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Geopolitics

How Millennials And Boomers See Putin's Nuclear Threats Differently

Baby boomers who grew up under the threat of nuclear armageddon warn against a nuclear escalation of the war in Ukraine. But the younger generations are not cowed by Putin's blackmail. And that’s a very good thing.

-Analysis-

BERLIN — It is a sentence that no German Chancellor had ever had to utter before. “I am doing everything I can to prevent an escalation that would lead to World War III. There must not be a nuclear war,” said Olaf Scholz.

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The Haitian Entrepreneurs Happy To Stay Home

Given the opportunity to flee an economic and political crisis in Haiti, some business owners opt to stay.

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Mathilde Ménélas recalls the moment her parents sold a piece of their land and handed her the cash, telling her to leave the only country she’d ever known. The 26-year-old refused. Instead, she set up a beauty salon in Haiti’s busy capital of Port-au-Prince.

The trained esthetician understood her parents’ fear for her to remain in a country marred by the threat of kidnap, natural disasters, an unstable economy and rising unemployment. Ménélas says leaving her country was all she could think about.

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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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Can You Be Old And Ageist?

New research, which included 80 in-depth interviews with older people, found that a surprising number look down on their fellow seniors.

“We don’t want to be tripping over Zimmer frames all the time,” said John*, 73. He clearly felt frustrated and had a strong objection to the older, more frail residents in his retirement village. John and his wife, Jean, had moved to the retirement village about a year ago. They were clearly not expecting to encounter really elderly people when they moved in. “It’s depressing,” he continued, “to see these people, who really ought to be in a nursing home, or in care.”

In our research – published in The Gerontologist – we carried out 80 in-depth interviews with older people about their experiences of living in retirement villages across the UK and Australia. We were particularly interested in why people sought out retirement living and how their needs matched or contradicted those of other residents. We did not expect to find such high levels of resentment among residents – but we did.

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Society

Iran To Offer Master's And PhD In Morality Enforcement

For those aiming to serve the Islamic Republic of Iran as experts to train the public morality agents, there are now courses to obtain the "proper" training.

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

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Economy
Anne-Claire Bennevault

Don't Trust The TikTok Business Gurus

Anne-Claire Bennevault, founder of consulting firm BNVLT and think tank SPAK.fr, weighs in on the rise of the so-called "finfluencers".

Op-Ed

Some 15 or 20 years ago, if you were looking to get into finance, you would read the Wall Street Journal, pay attention to Henry Kaufman's analyses and closely follow both Ray Dalio's speeches and Warren Buffet's masterclasses. These traditional financial gurus do continue to have very large audiences, but now they are rivaled by tech-savvy newcomers who understand the power of social media.

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China 2.0
Sze Ngai Lam

Chinese Millennials Defend Their ''Lying-Flat'' Doctrine

With real estate prices high and job prospects low, a growing number of young Chinese say they choose to both work and spend less in order to escape the pressures of contemporary life.

It's called the "lying flat" doctrine, increasingly popular among young people in China who choose to both work and spend less as ways to lighten the pressures of contemporary life. Recently, a professor from Tsing Hua University criticized this approach, and chastised the youth for letting down their parents and the country's "hard-working taxpayers."

BEIJING — On May 26, an internet user going by the name "Lying Flat Master" posted an article titled "Lying Flat is Justice" on the Chinese social media Baidu. This post of just over 200 words set off a heated discussion in the Chinese online world.

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THE WASHINGTON POST
Anne Sophie Goninet

Happy Birthday, COVID: The Moments Missed We’ll Never Get Back

When I blew the candles on my 29th birthday cake, on March 27th 2020, it was only 10 days after the first lockdown had begun in France. Still, I felt lucky. I remember telling myself that, even though the day included no friends, at least in 2021 for the much more momentous passage into la trentaine, I could celebrate properly. Alas...

Besides a fleeting opening up over the summer, France, like much of the world, has largely remained in lockdown mode for what in fact has now been more than one full year. Three weeks ago, when I turned 30, I was able to invite some family members to share a slice of delicious chocolate cake and a champagne flute, but my parents and my brother, who live in another region, couldn't make it because of the curfew restrictions. A big party with friends was of course out of the question.

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Coronavirus
Gaspard Koenig

Prolonging Lives v. Wasted Futures? The 'Covidism' Dilemma

Are the lives of the youth impacted by coronavirus restrictions worth less than the extended lives of the elderly? This is the debate we must have when faced with the prospect of another lockdown.

