Welcome to Thursday, where Tanzania tries to understand if its president died of COVID, Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi faces new charges and we discover what life on Mars *sounds* like. We also tune in to Le Monde to see how the invitation-only audio-chat app Clubhouse is seen as trouble by Arab regimes.
• Death of Tanzania President: COVID-skeptic President John Magufuli, 61, of Tanzania has died from heart failure, after weeks of speculations that he had COVID.
• N. Korea dismisses U.S. offer for nuclear talks: North Korea has issued a statement saying it has no intentions of having a discussion with the U.S.
• Tokyo Olympics official quits (again!): Olympic creative head Hiroshi Sasaki has resigned after suggesting to dress popular female Japanese entertainer Naomi Watanabe as an "Olympig" during the opening ceremony. This follows the resignation of the Games president Yoshiro Mori last month over sexist remarks when he said women talk too much.
• Atlanta shootings update: 21-year-old Robert Long has confessed to the three massage parlor shootings, telling officials about a "temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate," in self-diagnosed as a sex-addiction.
• Myanmar's ousted leader faces new charges: The Myanmar junta has charged Aung San Suu Kyi with accepting bribe money from a businessman.
• Mars rover sends back noises: NASA's Perseverance has sent back the first-ever sounds recorded on the planet Mars, in a sixteen minute audio clip.
• Library book returned after 63 years: A woman, 74, returned a copy of Ol' Paul, the Mighty Logger to the Queens Public Library in New York, which she checked out as a child, 63 years earlier. She also accompanied the return with a $500 donation to cover the late fees.
Japanese daily The Asahi Shimbun features front-page coverage of the landmark court decision that banning same-sex marriage in Japan was unconstitutional.
Clubhouse: the new social platform that is frightening Arab regimes
Glittering virtual lounges are popping up, inviting people to participate, solely by audio, in debates on all subjects. And, in the Middle East, the powers-that-be disapprove of the elites' infatuation with a trendy new app, reports Benjamin Barthe in French daily Le Monde.
A month ago, the up-and-coming app Clubhouse took the Middle East by storm. In just a few days, the latest gem from Silicon Valley had already earned its place in the crowded market of Arab social networks. Since this audio chat platform only runs on iOS for the moment, its use is restricted to iPhone owners, i.e. the relatively wealthy classes. But in these circles, especially in Egypt and among the ultra-connected youth of the wealthy Gulf States, followers for this new app started to grow rapidly.
In these countries where social pressure and official censorship stifle dissenting voices and non-conforming opinions, Clubhouse provides a unique breathing space. In these virtual rooms, where anyone can initiate a discussion on a topic of their choice, or join an ongoing conversation, Arabs are rediscovering a taste for free speech. As the powers that be have not yet found a way to lock down this new network, the three great taboos of the region (sex, politics and religion) are openly discussed.
In a sign that the application scares autocrats, the Sultanate of Oman announced on Sunday that the country had blocked Clubhouse, following the footsteps of China, who blocked it in February. In the Emirates, discussions have not been accessible for several days, which is interpreted locally as an act of censorship without saying so openly. Fans of the platform can bypass the jamming with a VPN, but in doing so, they risk breaking the law: The use of such software is strictly codified in the UAE.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
Fake plastic surgeon revealed after painfully awful nose job
In our digital era, having a pretty face is more important than ever. We spend our workdays staring at ourselves on Zoom cameras, and our off-time watching TikTok and Instagram videos.
Applying online face filters for slimming noses, tucking cheeks, perfecting skin is always an option. Of course, there are also more, well, permanent effects available on the market. Please, just be careful ...
As first reported by the Miami Herald, Alcalira Jimenez De Rodriguez, 56, was arrested for posing as a plastic surgeon after a patient's nose job went awry.
The charges against the woman from the town of Doral, west of Miami, include practicing medicine without a license and resisting arrest. The first charge was later elevated to a second-degree felony because of the disfigurement of the patient's nose.
Vincenzo Zurlo told authorities he began getting Botox treatments a few months ago. On the recommendation of a friend, he had visited Millennium Anti-Aging and Surgery Center for the anti-aging procedure multiple times before finally undergoing a more drastic procedure: rhinoplasty.
In February 2020, Zurlo paid $2,800 for a nose job, and as with most medical procedures, was prescribed antibiotics and painkillers. A few weeks later, frustrated with an exceptionally slow healing process and what appeared to be an ugly nose under all the gauze, he called his doctor, who agreed to fix his nose. In May 2020, Zurlo again paid another $2,800 to go back under the knife.
While it's not particularly rare to be disappointed with the results of a nose job, the resulting excruciating pain was a sign that something was amiss. Upon a closer look at his prescriptions, Zurlo saw that they were not written in Rodriguez's name, the Miami Herald reports.
Zurlo called the police after Rodriguez refused to share her medical practitioner number. The Florida Health Department sent in an undercover detective, posing as a client interested in plastic surgery, who caught Rodriguez mid-surgery and had her arrested on the spot. No word on how that very last amateur nip and tuck turned out.
➡️ Keep up with all the planet's police reports and plot twists on Worldcrunch.com
According to the Hong Kong Dog Rescue charity, the number of dogs being abandoned has increased by 30% in recent months in the city, which is experiencing a wave of emigration after China's imposition of a new security law that sparked mass protests. Thousands of Hong Kong residents are choosing to relocate to the UK or Canada, but many cannot afford the expensive travel arrangements and complicated COVID-19 procedures to move pets abroad.
He will pay a price.
— U.S. President Joe Biden said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will be punished for interfering in the 2020 presidential election. In the same interview on ABC News' "Good Morning America," Biden also responded "I do" upon being asked whether he believed Putin was "a killer," prompting Russia to recall its U.S. ambassador.
See more from World Affairs here