new line up of deli-meat subs. From 10 am to 12 pm local time, the first 50 people in each store to ask for a free sub will get one.
• A European conference on video games will be hosted next week in Tenerife. As head of the Council of the European Union, Spain has spearheaded this project to bring together European representatives with industry professionals to promote the creative, cultural and financial value of the video game sector.
News quiz answers:
1. Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of plotting to attack Zaporizhzhia, one of the world’s largest nuclear plants. Neither Kyiv nor Moscow, however, has any evidence to support claims of an imminent threat to the facility.
2. Macky Sall, current president of Senegal, declared Monday evening that he will not run for a third term in next year’s elections. Rumors he would try to extend his grip on power fuelled protests all around the country several times since 2021, resulting in dozens killed. Sall has been the president of Senegal since 2012 and was re-elected in 2019.
3. Meta has launched its new app to rival Twitter, which went live on Thursday, gaining over 30 million users on the days of its launch. The conversation-based app, called Threads, is the latest in the social-media/tech rivalry between Facebook & Instagram boss Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter owner Elon Musk.
4. Iceland has been named the world’s most peaceful country for the 15th consecutive year by the 2023 Global Peace Index. The study conducted by the Institute for Economics and Peace measures a country’s level of negative peace using three areas — ongoing domestic and international conflict, societal safety and security and militarization.
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