When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG
Süddeutsche Zeitung is one of Germany's premiere daily quality newspapers. It was founded on 6 October 1945, and has been called "The New York Times of Munich".
Photo of a man burying a relative
Geopolitics

UK-Russian Escalation As Ukraine Hits Targets On Russian Soil

As London and Moscow continue to exchange threats and accusations, targets in Russian territory were reported hit overnight.

Russia says that Ukraine was responsible for an explosion at an ammunition depot in Russia’s Belgorod region near the Ukrainian border, though Kyiv has yet to confirm. Moscow daily Kommersant also reports that Russian air defenses shot at unmanned aircraft in neighboring border regions Kursk and Voronezh.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

The Russian government has accused the UK of "provoking" Ukraine into attacking Russian territory, following the statement yesterday by a British cabinet member James Heappey that it was “legitimate” to strike targets in Russia. According to Russian state news agency TASS, Kremlin spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called Heappey’s declaration “a monstrous statement.”


Watch VideoShow less
Photo of two men through a bullet hole on a window in Ukraine
Geopolitics

Lavrov’s World War III Warning And Veiled Nuclear Threats

The Russian foreign minister's words come after U.S. officials say they believe Ukraine can win the war, and aim for a "weakened" Russia in the future.

Over the past 24 hours, the war of words between Washington and Moscow has escalated significantly. After U.S. Defense Secretary Llyod Austin said that seeing Russia not just defeated by Ukraine, but “weakened” by the war, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded with an explicit warning that U.S. actions could lead to “World War III,” with veiled references to possible nuclear attacks.

Lavrov told Russia’s Channel One television network early Tuesday that the risks of nuclear conflict “are really very, very significant, I would not like these risks to be artificially inflated, and there are many who want them. The danger is serious, it is real, it cannot be underestimated,” Lavrov said.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Comparing the current situation with the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Lavrov noted that there used to be a channel of communication "which was trusted by both leaders," but now "there is no such channel, and no one is trying to create it. Then there were few written rules, but the rules of conduct were quite clear. Moscow understood how Washington was behaving, Washington understood how Moscow was behaving. And now there are few of those rules.”

Watch VideoShow less
Italy's decision to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine passport sparked angry demonstrations across the country, like here on Rome's touristic Spanish Steps
BBC

The Latest: North-South Korea Rapprochement, Capitol Riots Emotion, Fiji Twitter Rookie

Welcome to Wednesday, where North-South Korea ties keep improving, the investigation on U.S. Capitol riots is off to an emotional start and a Fiji politician is delighting Twitter users. Meanwhile from Germany, Die Welt"s Marlen Hobrack helps us deconstruct the twisted logic behind the feminist defense of prostitution.

• North-South Korea rapprochement continues: A day after restoring hotlines South and North Korea, the two countries are discussing reopening a joint liaison office that was demolished by Pyongyang last year. According to South Korea government sources, a summit to restore relations is also being discussed.

• First day of Capitol riot inquiry: Four police officers gave their emotional, first-hand accounts of the Capitol riots, at the opening hearing of the congressional panel investigating the violent Jan. 6 insurrection. The committee also shared never-before-seen footage of protesters storming onto the Senate floor.

• Ecuador revokes Julian Assange citizenship: An Ecuadorian court ruled in favor of revoking the citizenship of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The decision nullifies Assange's status as a naturalized citizen of Ecuador, which was granted to him in 2017 by then President Lenín Moreno. Assange's lawyer said he would appeal the ruling.

• COVID-19 update: With the Delta variant surging, U.S. President Joe Biden said plans requiring all federal workers to get vaccinated are "under consideration." Meanwhile in the UK, plans to end the quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated arrivals coming from the U.S. or amber-listed EU countries are to be announced later. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has said it will impose a three-year travel ban on citizens who travel to countries listed as "red" by the Kingdom.

