🌍 Ukrainian Director's Moving Oscars Speech, Japan's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Found Unconstitutional 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

We also send a separate, weekly newsletter with all the latest on the war on Gaza.

A Ukrainian documentary – “20 Days In Mariupol” – shot by a Ukrainian journalist in the first days of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has won the Oscar for Best Documentary at the 96th Academy Awards held in Los Angeles on March 10.

Directed by Mstyslav Chernov, who was working for AP at the time, “20 Days in Mariupol” offers a chilling firsthand account of the initial days of Russia’s invasion in 2022, showing its relentless aerial bombardment and gradual encirclement of the southern port city of Mariupol.

Chevron and his team had stayed behind to document the invasion, becoming the last journalists to leave the city.

They managed to leave by passing through multiple Russian checkpoints with the footage hidden under a car seat.

After three months of intense fighting that killed at least 25,000 civilians, Russia seized Mariupol and has been occupying it since May 2022.

This is the first time a Ukrainian film has won an Oscar.

“I’m honored, but I will probably be the first director on this stage to say I wish I’d never made this film,” Chernov said in his acceptance speech.

“I wish to be able to exchange this for Russia never attacking Ukraine or invading our cities. I wish to be able to exchange this for Russia not killing 10,000 of my fellow Ukrainians,” he added.

“But I cannot change the history. I cannot change the past,” he said. “But… we can make sure that the history record is set straight and that the truth will prevail, and that the people of Mariupol and those who’ve given their lives will never be forgotten, because cinema forms memories and memories form history.”

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on X, formerly Twitter, that the documentary “shows the truth about Russia’s war crimes.”

Also Happening Around The World

🇻🇦 Days later, Pope Francis caused a controversy after saying Ukraine should raise “the white flag” to negotiate with Russia.

🇷🇺 Meanwhile, Russia has jailed this 70-year-old activist for 2.5 years for criticizing its war in Ukraine.

🇮🇷 Iran has jailed this singer who wrote the song that became the anthem of the Mahsa Amini protests.

🇬🇧 Kate Middleton has finally reappeared in public after she mysteriously went missing for months and sparked some truly wild conspiracy theories.

France has become the first country in the world to make abortion a constitutional right.

In a joint session on Monday March 4, lawmakers from both houses of parliament overwhelmingly voted to approve the change.

Abortion has been legal in France since 1975, but now it is a “guaranteed freedom” under the constitution.

This means that future governments will not be able to “drastically modify” the law, which allows women to have abortions up to 14 weeks of a pregnancy.

The change, which had already been passed by both houses of parliament, gained final approval with 780 votes against 72 in the joint session.

It was inspired in 2022 after the US reversed Roe v Wade, a landmark 1973 ruling that guaranteed access to abortion as a constitutional right.

More Women You Should Know About

🌏 To celebrate International Women’s Day and everyday, take a look back at 12 women’s rights wins from the past year.

🇳🇱 This Dutch runner smashed her own record and then went viral because of her voice.

🇮🇹 In a blow to Italy’s far-right prime minister, a region has elected this engineer as its first woman and left-wing president.

In a win for LGBTQ rights, Japan’s ban on same-sex marriage has been found to be unconstitutional by a high court for the first time.

In Japan, the constitution defines marriage as one of “mutual consent between both sexes,” which has been commonly understood as not permitting same-sex marriage.

The decision comes after three same-sex couples in the district of Sapporo brought forward a case in 2019, demanding the right to get married.

The couples argued that the government was violating their constitutional right to equality by banning same-sex marriage.

A court then ruled in 2021 that the ban was unconstitutional, but rejected their claims for compensation.

The couples then appealed the decision to a higher court, and on Thursday Mar. 14, the high court in Sapporo found that denying same-sex couples the right to get married is a violation of human rights.

The court said banning same-sex marriage is an act of discrimination that lacks rationality, and legalizing it would not result in any harm to anyone.

This is the first decision from a high court on same-sex marriage in Japan.

Six other lower courts had issued decisions on Japan’s ban on same-sex marriage, with five finding it unconstitutional, and one finding it constitutional.

However, the Sapporo high court does not have the power to overturn the current marriage law, meaning that government offices can still deny marriage to same-sex partners.

Japan is the only G7 country that still does not recognize same-sex marriage.

More Good News For Your Week

🇪🇨 Ecuador will now allow euthanasia for people who are terminally ill and in extreme suffering after this woman’s campaign.

🇦🇺 And down under, a literal stampede of Kangaroos invaded a golf course, and it’s the most Australian thing.

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 ✨