🗺️ Picks of the Week — Feb. 26

Woman Wins Housework Divorce Damages, Unseen Vincent van Gogh Painting, Niger Elects New President, Georgian Opposition Leader Arrested, NASA Releases Never-Seen-Before Mars Footage

Hey hey everyone, it’s Friday! Hope you all had a good week and are ready for some global news to close things out.

We dotted around the globe to China where a judge awarded a woman compensation for housework she did for her husband during their marriage; to Paris where a previously unseen Vincent van Gogh painting has been unveiled for sale; to Niger who elected a new president; to Georgia whose opposition leader was arrested by the government; and to Mars for never-seen-before footage of the Red Planet.

Jobs and data details below, let’s get to it!

Job Corner ✍️

Lots of deadlines coming up this weekend and over the next few days, including at the likes of the BBC, CBC, DC Thomson, the i Paper and Springer Nature

Due to a limit on the number of people that can be added to a Google Spreadsheet, I’ve made two versions listing exactly the same jobs, so no need to have access to both. If you’re a paying member, you’ll have access to one of the two below links/buttons… 👇

Job Board: w/c Feb. 22 (Version 1)

Job Board: w/c February 22 (Version 2)

Some of the deadlines heading into this weekend… 👇

Data Corner 🧮

A few datasets used in today’s newsletter…

  1. Poverty: Human Development Index, from the UN

  2. Unpaid Work: Data on paid and unpaid work, from the OECD

  3. Mars Perseverance: More than 5,000 images of the expedition, from NASA

  4. Van Gogh: List of all the artist’s paintings, from the Van Gogh Gallery

Unseen van Gogh to Go On Sale

We start this week in Europe, where an 1887 painting by Vincent van Gogh has gone on public display for the first time in Paris, in preparation of being sold by Sotheby’s next month. The artwork named “Scène de rue à Montmartre” (Street Scene In Montmartre) has been housed behind closed doors by a French family for more than 100 years, and depicts the Moulin de la Galette (Galette Mill) in rural Monmarte before it developed into the busy arrondissement we know it as today.

At the time, van Gogh couldn’t afford his rent in Antwerp, Belgium, so he moved to the French capital to live with his brother from 1886 to 1888, a period regarded as transformative for his work. According to Sotheby's, the painting could sell for almost £7m ($9.7m).

It’s not the first time the iconic artist’s work has been taken out of private hands, as Dutch museums discovered a previously-unseen van Gogh painting in 2013, and revealed even more in 2018. But according to Aurélie Vandevoorde, head of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art department, these types of discoveries aren’t set to continue for much longer as few of the artist’s paintings now remain in private hands.

Niger Elects New President

Some election news next from Niger, who elected a new president in a historic first democratic transition since it gained independence from France in 1960. Former interior minister Mohamed Bazoum, who won almost 56 percent of the vote, will succeed the 10-year administration of Mahamadou Issoufou, who agreed to step down after two terms. However, like with most elections these days, there’s a plot twist. Opposition leader Mahamane Ousmane rejected the results alleging electoral fraud, which the country’s electoral commission is yet to comment on.

Niger is the poorest nation in the world, according to the UN’s Human Development Index, home to widespread poverty, drought, and several militant groups including Boko Haram. Aside from the internal conflict, the country is also within touching distance of armed groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in neighbouring Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria, which have displaced more than 460,000 people. This week’s election was also marred by a landmine explosion in the south west of the country, which killed seven electoral commission officials.

Protests in Niger after opposition leader claims election win despite official results

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Georgian Opposition Leader Arrested

To the country of Georgia next where police arrested the country’s main opposition leader, Nika Melia, in another move that’s set to deepen the current political crisis. Melia was facing charges of inciting violence during violent anti-government protests in 2019, a charge he denies. On Tuesday, special forces broke through barricades that Melia’s supporters built around his offices. Thousands of opposition supporters gathered around the parliament building in Tblisi to protest Melia’s arrest, and are now calling for a snap election.

Georgia has been in political crisis for the past couple of years. In last October’s parliamentary elections, opposition parties claimed the results were rigged after the Georgian Dream party romped to a second consecutive victory. And just last week, Prime Minister Georgi Gakharia resigned after a court ordered the arrest of Melia, with Gakharia warning of “political escalation”. He was right.

Previous Picks of the Week 👀

🔎 Picks of the Week — Feb. 19

🔎 Picks of the Week — Feb. 12

🔎 Picks of the Week — Jan. 29

🔎 Picks of the Week — Jan. 22

Chinese Woman Wins Housework Divorce Damages

We head to China next, where one woman has left her divorce proceedings 50,000 Chinese yuan (US $7,750/£5,500) richer, after filing for compensation from her ex-husband for doing all the housework during their marriage. The landmark lawsuit was made possible because of a new civil code that recently came into effect, which gives divorcing spouses the right to seek compensation if they were primary care-givers, or did most of the housework. According to the judge, housework cannot be included in the traditional division of tangible property that comes with divorce, because its intangible benefits allow personal or academic growth for the other spouse.

And before you ask, yes women do do more unpaid work than men in most heterosexual relationships. Women in China, for example, spend approximately 2.5 hours more each day than men performing unpaid work. And data from the OECD shows that in the U.S. and UK, women perform roughly four hours of unpaid work per day, compared to men’s 2.5. The first court ruling since the new civil code sparked a controversial debate in China, and only time will tell if it catches on, possibly into other nations.

NASA Releases Never-Seen-Before Mars Footage

We finish this week in space, where NASA’s Perseverance Rover successfully landed on Mars to look for signs of past life and prepare the planet for future human exploration. The 300-million-mile journey from Earth began in July 2020, and was the first time NASA was able to capture bird’s eye video and audio footage of the landing, which was made possible with the help of a parachute and a sky crane.

Now the nuclear-powered planetary exploration device and its accompanying small robotic helicopter will gather cache rock and soil samples from the red planet’s Jezero Crater, and then bring back to Earth for human exploration that could determine whether life ever existed on Mars. 

"We will learn something by looking at the performance of the vehicle in these videos,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Michael Watkins told National Geographic. “But a lot of it is also to bring you along on our journey”. While previous expeditions to Mars have determined it was possible for life to exist on the wet planet billions of years ago, this will be the first to explore whether it ever did. “This [mission] tells us not only about whether we’re alone in the solar system but also about how likely we are to find life in the thousands of other planets,” Oxford University physicist Colin Wilson told The Guardian.

A few of the more than 5,000 raw images already taken…

That’s all for this week! See ya’ll on Monday for more jobs and even more fun 👋