Welcome to Monday, where Aung San Suu Kyi is seen after Myanmar death count spikes, vaccine rollouts begin across Africa and there's a cool new way to make old photos come to life. We also feature Argentine daily Clarin"s look into the digital phenomenon of "sugar dating."
• COVID-19 latest:Ivory Coast began their national rollout of the COVID vaccine using COVAX, while Ghana & Nigeria are due to start this week. Distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine begins today in the U.S.
• Myanmar coup: Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi was seen for the first time today since being detained in a video of her court hearing. This followed the worst day of violence Sunday when police opened fire killing 18 protesters, according to the UN human rights office.
• Netanyahu accusations: Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu blamed Iran for the destruction of an Israeli-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman last week.
• Hong Kong charges 47: Police in Hong Kong have charged 47 pro-democracy activists with "subversion", in the widest use yet of the territory's controversial security law.
• Navalny moved to penal colony: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was transferred from Moscow to a penal colony about 100km (60 miles) east of the capital to begin his sentence.
• Trump speech: Former U.S. President Donald Trump made his first public appearance since leaving the White House, slamming his successor, repeating lies that he won the last race and hinting that he may run again in 2024.
• Cool or creepy?: Artificial intelligence is powering a new digital tool to animate photographs that can bring your old relatives back to life.
Spanish daily El Mundo features the ongoing controversy of exiled former King Juan Carlos I who fled to live in the United Arab Emirates last year amid investigation of tax fraud. The Madrid-based daily also reports on Pope Francis' upcoming trip to Iraq where he is expected to speak out against the persecution of Christian minorities in the region.
Sugar dating: When is getting paid for it not prostitution?
Sugar dating, where an older partner provides "a little assistance," is out in the open down in the land of Latin lovers, reports Emilia Vexler in Argentine daily Clarin.
In Argentina, dating apps like Tinder, Happn or Bumble are a booming business. But some similar apps have been discretely profiting from the pandemic months, offering a slightly "shadier" version of dating, nicknamed "sugar dating." It is not illegal, though everyone still uses pseudonyms. What may not be immediately clear on any sugar dating website, however, is that many are "selling" their love or affection. The most typical outfit in sugar dating is a girl looking for an older man with money, for a quick date, or a relationship.
SugarDaters, the world's biggest sugar dating website, has some 4,000 users, though it is not the only such website operating in Argentina. More than 60% of its profiles are of young women or "sugar babies," with an average age of 22. Just under 30% are toy boys, and 4% are sugar daddies or men in their 30s willing to be generous. There is also a tiny portion or 2% of sugar mommies. The website told Clarín sugar daddies were proportionately few and far between, compared to girls looking for them.
Sugar dating is not technically prostitution, in the sense that money is not offered for a particular service. There is instead an element of "financial support" that is integral to the relationship. There is "an emotional connection and expectations' that are absent in prostitution, says Alexandra Olariu, marketing head of SugarDaters. Sugar babies and toy boys choose their partners and will not necessarily seek to have "multiple customers' like prostitutes.
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You touched it, you bought it: Street card scam for COVID times
Like the rest of us, street hustlers are adjusting to pandemic conditions. In Laval, a small city in western France, a young man who might have otherwise been taking passersby for a ride with Three-Card Monte or Find The Lady tricks, concocted a COVID-inspired scam for easy money.
The Ouest France daily reports that the suspect would ride around on his bicycle approaching people to sell them generic cards with random images of cute animals and the like. When the potential buyer tried to say "No thanks' and hand back the cards, the man said he couldn't take them because of the risk the cards were now infected by the coronavirus — and demanded payment.
The French national police unit based in nearby Mayenne apprehended the suspect Friday. If found guilty, he could face up to six months in prison and 3,750-euro fine. Can't hand that back either.
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490 sq miles
That's the size of a massive iceberg (nearly 1.5 times bigger than New York City) that has broken away from the Brunt Ice shelf in Antarctica. British scientists had started detecting cracks in the ice about a decade ago.
It's about time!
— Barbra Steisand on Twitter congratulating Chloé Zhao for winning Best director at the Golden Globes for her movie "Nomadland". She's only the second woman to be awarded this prize, the first one was Streisand, 40 years ago, for "Yentl". Zhao is also the first Asian woman ever to win the award.