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Giorgia Meloni at an election campaign rally in Genoa, Italy
September 17-18


⬇️  STARTER 

Party time for Giorgia? We don’t need more women leaders like these

This autumn’s electoral campaign in Italy is a disturbing trip down memory lane.

Silvio Berlusconi, who turns 86 at the end of the month, is now busy addressing his potential new voters on TikTok. Meanwhile, the Cadorna train station in Milan is full of video walls flashing his latest slogan, Scelta di campo (“choice of field”) — echoing the infamous soccer-inspired Scendere in campo (“take the field”) phrase that announced his political debut in 1994.

"Now I turn to those over 18. To ask you what? To introduce me to your girlfriend? Not at all! To ask you to vote for me,” says the octogenarian in one of his TikToks. With such off-putting stabs at humor, you wouldn’t think that his political career almost ended with a 2013 conviction for having sex with an underage prostitute while prime minister, though the sentence was eventually overturned.

His eternally sexist vision of women is far from limited to the realm of his personal life or inappropriate jokes. In a campaign ad, a politician from Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party stands in a tie and suit between two women doing housework, 1950s-style. "We will give a salary and a pension to our wives and our mothers,” says the politician.

Then there are the slogans that bring us all the way back to 1922, when Benito Mussolini became prime minister of Italy after a coup. To add to the whiplash and sense of disorientation, they are uttered by a woman.

Giorgia Meloni, whose far-right party Brothers of Italy is the frontrunner in the Sept. 25 elections, has often referred to Dio, Patria, Famiglia (“God, Homeland, Family”), which turned into of the leading mottos during the Fascist regime. Meloni calls it "the most beautiful manifesto of love” and refuses to recognize it as a Fascist motto, even though her own party chose the tricolor flame as party emblem, a clear reference to the Fascist party.

If polls are right, Meloni is on her way to becoming Italy’s first female prime minister — something she has claimed would amount to “breaking a glass ceiling".

But while having a woman in power sounds like a great step forward for Italy’s misogynist, backward policies, it is unlikely that Meloni would do anything to empower women, beyond herself.

She has shown it over and over again, with her stance against abortion and LGBTQ+ rights, where she even called on the children’s cartoon Peppa Pig to be censored after an episode featured a character who had two mothers.

To be fair, Italy's right-wing parties have had a good representation of women. In 2008, Meloni became Italy's youngest ever cabinet minister, at age 31, when Berlusconi appointed her to the Youth and Sport portfolio.

But that should not fool us: Authoritarian leaders use the appointment of women to legitimize their delimitation of women’s rights, as Harvard researchers Erica Chenoweth and Zoe Marks explain in their article "Revenge of the Patriarchs — Why Autocrats Fear Women".

This was true for Berlusconi and his sexist attitude towards women, as it was true for Donald Trump, and for Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, a true misogynist who uses his wife to lie about his track record vis-a-vis women and try to smooth out things with women voters.

Do we need more women leaders? We surely do. Will any woman do? Surely not.

Liz Truss, the newly appointed British prime minister, is the third woman in charge of British politics after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May. But their presence, as that of iconic Queen Elizabeth, has not turned the United Kingdom into a fairer country for women. On the contrary, a study by the New Education Union shows how British women are more likely than men to experience persistent poverty.

When Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin was attacked after a video of her partying with friends surfaced on social media, neither Truss nor Meloni showed any solidarity. Meloni’s party, it should be noted, is named “Brothers of Italy.” Berlusconi’s puts up campaign posters to celebrate our ironing skills. Sisters, I’m joining the party in Helsinki!

Irene Caselli

🎲  OUR WEEKLY NEWS QUIZ

What do you remember from the news this week?

1. Russia’s Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping were in what country for their first in-person meeting since the start of the war in Ukraine?

2. What internet record did the plane carrying the Queen’s coffin from Edinburgh to London break?

3. Following a narrow defeat in general elections, Magdalena Andersson resigned from her position as Prime Minister of which country?

4. Swiss tennis maestro Roger Federer announced his retirement. How many Grand Slam titles does he have under his belt: 15 / 20 / 30 ?

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]

#️⃣  TRENDING

Just two months before it kicks off, the 2022 soccer World Cup in Qatar is facing considerable backlash on social media. The hashtag #BoycottQatar2022 is trending, with criticisms targeted at the blatant lack of consideration for either the environment or human rights, with some reports that hundreds of workers died in the construction of stadiums. Among the voices calling for a boycott is French soccer icon Eric Cantona who said this week he did not intend to watch any game and encouraged others to do the same. Le Quotidien, a newspaper from the overseas French department of La Réunion, also announced this week that the World Cup would unfold “Without us.”

🎭  5 CULTURE THINGS TO KNOW

• A week of mourning for culture: The culture world has had a tough week internationally, with the deaths of New Wave directing giant Jean-Luc Godard at age 91, pioneer Swiss filmmaker Alain Tanner at age 92, Award-winning Spanish novelist Javier Marias at 70 and French-American art and fashion photographer William Klein, at 96.

• Chinese museum distorts history: A state-run museum in China has been accused of distorting Korean history in its exhibition celebrating the 30th anniversary of China-Korea ties. The controversial chronology omitted two ancient Korean kingdoms and raised suspicion that China was relaunching its "Northeast Project", which argues that these regions belonged to the Tang Dynasty — an argument disputed by South Korea since 2002.

• Ireland introduces basic income for artists: The Irish government launched the Basic Income for Artists plan, which will pay artists €325 per week. More than 9,000 people applied to the program but only 2,000 were selected in a random draw. The three-year plan will be studied to assess the impact of this payment on the arts sector.

