World news digest

Newsletter of February 18, 2022

Today’s newsletter covers mental health in Austria, systemic violence in Indonesia, the EU plan against cancer, and more.

Mental health among young Austrians: 16% with repeated suicidal thoughts

More than half of young Austrians struggle with depressive symptoms, Austria State Secretary of Youth said on February 18. The government will launch a plan to help young Austrians cope with mental stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirteen million euros over 15 months, “a drop in the ocean” for the managing director of SOS Children’s Villages.

Alex Saab: a diplomat for Venezuela but a former DEA informant, too

Court documents show that the Colombian businessman Alex Saab was an informant to the D.E.A. in 2018, revealing he bribed high-ranking Venezuelan officials. Collaboration stopped after he didn’t surrender to U.S. law enforcement in 2019 as agreed. Venezuela considers him a diplomat and his extradition put a halt to negotiations with the domestic opposition party to solve a grueling political crisis.

The Netherlands apologizes for past systemic violence in Indonesia

The government of the Netherlands formally apologized to the people of Indonesia for the “systematic and widespread use of extreme violence”, taking distance from the previous official version of sporadic violent acts during the independence war between 1945 and 1949.

EU Parliament adopts its first plan to fight cancer

Four billion euros will be allocated at the European Union level to fight cancer and increase prevention. Information about moderate consumption of alcohol will be recommended on bottles of alcohol. But no health warning labels, a victory for the wine industry. “The European Parliament saves almost ten thousand years of wine history”, an Italian farmer trade organization said. The text still includes that “there is no safe level of alcohol consumption when it comes to cancer prevention”.

Some more news from the world

  • In Thailand, the anti-fake news platform, operated by the Ministry of Digital Economy debunked a windy rumor. No, farting or sniffing fart doesn’t help treat kidney diseases. There is no relation between a fart and kidney disease.
  • An Israeli farmer wins the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest strawberry. It weighed 289 g (10.19 oz) on February 12, 2021, was 18 cm long, 4 cm thick and 34 cm in circumference.
  • The president of Singapore delayed the execution by hanging of two men sentenced to death. Convicted of drug trafficking and incarcerated for 12 years, they are believed to be mentally disabled. The United Nations Human Rights Office on Tuesday urged Singapore to halt their executions. Similarly, a man believed to be mentally disabled was supposed to be hanged last November but his appeal will be heard in March. The last execution in Singapore was in November 2019.

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