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Laure Gautherin

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2022 Kharkiv Pride Parade​
LGBTQ Plus

LGBTQ+ International: Cuban Marriage, Kharkiv Pride, Trump’s Gaffe — And The Week’s Other Top News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

This week featuring:

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Sticker of Donald Trump on a wall that reads "miss me yet?"
Geopolitics

Trump's Return? The Rest Of The World Should Start Preparing Now

There is a growing likelihood that Donald Trump will return to the White House in Jan. 2025. Europe must act now to be ready to protect its democracy without relying on its U.S. ally.

-Analysis-

PARIS — I get criticized for working too often off the worst-case scenario. Yet recent events, in France and just about everywhere else in the world, should have by now convinced even the most optimistic that the worst-case is in fact never impossible. The best approach, in any case, is to be prepared.

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It is not too late then to prepare for a certain hypothesis that is more likely every day: the return of Donald Trump to the White House following the next U.S. election on Nov. 5, 2024.

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Photo of an add for Shein's pop up store in Paris
Economy

Shein IRL? China's Online Fashion Giant Has A Major Worker Exploitation Problem

In the fast fashion race, Shein, a Chinese retailer, has rapidly risen to compete with the likes of H&M and Zara — and even Amazon. But a deep look inside the company reveals questionable working and sourcing practices.

GUANGZHOU — The wall clock says 1:30 p.m. when the neon lights switch on again above the sewing machines and ironing boards. Between the boxes and the mountain-high piles of clothes, workers emerge from their nap. Small camp beds are hastily put away, phones slide back to the bottom of pockets. It's time to get back to work for the approximately 250 employees of this workshop in Nancun, a village that's been absorbed into the megacity of Guangzhou, in the very south of China.

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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.

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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.”


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Photo Of The Week: This Happened In Mariupol
OneShot

Photo Of The Week: This Happened In Mariupol

A Russian air raid struck a Mariupol maternity hospital, an unthinkable new moral low in Vladimir Putin's war. Soon after the strike, Associated Press photographer Evgeniy Maloletka was on the scene, capturing a powerful image of the horror of war.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine struck a new moral low this past week. The killing of civilians is multiplying across the country, notably in the besieged port city of Mariupol.

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For the past two weeks, Mariupol has been surrounded by Russian troops and Ukraine has tried several times to evacuate civilians through a humanitarian corridor from a city where more than 400,000 people have been without water or electricity for over a week.

On Wednesday, March 9, a Russian air raid struck a Mariupol maternity hospital, an unthinkable target that many have already labeled a war crime. Soon after the strike, Associated Press photographer Evgeniy Maloletka was on the scene, capturing a series of horrific images.

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Pandemic To Putin, Rise Of The "Independence Obsession"
Economy

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?

-Analysis-

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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Zelensky, Global Icon: Memes, Magazine Covers And What It Really Means
Society

Zelensky, Global Icon: Memes, Magazine Covers And What It Really Means

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has instantly become an international icon of courage in the fight for freedom. This sudden fame is as much a proof of how much is at stake in Ukraine as any one man's power — and Zelensky is the first to know his limits.

“I need ammunition, not a ride..."

It was just one of many phrases, perhaps the most Hollywood among them, that have turned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into an international icon. Indeed, it only took a few hours before t-shirts printed with these words — uttered in response to the U.S. offer to evacuate him to safety — and the yellow-and-blue flag were being sold on Amazon for $19.95.

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With such instant global passion around him, one could almost forget that the comedian-turned-president had often looked overmatched to the eyes of the world, from his election in 2019 to his bit part in the Donald Trump impeachment saga, up until the hours before threat of a Russian invasion became real.

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 On March 2, 2022, the Russian rouble hit record lows.
Economy

Vladimir Putin's Two Economic Bets

By deciding to invade Ukraine, the President of Russia did so believing that money would protect his country. By trying to prove him wrong, the West is facing its own potential crash.

-Analysis-

It is not the economy that wages war. It is primarily men, with weapons and ideas, visions and strategies.