• At least 18 die in India bus crash: At least 18 migrant workers were killed after a truck crashed into their bus early Wednesday morning. The bus, which was "overloaded beyond its capacity," was being fixed after its engine broke down in the Barabanki district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

• Simone Biles withdraws from Olympics: U.S. gymnast Simone Biles has pulled out from the individual all-around final at the Tokyo Games. The four-time Olympic gold medallist said she wanted to focus on her mental wellbeing, a decision praised by fellow athletes. It is unclear whether Biles will participate in next week's gymnastics events.

• Fiji politician discovers Twitter: Pio Tikoduadua, a leading opposition MP from Fiji, is gaining online fame after his awkward start on Twitter. Among other things, he had to be told what "OG" means (he assumed it was short for "Old Girl").

Watch VideoShow less
In Leeds, UK
BBC

Bad To Worse: The Homeless And COVID-19

Like so many before him, João took a bus to Rio de Janeiro in search of the kind of hope and economic opportunity that only big cities promise. "I came looking for something better, then the worst happened," he told a Globo TV crew. The worst was COVID-19.

As deaths skyrocketed in the city and around Brazil, freedom of movement was limited, leaving João (who spoke anonymously with a reporter) stuck, unemployed — and eventually homeless. He spends his days scavenging landfills in search of metal, copper and aluminum to resell. Another recently homeless person told Globo : "We are dumped here, discarded and abandoned."

Such stories are being echoed all over the world.

• Though most evidence is anecdotal, coronavirus has appeared to cause a notable uptick in homelessness in many cities and countries. And the homeless are particularly exposed to the health risks of the pandemic.

• Now, in the face of what appears to be an impending economic depression, finding a solution for the most vulnerable has become more urgent than ever.

Networks collapsing: Speaking to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, anthropologist Luisa Schneider described one homeless girl she's followed. "Before the crisis, she was able to study and wash in cafes or libraries. Neither is possible now." Schneider expects more Germans to sleep on the streets in the coming months. "Many networks have now collapsed. Even homeless people who used to support each other are now losing sight of each other."

Numbers rising: A recent study from Columbia University projects that, unless unemployment levels somehow decline, the rise in the rate homelessness in the U.S. will reach between 40% and 45% by the end of 2020. In Italy, another country particularly hard-hit by the virus, news wire AdnKronos reports that 62% of Italians fear losing their job (often the precursor to homelessness) because of the predicted economic crisis — eight percentage points higher than the worldwide average.

French aid: In France, government authorities and NGOs were able to accommodate 177,600 people with shelter during the lockdown period, reports Le Monde. The government has invested more than 2 billion euros helping those without homes, including requisitioning 13,300 hotel rooms. Yet while this may seem like a bright spot compared to the aforementioned struggling countries, France's emergency phone number for homeless assistance remains overwhelmed, with over 200 calls on average daily and many unable to secure a temporary housing situation. And as the country continues opening up, it is unclear how long the special accommodation period will last.

Busking in Paris — Photo: Ev

British aid: The UK recently allotted an extra 105 million pounds (115,000 euros) to municipal governments to shelter rough sleepers. Dame Louise Casey, chair of the COVID-19 rough sleeping taskforce, called the move an "extraordinary opportunity" to decline homelessness rates in the long term. The money will not only go to adding more temporary accommodation, but providing long-term housing.

Upside down: In Chile, homelessness is being exacerbated by as winter approaches in the Southern Hemisphere, bringing bad weather and the cold and flu season.

• With 250,000 confirmed cases and 4,900 deaths, Chile was already one of Latin America's most COVID-affected countries. It's overburdened healthcare system will be put under further strain as doctors struggle to differentiate diagnoses between the flu, colds and COVID.

• To make matters worse, 35% of Chile's homeless population suffer from chronic diseases, and 43% are over 50 years old — circumstances that increase the danger to their health due to a possible spread of coronavirus.

Medical workers rally in Sejong, South Korea, calling for an expansion of public medical services and measures to curb illegal medical treatment.
BBC

The Latest: Apple Daily Shuts Down, Taliban Gains, Millions Of New Millionaires

Welcome to Wednesday, where Hong Kong's pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily officially announces its closure, new clashes have broken out in Ethiopia's Tigray region and the number of millionaires continues to increase despite the pandemic. Latin American business magazine America Economia also reports on how business schools around the world are now adding the environment to their curricula.

