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In The News

Le Weekend: Rembrandt Tattoo, Caesar Pilgrimage, Spinning Sax Seal

Le Weekend: Rembrandt Tattoo, Caesar Pilgrimage, Spinning Sax Seal

Top Dutch tattoo artists have taken over a room in Amsterdam’s Rembrandt House Museum, turning it into a working tattoo parlor for the week.


June 24-25

  • Has Ukraine paused its counteroffensive?
  • The Simpsons missing sub “prediction”
  • Pet cloning in China
  • … and much more.


What do you remember from the news this week?

1. Which jailed critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin is now facing a new trial?

2. U.S. President Joe Biden used this word to describe Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.

3. Which soccer superstar became the first player in the history of the game to play 200 international matches?

4. New research from Spanish scientists has found that 30 minutes is the best duration for…? Working out / Sitting down / Napping / Sunbathing

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


The animated TV show The Simpsons has gained a reputation for somehow being able to predict future events in their episodes. Past examples include Donald Trump’s presidential run and the horse meat scandal of 2013. This time, fans have spotted a 17-year-old segment foretelling the disappearance of the OceanGate submersible that was exploring the Titanic ruins. The moment comes from Season 17 episode 10, “Homer’s Paternity Coot”, in which Homer and his father reunite to explore the ruins of a naval wreckage, with disastrous consequences.


• Salman Rushdie awarded prestigious German prize: Writer Salman Rushdie has been awarded The Peace Prize of the German Book Trade “for his indomitable spirit, for his affirmation of life, and for enriching our world with his love of storytelling.” The jury's statement also noted the Aug. 2022 attempt on his life, which left him with permanent injuries. Rushdie has faced threats since Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini called for his death in response to his 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses. The jury praised how, despite constant threats and the 2022 attack, Rushdie “continues to write with great imagination and deep humanity.”

• Who’s up for a Rembrandt tattoo? Top Dutch tattoo artists have taken over a room in Amsterdam’s Rembrandt House Museum, turning it into a working tattoo parlor for the week. For 50 to 250 euros ($54-$270), visitors can get a permanent Rembrandt souvenir, in a project described as “highbrow to lowbrow” by tattooist Henk Schiffmaker. All available appointments to get a “Poor Man’s Rembrandt” were filled within 10 minutes.

• Temple where Julius Caesar was stabbed opens to tourists: Four Ancient Roman temples, known collectively as the “Sacred Area,” are now open to the public, in the middle of the modern city. A part of the complex, which has been built upon for centuries, is believed to be part of the Curia of Pompey, where Julius Caesar was murdered. Uncovered in the 1920s, the ruins were fenced off for more than a century before luxury jeweler Bulgari helped fund the site’s public reopening.

• Japanese wrestler sets sights on ancestral Senegalese combat: Japanese wrestler Shogo Uozumi relocated to Senegal full-time in 2022 to master an ancient Senegalese wrestling style known as Laamb. The style was born from ancestral war rituals, blending physical combat and acrobatics. Shogo Uozumi also set up an academy to share his knowledge of Greco-Roman wrestling, a style in which he competed at the national level.

• Search for missing actor Julian Sands wanes: More than five months after the 24 actor went missing, police efforts to find Julian Sands are being scaled back. Sands, an experienced mountaineer and climber, was reported missing on Jan. 13 after he did not return from a solo hike in the San Gabriel mountains. The subsequent search included more than 80 people as well as two helicopters and a drone crew, but is now being continued in a “limited capacity” as Sands’ missing person case remains open.

🇺🇦 A troubled Ukraine counteroffensive

Intense battles rage in eastern and southern Ukraine, raising questions about the long-awaited counteroffensive. Independent Russian news site Agenstvo spoke with military experts, who said that the push had slowed. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky concurred that progress was "slower than desired.” Analysts put this down to Russia’s strong defenses, air superiority and improved coordination and logistics. But despite Russia's powerful defensive line, Ukraine is still advancing slowly and liberating occupied territory.

Read the full story: Is Ukraine's Counteroffensive On Hold?

