Le Weekend: Weiwei’s LEGO Art, Unfazed French Diners, Longest Goal
- Smoking cigarettes on Ukraine’s frontlines
- Hong Kong v. Winnie the Pooh
- 3D-printed cheesecake
- … and much more.
🎲 OUR WEEKLY NEWS QUIZ
What do you remember from the news this week?
1. Despite general support for Russia on his trip to Moscow, what important trade deal did Xi Jinping wind up not signing with President Putin?
2. The French government faces widespread anger over its decision to raise the legal age of retirement to what age?
3. Which country was ranked “the world’s happiest” for the sixth time in a row?
4. Spanish champion Rafael Nadal is out of men’s tennis top 10 for the first time since: 2000 / 2005 / 2010 / 2015
[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]
A video In Saint-Etienne, France spread on Twitter showing customers of a pizzeria dining unperturbed after rioters lit garbage piles on fire outside amid clashes over the unpopular pension reform sought by Emmanuel Macron's government. Bon appétit, alors.
🎭 5 CULTURE THINGS TO KNOW
• Global music industry hit $26bn in revenue last year: Growth in paid subscription streaming helped the global recorded music market increase its revenues to $26.6 billion in 2022 — a 9% rise compared with the previous year, according to a new report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Taylor Swift, Kpop band BTS and Drake topped the charts.
• Winnie the Pooh horror film release canceled in Hong Kong: The screening of British “slasher” film Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, starring a murderous version of the famous teddy bear, has been canceled in Hong Kong and in the neighboring Chinese enclave of Macau for technical reasons, according to its distributor. The cancellation has raised concerns about potential censorship from China, as the cartoon bear has previously been blacklisted due to memes comparing Winnie the Pooh to President Xi Jinping.
• A Barcelona exhibition for kids … and our inner child: A new exhibition at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, Spain, is displaying interactive installations from nine contemporary artists designed for kids — and adults eager to “relive the experience of being a child,” from an oversized sofa to a room filled with balloons. Titled Imaginary Friends, the art show will run until July 2.
• K-pop star issues apology for wearing swastika symbol: Chaeyoung, a member of South Korean Kpop band TWICE, has apologized after posting a picture on Instagram dressed in a T-shirt featuring Sex Pistols‘ Sid Vicious sporting a swastika. This comes days after the 23-year-old star came under fire for performing with a crop top emblazoned with QAnon imagery.
• Ai Weiwei reimagines Monet’s water lilies with LEGO bricks: For his new show opening at London's Design Museum next month, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has recreated Claude Monet’s monumental triptych Water Lilies using 650,000 LEGO bricks in 22 different colors. The artist said he had used the toy bricks for his artwork titled Water Lilies #1 to “reflect the attributes of language in our rapidly developing era where human consciousness is constantly dividing.”
🇺🇦 Meet Ukraine’s reconnaissance unit
Near the embattled city of Vuhledar, Ukrainian artillery reconnaissance units detect enemy positions. They work with drones, tablets and satellite internet — and they are often the last line of defense from a Russian onslaught. Anatolii Schara for German daily Die Welt, describes the different strategies the Ukrainian reconnaissance team has put into place to defend their country.
Read the full story: Drones, Tablets, Cigarettes: How Ukraine's Reconnaissance Warriors Pinpoint The Enemy
🇹🇷 🚀 A particular conspiracy theory on Turkey’s recent earthquake
What if Turkey’s devastating earthquake was caused by a weapon fired from a satellite that pierced the earth's surface? That was the theory put forth by the head of the country’s space agency. How does someone like this wind up in charge of science in a great nation like Turkey?, asks Mehmet Yılmaz in Turkish newspaper Oksijen.
Read the full story: Turkey's Space Agency Chief Has A Wild Idea About What Caused The Earthquake
🇧🇷 Brazil faces a serious climate crisis
Rain often brings deadly flooding and property damage to neighborhoods around Brazil, where people are organizing to address the worsening problem. Luize Sampaio writes for Brazil’s Casa Fluminense, about the particular dangers surrounding environmental disasters in South America’s largest nation.
Read the full story: “Who'll Stop The Rain?” Why Climate Anxiety Hits Harder In Brazil
🍰 BRIGHT IDEA
Engineers at Columbia University set out to make the first 3D-printed fully baked dessert. A team concocted a seven-ingredient vegan cheesecake that was assembled and cooked entirely by a 3D-printing machine along with new laser technology. The experiment was meant to discover and develop practical uses for this type of printing in mechanically assembled food. The taste, you ask? According to Jonathan Blutinger, a mechanical engineer and postdoctoral researcher at Columbia Engineering’s Creative Machines Lab, the cheesecake nears the experience to Willy Wonka’s three-course dinner chewing gum, the one that tastes like soup, then roast beef and finally a blueberry dessert in Roald Dahl’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Delicious!?
⚽ SMILE OF THE WEEK
During a soccer match, Argentine goalkeeper Leandro Requena scored an unexpected goal from a 101-meter goal kick, helping his team win 3-1 in Chile's top league. The goal has a chance to be a new Guinness World Record for the longest range goal, pending approval.
📹 THIS HAPPENED VIDEO — TODAY IN HISTORY, IN ONE ICONIC PHOTO
➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
⏩ LOOKING AHEAD
• Despite widespread protests, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said judicial reform will continue, with a vote scheduled next week before the country’s Knesset parliament.
• Japan is set to lift evacuation orders for parts of the towns of Namie and Tomioka near the Fukushima nuclear power plant next week, 12 years after local residents were forced to leave during the 2011 disaster.
• Be sure to look up into the night sky on March 28: A rare, large planetary alignment of Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Mars will be visible after sunset.
News quiz answers:
1. Chinese leader Xi Jinping ended up not signing an important trade deal increasing Chinese imports of Russian gas, despite close talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during Xi’s three-day visit to Moscow.
2. More than a million people took to the streets across France on Thursday following the French government’s decision to force through pension reforms by decree, raising the retirement age from 62 to 64.
3. For the sixth year in a row, Finland is the world’s happiest country, according to World Happiness Report rankings. The Nordic country along with its neighbors Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Norway all score very well on the measures the report uses to explain its findings: healthy life expectancy, GDP per capita, social support, low corruption, generosity in a community, etc.
4. Rafael Nadal’s record streak of consecutive weeks in men’s tennis’ top 10 has come to an end. That’s more than 17 years for the 22-time Grand-Slam winner who broke into the top 10 back in April 2005.
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Photo: Ai Weiwei's official Instagram account