• Apple Daily forced to close amid Hong Kong crackdown: Hong Kong's biggest pro-democracy paper, whose headquarters were raided last Thursday, has announced its closure and will print its final edition Thursday. The board was forced to end all Hong Kong operations due to government pressure, and its lead writer was arrested earlier today. Hong Kong's first National Security trial also began today, with the 24-year-old activist pleading not guilty.

• Taliban gains in Afghanistan: According to the UN's envoy to Afghanistan, Deborah Lyon, Taliban insurgents have seized more than 50 districts of 370 in the country since May. Lyon warned the increasing conflicts in the region also means increasing insecurity for other countries. The uncertainty comes as the U.S and NATO are still aiming for a complete pullout of troops by September 11.

• Crisis in Ethiopia's Tigray:Heavy conflict broke out between the rebel Tigray Defence Force (TDF) and the federal Ethiopian army in the northern region of Tigray, with reports of dozens of civilian casualties after an airstrike hit a busy village market. It is the most serious crisis since the government claimed victory in the conflict last November.

• NYC mayoral vote: New Yorkers cast their ballots yesterday in city primaries, with the Democratic nominee likely to win the mayor's race in November. Of the top four Democratic candidates, former police captain Eric Adams is in the lead, while former presidential candidate Andrew Yang has conceded. Due to ranked-choice voting, the results may take until mid July to be finalized.

• Saudis who killed journalist received military training in U.S.: According to the New York Times, four Saudis who participated in the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi received paramilitary training in the U.S. last year, with the approval from the State Department.

• New COVID-19 variant troubling India: Delta Plus, which is believed to be deadlier and more transmissible by scientists, has been labelled a "variant of concern" by the Indian government. There have been at least 22 cases related to Delta Plus in India. The variant has been found in the UK, the U.S., Canada, Japan, Russia, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey.

• Britney Spears to finally speak out: #FreeBritney fans are eager to hear what pop icon, Britney Spears, will say when she publicly addresses her conservatorship today. The controversial legal arrangement, which many fans argue was unfounded and has stripped the star of her independence, allows Spears' father "control over her estate, career and other aspects of her personal life."

Watch VideoShow less
A march in favor of decriminalizing abortion in El Salvador on March 6
BBC

From Poland To Uruguay, What The Pandemic Means For Abortion

Across the globe, swamped hospitals and shelter-in-place measures have impacted people's access to healthcare for any number of non-COVID-19 issues. One of them is abortion, a time sensitive procedure that is also — even the best of times — both emotionally and politically charged.

Now, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, some countries have used emergency decrees to change their policies related to pregnancy terminations. While several have extended access to abortions in an effort to ease pressure on women and guarantee their rights, others have seen the situation as an opportunity to make abortions more difficult to access.

  • In Poland, which has one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, access to pregnancy terminations is now becoming even more difficult as women cannot easily travel to another country to undergo abortion. On top of that, Polish President Andrzej Duda backed in a citizen's bill last month that would outlaw abortion even when the fetus is malformed, the Catholic weekly Niedzielareported. So far, terminations in Poland have only been allowed when the fetus is malformed, the health or life of the mother is endangered, or in the event of rape or incest – with the first reason accounting for most in-country terminations. Although the bill was not passed, it was not rejected either, and is now idling in a parliamentary commission.

  • France: With overwhelmed hospitals and strict lockdown measures that until this week forced people to stay home, rights groups have raised concerns about the difficulty of accessing abortions during the epidemic, warning that some women would have to wait past the legal date. Under the normal, pre-pandemic circumstances, women can ask for prescribed abortion pills and take them at home up to seven weeks after their last menstruation, or up to nine weeks under medical supervision. But in early April, the French Health authority extended access to the medication at home up to nine weeks, to guarantee women's rights to access abortion during the epidemic and to avoid as much as possible that they go into a health facility, reportedLe Parisien.

