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In The News

Le Weekend: Ukraine Protecting Banksy, Uganda’s Climbing Nurse, 3D-Printed Basketball

Le Weekend: Ukraine Protecting Banksy, Uganda’s Climbing Nurse, 3D-Printed Basketball

U.S. sports equipment manufacturer Wilson Sporting Goods Co. has revealed their experimental prototype of the first 3D printed airless basketball.


March 4-5

  • Cold War 2.0
  • Remote kissing
  • The dark side of consumption
  • … and much more.


What do you remember from the news this week?

1. To which eastern city has Ukraine decided to send reinforcements?

2. Which country has started the construction of a 200-kilometer wired fence on its border with Russia?

3. What “radical change” did Kim Jong-un say North Korea needed?

4. In Ecuador, 8.8 tons of cocaine worth $330 million were found in a shipment of: stuffed toys / bananas / Christmas decorations / wigs

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


A Chinese tech company has developed a remote kissing device that uses advanced sensors and artificial intelligence to simulate a realistic kissing experience between two people who are not physically in the same location. The device has sparked heated online debate, particularly on Weibo — China’s equivalent of Twitter — where critics raised concerns about the potential impact on personal relationships and intimacy. The device comes at a price tag of 288 yuan ($41).


• Newspapers drop “Dilbert” comic strip after creator Scott Adams’ racist tirade: Newspapers across the United States including the Washington Post dropped the “Dilbert” comic strip after the creator of the satirical cartoon went on a racist tirade on his YouTube show “Real Coffee with Scott Adams.” During the rant, he encouraged segregation, calling Black Americans a “hate group” and suggesting that White people should “get the hell away” from them.

• Clockenflap Hong Kong festival is back after COVID hiatus: Clockenflap, one of Hong Kong’s biggest music festivals returns from March 3rd to 5th after a COVID-19 hiatus. This year sees the event completely sold out for the first time in its 15-year history with an international line-up featuring the Wu-Tang Clan, Arctic Monkeys, Moderat, Mono and Three Men Down, as well as Hong Kong artists such as YoungQueenz and Tyson Yoshi.

• Ukraine installs new security measures to protect Banksy street art: Kyiv regional authorities have covered four works by British street-artist Banksy in protective glass and set up guards to prevent future looting after the attempted theft of one last December.

• UAE Reading Month 2023 begins with events across the country: Wednesday marks the start of Reading Month in the United Arab Emirates, a celebration of literature held every March. Various events are being organized by the Maktaba library management department and will be held across the country, 100 in the capital alone.

• Australian theater asks artists to advise them on diversity: The Melbourne Theatre Company has put together a diverse group of artists, entertainment workers and activists to form an advisory council to those making programming decisions. The panel will advise on wide-ranging issues including a disability action plan, cultural inclusion on stage and behind the scenes, and on what culturally diverse audiences want to see, as well as on broader issues such as reducing the company’s carbon footprint. The decision, an industry first, came after the producers of Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner asked publications to send only critics of color to review their play in Melbourne, sparking a debate about diversity and inclusion.

🇺🇸 🇨🇳 The hot issues of a new Cold War

To some, tensions between the U.S. and China look like a remake of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War. Yet the West's nemesis this time is more sophisticated and tied to us commercially in ways Moscow never was. There are, however, also new kinds of danger. French geopolitical analyst Dominique Moïsi explains in French daily Les Echos, the recent problems that the two counties have faced and what it all means for the future of their relationship.

Read the full story: Big Business, No Red Phone: Why U.S. v. China Is A Different Kind Of Cold War

🇮🇹 The broken families in the wake of migrant boat tragedy

The death toll from a shipwrecked migrant boat off the coast of Italy has reached 63. Relatives of the victims and survivors, who have begun to arrive in the southern town, are all mostly immigrants themselves. Niccoló Zancan recounts in Italian daily La Stampa, the heartbreaking stories of those who were waiting for the ship to arrive.

