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Le Weekend ➡️ Crypto Is Dead, Long Live Crypto

An estimate one trillion dollars was wiped off crypto value this past week. But there may actually be more signs now than ever that Bitcoin and company are here to stay...

May 14-15

  • Putin’s nuclear option
  • Tracking heat waves
  • Trending sad face
  • … and much more.
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How Italy’s New Draconian Bill On Surrogacy Twists The Meaning Of "Women's Dignity"

Italy’s right-wing politicians are trying to ban surrogacy, as the pope pushes parents to have children and feminists are divided on the issue. On such a complicated issue, hard thinking and nuance have been in short supply.

-Essay-

After almost two decades away from Italy, I ended up moving back just after I found out I was pregnant in 2018.

We lived in a stone house among olive trees in the Umbrian countryside, just off a beautiful medieval borgo called Montecastello di Vibio.

Even if I had tried, I could not have picked a better place for my pregnancy to be celebrated — and monitored publicly. With its aging dwellers slowly fading and younger families moving to the big cities, Montecastello was a perfect illustration of Italy’s falling fertility rates.

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Orhan Pamuk On Pandemics, Press Freedom And An Eye On Erdogan's Defeat

Nights of Plague is the latest book by the Turkish Nobel Prize winner, a fictional rendering based on historical reality that draws parallels (political and health-wise) between the past and the present.

MADRID — Orhan Pamuk is a kind of Bosphorus Bridge of literature: He unites two continents, two cultures, two philosophical and religious visions that have, over the centuries, tenaciously turned their backs on each other.

In his country, as the authoritarian drift of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has deepened, the author and public intellectual has progressively become a thorn in the side of the government. However, his run-ins with the Islamo-nationalist regime have not made a dent in his cheerful and optimistic personality.

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Why Chile's Radicals Are Already Sinking Their Own Leftist President

After becoming Chile's youngest president in December's elections, former student activist and socialist Gabriel Boric has disappointed his most radical voters. Will they prolong the social unrest and creative chaos that have smashed the country's fame as a conservative backwater?

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ — I've been following Chile closely. While the country has South America's best social and economic indicators, and was supposedly a model to follow, it has suffered a political event not unlike the earthquakes so common to that land. And all in just three years.

Let's start with something Chile considered as solved since the restoration of democracy in 1990: violence or irrational destruction. Admittedly there were still active guerrilla groups like the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front, close to the Communist Party, and the MIR (also Marxists), but Chileans generally reacted with measure to crises.

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Ideas
Lux Lancheros*

Political Fashion In Latin America Leaves White Men In Suits Behind

Politics has always been associated with image. This is especially true in Latin America, where white men in suits have dominated the field for years. But a new generation of women are shaking up politics — as well as how female politicians are expected to dress.

During "The Great Male Renunciation," toward the end of the 18th century, men stopped using refined forms of dressing in order to be taken seriously, leaving conspicuous consumption of clothing and ostentatious dressing to women. It was an attempt by the bourgeoisie to leave behind all the decadent vanity of the overthrown aristocracy.

Men flaunted their power through the clothing their female counterparts wore, though they themselves could not aspire to that same power. Men could no longer dress extravagantly and had to moderate their "feminine impetus", unless they wanted to be considered weak and frivolous. That is why many women at that time who wanted to succeed in “men's” professions had to dress in a masculine way (like French novelist George Sand), with some going as far as pretending to be men.

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Ideas
Nicolas Barré

Et Maintenant? A Fractured France And Other Tough Challenges Facing Re-Elected Macron

Despite his clear victory yesterday in the French presidential election against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron now faces immense challenges in a highly polarized country.

-OpEd-

The French have spoken — and once again in their long history, wisdom has prevailed. Emmanuel Macron’s victory is, in itself, a huge relief because this time, France was very close to tipping over and into the abyss.

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Geopolitics

Macron, Part Deux: France And The World React In 22 Front Pages

Newspapers in France and around the world are devoting their Monday front pages to Emmanuel Macron's reelection as French president.

Emmanuel Macron won a second term as president of France, beating far-right leader Marine Le Pen by a wide 58.5-41.5% margin ... oui, mais.

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Ideas
Anna Akage and Irene Caselli

Why The Battle For Donbas Could Decide The War In Ukraine

Vladimir Putin badly needs a victory, and may be ready to unleash Russia's deadliest assault to date. But Ukraine has its best fighters in the eastern region, fighting a war there since 2014, and may have several key tactical advantages.

Even after last week’s bloody attack on the Kramatorsk railway station, the trains have not stopped running. Here in the Donbas region, a new flock of soon-to-be refugees continue to flee what Vladimir Putin has promised will be the next main theater of hostilities in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Families arrived by bus to Slovyansk, half an hour from Kramatorsk, to catch the last trains heading west. "It's the second war we've lived through — eight years ago we stayed, this time it’s much worse, there is no certainty of tomorrow,” one local told Francesco Semprini, reporting for Italian daily La Stampa.

Indeed, in the neighboring region of Luhansk, shelling has already picked up in recent days, leaving more and more residents without power, gas and water. Sergei Gaidai, head of the Luhansk Regional State Administration, used the messaging platform Telegram to explain what local officials are up against:

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Ideas
Aïda N'Diaye*

Why Western Outrage At War In Europe Never Makes It To Africa

The way armed conflicts have been represented in fiction for decades could explain the racism that has been revealed in Western media coverage of the war in Ukraine compared to multiple conflicts over the years in Africa.

