Welcome to Thursday, where Biden lays out his vision for America, Northern Ireland leader quits over Brexit and a Navalny mural appears in Saint Petersburg (as he appears gaunt in a remote court hearing). We also turn to Germany, where Die Welt sounds the alarm about the male infertility crisis afflicting the Western world.
• Biden's address to Congress: To mark 100 days in office, U.S. President Joe Biden gave his first address to the nation Wednesday night, unveiling huge investments for jobs, education and care plans, while addressing white supremacy and systemic racism.
• Two Myanmar air bases attacked: Attacks have been launched against two Myanmar air bases on Thursday, as blasts and rocket fires have been reported. No attackers have been identified yet.
• A gaunt Navalny makes first appearance since hunger strike: Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny appeared in court via video link for an appeals hearing, criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government in his first public appearance since he went on hunger strike.
• India maintains state elections despite COVID surge: Residents of the Indian state of West Bengal are voting in the last phase of elections amid a deadly second wave of coronavirus.
• Northern Ireland first minister resigns: Northern Ireland First Minister and majority party leader Arlene Foster has announced her resignation, following protests over post-Brexit borders.
• First step for China's new space station: China has launched a module of a new space station, amid hopes that Beijing will have the new station operational by 2022.
• 5,000-year-old tombs discovered in Egypt: Some 110 pre-Pharaonic tombs have been discovered in the Nile Delta by Egyptian archaeologists, shedding light on major transitional periods in ancient Egypt.
Italian daily Il Messaggero reports on the arrests in France of seven Italian leftist terrorists, who had been on the run for decades following their conviction in Italy. The issue had long poisoned relations between the two countries.
Male infertility: the hidden pandemic
Across the Western world, the number of men unable to have children without medical intervention is growing. Health specialists are raising the alarm and scientists are struggling to find the cause, while politicians are ignoring the issue, reports Benedikt Schwan in German daily Die Welt.
When a couple is having trouble conceiving, doctors traditionally assume the issue lies with the woman. However, it has been clear for some years now that the problem often actually lies with the man's fertility — or lack of. In 2017, Israeli epidemiologist Hagai Levine and his team brought together numerous studies carried out since the 1970s, which collected data on sperm count and health through so-called spermiograms. The results were shocking: Over the last four and a half decades, men's sperm count in Western countries has dropped by 52%.
The search for the cause of this dramatic drop is complicated. Levine speculates that for a long time now people in the West have been exposed to the chemical revolution: pesticides, plastics and other potentially harmful substances are everywhere. Sometimes problems begin in the womb, where the organs responsible for producing semen fail to develop properly. This has far-reaching consequences, not only in terms of fertility. Levine refers to studies that have shown infertile men are more likely to get cancer. But little is known about any direct connection between the two.
Men can be very affected when they discover that they have reduced fertility. "Many say that they don't feel like real men if they can't have children," says fertility therapist Petra Thorn. She often hears them say things like, "I'm worried that other people will question my masculinity and my sexual potency." Thorn is one of very few specialists in male infertility. She has a practice in Frankfurt and says men often find it difficult to come to terms with their infertility.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
Mexican riot police training turns into a riot of its own
As Mexican National guardsmen were busy training to learn new methods to limit street violence, they began to, well, fight among themselves.
The National Guard, founded in 2019 as a better-trained, more disciplined gendarmerie corps to fight organized crime, confirmed that videos circulating of the sordid incident were real — and training in San Luis Potosí in northern Mexico, had "gotten out of control," Azteca television and La Jornada newspaper reported this week.
Footage of the session shows it began well enough, with one group of officers acting as rioters and others fending them off with plastic shields. At one point two colleagues appeared locked into a real fight, which led to some flying kicks — and it wasn't clear anymore if this was part of the training — and one officer going to the back of the defensive line to give his peers a piece of his mind.
The two groups then devolved into the kind of mêlée that they were being trained to defuse, with whistling and calls by female officers to call it off. The National Guard stated Internal Affairs would investigate the matter and vowed it would not tolerate any conduct "degrading the institution's image."
➡️ Keep up with all the planet's police reports and plot twists on Worldcrunch.com
Over the last 20 years, glaciers have lost about 267 gigatons of ice per year, with the total loss accelerating by about 48 gigatons per year per decade, because of climate change and warmer air, a study published in Nature journal found. The meltwater now accounts for nearly one fifth of global sea-level rise. (A gigaton is equivalent to 1 billion tons or more than 6 million blue whales.)
We are working again. Dreaming again. Discovering again. Leading the world again.
— U.S. President Joe Biden said during his first address to the nation on Wednesday, to mark his first 100 days in office.
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet & Emma Flacard