• Into Frida Kahlo's closet: In Paris, the Palais Galliera fashion museum is honoring the Mexican painter by drawing a link between Frida Kahlo’s art and fashion. Displaying skirts, plaster corsets or her favorite lipstick, the museum offers an insight into the artist’s personal life and how she shaped her identity and appearance after her 1925 bus accident.

• 2022 Emmy Awards: The streaming service HBO Max emerged victorious from the 74th Emmy Awards ceremony, swiping 12 of the most coveted TV statuettes with Succession, Ted Lasso and The White Lotus. Zendaya also made history by becoming the youngest woman to win two Emmys and the first black woman to win Best Actress twice.

💥  Life in shelled Kharkiv

As Ukraine's counteroffensive gathers steam, the city of Kharkiv is being targeted by Putin's forces and under threat from missile strikes on a daily basis. “We are hostages of geography: The time it takes for the missile to reach Kharkiv from Belgorod, Russia, as air defense officers tell us, is 43 seconds,” reports Ivanna Skyba-Yakubova for Ukrainian media Livy Bereg from Kharkiv.

The city is facing recurrent blackouts and water outages, as residents try to continue their lives amid rubble, broken glass and regular air-raid alarms. Still, the new threats contrast with a sense of excitement as reports accumulate of the Ukrainian army reconquering territory in the region.

Read the full story: Read the full story: Missiles And Euphoria: The Folly Of War On Full Display In Kharkiv

🇪🇺⛽️ Is Mediterranean gas the solution to Europe’s energy crisis?

Since the discovery of several large gas fields at the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean more than 10 years ago, neighboring countries like Turkey and Greece have been fighting over maritime boundaries and drilling rights. Now with the Ukraine war and the rush to find gas sources that could replace Russia as the main supplier, plans to exploit gas deposits in the area are taking on new urgency — and with them, the dispute over supremacy at sea.

But could the gas deposits at the bottom of the Mediterranean really be the solution to Europe's energy crisis? “The short answer is no – at least not in the short term,” writes Christine Kensche in German daily Die Welt, adding that “so far, the infrastructure to transport large quantities of gas to Europe is simply lacking.”

Read the full story: Europe v. Turkey: A New Mediterranean Gas Race That May Turn Nasty

⏪  Could this be the real fountain of youth?

DNA could be used to “reverse” aging without having to go through the problematic stage of cloning. The good news is that aging specialists may have finally identified the “reset” button of the organism to restore lost youth: cellular reprogramming. The process has only been tested on mice (with success) so far, but genetic modifications on humans remains a controversial topic.

Yann Verdo, writing for French daily Les Echos, argues that a simple vaccine might do the trick, adding: “The passing of the years would no longer be irreparable!”

Read the full story: Benjamin Button For Real? Scientists Begin To Find The Code To Reverse Aging

👃  BRIGHT IDEA

Scientists have found that people with Parkinson’s have certain lipids of high molecular weight in their sebum — an oily substance found on the skin — that are more active. Using her hereditary hyperosmia (a heightened sense of smell) Joy Milne, a retired nurse from Perth, Scotland, has worked with Parkinson’s disease doctors and researchers to improve the diagnosis and management of people with Parkinson’s disease. The University of Manchester in England now says they’ve developed a simple skin swab test to detect Parkinson’s in as little as three minutes.

🐕🏃  SMILE OF THE WEEK

About 300 dogs of all breeds and sizes competed in Mexico City’s inaugural Perritos en fuga (“Doggies on the run”) dog race. There was no winner in the 2.5km event and all participants received gifts, including treats for the canine athletes.

👉  OTHERWISE

Here’s the latest Dottoré! piece from the notebook of Neapolitan psychiatrist and writer Mariateresa Fichele:

The Political Revelation Of A Windshield Cleaning

Every time we stop at a traffic light, the same scene takes place between my husband and me.

It goes something like this: Someone approaches our car to clean the windshield, I tell my husband to turn on the windshield wipers, he gets outraged and tells me I’m a horrible person.

But then, if we've instead decided to give them something in exchange for their service, my husband somehow never has any change on him. I always manage to find some, and feel obligated to give the person whatever I've found.

Yesterday, I tried to stand firm and told my husband, "I don’t have any money — you figure it out."

He found 20 cents and handed it to the guy outside.

I looked at the man's face and couldn't take it, so I gave him another euro.

But every cloud has a silver lining.

What happened yesterday helped me explain to my husband our different political positions with a practical example: I am a horrible person but a true Leftist; he, instead, is a respectable person of the Center-Left.

➡️ Read more from our Dottoré! series on Worldcrunch.com

⏩  LOOKING AHEAD 

• The state funeral of late Queen Elizabeth II will take place on Monday at Westminster Abbey, starting at 11 a.m. local time. About 2,000 guests are expected to attend the ceremony, including many heads of states.

A Russian delegation with representatives from 80 large Russian companies is set to visit Iran next week, in an effort to strengthen economic ties between the two countries, whose leaders met this week at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

• Eight Lebanese banks will announce a three-day closure next week due to security concerns after a series of violent incidents involving clients being denied withdrawal of their funds. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will send a team to Lebanon to discuss the implementation of reforms in the face of the country’s grave economic deterioration.

• Another L.A. facelift? The iconic Hollywood sign is about to get a fresh paint job: It will take eight weeks and 400 gallons of paint for the sign to be back in top shape ahead of its 100th anniversary next year.