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

However, for more than a century, the economy has played an essential role in war development. Vladimir Putin knows this, even if he doesn't usually care much about the subject.

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Meet The Russian VIPs Defying Putin To Say No To War
Society

Meet The Russian VIPs Defying Putin To Say No To War

Russian pop starts, artists and athletes are speaking out against the war in Ukraine, with some already suffering the consequences.

Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine is proving more difficult than he envisaged on the battlefield. But since last Thursday's invasion, there are increasing signs of domestic anger of his attack of a neighboring country where many have friends and family.

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

In addition to repeated public protests in cities across the country in defiance of a ban on anti-government opposition, Russians are seeing some of the country's most prominent personalities speak out against the war on Ukraine. They join an international chorus of celebrities condemning the war, including Monday night at this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, where prize winners sent messages of support to both Ukrainians and their fellow entertainers in Russia who are speaking out even at the risk of arrest and an end to their career.

From pop singers to artists and athletes, here are some of the Russian VIPs using their platform to oppose Putin's war.

Vladimir Urin

Vladimir Urin

Vladimir Urin

Emile Alain Ducke/DPA via ZUMA Press


Vladimir Urin is the head of Russia’s cultural pride: the Bolshoi Theater. He has been a President Putin loyalist… until now. Urin has joined a group of artists who signed an appeal to stop “the special operation in Ukraine”. The message was posted on Facebook by Maria Revyakina, director of the Art Theater of Moscow. “We call for preservation of the highest value — human life.”

Vladimir Urin’s team also helped choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, former artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, to quickly leave Russia.

Alexei Ratmansky

Alexei Ratmansky

Alexei Ratmansky

Facebook/Alexei Ratmansky


Though Russian born, Alexei Ratmansky grew up in Kyiv, where his family is still based today. Now living in the U.S. he was preparing a new ballet at the Bolshoi in Moscow. As soon as the news of the invasion spread, he chose to flee the city along with his wife and international crew. “I doubt I would go if Putin is still president,” he told The New York Times when asked if he could go back to finish his projects.

Elena Kovalskaya

Elena Kovalskaya

Elena Kovalskaya

Facebook/Elene Kovalskaya


Elena Kovalskaya has been the director of the Meyerhold Center, a theater known for its experimental take on the sixth art, in Moscow since 2020 after serving as its artistic director for seven years. On Facebook, she announced her resignation from the state-financed theater in an act of protest over the war. “It’s impossible to work for a murderer and receive your salary from him,” she wrote on Facebook.

Oxxymiron

Oxxxymiron

Oxxxymiron

Facebook/Oxxxymiron


Miron Yanovich Fyodorov, aka Oxxxymiron, is a very popular hip-hop artist. In protest against Putin’s invasion and assault on Ukraine, he announced on Instagram the indefinite cancelation of six sold out concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg. “I cannot entertain you when Russian missiles are falling on Ukraine,” he said. “I know that most people in Russia are against this war, and I am confident that the more people would talk about their real attitude to it, the faster we can stop this horror.” Born in Leningrad, raised in Germany and the U.K., he has opposed the regime on many occasions, such as in 2019 when he organized the Get Jailed for a Text protest.

Valery Meladze

Valery Meladze is one of Russia’s most famous pop singers. On Instagram, the 56 year-old star called for an end to the war. “Something happened today that could and should never have happened {..} Now I’m begging you to stop military action and sit down to negotiate,” he says in his video. “People must be able to negotiate. For this we have a language, for this we have been given all the abilities. People must not die. This must be stopped.”

Fedor Smolov

Fedor Smolov

Fedor Smolov

Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via ZUMA Press


Fedor Smolov is a soccer player for Dynamo Moscow. He was the first on the Russian national team to publicly condemn the attack on Ukraine. A few hours after the beginning of the Russian move towards Ukraine, he posted on Instagram a black screen captioned in Russian “No to war!!!” followed by a broken heart and a Ukrainian flag.

As a consequence of Vladimir Putin’s invasion, the UEFA's Champions League stripped Saint Petersburg off its role as host of the final set for May 28. The game will be held at the Stade de France in Paris instead.

Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin warming up on ice before a match

Alex Ovechkin

Kostas Lymperopoulos/CSM via ZUMA Wire


Alex Ovechkin is an ice hockey star who plays in the US as Washington Capitals’ winger. After days of silence, he addressed the invasion during a press conference. The athlete said he had family and "lots of friends in Russia and Ukraine" and that he was hoping for peace. "Please, no more war," Ovechkin concluded. As a vocal pro-Putin celebrity, his position regarding Russia’s move was under scrutiny. This opinion was both acclaimed and deemed as too little too late, especially since he still hasn’t changed his Instagram profile picture where he poses with the Russian President doing a V sign.

Danill Medvedev

Danill Medvedev

Danill Medvedev

Prensa Internacional via ZUMA Wire


Freshly crowned world number one tennis player and winner of the US Open last year, Danill Medvedev spoke on the day of the invasion, calling for peace. "By being a tennis player, I want to promote peace all over the world,” he said during a press conference, right after winning his match at the Mexico Open. “It's just not easy to hear all this news. I'm all for peace.”

Andrey Rublev

Andrey Rublev

Andrey Rublev

Oscar J. Barroso/AFP7 via ZUMA Press Wire


A day after Danill Medvedev, World No. 7 Andrey Rublev also took a stand against war. After his win on the courts in Dubai, he wrote the message "No war please" on a camera lense. "In these moments you realize that my match is not important. It's not about my match, how it affects me. Because what's happening is much more terrible," Rublev later said during an interview. "You realize how important it is to have peace in the world and to respect each other no matter what and to be united... We should take care of our earth and of each other. This is the most important thing."

Ivan Urgant

Ivan Urgant on his show

Ivan Urgant

Instagram/Andrey Rublev


Ivan Urgant is an evening talk-show host on the popular state-owned TV station, Channel One. To oppose the war, he posted a black square on Instagram with the caption “Fear and pain. No to war.” His show has not been broadcasted since, but the channel's spokesperson insisted the decision had nothing to do with his Instagram post. Officially, Urgant’s program and others were removed to be replaced by news and political shows “because of the current situation”.

Boris Akunin

Boris Akunin in 2012

Boris Akunin in 2012

Igor Kubedinov/ZUMAPRESS.com


Best-selling thriller author Boris Akunin – the pen name of Grigori Chalvovitch Tchkhartichvili – fled Russia in 2014, when it became clear to him his country’s regime was evolving towards a “dictatorship”. One of Russia’s most famous and prolific writers and historians, he has criticized Putin on many occasions. On the day of the invasion, he wrote on his Facebook: “The madness has prevailed. People are dying, blood is spilling. Russia is ruled by a mentally abnormal dictator, and what is most terrible, it submissively follows his paranoia.”

Daria Zhukova

Daria Zhukova in 2011

Daria Zhukova in 2011

Future-Image/ZUMAPRESS.com


Daria Zhukova is a prominent contemporary art collector who can be counted among Russia’s famous oligarchs. In 2008, she and her then-partner billionaire Roman Abramovich – owner of Chelsea FC – opened the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. In a statement published on its website, the institution announced that it would stop all activities and put on hold every exhibitions that were programmed “until the human and political tragedy that is unfolding in Ukraine has ceased.” “We are categorically opposed to any and all actions that sow division and create isolation. We see ourselves as part of a wider world undivided by war,” the statement reads.

Sofia Abramovich

Sofia Abramovich

Sofia Abramovich

Instagram/Sofia Abramovich


Meanwhile, Roman Abramovich’s daughter Sofia, a student and professional horseback rider in the UK, also took a stand against the invasion of Ukraine, clearly mentioning the name of Vladimir Putin, which is rare. She posted an Instagram story insisting that the Russian people do not support his stance on Ukraine.


As for Roman Abramovich, after handing over "stewardship and care" of Chelsea to the club's charitable foundation, he would currently be in Gomel, Belarus, to take part in negotiations with Russia, reports the Jerusalem Post. He responded to Kyiv’s call for Russian mediators and is “trying to help”, says his spokesperson.

