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Geopolitics

How Rugby Became A Boring Game Of Terminator Trench Warfare

The world of rugby is not what it used to be. Artists gave way to men built like tanks, and the 2015 World Cup, kicking off in England, will take the Robocop scrum to a new low.

France-Scotland grind it out at the Six Nations
France-Scotland grind it out at the Six Nations
Serge Raffy

LONDON — It was last century, 20 or more years ago. A time when the oval ball merrily made the rounds, from hand to hand. Rugby, back then, was a fête. There were still some smaller, even slender players in this sport of close combat. These skinny wizards practiced the art of dodging, wrong-footing their opponents, or avoiding them with the timely application of that technique that includes successive arabesques, which, deep in southwestern France, they called "the art of biscouette."

The featherweight artists went by names like Richard Astre, Jo Maso, Didier Codorniou, Jean Trillo, Jack Cantoni, Gareth Edwards or Andy Irvine. They lit up the Five Nations Championship with sudden stampedes, radiant improvisations, magical passes.

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Coronavirus

In Shanghai, A Brewing Expat Exodus As COVID Crackdown Shows "Real" China

Not only strict rules of freedom of movement as part of Zero-COVID policy but also an increase in censorship has raised many questions for the expat population in the megacity of 26 million that had long enjoyed a kind of special status in China as a place of freedom and openness. A recent survey of foreigners in the Chinese megacity found that 48% of respondents said they would leave Shanghai within the next year.

People walk in Tianzifang, located in Huangpu District, a well-known tourist attraction in Shanghai.

Lili Bai

SHANGHAI — On the seventh day of the lockdown, Félix, a French expat who has worked in Shanghai for four years, texted his boss: I want to "run,' mais je sais pas quand (but I don’t know when). A minute later, he received a reply: moi aussi (me too).

Félix had recently learned the new Mandarin word 润 (run) from social network postings of his local friends. Because its pinyin “rùn” is the same as the English word “run,” Chinese youth had begun to use it to express their wish to escape reality, either to “be freed from mundane life”, or to “run toward your future.”

For foreigners like Félix, by associating the expression “run” with the feeling of the current lockdown in Shanghai, “everything makes sense.” Félix recalled how at the end of March, the government denied rumors of an impending lockdown: “My Chinese colleagues all said, Shanghai is China’s top city, there would be no lockdown no matter what.”

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