This autumn’s electoral campaign in Italy is a disturbing trip down memory lane.
Silvio Berlusconi, who turns 86 at the end of the month, is now busy addressing his potential new voters on TikTok. Meanwhile, the Cadorna train station in Milan is full of video walls flashing his latest slogan, Scelta di campo (“choice of field”) — echoing the infamous soccer-inspired Scendere in campo (“take the field”) phrase that announced his political debut in 1994.
"Now I turn to those over 18. To ask you what? To introduce me to your girlfriend? Not at all! To ask you to vote for me,” says the octogenarian in one of his TikToks. With such off-putting stabs at humor, you wouldn’t think that his political career almost ended with a 2013 conviction for having sex with an underage prostitute while prime minister, though the sentence was eventually overturned.
His eternally sexist vision of women is far from limited to the realm of his personal life or inappropriate jokes. In a campaign ad, a politician from Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party stands in a tie and suit between two women doing housework, 1950s-style. "We will give a salary and a pension to our wives and our mothers,” says the politician.
Then there are the slogans that bring us all the way back to 1922, when Benito Mussolini became prime minister of Italy after a coup. To add to the whiplash and sense of disorientation, they are uttered by a woman.
Giorgia Meloni, whose far-right party Brothers of Italy is the frontrunner in the Sept. 25 elections, has often referred to Dio, Patria, Famiglia (“God, Homeland, Family”), which turned into of the leading mottos during the Fascist regime. Meloni calls it "the most beautiful manifesto of love” and refuses to recognize it as a Fascist motto, even though her own party chose the tricolor flame as party emblem, a clear reference to the Fascist party.
If polls are right, Meloni is on her way to becoming Italy’s first female prime minister — something she has claimed would amount to “breaking a glass ceiling".
But while having a woman in power sounds like a great step forward for Italy’s misogynist, backward policies, it is unlikely that Meloni would do anything to empower women, beyond herself.
She has shown it over and over again, with her stance against abortion and LGBTQ+ rights, where she even called on the children’s cartoon Peppa Pig to be censored after an episode featured a character who had two mothers.
To be fair, Italy's right-wing parties have had a good representation of women. In 2008, Meloni became Italy's youngest ever cabinet minister, at age 31, when Berlusconi appointed her to the Youth and Sport portfolio.
But that should not fool us: Authoritarian leaders use the appointment of women to legitimize their delimitation of women’s rights, as Harvard researchers Erica Chenoweth and Zoe Marks explain in their article "Revenge of the Patriarchs — Why Autocrats Fear Women".
This was true for Berlusconi and his sexist attitude towards women, as it was true for Donald Trump, and for Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, a true misogynist who uses his wife to lie about his track record vis-a-vis women and try to smooth out things with women voters.
Do we need more women leaders? We surely do. Will any woman do? Surely not.
Liz Truss, the newly appointed British prime minister, is the third woman in charge of British politics after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May. But their presence, as that of iconic Queen Elizabeth, has not turned the United Kingdom into a fairer country for women. On the contrary, a study by the New Education Union shows how British women are more likely than men to experience persistent poverty.
When Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin was attacked after a video of her partying with friends surfaced on social media, neither Truss nor Meloni showed any solidarity. Meloni’s party, it should be noted, is named “Brothers of Italy.” Berlusconi’s puts up campaign posters to celebrate our ironing skills. Sisters, I’m joining the party in Helsinki!
Irene Caselli
1. Russia’s Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping were in what country for their first in-person meeting since the start of the war in Ukraine?
2. What internet record did the plane carrying the Queen’s coffin from Edinburgh to London break?
3. Following a narrow defeat in general elections, Magdalena Andersson resigned from her position as Prime Minister of which country?
4. Swiss tennis maestro Roger Federer announced his retirement. How many Grand Slam titles does he have under his belt: 15 / 20 / 30 ?
[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]

Just two months before it kicks off, the 2022 soccer World Cup in Qatar is facing considerable backlash on social media. The hashtag #BoycottQatar2022 is trending, with criticisms targeted at the blatant lack of consideration for either the environment or human rights, with some reports that hundreds of workers died in the construction of stadiums. Among the voices calling for a boycott is French soccer icon Eric Cantona who said this week he did not intend to watch any game and encouraged others to do the same. Le Quotidien, a newspaper from the overseas French department of La Réunion, also announced this week that the World Cup would unfold “Without us.”
• A week of mourning for culture: The culture world has had a tough week internationally, with the deaths of New Wave directing giant Jean-Luc Godard at age 91, pioneer Swiss filmmaker Alain Tanner at age 92, Award-winning Spanish novelist Javier Marias at 70 and French-American art and fashion photographer William Klein, at 96.
• Chinese museum distorts history: A state-run museum in China has been accused of distorting Korean history in its exhibition celebrating the 30th anniversary of China-Korea ties. The controversial chronology omitted two ancient Korean kingdoms and raised suspicion that China was relaunching its "Northeast Project", which argues that these regions belonged to the Tang Dynasty — an argument disputed by South Korea since 2002.
• Ireland introduces basic income for artists: The Irish government launched the Basic Income for Artists plan, which will pay artists €325 per week. More than 9,000 people applied to the program but only 2,000 were selected in a random draw. The three-year plan will be studied to assess the impact of this payment on the arts sector.
• Into Frida Kahlo's closet: In Paris, the Palais Galliera fashion museum is honoring the Mexican painter by drawing a link between Frida Kahlo’s art and fashion. Displaying skirts, plaster corsets or her favorite lipstick, the museum offers an insight into the artist’s personal life and how she shaped her identity and appearance after her 1925 bus accident.
• 2022 Emmy Awards: The streaming service HBO Max emerged victorious from the 74th Emmy Awards ceremony, swiping 12 of the most coveted TV statuettes with Succession, Ted Lasso and The White Lotus. Zendaya also made history by becoming the youngest woman to win two Emmys and the first black woman to win Best Actress twice.