  • In the United States, abortion by telemedicine is expanding rapidly as several states, including Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma, suspended access to surgical abortions during the crisis, adding abortions on a list of "non-essential" procedures, The New York Timesreported. The limited access to abortion means that many women must travel much further to abortion clinics, sometimes to different states where restrictions are milder. But with traveling also close to impossible, women resort more and more to "TelAbortion," a program that has been operating as a research study for several years and which allows women to have video consultations with certified doctors and then receive abortion pills by mail to take on their own. Concerned about the program's growth, Republican senators recently introduced a bill to ban it.

  • As a result of the pandemic, human rights organizations in Germany have warned that women might not be able to visit counseling centers, which is one of the conditions for legal abortion in the country. Access to abortion is also in danger due to the shortened opening hours of these centers, travel restrictions, shortage of medical personnel, lack of protective equipment and the fact that many doctors who perform abortions are at risk because of their age, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Women's Day Manifa march in Warsaw on March 8 — Photo: Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/ZUMA

  • The abortion issue is also making waves in Uruguay, one of just two countries in Latin America that allows women to voluntarily terminate a pregnancy. Abortion was legalized there in 2012, during the presidency of José Mujic (2010-2015), a leftist. But the country's new president, conservative Luis Lacalle Pou, opposes the practice, and in his inaugural address, on March 1, talked about defending the rights of "those who have no voice…the 10,000 children in this country who aren't born." Two months later, in a May 4 videoconference, the president reiterated his opposition to abortion, but also said he respects the laws of the land as they stand, the Uruguayan daily El País reports.

  • In Colombia, a high-profile court case linked to the country's decades-long civil war turned public attention to the issue of forced abortion. On May 11, a court in Pereira sentenced a man named Héctor Albeidis Arboleda Buitrago to more than 40 years in prison for carrying out numerous abortions, including on minors, at the behest of armed rebel groups. "El Enfermero" (The Nurse), as he's known, sold his services to different guerilla organizations over the course of seven years (1997-2004), the Colombian daily El Tiempo reports.

Watch VideoShow less
Light matters, inside and out.
Germany
Anne Goebel

Stuck At Home? Let There Be Good Lighting

Now more than ever is the time to find just the right light for our homes and apartments.

MUNICH — In dark times, light is a source of comfort, a symbol of hope.

After the 9-11 attacks, the Twin Towers were projected onto the New York City skyline so that from a distance it looked like they were still standing. Four and a half years ago, the day after terrorist attacks brought fear to the streets of Paris, landmarks from London to Melbourne were lit up with the colors of the French flag. And now people are trying to make their imposed isolation more bearable by using lights to signal to each other. There are calls for people to unpack their Christmas lights and switch them on as a sign of solidarity. A few days ago in Berlin, hotels lit up their windows with hearts as "lights of love."

However good it may feel to promote unity and connection through these gestures, there is one place where light now truly does make a difference: the home. And now that so many of us are confined to living within our own four walls, it is important to make sure our space is well-lit. Suddenly, questions that may have been ignored are coming to the fore: Is this room too dark or too bright? Does this lamp create a cozy feel or give off an anaemic glow?

"Our lives have all changed dramatically," says Axel Meise. "We are turning inwards and looking more closely at our home environments."

Axel Meise is a lighting designer who founded his company, Occhio, 21 years ago. The choice of name is not simply a pretty word. It's a philosophical statement. Meise says his work as a designer is not just about stylish lamps, but about people, spaces and a fundamental question: In what light do they see themselves? Does a calming, warm light offer refuge? Does it create a striking space, or sharp outlines, or all of the above?

Meise is not surprised that now, when we all have more time for reflection, he is seeing greater demand for his lighting concepts. Not that there's been a run on Occhio's online shop, which sells designs such as "Mito" or "Sento." The German market leader's offerings are too exclusive and expensive for mass markets. "But our trading partners are reporting lots of interest," he says. "People are thinking about light at the moment."

