From China and India calling for peace in Ukraine to worldwide climate protests – Here’s your September 26 news briefing

From China and India calling for peace in Ukraine to worldwide climate protests – Here’s your September 26 news briefing
Chinese State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, U.S., September 24, 2022. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

To start off, we’re looking into:

China and India call for peace in Ukraine

With Putin making nuclear threats, anti-war protests in Russia leading to over a thousand arrests and Putin backing referendums in Ukrainian regions to join Russia, the Russia-Ukraine conflict is close to boiling over. But China has largely stayed out of it. And, really, no world power has supported Russia in the war – only countries like North Korea and Iran have supplied it with weapons. Although China has economic ties to Russia and relies on Russian oil for energy, it has not directly supported its moves in Ukraine or sold it any weapons.

But, at the UN General Assembly this week, China and India (both Russian allies) called for an end to the war. Russia’s foreign minister addressed the general assembly, condemning the West for its campaign against the country. China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, seemed not to take sides and urged negotiations for peace. He did end up meeting with Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, for their first talks since the war began.

Worldwide climate protests seek reparations

climate protests
People raise placards as they take part in a global climate protest march, at Omotesando district in Tokyo, Japan September 23, 2022. REUTERS/Issei Kato

As climate change causes more extreme weather events around the world, the countries that have contributed the least to global carbon emissions are often met with the most damage. In 2020, a report showed that the Global North is responsible for 92% of excess carbon emissions. And yet, developing nations in the Global South are disproportionately affected by the consequences of these excess emissions. So, recently, calls for a climate reparation fund to relieve the issue have cropped up.

On Friday, people all over the world staged climate protests in a global strike through the Fridays For Future movement. Thousands of people in about 450 locations worldwide left their jobs and schools to demand “climate reparations and justice." Coming just six weeks before the COP27 environmental conference, this protest shows support for the vulnerable countries that plan to address the need for reparations, which involves richer countries that contribute more to global carbon emissions paying for the damages poorer nations suffer as a consequence.

Russia’s mass exodus

Russia mobilization
Cars queue to enter Finland from Russia at Finland’s most southern crossing point Vaalimaa, around three hour drive from Saint Petersburg, in Vaalimaa, Finland September 23, 2022. REUTERS/Essi Lehto

Russia has called its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation,” which in theory has meant that it involves only enlisted military personnel and shouldn’t affect the general population too much. This also allowed the government to side-step officially declaring war on Ukraine. (In practice, there’s been some coercion of citizens to enlist, and economic sanctions have hit the general population, too, but that’s a whole other conversation.) Now, though, Putin has announced a “partial mobilization,” which means the military will be calling in reservists around the country, along with people who have military training.

But, Russians are worried that this isn’t where it ends and that a possible draft could pull civilians into the war effort. So, thousands of Russians are flocking to airports and land crossings to get out of the country before any draft enlists them or before any enlistment-eligible men are banned from leaving.

Now, the lines to get out of the country are extremely long. In Finland, border crossings from Russia had doubled last week, and the line into Georgia was 10 kilometers long, forcing people to wait up to 24 hours to cross.

To end, we’ll look into:

Digital nomads are becoming more common in China

China digital nomads
The DAO Space in Dali, Yunnan province. It opened in August in an old bed-sheet factory and charges customers just 480 yuan a month.Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

If you haven’t heard of the “996" system, it’s pretty brutal. It’s a kind of work culture well-known in China where people work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week. And on the flip side of that, you have a protest work style called tang ping, which means “lying flat," where workers do as little work as possible to keep their job – you might also know this as “quiet quitting."

But, believe it or not, not everyone falls neatly into those two categories, and some people in China are finding new ways to work around the system, making the most of their free time outside the hustle and bustle of cities. Specifically, the number of digital nomads – people who move somewhere cheaper or more convenient while continuing to work remotely – in China is growing.

Some of these digital nomads are finding themselves in amazing places, like Richard Hao, who is a programmer for a company in Shenzhen while living in Dali, a tourist town with beautiful mountains and ancient pagodas, about 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) from Shenzhen. Others are investing in alternative forms of living, like a couple in Shenzhen who chose to start living out of a van instead of renting an apartment.

And some think these kinds of working arrangements could solve some of China’s problems. For example, despite having large numbers of highly educated workers, Gen Z has had trouble entering the workforce in China, creating a nearly 20% jobless rate. Some say that being able to work as a digital nomad could free up both companies and workers to be willing to work together.

The question now, experts say, is if the Chinese work culture will be willing to adapt to it. According to West Virginia University sociology professor Rachael Woldoff, “What is less clear to us is whether Chinese work culture is ready to adapt to this and how much Chinese workers would want to engage in it."

In other news …

Italy votes in a pivotal election: In a snap election, Italians are voting for a new prime minister. It’s looking like far-right politician Giorgia Meloni may pull through, the first far-right PM there since the end of World War II. Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) party has neo-fascist roots and is expected to win the largest share of the vote for a single party on Sunday.

🌀Super typhoon in the Philippines: The Philippines is on high alert as super typhoon Noru approaches Manila. It’s already left destruction in its path on the country’s eastern islands. It has sustained winds of 240 kph (149 mph) and gusts up to 295 kph (183 mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

💥North Korea fires missile into the sea: Yesterday, North Korea fired a ballistic missile off its east coast. This happened ahead of planned military drills by South Korean and US forces and a visit from US Vice President Kamala Harris this week.

🤑Is Google’s CEO out of touch? Last week, Google had a company-wide briefing in New York where billionaire CEO Sundar Pichai said future growth would be “constrained." Lately, Google has been tightening the belt, cutting down on travel budgets, perks and even holiday party spending. Pichai responded to criticism, saying, “We shouldn’t always equate fun with money." Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reported a 14% dip in profit for the second quarter of this year to US$16 billion.

📱The iPhone 14 is bugging out: Upon the release of the iPhone 14, it looks like Apple is still working out some bugs and has already launched two emergency updates for the model. But, the issues keep piling up. Now, it looks like CarPlay phone calls and data migration are having problems. So, maybe wait a minute before upgrading.

💗Cuba to decide on same-sex marriage: In a national referendum, Cubans are voting on the legality of same-sex marriage, which is currently not recognized by the government. On Sunday, a new 100-page family code will be up for a vote. According to the government, the code provides greater protections to women, children and the elderly and allows LGBTQ couples to marry and adopt children.

🎤Hot mic mishap: Last week, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol met with US President Joe Biden in New York, where Biden pledged US$6 billion to a global health campaign for fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This pledge will require approval from the US Congress, which Yoon doesn’t seem to think too highly of. After the meeting, he was caught on a hot mic saying, “It would be so humiliating for Biden if these idiots don’t pass it in Congress."

😅Adam Devine is not Adam Levine: Just to clarify – “Pitch Perfect," “Workaholics" and “The Righteous Gemstones" comedic actor Adam Devine is not Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. After a recent cheating scandal sullied Levine’s name, Devine is getting some flack due to mistaken identity. In a recent Instagram post, Devine said, “Just want to post this and say that my wife @chloebridges and I are doing great and going strong. I am not Adam Levine. He’s a different guy and a worse singer. We are however naming our future baby Sumner."

Written and put together by Jake Shropshire, Vanessa Wolosz, Christine Dulion and Krystal Lai