Double standards. That is what is striking when we compare the political and media treatment of the war in Ukraine — and the massive exodus this conflict is creating — to the treatment (or non-treatment) of the multiple crises that have similarly affected African countries in recent decades.

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For example, think back to CBS News special correspondent Charlie D’Agata’s statement on Feb. 25: ”This is not a place […] like Iraq or Afghanistan […]. Kyiv is a relatively civilized city,” he said to underline what he found particularly shocking about the images shot in Ukraine.

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Sri Lanka
M.R. Narayan Swamy*

Sri Lanka's President Was A Hero – But Now He's Got To Go

Gotabaya may blame the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war or the earlier COVID-19 pandemic for much of the mess, but there is widespread unanimity that the problems are a product of bad governance for more than a decade.

-OpEd-

The very same Gotabaya Rajapaksa who, more than anyone else, cemented the ethnic divide in Sri Lanka by leading a brutal war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has ended up uniting the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims in an unprecedented manner — by presiding over the country’s worst economic meltdown since independence in 1948.

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LGBTQ Plus
Coraly Cruz Mejías

LGBTQ Reggaeton, Hitting Macho Music Scene With Beats And Politics

Queer artists are finding their voices in the thumping beats and dance-hall rhythms of reggaeton, a genre that has historically been anything but inclusive.

RÍO PIEDRAS — It’s midnight at the Casa Cultural Ruth Hernández Torres, a historic house that serves as a cultural and community center. Blue and pink lights flash as Ana Macho takes to the dance floor. Sporting pink sunglasses and athletic attire, surrounded by dozens of fans swaying to the Caribbean rhythms, the artist sings about freedom, survival, and economic and social justice.

“It’s about the paradise that Puerto Rico is, but the one who lives here can’t live it,” says Ana Macho, whose original song “Blin Blin” embodies this message.

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Future
Laura-Maï Gaveriaux

The Mirage Of Egypt’s New Capital City

In an area the size of Singapore, Egypt is building its new capital. Constructed under the close control of the military and the head of state, the city embodies the grand ambitions of an increasingly autocratic president. But will it turn out to be a ghost city?

CAIRO — The concrete structure rises to a height of 1,263 feet (385 meters) on the edge of an expressway, where asphalt, as soon as it is laid down, lets out acrid fumes. With its double collar that licks the sky, the Iconic Tower is already the tallest building in Africa. It is also the flagship of this vast assembly of open-air construction sites over 450 square miles, an area the size of Singapore, which will be the location of the new Egyptian capital.

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Ideas
Jacques Attali

What Putin Feared Most About Ukraine: It's A European Democracy

For authoritarian leaders from Beijing to Moscow, it’s unbearable that democratic institutions like the European Union succeed. So it is vital that we Europeans build measures to protect democratic sovereignty.

-Analysis-

PARIS — For a dictatorship to endure, it needs more than just surveillance and terror. It must also be able to convince the people it enslaves that their future, in a regime of freedom, would not be sufficiently better to justify taking the risk of rebellion.

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So dictatorships have always done everything possible to discredit any neighboring society their subjects could look to for a comparison. Before starting the war, Nazi Germany spent its time denouncing the weaknesses of European and American democracies and ridiculing their leaders. It must be admitted that the latter provided it with good arguments to do so.

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Turkey
Carolina Drüten

Why Gen Z Is A Real Threat To Erdogan's Grip On Power In Turkey

Erdogan has long sought to mould young Turks into a so-called 'pious generation' for his brand of Islamic political rule. Now it seems he has failed, as the younger generation longs for what that the president refuses to grant them. In next year’s elections, their votes may prove decisive.

ISTANBUL — The only Turkey that Zehra Denizoglu has ever known is the one governed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He became Prime Minister the year she was born, and shortly afterward was named “European of the Year”, having brought the inflation rate down to 9%. Now, 18 years later, it is more than five times that, and Erdogan has established a regime where he wields absolute power. Denizoglu is now an adult and has started studying at a university in Istanbul. Next year she will be one of around 6 million first-time voters in Turkey.

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Ideas
Héctor Abad Faciolince

Russia's Prime Export Under Putin: Chaos

Russia's president is neither clearly right-wing nor left-wing. As his dubious allies around the world suggest, he simply hates Western liberal democracy and seeks to expand his personal power, at home and abroad, by sowing unrest and conflict.

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ — A glance at Vladimir Putin's friends around the world gives us a clear idea of the Russian president's preferences: It is not about a penchant for the left (as you might think, given his friendship with supposedly leftist governments) or the right (and he does have allies on the right).

His real inclination is for governments that despise liberal democracy, or at least democracy as conceived in the European Union, United States, Australia or Japan.

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Ideas
Cecilia Noce*

Beyond The Artists, Days Are Numbered For The Cuban Regime

The Cuban government has once again jailed dissenting artists or forced them to flee. But anger at the 60-year dictatorship has spread far beyond artistic circles and the regime no longer has the power to silence people.

-OpEd-

It was just over a year ago, on Jan. 27, 2021, when Cuba's Minister of Culture Alpidio Alonso slapped a protester in the face at a demonstration at the Ministry of Culture. Other demonstrators were then arrested.

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