We are turning inwards and looking more closely at our home environments.

This shouldn't come as a surprise. When we spend all day at home, we notice things that wouldn't have bothered us before: the ugly spotlight in the hall, the dim light above the dining table, the way the ceiling in the tiny kitchen always seems lower than in other rooms. And we're also having to use our homes for many more tasks during this outbreak. Everyone suddenly needs a well-lit room where they can work, have video conferences or pore over schoolbooks.

For anyone looking to invest in better lighting, Axel Meise has one piece of advice: "Always use natural light as a guide for artificial light." The sun should be your example. Sounds simple, right? It's not — because the sun's rays are not as warm as we think they are.

Although turning your face to the sun gives a pleasant feeling of warmth, in reality this star gives off a relatively cool light, around 5,000 Kelvins. As a point of comparison, lights used in operating theaters are around 3,600 Kelvins, and good old 60-Watt bulbs are around 2,700. Kelvins are the unit of measurement for the color temperature of a light source — the proportion, in other words, of warm red light and cold blue light. The higher the number, the colder the light. So anyone looking to recreate the effect of sunlight while stuck indoors (perhaps to make up for that canceled Easter holiday to Italy) shouldn't necessarily turn to golden Mediterranean shades. Intense, cool light is closer to the quality of sunshine on a cloudless day.

Gold and white hanging pendant lamps Photo:​ Andre Hunter

Of course your choice of lighting will be partly determined by your personal taste and budget, and not only when it comes to the light fitting itself. People also have different preferences when it comes to light levels and color temperature. Our daily rhythms should be the main guide: When you're working during the day, cold, bright light is best as it keeps you alert. For relaxing in the evenings, reddish, muted light is better — like a campfire.

You can also use light to trick your body. "Our daily rhythms are changing," says Meise. "If you need to be productive for a couple of hours in the evening, a colder light can help. That makes you feel more alert and active."

From a medical perspective, this effect has been proven many times over. Child and adolescent psychologist Michael Schulte-Markwort at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf has researched how light therapy can be used to treat attention deficit disorder or depression. The basis of his study is that a melanopsin receptor in the eye suppresses the calming hormone melatonin in bright light.

"Working in very brightly lit spaces could have the same effect as a few espressos," says Schulte-Markwort. In lower light, the melatonin level rises.

Schulte-Markwort has been saying for years that children need much brighter, colder light in classrooms or for home-schooling. He recommends having a "learn light" at 6,000 Kelvins. And he thinks it's a shame that people don't pay much attention to the lighting in their homes. "Everyone knows that sunlight makes them feel better," he says. "But there is hardly any awareness about how important the quality of artificial light is for our mood and health."

That could be about to change. The first step towards greater awareness came a few years ago when standard light bulbs were replaced by new LED technology, and we could all see the unpleasant consequences of poor light quality. And right now people are paying attention to how they can improve the atmosphere in their own homes.

These are "threatened spaces," says Georg Soanca-Pollak. The Munich-based light designer doesn't mean that entirely seriously, but he wants to highlight a significant aspect of our new living situations: Our former boundaries are disappearing. We're having video conferences in the dining room, typing on our laptops in bed. He says people can use lighting to reflect this new arrangement, rather than moving all the furniture round.

"The most important thing is to use as many light sources as possible. That makes the space much more flexible," he explains.

If you've set up a temporary home office in your living room, you could consider replacing the central ceiling light with two standing lamps, one near the sofa and the other by the desk. "That makes it clear: This here is my workplace, and over there on the sofa is where I read or watch TV." Having a desk lamp that can be moved for different tasks is also important. It should be nearer when you're reading, and further away when you're working on a screen, to avoid glare.

You can't suddenly create more space in your home, but with clever lighting you can make rooms seem larger. This feels even more necessary when your family of five is now sitting down in the same room three times a day to eat, as you can feel like you only got up from the table five minutes ago. Or if your kitchen suddenly feels cramped because you're cooking lunch there every day instead of eating in the canteen.