As Ukraine's counteroffensive gathers steam, the city of Kharkiv is being targeted by Putin's forces and under threat from missile strikes on a daily basis. “We are hostages of geography: The time it takes for the missile to reach Kharkiv from Belgorod, Russia, as air defense officers tell us, is 43 seconds,” reports Ivanna Skyba-Yakubova for Ukrainian media Livy Bereg from Kharkiv.
The city is facing recurrent blackouts and water outages, as residents try to continue their lives amid rubble, broken glass and regular air-raid alarms. Still, the new threats contrast with a sense of excitement as reports accumulate of the Ukrainian army reconquering territory in the region.
Read the full story: Read the full story: Missiles And Euphoria: The Folly Of War On Full Display In Kharkiv

Since the discovery of several large gas fields at the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean more than 10 years ago, neighboring countries like Turkey and Greece have been fighting over maritime boundaries and drilling rights. Now with the Ukraine war and the rush to find gas sources that could replace Russia as the main supplier, plans to exploit gas deposits in the area are taking on new urgency — and with them, the dispute over supremacy at sea.
But could the gas deposits at the bottom of the Mediterranean really be the solution to Europe's energy crisis? “The short answer is no – at least not in the short term,” writes Christine Kensche in German daily Die Welt, adding that “so far, the infrastructure to transport large quantities of gas to Europe is simply lacking.”

Read the full story: Europe v. Turkey: A New Mediterranean Gas Race That May Turn Nasty

DNA could be used to “reverse” aging without having to go through the problematic stage of cloning. The good news is that aging specialists may have finally identified the “reset” button of the organism to restore lost youth: cellular reprogramming. The process has only been tested on mice (with success) so far, but genetic modifications on humans remains a controversial topic.
Yann Verdo, writing for French daily Les Echos, argues that a simple vaccine might do the trick, adding: “The passing of the years would no longer be irreparable!”
Read the full story: Benjamin Button For Real? Scientists Begin To Find The Code To Reverse Aging

Scientists have found that people with Parkinson’s have certain lipids of high molecular weight in their sebum — an oily substance found on the skin — that are more active. Using her hereditary hyperosmia (a heightened sense of smell) Joy Milne, a retired nurse from Perth, Scotland, has worked with Parkinson’s disease doctors and researchers to improve the diagnosis and management of people with Parkinson’s disease. The University of Manchester in England now says they’ve developed a simple skin swab test to detect Parkinson’s in as little as three minutes.

About 300 dogs of all breeds and sizes competed in Mexico City’s inaugural Perritos en fuga (“Doggies on the run”) dog race. There was no winner in the 2.5km event and all participants received gifts, including treats for the canine athletes.
Here’s the latest Dottoré! piece from the notebook of Neapolitan psychiatrist and writer Mariateresa Fichele:
Every time we stop at a traffic light, the same scene takes place between my husband and me.
It goes something like this: Someone approaches our car to clean the windshield, I tell my husband to turn on the windshield wipers, he gets outraged and tells me I’m a horrible person.
But then, if we've instead decided to give them something in exchange for their service, my husband somehow never has any change on him. I always manage to find some, and feel obligated to give the person whatever I've found.
Yesterday, I tried to stand firm and told my husband, "I don’t have any money — you figure it out."
He found 20 cents and handed it to the guy outside.
I looked at the man's face and couldn't take it, so I gave him another euro.
But every cloud has a silver lining.
What happened yesterday helped me explain to my husband our different political positions with a practical example: I am a horrible person but a true Leftist; he, instead, is a respectable person of the Center-Left.
➡️ Read more from our Dottoré! series on Worldcrunch.com
• The state funeral of late Queen Elizabeth II will take place on Monday at Westminster Abbey, starting at 11 a.m. local time. About 2,000 guests are expected to attend the ceremony, including many heads of states.
A Russian delegation with representatives from 80 large Russian companies is set to visit Iran next week, in an effort to strengthen economic ties between the two countries, whose leaders met this week at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
• Eight Lebanese banks will announce a three-day closure next week due to security concerns after a series of violent incidents involving clients being denied withdrawal of their funds. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will send a team to Lebanon to discuss the implementation of reforms in the face of the country’s grave economic deterioration.
• Another L.A. facelift? The iconic Hollywood sign is about to get a fresh paint job: It will take eight weeks and 400 gallons of paint for the sign to be back in top shape ahead of its 100th anniversary next year.
News quiz answers:
1. Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin met this week at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. During the highly-anticipated meeting, Putin praised China's "balanced position" on the Ukrainian crisis and acknowledged “questions and concerns” that Xi had on the topic.

2. The plane carrying Queen Elizabeth II's coffin became the most-tracked flight ever, with more than five million people following the plane’s journey online from Edinburgh to London. The record was previously held by Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.

3. Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson resigned following her center-left coalition’s narrow defeat in last week’s elections. A new government will be formed by Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson, who is at the head of a center-right bloc that includes far-right, anti-immigration party Sweden Democrats.

4. Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer announced that he will retire from tennis competition after next week’s tournament in London. At 41 years old, the 20-time grand slam winner said it was time to end his competitive career, after suffering several injuries over the past few years.

