🌏 Heatwave Leaves Half Of China In A Drought, Finland Prime Minister Defends Her Right To Free Time After Leaked Party Video And More

All the world news you need to know this week.

Hello and welcome to the Almost newsletter, a weekly email to help you stay updated and make sense of important stories happening around the world including:

  • 🌏 This Week’s Top Stories
  • 👩 Women To Know
  • 🙌 Good News For Your Week

An unprecedented heatwave in China has caused a crippling drought across half of the country, drying up rivers, wilting crops and sparking forest fires.

The current heatwave in the south of China has lasted more than 70 days, surpassing the previous record of 62 days in 2013, according to the Washington Post.

In Jiangxi Province, Poyang Lake, the country’s largest freshwater body, has shrunk by about 75%, according to local authorities, the BBC reported.

The plunging water level has exposed a stunning tree-shaped formation on the lake bed.

Meanwhile, while the low water levels of the Yangtze River – the world’s third largest river – near the city of Chongqing have revealed previously submerged Buddhist statues that are believed to be 600 years old, according to state media Xinhua.

In Ezhou, Hubei Province, the Guanyin Pavilion, a 700-year-old structure on the Yangtze River, has reappeared in full due to low water levels.

The drought has also wrecked havoc on hydropower systems, particularly in regions like Sichuan, which gets more than 80% of its energy from hydropower, according to the Guardian.

At least 2.46 million people have been affected by the drought, with high temperatures in July causing 2.74 billion yuan (US$398 million) in direct economic losses, officials said, the Guardian reported.

Also Happening Around The World

🇪🇸 In Europe, the “Spanish Stonehenge” has re-emerged from a dam that is drying up, as Spain suffers from its driest climate in 1,200 years.

🇮🇶 Meanwhile, three consecutive years of drought have devastated Iraq’s Hawizeh marshlands, drying up the marshes reportedly home to the biblical Garden of Eden.

🇯🇵 A trans woman in Japan has been denied status as the parent of her own child after she transitioned.

🇮🇩 Did you know that there’s a festival in Bali where Indigenous people hit each other with pandan leaves?

A leaked video showing Finland’s 36-year-old prime minister partying with friends has sparked a debate in the country.

Video showing Sanna Marin, who became the world’s youngest world leader in 2019, singing and dancing with celebrities and influencers at what appears to be a private party went viral on Wednesday Aug. 17.

The clips were initially shared to a private Instagram account but were leaked and picked up by Finnish media.

While supporters have defended Marin’s right to a private life, some have criticized her behavior as irresponsible.

The criticism arose as Marin had canceled a holiday on the weekend of August 6, when the videos were reportedly taken, and said she was on duty.

Addressing the backlash on Thursday Aug. 18, Marin said the videos were from a few weeks ago and she had known she was being filmed but did not think they would become public.

“I spent the evening with my friends, partied, even in a rowdy way, danced and sang,” she said. “I have free time that I spend with my friends. I’m pretty sure that’s the same as many people my age.”

She said her ability to work had been unimpaired and she would have left the party if required.

She also denied she had taken any drugs, as some have accused.

On Friday, Marin said she had taken a drugs test, which later came back negative.

“My entire term as prime minister has been a time of crisis and things have been reasonably well taken care of,” Marin told reporters on Friday.

She added she hopes that in the year 2022, it would be possible for people in her position to enjoy their free time.

“I trust people understand free time and work time can be separated,” she said.

More Women You Should Know About

🇪🇹 Ethiopian Girl Skaters, a women-led group, has been empowering young girls through skateboarding in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

🇵🇪 Indigenous Aymara women in Peru’s mountainous city of Puno are setting time aside from farming to play soccer in their flowing skirts.

A bakery in Kyiv, Ukraine, comprised of staff with mental disabilities has been baking hundreds of loaves of bread every day and donating them to those in need during the war.

Founded by 26-year-old Vladislav Malashchenko in 2017 as a social business, “Good Bread From Good People” specialized in cakes and hot lunches before the war.

It also provided skills training for its staff.

But when Russia invaded Ukraine, everything changed.

Malashchenko called a meeting with his staff and they decided to stop selling to individual customers and bake bread for the public, the New York Times reported.

“I am not militant in my nature,” he told the New York Times. “But I can bake bread.”

The bakery began baking 400 to 800 loaves every day and distributing them to soldiers, police, hospital patients, residents at mental hospitals, elderly people and families with children who stayed in Kyiv throughout the invasion, CNN reported.

It has since delivered more than 100,000 loaves of bread.

“We transformed from a bakery that didn’t make bread before to now making lots of bread,” the bakery’s communications manager, Alijona Martynenko, told CNN.

She said that the community has been donating flour and money for them to continue their work.

“Now, at this time of great need in Kyiv,” Malashchenko said. “We need to continue our work.”

More Good News For Your Week

🇸🇬 Singapore’s government is striking down a colonial era law that made gay sex illegal, the prime minister said on Sunday Aug. 21. However, same-sex marriage will remain illegal in the city state.

🇻🇳 Vietnam has officially announced that being LGBTQ should not be considered an illness in a landmark moment for LGBTQ rights in the country.

Thanks so much for opening this email. If you think a friend would like this, you can forward it to them! You can also follow Almost on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube. We also have a Chinese version.

Let us know your thoughts about this week’s news in the comments or by replying directly to this email ✨