"Uplighting can make ceilings seem higher," says Soanca-Pollak. Installing an upward-facing light above kitchen cupboards, for example, or putting floodlights in corners can make a room feel bigger. "That can be a relief at this time." And it's relatively easy to achieve, even if hardware stores and furniture shops are closed. These lights can also be ordered online.

Movable lights that you can use to mark out different spaces in the home are also becoming more important at the moment. They are a speciality of manufacturer Tobias Grau, one of the leading German lighting design companies. Whether it's the small "Salt & Pepper" model or the minimalist, battery-powered "Parrot" standing lamp, these designs are ideal companions for those who find themselves wandering around their homes. There are also imitations available at lower prices, just without the technological ingenuity.

Tobias Grau's designers are also contemplating the stars. "The sun brings a sense of movement to the day," says Timon Grau, the founder's son. "Playing around with artificial light can create a similar sense of movement within your own four walls." If there ever was a time to try it out, it's now.

Working the screens
Germany
Maria Hunstig

Social Isolation And Social Media, A Toxic Combination

Do we need to see influencers in their designer pajamas?

MUNICH — Every day feels like it lasts a month. The constant news alerts are overwhelming and our own attitude towards the coronavirus changes by the minute. "Give me a break!" we want to shout at the relentless updates. But there's one place where anyone looking for a bit of rest and relaxation... certainly won't find it: Social media.

Social distancing, of course, only applies to physical meet-ups and not to social media, so there has been an increase in online activity since isolation measures were introduced. There are still plenty of photos to post from within your own four walls. People are now using the hashtag #FromWhereIWork to show off the beautifully designed home office where they're opening their Macbook and sipping third-wave coffee from a ceramic mug – only breaking off for #MealPrep, whipping up a bowl of avocado, spinach and beluga lentils for lunch. They're sharing the #ViewFromMyWindow, a glimpse of their garden or a spectacular sunset, and a quick video of their personal #AtHomeWorkout.

The most effective way to convince others to follow suit is to issue a challenge, and the online community has dreamt up plenty over the past few days. Friends and followers are challenged to share their home offices, baking creations, cute photos of their kids, to take part in a quick-change challenge on Tiktok or post a photo of their current "work from home" fashion choices on Instagram.

Where is all the content coming from if no one is going shopping or leaving the house?

You'd be forgiven for thinking social isolation would have put an end to the parade of fashion photos on Instagram. The platform is best known for its highly filtered, rose-tinted (often paid) photos of outfits, so where is all the content coming from if no one is going shopping or leaving the house? The truth is there are still plenty of designer clothes around, as well as tips from influencers and stars who are posting every day from their balconies.

Last week, Mariah Carey posted a message with the #IStayHomeFor hashtag attached to a completely authentic photo of herself and her children in pajamas... although her PJs had a Louis Vuitton monogram and she was flawlessly made up. The next day she posted again — this time singing on the cross trainer in her home gym, dressed in a glittery Gucci shirt, sunglasses and gloves. Cathy Hummels took to social media looking fresh as ever doing yoga in a floaty skirt, and Karlie Kloss appeared in a sports bra and perfect eyeliner, calling for people to do a 10-minute work-out.

woman_walking_with_cellphone

Woman wearing a face mask browses her phone in the streets during quarantine Photo: Serhii Hudak

All these prettified feel-good messages from self-isolation can get a bit tiresome. It's great that social media can be a way to share important messages, find creative solutions to problems, show solidarity and keep people connected.

But there are plenty of us who don't feel like posting a selfie after 18 Zoom meetings and 29 Slack calls. We don't want to film home yoga sessions that show us sweaty and red-faced in old joggers, or clean the house to host a virtual dinner with friends. For those of us who'd rather sit and stare at the wall while eating frozen chips, it can feel like we're shut out.

There is already enough to be stressed about at the moment, without adding social pressure to the mix. But if, after weeks of self-isolation and living in jogging bottoms, you want to dress up and slap on a load of make-up for your morning video conference, go ahead. These days, anything goes.