✍️ Newsletter by Worldcrunch
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*Photo:ANSA/ZUMA
Giorgia Meloni at an election campaign rally in Genoa, Italy
September 17-18


This autumn’s electoral campaign in Italy is a disturbing trip down memory lane.
Silvio Berlusconi, who turns 86 at the end of the month, is now busy addressing his potential new voters on TikTok. Meanwhile, the Cadorna train station in Milan is full of video walls flashing his latest slogan, Scelta di campo (“choice of field”) — echoing the infamous soccer-inspired Scendere in campo (“take the field”) phrase that announced his political debut in 1994.
"Now I turn to those over 18. To ask you what? To introduce me to your girlfriend? Not at all! To ask you to vote for me,” says the octogenarian in one of his TikToks. With such off-putting stabs at humor, you wouldn’t think that his political career almost ended with a 2013 conviction for having sex with an underage prostitute while prime minister, though the sentence was eventually overturned.
His eternally sexist vision of women is far from limited to the realm of his personal life or inappropriate jokes. In a campaign ad, a politician from Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party stands in a tie and suit between two women doing housework, 1950s-style. "We will give a salary and a pension to our wives and our mothers,” says the politician.
Then there are the slogans that bring us all the way back to 1922, when Benito Mussolini became prime minister of Italy after a coup. To add to the whiplash and sense of disorientation, they are uttered by a woman.
Giorgia Meloni, whose far-right party Brothers of Italy is the frontrunner in the Sept. 25 elections, has often referred to Dio, Patria, Famiglia (“God, Homeland, Family”), which turned into of the leading mottos during the Fascist regime. Meloni calls it "the most beautiful manifesto of love” and refuses to recognize it as a Fascist motto, even though her own party chose the tricolor flame as party emblem, a clear reference to the Fascist party.
If polls are right, Meloni is on her way to becoming Italy’s first female prime minister — something she has claimed would amount to “breaking a glass ceiling".
But while having a woman in power sounds like a great step forward for Italy’s misogynist, backward policies, it is unlikely that Meloni would do anything to empower women, beyond herself.
She has shown it over and over again, with her stance against abortion and LGBTQ+ rights, where she even called on the children’s cartoon Peppa Pig to be censored after an episode featured a character who had two mothers.
To be fair, Italy's right-wing parties have had a good representation of women. In 2008, Meloni became Italy's youngest ever cabinet minister, at age 31, when Berlusconi appointed her to the Youth and Sport portfolio.
But that should not fool us: Authoritarian leaders use the appointment of women to legitimize their delimitation of women’s rights, as Harvard researchers Erica Chenoweth and Zoe Marks explain in their article "Revenge of the Patriarchs — Why Autocrats Fear Women".
This was true for Berlusconi and his sexist attitude towards women, as it was true for Donald Trump, and for Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, a true misogynist who uses his wife to lie about his track record vis-a-vis women and try to smooth out things with women voters.
Do we need more women leaders? We surely do. Will any woman do? Surely not.
Liz Truss, the newly appointed British prime minister, is the third woman in charge of British politics after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May. But their presence, as that of iconic Queen Elizabeth, has not turned the United Kingdom into a fairer country for women. On the contrary, a study by the New Education Union shows how British women are more likely than men to experience persistent poverty.
When Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin was attacked after a video of her partying with friends surfaced on social media, neither Truss nor Meloni showed any solidarity. Meloni’s party, it should be noted, is named “Brothers of Italy.” Berlusconi’s puts up campaign posters to celebrate our ironing skills. Sisters, I’m joining the party in Helsinki!
Irene Caselli
1. Russia’s Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping were in what country for their first in-person meeting since the start of the war in Ukraine?
2. What internet record did the plane carrying the Queen’s coffin from Edinburgh to London break?
3. Following a narrow defeat in general elections, Magdalena Andersson resigned from her position as Prime Minister of which country?
4. Swiss tennis maestro Roger Federer announced his retirement. How many Grand Slam titles does he have under his belt: 15 / 20 / 30 ?
[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]

Just two months before it kicks off, the 2022 soccer World Cup in Qatar is facing considerable backlash on social media. The hashtag #BoycottQatar2022 is trending, with criticisms targeted at the blatant lack of consideration for either the environment or human rights, with some reports that hundreds of workers died in the construction of stadiums. Among the voices calling for a boycott is French soccer icon Eric Cantona who said this week he did not intend to watch any game and encouraged others to do the same. Le Quotidien, a newspaper from the overseas French department of La Réunion, also announced this week that the World Cup would unfold “Without us.”
• A week of mourning for culture: The culture world has had a tough week internationally, with the deaths of New Wave directing giant Jean-Luc Godard at age 91, pioneer Swiss filmmaker Alain Tanner at age 92, Award-winning Spanish novelist Javier Marias at 70 and French-American art and fashion photographer William Klein, at 96.
• Chinese museum distorts history: A state-run museum in China has been accused of distorting Korean history in its exhibition celebrating the 30th anniversary of China-Korea ties. The controversial chronology omitted two ancient Korean kingdoms and raised suspicion that China was relaunching its "Northeast Project", which argues that these regions belonged to the Tang Dynasty — an argument disputed by South Korea since 2002.
• Ireland introduces basic income for artists: The Irish government launched the Basic Income for Artists plan, which will pay artists €325 per week. More than 9,000 people applied to the program but only 2,000 were selected in a random draw. The three-year plan will be studied to assess the impact of this payment on the arts sector.
• Into Frida Kahlo's closet: In Paris, the Palais Galliera fashion museum is honoring the Mexican painter by drawing a link between Frida Kahlo’s art and fashion. Displaying skirts, plaster corsets or her favorite lipstick, the museum offers an insight into the artist’s personal life and how she shaped her identity and appearance after her 1925 bus accident.
• 2022 Emmy Awards: The streaming service HBO Max emerged victorious from the 74th Emmy Awards ceremony, swiping 12 of the most coveted TV statuettes with Succession, Ted Lasso and The White Lotus. Zendaya also made history by becoming the youngest woman to win two Emmys and the first black woman to win Best Actress twice.