📦 Abusive Amazon in Italy

When Amazon set up shop in the Italian province of Rovigo, it promised to boost the local economy and create jobs. But it has had many other negative effects, Antonio Fico writes in Italian weekly magazine Internazionale. Amazon’s presence did indeed increase employment — but much of the work is being done by exploited, precarious warehouse workers on temporary contracts for low-skilled, repetitive, exhausting labor. The influx of temporary workers has also strained local infrastructure and is contributing to a housing crisis.

Read the full story: How Amazon Worker Exploitation Looks In Small-Town Italy

🐩 🐕 China clones a film star mongrel

Young Chinese urbanites are choosing pets over children, treating their furry family members to fashion accessories, beauty products and smart pet gadgets in a growing industry estimated at €35 billion. Some are taking this a step further and turning to cloning technology to duplicate their beloved pets. In French daily Les Échos, Frédéric Schaeffer explores the phenomenon, speaking with animal wrangler He Jun who cloned his film star dog, Juice.

Read the full story: Dog Cloning, E-Collars, Cat Seafood: China's Over-The-Top Pet Market Is Booming


In a potentially groundbreaking discovery, researchers at the University of Cambridge have shown how carbon dioxide can be turned into renewable energy. The approach harnesses a solar-powered reactor to convert the green-house gas CO2 and plastic waste into syngas, a mixture of gasses that can be used as fuel, and could reduce dependence on oil and gas.


A video of a seal spinning around while pretending to play a saxophone is making a big splash on social media. The aquatic musician had first made waves on Vine back in 2016, but new footage has surfaced and is now trending on TikTok, where it was posted on a Turkish account. For obvious reasons, we recommend you watch the original video with sound on. At maximum volume.


• Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has announced that Armenia and Azerbaijan’s foreign ministers will meet next week in Washington. Despite the ceasefire in 2020, both countries continue to clash over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

• The Hajj, the largest coming together of Muslims from across the world, will take place on June 26. Taking place in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Muslims from around the globe will make a pilgrimage to the holy city, honoring one of the five pillars of Islam. Eid al-Adha will be celebrated three days later, on June 28.

• Good news for the Potterheads: A new Harry Potter game, Harry Potter: Magic Awakened, is launching on June 27 for iPhone and Android users.

News quiz answers:

1. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalnyhas already been sentenced twice since 2020, to a total of 12 years in prison. Now, facing a new trial on terrorism charges, the strong critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin faces a possible prison sentence of 30 years.

2. A day after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Chinese President Xi Jinping for talks in Beijing, U.S. President Joe Biden called Xi a “dictator” at a fundraising event in California. The U.S. President also said Xi was “embarrassed” by the downing of a Chinese spy balloon over the U.S. February.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo became the first soccer player in history to appear in 200 international games, after 20 years on the pitch. For that accomplishment, the Portuguese icon was honored by Guinness World Records before his game against Iceland on Tuesday, during which he scored a goal.

4. A study by a team of Spanish scientists found that people who take long siestas (more than 30 minutes) have a higher risk of obesity, while those who take shorter siestas show a reduced risk of high blood pressure.

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The Colonial Spirit And "Soft Racism" Of White Savior Syndrome

Tracing back to Christian colonialism, which was supposed to somehow "civilize" and save the souls of native people, White Savior Syndrome lives on in modern times: from Mother Teresa to Princess Diana and the current First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

photo of a child patient holding hand of an adult

Good intentions are part of the formula

Ton Koene / Vwpics/ZUMA
Sher Herrera


CARTAGENA — The White Savior Syndrome is a social practice that exploits or economically, politically, symbolically takes advantage of individuals or communities they've racialized, perceiving them as in need of being saved and thus forever indebted and grateful to the white savior.

Although this racist phenomenon has gained more visibility and sparked public debate with the rise of social media, it is actually as old as European colonization itself. It's important to remember that one of Europe's main justifications for subjugating, pillaging and enslaving African and American territories was to bring "civilization and save their souls" through "missions."

Even today, many white supremacists hold onto these ideas. In other words, they believe that we still owe them something.

This white savior phenomenon is a legacy of Christian colonialism, and among its notable figures, we can highlight Saint Peter Claver, known as "the slave of the slaves," Bartolomé de Las Casas, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Princess Diana herself, and even the First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

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