Danila Kozlovsky

Danila Kozlovsky

Danila Kozlovsky

Instagram/Danila Kozlovsky


Former model turned actor and director, Danila Kozlovsky found fame in Hollywood by acting in Vampire Academy or more recently Vikings. On Instagram, he first posted a quick message expressing his disagreement with the attack on Ukraine. His post, a black square, was captioned “Fear and shame… Agree! Stop! NO WAR”. Later on, he shared a deeper analysis of his own complicity-by-passivity to the conflict that had started years ago. “I didn’t see, didn’t understand or didn’t want to see and understand... I was indifferent, interested exclusively in my life, when it was necessary to call for reason and peace by all means. I naively thought that all this would end and that they would definitely agree at the top, because smart people are sitting.”

Evgeny Lebedev

Evgeny Lebedev

Evgeny Lebedev

Ash Knotek/Snappers via ZUMA Press


Evgeny Lebedev is a British-Russian media magnate and a member of the House of Lords. Son of billionaire and former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev, he wrote in the Evening Standard — which he owns — a direct call to Vladimir Putin for an end to the war. “Please, Mr Putin, stop this war,” he begs. “As a Russian citizen, I implore you to stop sending Russian soldiers to kill their brothers and sisters in Ukraine.” Coming from an oligarch, this stance is particularly revealing of the concern now shaking Russian VIPs abroad. Lebedev is also the owner of The Independent which has relaunched its Refugees Welcome campaign calling on the UK to welcome refugees from Ukraine without the need for visas.

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Where Witch Hunts Are Not A Metaphor — And Women Are Still Getting Killed
Society

Where Witch Hunts Are Not A Metaphor — And Women Are Still Getting Killed

Catalonia has recently pardoned up to 1,000 people, mostly women, who were accused of "witchcraft" as late as the eighteenth century. But as some countries atone for their past, "witch hunts" are still common in other parts of the world.

The Catalan Parliament has recently passed a resolution to apologize for the centuries-long witch hunt that took place in the region over 400 years ago, clearing the name of some 1,000 innocents — mostly women — condemned for witchcraft. Catalonia was one of the most active regions in Europe for witch hunting. Europe’s oldest law against the crime of witchcraft was passed in Lleida, a city in the north-west of Spain, back in 1424. Witch hunts lasted in the region up to the eighteenth century.

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A 84-year-old woman mirrors in the sideview mirror as she is driving her car in Weingarten, Germany
Society

With Boom In Senior Drivers, 5 New Safety Solutions Around The World

As life expectancy continues to rise, the question of road safety for older drivers has become a priority for governments and carmakers. From AI and deep-learning tech to voluntary retirement, here are some of the innovative solutions being explored to ensure older people can drive safely.

Living longer means driving older. This demographic is pushing governments around the world to look for new ways to ensure the safety of their citizens on the road by introducing specific policies targeting people over 65. Compulsory medical assessment, voluntary retirement, financial incentives, as well as tapping into technologies like AI, VR and deep-learning tech.

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Photo of a 2016 protest in Cairo, Egypt, in support of deposed Egyptian President, Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohamed Morsi
Geopolitics

Autopsy Of The Muslim Brotherhood's Failed Political Project

A decade after the Arab Spring, the Islamist political movement driven by the Muslim Brotherhood, from Egypt to Morocco and beyond, continues to flirt with more extreme Salafist elements to build popular support — and continues to show its utter incapacity to properly run a national government.

-Analysis-

The momentous setback of the Moroccan Justice and Development Party (PJD) this past September has had everyone in the political world talking, including Islamists themselves. Abdelilah Benkirane, the former prime minister who returned as the head of the party following an extraordinary congress on Oct. 30, emphasized the responsibility of the party itself in this defeat, including "internal quarrels and renouncing the values of Islam and the fundamentals of Islamist militancy, including selflessness."

The outgoing party leaders, instead, described the defeat as a kind of puzzle, even leaving the doors open to "deep state" conspiracy theories.

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