Troops on Ukrainian alert, BoJo’s new party scandal, NFT Beatles

👋 Balm*

Welcome Tuesday, where NATO and US troops are on high alert amid tensions in Ukraine, there is a new Boris Johnson party scandal and Beatles memorabilia will be sold as NFT. Worldcrunch telecommuter Carl-Johan Karlsson is also touring countries thinking about a real legal right to work from home.



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• The United States puts 8,500 troops on alert in the context of the Ukraine crisis: The US Department of Defense said some 8,500 US troops had been placed on “high alert”, awaiting orders to deploy to Eastern Europe if Russia invaded Ukraine. NATO also announced that it was putting forces on standby and reinforcing the area with more ships and fighter jets. In a bid to defuse tensions, Russian and Ukrainian officials are due to meet in Paris on Wednesday for talks with their German and French counterparts.

• Boris Johnson’s birthday celebration sparks fresh row: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under renewed pressure to resign following revelations of a surprise birthday party held for him in June 2020 in Downing Street when indoor social gatherings were banned. The Metropolitan Police have launched an investigation into several “potential breaches of COVID-19 regulations” at No 10 over the past two years.

• COVID update: The daily number of new infections in South Korea has topped 8,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic, as the Omicron variant spreads. Meanwhile, at least 23 new cases of COVID-19 have been detected on an Australian Navy ship en route to coronavirus-free Tonga to deliver humanitarian aid following the recent volcanic eruption and tsunami.

• At least 8 killed in stampede at Africa Cup of Nations: At least eight people were killed and 50 injured in a stampede outside an Africa Cup of Nations soccer match in Cameroon as thousands of fans tried to gain access to the Paul Biya stadium in the capital Yaounde.

• The Australian Open cancels the ban on Peng Shuai t-shirts: Australian Open organizers have lifted a ban on “Where is Peng Shuai” t-shirts in support of the Chinese tennis player who accused a senior Beijing official of sexual assault.

• The heaviest snowfall in decades paralyzes Turkey: Istanbul is facing its worst snowfall in years, crippling traffic and forcing Europe’s busiest airport to close after the roof of one of the cargo terminals collapsed in snow.

• NFTicket to ride: Items including John Lennon’s black cape in the film To help! and handwritten notes for the Beatles song Hey Jude will be sold as NFT on February 7 by Lennon’s eldest son, Julian, who will retain the physical items from his personal collection. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will go to Julian Lennon’s White Feather Foundation.


Russian daily Kommersant devotes its front page to what it calls a ‘pre-war’ situation looming between Ukraine and Russia as US and NATO allies put troops on standby just in case the crisis would deteriorate further. The Kremlin pointed to the new deployments as evidence of NATO’s aggressive posture and blamed the organization for rising tensions.


There is no room for a positive opportunity for Lebanon in light of Iranian influence, international disarray, national division, bigotry and state collapse.

— Lebanon’s main Sunni Muslim politician, Saad al-Hariri, announced in an emotional televised speech his decision to “suspend all roles in power, politics and parliament” and that he would not run in the next legislative elections. The announcement shakes the Lebanese political landscape, as the country faces a deep financial crisis. Son of former Prime Minister Rafic al-Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005, Saad al-Hariri was Prime Minister from 2009 to 2011 and from 2016 to 2020.


Will there be a legal right to telework?

Silicon Valley companies are leading the way in corporate policy, while European countries like Germany are beginning to draft laws to create a real legal right to work from home.

⚖️ Two years into the pandemic, working from home looks set to be a feature of our current existence that will be with us once COVID-19 is gone. But even as companies experiment with different policies, others are pushing for them to be translated into law – in other words, to make working from home a right. The forefront of the debate is undoubtedly in Europe, with a handful of countries considering changing, or having already changed, their labor laws following the first pandemic lockdowns.

💻 In Luxembourg, after the filing of a petition for the recognition of the right to telework in April 2020, the Chamber of Deputies published a new petition last month to make two days of remote work mandatory per week; In Poland, where eight out of 10 employees say hybrid working is their ideal choice, a new draft law regarding remote working was introduced last May; while in Spain, a new law was passed in September 2020 to regulate working from home. But no country has yet gone as far as Germany, where Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil recently announced his intention to make the home office a legally protected part of German work culture.

❓ Of course, the reality of the always-on internet also raises questions about workers’ rights outside working hours, with Portugal passing a law last year that makes it a crime to disturb employees when they’re on the go. are not on time. Yet, on both fronts, the more crucial question might be whether countries can successfully regulate digital labor rights without overly bureaucratic postiche and runaway business costs.

➡️ Learn more about


$14 million

The Australian government has acquired the copyright to the Aboriginal flag in a deal worth around A$20 million ($14 million) so it can be freely used, ending a long-standing trade dispute over the design. The red, black and yellow flag was created by Indigenous artist Harold Thomas in 1971 and has been recognized as the country’s official flag since 1995.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

We are trying to find out how to turn a yellow submarine into NFT. Let us know what’s happening in your corner of the world!

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