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In The News

Le Weekend: RIP Rita Lee, Met Museum’s Looted Art Detectives, Kites For Peace

Le Weekend: RIP Rita Lee, Met Museum’s Looted Art Detectives, Kites For Peace

Brazilian rock singer-songwriter Rita Lee, nicknamed the “Queen of Rock,” has died at age 75 following a two-year battle with lung cancer


May 11-12

  • Ukraine justice & the Nazi precedent
  • Wes Anderson taking over TikTok
  • Colombia’s “throuple” history
  • … and much more.


What do you remember from the news this week?

1. Blaming Vladimir Putin for the first time for a shortage of ammunition, what did Wagner mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin call the Russian president? “Stupid” / “Grandpa” / “Vlad The Impaler” / “Pathetic Putin”

2. Which country was readmitted into the Arab League, ending ten years of isolation?

3. The day after the Coronation of King Charles III, how did his son, Prince William, refer to him upon saying “we are all so proud of you”?

4. Which Asian nation recorded its highest ever temperature of 44.1°C (111.38°F)?

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


As fans wait patiently for Wes Anderson’s latest movie Asteroid City to come out in June, the director’s signature aesthetic is taking over TikTok, where users are pretending to live in one of the indie U.S. director’s movies. Impeccable symmetry, bright colors and cheerful music are turning mundane actions (commuting, having lunch with a friend or making a sandwich) into a cinematic walk inside the Grand Budapest Hotel or Moonrise Kingdom. The #WesAnderson hashtag garnered over 600 million views on TikTok.


• French actress quits cinema over “complacency” towards sexual predators: French actress Adèle Haenel has announced that she was quitting the film industry “to denounce the general complacency of the profession towards sexual aggressors,” citing actor Gérard Depardieu and filmmaker Roman Polanski, in an open letter to magazine Télérama. Haenel had walked out of the 2020 César ceremony when Polanski won an award for his film An Officer and a Spy, shouting “Shame!”

• Bollywood film on ISIS sparks row in India: The Kerala Story, a Bollywood film about young Hindu and Christian women recruited by the Islamic State terrorist group, has stirred major controversy in India. Many opposition politicians have criticized the movie, calling it propaganda and arguing it incites negative sentiments against the country’s minority Muslim population, while it has received support from the country’s leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Despite poor reviews, the movie has enjoyed popular success, earning more than 560 million rupees ($6.8 million) five days after opening in theaters.

• Met Museum to check collections for looted arts: Facing increasing scrutiny and accusations that its extensive collections include looted artifacts, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art plans to hire its own four-person “provenance research” team. In the past year, the Manhattan district attorney’s office has seized dozens of antiquities from Turkey, Egypt and Italy from the museum and returned them to their countries of origin.

• RIP Rita Lee, Brazil’s rock queen: Brazilian rock singer-songwriter Rita Lee, nicknamed the “Queen of Rock,” has died at age 75 following a two-year battle with lung cancer. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said she was “one of the biggest and most brilliant names in Brazilian music and was ahead of her time.”

• Top Zimbabwe author sees conviction for protest overturned: Zimbabwe's High Court has overturned a conviction against acclaimed Zimbabwean author and activist Tsitsi Dangarembga, who had been given a six-month suspended sentence for inciting violence by staging a peaceful protest in September 2022. The author, a longtime critic of the country’s ruling Zanu-PF party, had held a sign that read “We want better. Reform our institutions.”

🇷🇺 “Like those in Nazi Germany, Russia's civilian population will also have to pay in full”

Germans of the past are compared to Russians of today. Just like the Russians, the Germans massively supported their Fuhrer and cheered their army’s invasion of other countries. Mykhailo Dubynyansky, writing for Kyiv-based Ukrainska Pravda about Russia celebrating its Victory Day over Nazism last week explains why it's a good time to reflect on what retribution does and doesn’t offer the eventual victor.

Read the full story: What Will Justice For Ukraine Look Like? The Nazi Demise Offers A Clue

🇨🇳📱 TikTok, a platform for racism from Chinese influences

A ban last June from Beijing of live-streaming from Africa followed a BBC report on a TikToker producing racist videos. Though explicit racism is the exception, a deeper look at Chinese influencers in Africa finds the content shows a general lack of interest in the continent and its people. Some of the TikTokers are leaving, either for Southeast Asia or back to China, reports Chinese media, TheInitium.

Read the full story: Business, Racism And Censorship: The Saga Of Chinese Influencers In Africa

🏳️‍🌈 #ThroupleGoals

The throuple of three gay men married together has challenged the standard vision of a family in traditionally conservative Colombia. Guadalupe Rivero writes for Argentinian media Clarín the story of this modern polyamorous love in a not-so-accepting society.

Read the full story: How This Colombian "Throuple" Made Social And Legal History


France’s annual inventors’ contest, the Concours Lépine, was held this week in Paris. The competition was won by the DREEFT wheelchair, an innovative manual braking system for wheelchairs that doesn’t hurt the user’s hands. The competition highlighted many other ingenious inventions, such as the Climfeet sole, an air-conditioned sole relying on the compression of our feet to cool down shoes in summer and warm them in winter, or the Beaucarnea, a capsule designed to help preserve wine.


Children from Liverpool have gathered to fly kites at precisely the same time as 450 Ukrainian children in Kyiv, Lviv, Khmelnytskyi and Poltava. For this project, called “Land & Sky,” each pupil designed their own flag on individual kites. This year, Liverpool is hosting the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of war-torn Ukraine.


• Turkish voters will head to the polls on Sunday for presidential elections, with Recep Tayyip Erdogan – in power as prime minister and then president since 2003 – facing off with main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Meanwhile, Thailand is also holding elections on Sunday for a new 500-seat house of representatives, with winning parties then presenting candidates and nominating the country’s new prime minister.

• OpenAI CEO Sam Altman will testify in front of the U.S. Senate next week as lawmakers try to regulate artificial intelligence technology.

Time to tune in for the Eurovision song contest! The final show, broadcast next Saturday, will see 20 countries compete in Liverpool, where the 2023 edition is held on behalf of last year’s winner, war-torn Ukraine.

News quiz answers:

1. The head of the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has launched a thinly veiled attack against Vladimir Putin, depicting him as a "grandpa." In a video released this week, Prigozhin criticized the ammunition shortage suffered by his Wagner mercenaries facing off with Ukrainian soldiers in and around the city of Bakhmut rages on, and blamed the Russian Ministry of Defense for failing to deliver its promised resupply.

2. The member states of the Arab League reached a consensus to readmit Syria to the organization. The country had been suspended for over ten years after its brutal suppression of the opposition movement that had challenged President al-Assad in 2011.

3. The day after the Coronation of King Charles III, his son, the Prince of Wales, spoke to the crowd at a special concert at Windsor Castle, addressing the new King by saying: “‘Pa, we are all so proud of you.”

4. This week, Vietnam recorded its highest ever temperature of 44.1°C (111.38°F). Measured at Hoi Xuan station, in northern Vietnam, the temperature broke the 2019 record of 43.4°C.

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