Read the full story: With Those Mourning Italy's Shipwreck Victims — A Double Immigrant Tragedy

🛍️ The dark side of consumption

Mass consumption is encouraged in the West, but people, particularly women, and the planet pay the price for exploitative capitalism. So, we need to be clear that taking care of each other and tackling the climate crisis are inextricably linked. This article published by Pikara Magazine, explains the urgency of acting on these problems sooner than later.

Read the full story: "Slow-Burn Consumption," A Feminist Model To Reconcile Economy And Ecology


Leading U.S. sports equipment manufacturer Wilson Sporting Goods Co. has revealed their experimental prototype of the first 3D printed airless basketball. This bouncy innovation was produced in collaboration with Chicago-based 3D design specialists, 3D printer manufacturer EOS, and post processing company DyeMansion. Wilson claims that the ball’s weight, size and rebound nearly fit the performance specifications of a regulation basketball. This prototype will not only show the possibility of making a basketball which doesn’t require inflation, but also how to apply the technique outside the sporting sector. Another possibility that could come out of this prototype is the airless tire — something that French tire manufacturer Michelin has already begun exploring.


A Ugandan nurse has been dubbed “nurse of the year” by Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, the country's health minister, after climbing a dangerous ladder to vaccinate children in remote areas, an action deemed heroic by the Ugandan community.


• Turkey announced that talks with Sweden and Finland over their NATO membership bids would resume on March 9 while a delegation of Hungarian lawmakers is expected to visit Sweden on March 7. Hungary and Turkey are the only NATO members that have refused so far to ratify the bids.

• U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is expected to travel to Israel next week for a two-day visit in an effort to de-escalate tensions in the occupied West Bank.

• Tickets for the Eurovision 2023 song contest’s nine live shows will go on sale. The show, which will take place in Liverpool in the UK, is scheduled in May.

News quiz answers:

1. Ukraine has sent forces to the Eastern city of Bakhmut in an attempt to hold back Russian attacks. Moscow regards Bakhmut as key to gaining control of the Donbas industrial region, and the town has seen some of the bloodiest battles of the war.

2. Finland has begun the construction of a 200-kilometer (124 miles) fence on its border with Russia to prevent Moscow from using migrant flows for political purposes. This comes as the Finnish Parliament onWednesday voted in favor of joining NATO.

3. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for a “radical change” in agricultural production amid concerns over food shortages in the country.

4. Police in Ecuador have found almost 8.8 tons of cocaine in a shipment of bananas bound for Belgium. Police commander Fausto Salinas said the drugs would have been worth an estimated $330m (£275m) had they reached their destination.

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*Photo: Wilson Sporting Goods Co

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Bibi Blinked: How The Ceasefire Deal Could Flip Israel's Whole Gaza War Logic

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed ahead a deal negotiated via Qatar, for a four-day truce and an exchange of 50 hostages for 150 Palestinian prisoners. Though the humanitarian and political pressure was mounting, Israel's all-out assault is suddenly halted, with unforeseen consequences for the future.

photo of someone holding a poster of a hostage

Families of Israeli hostages rally in Jerusalem

Nir Alon/ZUMA
Pierre Haski

Updated Nov. 22, 2023 at 8:55 p.m.


PARIS — It's the first piece of good news in 46 days of war. In the early hours of Wednesday, Israel agreed to a deal that included a four-day ceasefire and the release of some of the hostages held by Hamas — 30 children and 20 women — in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners, again women and children. The real question is what happens next.

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But first, this agreement, negotiated through the intermediary of Qatar, whose role is essential in this phase, must be implemented right away. This is a complex negotiation, because unlike the previous hostage-for-prisoner exchanges, it is taking place in the midst of a major war.

On the Palestinian side, although Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is present in Doha, he does not make the decision alone — he must have the agreement of the leaders of the military wing, who are hiding somewhere in Gaza. It takes 24 hours to send a message back and forth. As you can imagine, it's not as simple as a phone call.

And on the Israeli side, a consensus had to be built around the agreement. Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right allies were opposed to the deal — in line with their eradication logic — even at the cost of Israeli lives. But the opposition of these discredited parties was ignored, and that will leave its mark.

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