The prospect of life in a cycle of lockdowns, curfews, quarantines, masks, antibacterial gel and social distancing is now indefinite. There will be vaccines, but there will also be new variants, new challenges and we will be under new means of surveillance, such as the dystopian "vaccine passport" that has been proposed. COVID-19 has tipped the world into a permanent state of emergency.

Why, and for whom, are we giving ourselves so much trouble? This is a question that inevitably arises for young working people. Among my age group (15-44 years old), the number of patients who have died without prior existing conditions since the beginning of the pandemic in France is 60, according to the latest epidemiological report by Public Health France (a figure that is surprisingly little quoted in government speeches). This compares to more than 10,000 cardiac arrests and more than 20,000 strokes in the same population category over the same period.

Even if it is always possible to be part of this statistical margin of error, COVID-19 is therefore by no means a risk that I should be overly concerned about, to be purely selfish about it.

"It is not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger," writes David Hume in his "A Treatise on Human Nature." Is it then contrary to reason to prefer an aperitif to the survival of our elders, and if so, why?

We never save lives, we only prolong them.

The way this question is being asked today produces an obvious answer. Slowing down the economy to save lives: who can be against it? Doctors, who, in the absence of parliamentary control, now make public health policy, are doing their job by demanding the strictest possible control measures. They are faithful to their Hippocratic oath, thus updated by the Order of Physicians: "My first concern is to restore, preserve or promote health."

Nevertheless, the same question can be asked in other words. First of all, we never save lives, we only prolong them: We are all condemned to death, as Camus' Caligula shouts with desperate jubilation. Which lives are prolonged and by how many years? According to Santé Publique France, the median age of COVID-19 victims is 85, slightly higher than the median age of death in France. In other words, most of those whose death is prevented by the restrictions already belong to the minority of survivors of their generation.

According to Santé Publique France, the median age of COVID-19 victims is 85 — Photo: Jon Tyson

Moreover, we are not just slowing down the economy: we are actively wasting other lives. These are lives lost for lack of conventional medical examinations and care or as a result of suicides, the "wave" of which could still be yet to come, according to a study by the Foundation Jean-Jaurès. Not to mention the broken lives of bar owners, artists or small shopkeepers unable to work for months at a time or the zombie lives of students stuck in front of their screens, kids hidden behind masks all day at school. These are lives that have long been darkened, the lives of all of us, because we can no longer dance without being considered to be delinquents, have a drink without a waiver or shake hands without suffering public scorn.

This leads to a very different equation, with two variables of the same nature: extended life time versus wasted life time; years gained from death versus years lost to life. These should be precisely quantified and the question of hospital overcrowding should be integrated into this equation, to open an informed debate. Only then will we be able to make a decision that will be political this time – no longer medical.

What we can conclude is that the collective choice in this dilemma reflects the moral health of a society. Between 1968 and 1970, a global pandemic, the Hong Kong flu, killed more than a million people, including several tens of thousands in France. It also affected mainly the elderly. The figures are more modest than for the coronavirus, but the orders of magnitude are comparable. Was it decided to cancel the festivals? Quite the opposite: There was Woodstock, with half a million hippies crammed shirtless in the American Catskills. What do we remember about the late 1960s? Free love and counterculture. Then, society decided to focus on its youth.

Today, the Woodstock generation is among the at-risk people we protect by sacrificing our daily lives. What does this say about our society?

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Israel
Louis Imbert

Pandemic Prompts Israel's Ultra-Orthodox Youth To Cut Loose

The COVID-19 crisis has upended normal routines and led some young Haredims to drop out of school, experiment with drugs and distance themselves from family.

BNEI BRAK — Neighbors discovered the plump, 16-year-old boy out out behind their building in Bnei Brak, the capital of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, the Haredim, meaning those who "tremble before God." He was sleeping on an abandoned office chair.

A video of the boy — we'll call him Gadi, for the sake of discretion — circulated from neighbor to neighbor until it reached Tova Bouriya, an ultra-Orthodox mother of Yemeni origin. As the head of the association Tov Ba'lev, she keeps her door open to teenagers on the street. Bouriya then contacted Gadi's grandfather, an influential Sephardic rabbi, who made it clear that he is disowning the boy.

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LA STAMPA

Coronavirus, One More Crisis For Italy’s Forgotten Youth

A recent speech by former ECB chief Mario Draghi hit close to home in his native country.

-Analysis-

ROME — Mario Draghi's scathing words rippled through Italian and international media. The Italian-born former head of the European Central Bank delivered the first major speech since he left the institution, and chose to urge governments to think first and foremost of their youth.

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