As Ukraine's counteroffensive gathers steam, the city of Kharkiv is being targeted by Putin's forces and under threat from missile strikes on a daily basis. “We are hostages of geography: The time it takes for the missile to reach Kharkiv from Belgorod, Russia, as air defense officers tell us, is 43 seconds,” reports Ivanna Skyba-Yakubova for Ukrainian media Livy Bereg from Kharkiv.
The city is facing recurrent blackouts and water outages, as residents try to continue their lives amid rubble, broken glass and regular air-raid alarms. Still, the new threats contrast with a sense of excitement as reports accumulate of the Ukrainian army reconquering territory in the region.
Read the full story: Read the full story: Missiles And Euphoria: The Folly Of War On Full Display In Kharkiv

Since the discovery of several large gas fields at the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean more than 10 years ago, neighboring countries like Turkey and Greece have been fighting over maritime boundaries and drilling rights. Now with the Ukraine war and the rush to find gas sources that could replace Russia as the main supplier, plans to exploit gas deposits in the area are taking on new urgency — and with them, the dispute over supremacy at sea.
But could the gas deposits at the bottom of the Mediterranean really be the solution to Europe's energy crisis? “The short answer is no – at least not in the short term,” writes Christine Kensche in German daily Die Welt, adding that “so far, the infrastructure to transport large quantities of gas to Europe is simply lacking.”

Read the full story: Europe v. Turkey: A New Mediterranean Gas Race That May Turn Nasty

DNA could be used to “reverse” aging without having to go through the problematic stage of cloning. The good news is that aging specialists may have finally identified the “reset” button of the organism to restore lost youth: cellular reprogramming. The process has only been tested on mice (with success) so far, but genetic modifications on humans remains a controversial topic.
Yann Verdo, writing for French daily Les Echos, argues that a simple vaccine might do the trick, adding: “The passing of the years would no longer be irreparable!”
Read the full story: Benjamin Button For Real? Scientists Begin To Find The Code To Reverse Aging

Scientists have found that people with Parkinson’s have certain lipids of high molecular weight in their sebum — an oily substance found on the skin — that are more active. Using her hereditary hyperosmia (a heightened sense of smell) Joy Milne, a retired nurse from Perth, Scotland, has worked with Parkinson’s disease doctors and researchers to improve the diagnosis and management of people with Parkinson’s disease. The University of Manchester in England now says they’ve developed a simple skin swab test to detect Parkinson’s in as little as three minutes.

About 300 dogs of all breeds and sizes competed in Mexico City’s inaugural Perritos en fuga (“Doggies on the run”) dog race. There was no winner in the 2.5km event and all participants received gifts, including treats for the canine athletes.
Here’s the latest Dottoré! piece from the notebook of Neapolitan psychiatrist and writer Mariateresa Fichele:
Every time we stop at a traffic light, the same scene takes place between my husband and me.
It goes something like this: Someone approaches our car to clean the windshield, I tell my husband to turn on the windshield wipers, he gets outraged and tells me I’m a horrible person.
But then, if we've instead decided to give them something in exchange for their service, my husband somehow never has any change on him. I always manage to find some, and feel obligated to give the person whatever I've found.
Yesterday, I tried to stand firm and told my husband, "I don’t have any money — you figure it out."
He found 20 cents and handed it to the guy outside.
I looked at the man's face and couldn't take it, so I gave him another euro.
But every cloud has a silver lining.
What happened yesterday helped me explain to my husband our different political positions with a practical example: I am a horrible person but a true Leftist; he, instead, is a respectable person of the Center-Left.
➡️ Read more from our Dottoré! series on Worldcrunch.com
• The state funeral of late Queen Elizabeth II will take place on Monday at Westminster Abbey, starting at 11 a.m. local time. About 2,000 guests are expected to attend the ceremony, including many heads of states.
A Russian delegation with representatives from 80 large Russian companies is set to visit Iran next week, in an effort to strengthen economic ties between the two countries, whose leaders met this week at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
• Eight Lebanese banks will announce a three-day closure next week due to security concerns after a series of violent incidents involving clients being denied withdrawal of their funds. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will send a team to Lebanon to discuss the implementation of reforms in the face of the country’s grave economic deterioration.
• Another L.A. facelift? The iconic Hollywood sign is about to get a fresh paint job: It will take eight weeks and 400 gallons of paint for the sign to be back in top shape ahead of its 100th anniversary next year.
News quiz answers:
1. Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin met this week at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. During the highly-anticipated meeting, Putin praised China's "balanced position" on the Ukrainian crisis and acknowledged “questions and concerns” that Xi had on the topic.

2. The plane carrying Queen Elizabeth II's coffin became the most-tracked flight ever, with more than five million people following the plane’s journey online from Edinburgh to London. The record was previously held by Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.

3. Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson resigned following her center-left coalition’s narrow defeat in last week’s elections. A new government will be formed by Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson, who is at the head of a center-right bloc that includes far-right, anti-immigration party Sweden Democrats.

4. Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer announced that he will retire from tennis competition after next week’s tournament in London. At 41 years old, the 20-time grand slam winner said it was time to end his competitive career, after suffering several injuries over the past few years.

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*Photo:ANSA/ZUMA
The European Union accelerated Ukraine's bid to join the Union. But there are growing signs, it won't stop there.
European Parliament in Strasbourg
-Analysis-
PARIS — Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has upended the European order as we know it, and that was even before the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline was cut off earlier this month. While the bloc gets down to grappling with the unfolding energy crisis, the question of consolidating its flanks by speeding up the enlargement process has also come back into focus.
Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.
In a critical meeting on June 23-24, the European Сouncil granted candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova and recognized the “European perspective” of Georgia – a nod acknowledging the country’s future belonged within the European Union.
Less than a month later, Brussels brought to an end the respectively 8- and 17-year-long waits for Albania and North Macedonia by allowing them into the foray of accession negotiations.
This leaves two groups of countries aspiring to join the union: on the one hand, the six Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) who began their journey in 2003 at the EU summit held in Thessaloniki, Greece, and now find themselves at different accession stages. On the other, the three countries Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, which submitted applications to join the bloc following Russia’s aggression in Ukraine earlier this year.
Such an unruly patchwork makes clear the need for a quicker and more effective accession process. Indeed, countries currently aspiring to join the bloc must prove they are able to meet the Copenhagen criteria established by the EU Council in 1993 in Denmark’s capital.
These include the provision of sound democratic institutions, a respect for the rule of law, human rights, and protection of minorities. Would-be EU member states must also show they are equipped with a functioning market economy and the institutional and administrative capacity to implement the set of EU legislation and rules imposed on member states, or acquis.
Once these conditions are met, every one of the 27 member states of the European Council must vote the accession of new members, according to a unanimity vote system.
So, might the war finally bring the EU around to enlarging, if not reforming its accession criteria?
There are signs some want to break the deadlock. Take German chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has spent a good part of the summer lobbying for an acceleration of the accession negotiations for the Western Balkans. On June 10-11 he conducted a whistle-stop tour in Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria during which he reiterated the region’s strategic importance for Germany and reprimanded Bulgaria for blocking North Macedonia’s access over language and historical disagreements.
On August 29, Scholz again urged the union to expand at a lecture in Prague: The “centre of Europe is moving eastward,” he said.
Greece has joined the ranks. Writing in Politico Europe on 10 June, prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, stressed the “existential importance of integrating this region in the European family” by 2033 – “an ambitious but achievable timeline”. Fulfilling this promise would spare aspiring countries from disillusionment, but also a “vacuum for hostile actors” such as Russia or China from developing.
When it comes to an enhanced enlargement process, EU member states such as Austria, Italy, Poland and Slovenia have consistently expressed their support for welcoming the Western Balkans.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv in June
Office of Ukrainian presidency
Many agree it is high time to streamline the accession procedure, notably by reforming the bloc’s unanimity voting system. In Prague, Scholz stated: “Where unanimity is required today, the risk of an individual country using its veto and preventing all the others from forging ahead increases with each additional member state."
The chancellor went on to announce he had “proposed a gradual transition to majority voting in common foreign policy, but also in other areas, such as tax policy – knowing full well that this would also have repercussions for Germany”.
In this regard, Scholz confirms its alignment with France, which has repeatedly criticized unanimity.
This is sensible. The excesses of certain states’ bargaining power were largely demonstrated by the case of North Macedonia, which was vetoed twice: first by Greece in 2018 on the grounds of the country’s name, and then by Bulgaria since 2020 over language issues and the country’s Bulgarian ethnic minority rights. At a time of rising populism, majority voting would also prevent outsized egos of throwing spanners into the EU works.
Any talk of reform is bound to require heavy lifting before it can materialize, with many opposed to treaty changes. Hungary, which has been lobbying for an inclusion of the Western Balkans into the EU for years, is one of them. At a council meeting in 2020, foreign minister Péter Szijjártó described the “proposal that the EU should no longer give unanimous consent to its foreign policy decisions” as “dangerous and completely contrary to EU treaties.”
Awaiting substantial treaty changes, which would take years of negotiations, one solution could be to adopt a differentiated integration along the lines proposed by French president Emmanuel Macron. Speaking at a conference on the future of Europe on May 9 in Strasbourg, he articulated the concept of a European forum that would be separate from the European Union, a “European political community.”
Inspired by François Mitterrand’s (1981-1995) initial idea of a European confederation, the community would offer European neighbors a “new space for cooperation on politics, security, energy, transport, infrastructure investments and the movement of people, especially the young”.
The idea needs refining, however, with the questions of who could join the community, the scope of collaboration, and decision-making procedure still up for debate. It is also unclear whether the forum would serve as an alternative to actual enlargement or as an antechamber for it.
But regardless of the form of EU enlargement, it is clear Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has brought together members states around it like never before in the last two decades.
Reservations over the majority vote, which in the end come down to hesitations over trade-offs between EU unity and national sovereignty, will require significant leadership in order to be overcome. Rather than fear and confrontation, member states must now look to their sense of community and responsibility for the EU to act like the global player ought to be – with urgency and unity.
*Valon Murtezaj is Professor of international negotiation and diplomacy, IÉSEG School of Management
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

