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The Digital Tracking Of India's Sanitation Workers Is An Extra Dirty Deal

Lower-caste cleaners must wear GPS-enabled smartwatches, raising questions about their privacy and data protection.

Munesh sits by the roadside near a crowded market in Chandigarh, a city in India’s north, on a January day. She is flanked by several other women, all of them sweepers hired by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. She shows the smartwatch she is wearing and says, “See, I didn't even touch it, but the camera has turned on."

Munesh, who estimates she is in her 40s and, like many Indians, goes by just one name, is one of around 4,000 such sanitation workers. The corporation makes it mandatory for them to wear smartwatches — called Human Efficiency Tracking Systems — fitted with GPS trackers. Each one has a microphone, a SIM embedded for calling workers, and a camera, so that the workers can send photos to their supervisors as proof of attendance.

In Chandigarh, this project is run by Imtac India, an IT services company, at a cost of an estimated $278,000 per year. Meanwhile, sanitation workers say that the government has not invested in personal protective gear throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and that they have long worked without medical care and other vital social services.

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Sealing Off Last Mariupol Bastion, Haiti Plane Crash, Barbie Queen

👋 Kuzungpo la!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Putin changes his mind on Mariupol strategy, Rust producers are slapped with a maximum fine over Alec Baldwin shooting accident and the Queen gets her own Barbie doll. Meanwhile, we focus on how French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen’s pro-Russian stance may play out in Sunday’s decisive round of voting.

To keep up with latest developments of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, we’d also like to introduce our new daily War In Ukraine update, including local coverage and international analysis of the conflict.

[*Dzongha - Bhutan]

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Ukraine War, Phase 2: The Battle For Donbas Begins

👋 Moien!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where the battle for Donbas begins, tensions are rising in Gaza after Israel’s airstrike and Biden’s mask mandate for air travel is struck down. Meanwhile, Ukrainian journalist Anna Akage zeroes in on the strategic significance of the city of Mariupol in this second phase of the Ukraine war.


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Russia Vows New Attacks On Kyiv After Moskva Warship Sinks

👋 Сайн уу*

Welcome to Friday, where Russia warns of more strikes on Kyiv as Ukraine claims responsibility for the sinking of the Moskva warship, hundreds are wounded in clashes at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, and “Houston, we have a kebab.” In German daily Die Welt, Michael Brendler explores the end-of-life ethical question that has gained new attention during the pandemic: When is it better to turn off life-support equipment?

[*Sain uu - Mongolian]

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​Yury Saprykin

The Eternal Russian Art Of Isolation

Like from a Pushkin tale, Soviet embargo, or even a COVID lockdown, Russia is at home when it is proudly or despondently cut off from the external world. And after a post-Soviet pause of opening up, here we are again, says Russian writer Yury Saprykin.


MOSCOW — Our current state is ultimately more the norm than the exception: it's only taken a few days to return to this phase, now it seems that life simply took its natural position. Like the hero of a Russian novel, who overcame apathy and suddenly rushed somewhere, chased an unrealizable dream, only to immediately lose his strength and collapse on the old sofa.

This impulse took 30 or so years, which is not a long time for a Russian novel.

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

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Thirty years, though not a very long life is enough to witness the end of the previous cycle and the beginning of a new one. Old-timers have something to remember: “hostile voices” on a shortwave radio, the concept of “contacts with foreigners,” imported jeans bought from speculators, a bottle of French cognac from a “traveling” colleague.

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In The News
Laure Gautherin and Bertrand Hauger

“Never Again…” Zelensky Evokes History In Speech To German Bundestag

👋 Bonġu!*

Welcome to Thursday, where the fate of hundreds trapped in the rubble of Mariupol theater is still unknown, with the Russian-led attack prompting U.S. President Biden to call Putin a “war criminal”. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Zelensky conjures up history in a moving speech before Germany’s Bundestag. For Worldcrunch, Ranjani Iyer Mohanty argues that Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland risks letting her emotional attachment to Ukraine, where she has family roots, undermine her ultimate responsibility of doing what’s in the best interest of Canada.


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In The News
Rozena Crossman, Bertrand Hauger and Laure Gautherin

Zelensky & Lavrov See Progress, 20,000 Flee Mariupol, Notre-Dame Sarcophagus

👋 ꦲꦭꦺꦴ*

Welcome to Wednesday, where 20,000 manage to flee Mariupol despite sustained Russian shelling, Zelensky and Lavrov offer some hope on talks, and archeologists hit paydirt in Notre Dame rebuilding site. German daily die Welt also looks at Romania’s strategic importance in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and how it could force NATO down the war path.

[*Halo - Javanese, Indonesia]

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In The News
Bertrand Hauger and Laure Gautherin

Kyiv Under Assault, Anti-War Protest On Russian TV, 3 Million Refugees

👋 Cześć!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where deadly attacks are multiplying in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, a Russian journalist interrupts a live TV program to protest the war and 51 million Chinese people are back in COVID lockdown. Meanwhile, America Economia finds the transportation future has already arrived in Latin America: flying cars.


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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lorraine Olaya and Bertrand Hauger

New Russian Targets, ISIS Leader Death Confirmed, Two Years Of Pandemic

👋 Салам!*

Welcome to Friday, where Russian airstrikes target additional Ukrainian cities, while Moscow’s 40-mile long military convoy is on the move again near Kyiv; also, a new report finds the COVID-19 death toll may be three times higher than official data suggests. Clemens Wergin in German daily Die Welt examines the West’s different possible options to help Ukraine on a military level, and the risks they entail.

[*Salam - Kyrgyz]

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Bertrand Hauger and Laure Gautherin

Ceasefire Talks Fail, Maternity Bombing Toll, New S. Korean President

👋 Bok!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Ukrainian & Russian foreign ministers fail to reach a cease-fire agreement, at least three die in bombing of a maternity ward in Mariupol and South Korea’s opposition candidate wins an extremely close presidential election. Also, as the West bans Russian composers, artists and writers, Christian Meier in Die Welt, asks whether targeting culture is the right move in times of war.


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Jean-Marc Vittori

Pandemic To Putin, Rise Of The "Independence Obsession"

First, the COVID-19 crisis, and now the need to respond to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, are forcing countries to confront the risks of global interdependence. In its place comes a rush to establish national autonomy for crucial resources, from masks to oil and gas. But at what price?


PARIS — Russian troops aren't only ravaging Ukraine. They're setting off shock waves that will change history. And it turns out, those waves are pushing us in the same direction that COVID-19 did: the fragmentation of the world.

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Because when facing the assault of a virus or an army, nation-states are forced to take control.

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

Kharkiv Civilian Deaths, Russia Bears Down on Kyiv, More Talks Scheduled

👋 Goedendag!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Ukraine’s president calls Russian targeting of central Kharkiv a war crime, Russian troops are closing in on Kyiv and Die Welt reports from near the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the rising fear following Putin’s putting nuclear forces on high alert. We also look at how countries around the world are coming around to the controversial COVID policies of Sweden.


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