The European Union accelerated Ukraine's bid to join the Union. But there are growing signs, it won't stop there.
The discovery that earned Japan's Shinya Yamanaka the 2012 Nobel Prize in Medicine has paved the way for new research proving that aging is a reversible process. Currently just being tested on lab mice, will the cellular reprogramming soon offer eternal youth?
Not everyone in Britain is mourning the death of the Queen. There is increasing concern about how the monarch's death is being used to repress freedom of expression and protest.
Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.
Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.
Then there is Mariupol, under siege and symbol of Putin’s cruelty. In the largest city on the Azov Sea, with a population of half a million people, Ukrainians make up slightly less than half of the city's population, and Mariupol's second-largest national ethnicity is Russians. As of 2001, when the last census was conducted, 89.5% of the city's population identified Russian as their mother tongue.
Between 2018 and 2019, I spent several months in Mariupol. It is a rugged but beautiful city dotted with Soviet-era architecture, featuring wide avenues and hillside parks, and an extensive industrial zone stretching along the shoreline. There was a vibrant youth culture and art scene, with students developing projects to turn their city into a regional cultural center with an international photography festival.
There were also many offices of international NGOs and human rights organizations, a consequence of the fact that Mariupol was the last major city before entering the occupied zone of Donbas. Many natives of the contested regions of Luhansk and Donetsk had moved there, taking jobs in restaurants and hospitals. I had fond memories of the welcoming from locals who were quicker to smile than in some other parts of Ukraine. All of this is gone.
According to the latest data from the local authorities, 80% of the port city has been destroyed by Russian bombs, artillery fire and missile attacks, with particularly egregious targeting of civilians, including a maternity hospital, a theater where more than 1,000 people had taken shelter and a school where some 400 others were hiding.
The official civilian death toll of Mariupol is estimated at more than 3,000. There are no language or ethnic-based statistics of the victims, but it’s likely the majority were Russian speakers.
So let’s be clear, Putin is bombing the very people he has claimed to want to rescue.
Putin’s Public Enemy No. 1, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, is a mother-tongue Russian speaker who’d made a successful acting and comedy career in Russian-language broadcasting, having extensively toured Russian cities for years.
Rescuers carry a person injured during a shelling by Russian troops of Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine.
Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Ukrinform via ZUMA Press Wire
Yes, the official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, and a 2019 law aimed to ensure that it is used in public discourse, but no one has ever sought to abolish the Russian language in everyday life. In none of the cities that are now being bombed by the Russian army to supposedly liberate them has the Russian language been suppressed or have the Russian-speaking population been discriminated against.
Sociologist Mikhail Mishchenko explains that studies have found that the vast majority of Ukrainians don’t consider language a political issue. For reasons of history, culture and the similarities of the two languages, Ukraine is effectively a bilingual nation.
"The overwhelming majority of the population speaks both languages, Russian and Ukrainian,” Mishchenko explains. “Those who say they understand Russian poorly and have difficulty communicating in it are just over 4% percent. Approximately the same number of people say the same about Ukrainian.”
In general, there is no problem of communication and understanding. Often there will be conversations where one person speaks Ukrainian, and the other responds in Russian. Geographically, the Russian language is more dominant in the eastern and central parts of Ukraine, and Ukrainian in the west.
Like most central Ukrainians I am perfectly bilingual: for me, Ukrainian and Russian are both native languages that I have used since childhood in Kyiv. My generation grew up on Russian rock, post-Soviet cinema, and translations of foreign literature into Russian. I communicate in Russian with my sister, and with my mother and daughter in Ukrainian. I write professionally in three languages: Ukrainian, Russian and English, and can also speak Polish, French, and a bit Japanese. My mother taught me that the more languages I know the more human I am.
At the same time, I am not Russian — nor British or Polish. I am Ukrainian. Ours is a nation with a long history and culture of its own, which has always included a multi-ethnic population: Russians, Belarusians, Moldovans, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Romanians, Hungarians, Poles, Jews, Greeks. We all, they all, have found our place on Ukrainian soil. We speak different languages, pray in different churches, we have different traditions, clothes, and cuisine.
Like in other countries, these differences have been the source of conflict in our past. But it is who we are and will always be, and real progress has been made over the past three decades to embrace our multitudes. Our Jewish, Russian-speaking president is the most visible proof of that — and is in fact part of what our soldiers are fighting for.
Many in Moscow were convinced that Russian troops would be welcomed in Ukraine as liberating heroes by Russian speakers. Instead, young soldiers are forced to shoot at people who scream in their native language.
Starving people ina street of Kharkiv in 1933, during the famine
Diocesan Archive of Vienna (Diözesanarchiv Wien)/BA Innitzer
Putin has tried to rally the troops by warning that in Ukraine a “genocide” of ethnic Russians is being carried out by a government that must be “de-nazified.”
These are, of course, words with specific definitions that carry the full weight of history. The Ukrainian people know what genocide is not from books. In my hometown of Kyiv, German soldiers massacred Jews en masse. My grandfather survived the Buchenwald concentration camp, liberated by the U.S. army. My great-grandmother, who died at the age of 95, survived the 1932-33 famine when the Red Army carried out the genocide of the Ukrainian middle class, and her sister disappeared in the camps of Siberia, convicted for defying rationing to try to feed her children during the famine.
On Tuesday, came a notable report of one of the latest civilian deaths in the besieged Russian-speaking city of Kharkiv: a 96-year-old had been killed when shelling hit his apartment building. The victim’s name was Boris Romanchenko; he had survived Buchenwald and two other Nazi concentration camps during World War II. As President Zelensky noted: Hitler didn’t manage to kill him, but Putin did.
Genocide has returned to Ukraine, from Kharkiv to Kherson to Mariupol, as Vladimir Putin had warned. But it is his own genocide against the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine.

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