April Norman


First Jan. 6 hearing highlights Barr testimony


Thursday night’s prime-time hearing is the first of a series set to paint a picture of a carefully planned and orchestrated attack on democracy. In his opening statement, committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) didn’t mince his words about former Trump, who he said spurred “a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution.” He bolstered this statement with the clip from Barr.

“You can’t live in a world where the incumbent administration stays in power based on its view, unsupported by specific evidence, that there was fraud in the election,” Barr said.

The panel also showed a clip of testimony from Ivanka Trump, the former president’s daughter and White House adviser, in which she was asked about Barr’s dismissal of Trump’s election fraud claims. She said she had accepted that her father had lost the election.

“It affected my perspective,” she said. “I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying.”


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CryptoTicker announces its first NFT Collection


CryptoTicker is thrilled to be the first German crypto news platform to release an NFT collection as a first stepping stone into its own Metaverse. Those NFTs will allow their respective holders to benefit from invaluable future drops. In this article, we’re going to go over everything you need to know: What CryptoTicker is, what CryptoTicker NFTs allow you to do, and how to get them.

What is CryptoTicker?

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CryptoTicker started as a Berlin-based crypto, blockchain, and tech news platform composed of an international team of experts dedicated to sharing their knowledge with the community. Our team spans the globe bringing news, and market insights and sharing solid market analysis and trading ideas.

Over the course of 5  years, CryptoTicker grew its reach from mere thousands to more than 10 million visitors per year. Our start was humble, but we dreamed big and always believed in blockchain tech. That’s why today, we are officially announcing our transition to Web 3.0.

CryptoTicker’s first NFT collection – What’s it about? 

We are proud to announce our upcoming NFT drop for our exclusive members, which is our gateway into the exciting Metaverse. Switching from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 infrastructure is not easy and requires a lot of effort. As we plan our progressive roll-out, we will be adding more and more features and benefits to our roster.

As a first step, we will be releasing two types of NFTs that allow holders to be eligible for future airdrops.

  • CT Genesis: (Legendary)
    • Lifetime access to Discord (valued at $600 per year)
    • 3 NFT airdrops during 2022, of which 2 are guaranteed legendary items upon reveal
    • Full-Service Package for CryptoTicker Summer-Party Weekend in Mallorca – Flight + Accommodation in our CryptoTicker Mallorca Villa (planned between End of August / beginning of September)
    • 2 Days Masterclass before the Summer Party weekend physical & offline
    • Access to our Cryptoticker Masterclass Discord Channel
    • Annual Christmas Dinner with Cryptoticker Founding Team including 1 hotel accommodation
    • Participation in Raffles for free conference tickets
    • Private Tutoring and support from our Trading & Research team
  • 2022: (Super Rare)
    • 2022 access to Discord (valued at $600 per year)
    • 1 NFT Airdrop during 2022 which is a guaranteed super rare item within revealing
    • Invitation to participate CryptoTicker Summer-Party Weekend in Mallorca 2022 (planned between End of August / beginning of September)
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When will CryptoTicker’s first NFT mint happen?

  • Whitelist open until 9th of June 2022, only via Discord
  • Whitelist Minting 10th of June – 4:30 pm CET / 2.30pm UTC+2 (during Consensus)
  • Public Minting beginning 15th of June 2022 (very limited availability)

For more info make sure to visit

How to Participate in the upcoming NFT mint?

In order to qualify for the Genesis NFT mint, you need to first be a CryptoTicker premium member and become whitelisted. After doing so, the NFTs will be available for minting on the 10th of June, 2022. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to whitelist to guarantee your spot:

  1. Become a premium member of our CryptoTicker community through this link
  2. Activate your account on Discord and write to our Bot “Buddy” your order number and your email address to see the premium channels
  3. Find the channel called “Apply-Whitelist”
  4. Type “/Apply” in the channel and answer a few questions via direct message (PS: Make sure to enable “Private messages from your discord settings, as our bot will message you directly during this step)
  5. The whitelisted users will be announced on the 9th of June on our Announcement channel on Discord

Once done, you’ll wait for a confirmation message allowing you to mint the NFT. On the day of the mint, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Download a Metamask wallet
  2. Buy some Ether
  3. Send your Ether to your Metamask
  4. Go to
  5. Connect your Metamask wallet
  6. Select which NFT you want and mint!

Important Dates to remember:

  • Whitelist is open until 9th of June 2022 for premium members only via Discord
  • Whitelist Minting 10th of June – 4:30 pm CET / 2:30pm UTC+2 (during Consensus)
  • Public Minting beginning 15th of June 2022 (very limited availability)

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How to Claim LUNA on Terra 2 Guide

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Gas Fee Problem: Chaos over OTHERSIDE Metaverse, What Happened?

When OTHERSIDE launched its new NFT collection, many problems occurred. What happened with OTHERSIDE NFT launch? Here’s what to know.

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Man Steals Woman’s Car, Then Contacts Her And Offers To Sell It Back For HOW MUCH?


Wow… can U believe this s**t???

A car theft victim in Memphis, TN got her revenge by working with police to bust the man who allegedly stole her vehicle.

According to reports, 20-year-old Robert Mitchell (above)  stole the car of a woman he knew while it was parked at the Hotel Indigo.

Investigators said that Mitchell then called the woman and told her she could have her own car back for $3,000. It was the wrong move: the woman instead called the cops, who worked with her to set up a sting operation — and it went swimmingly!

Related: Preschool Teachers Charged After Parents Witness Alleged Child Abuse On Classroom Livestream

The woman reportedly had Mitchell text her photos of the car to prove he had it, then arranged a time and place to buy it back. However, the cops were waiting when Mitchell got there, and he was charged with theft and extortion.

Mitchell was released on bond.

What in the world is going on down there, Memphis?!

[Image via Shelby County Sheriff’s Office]


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Jennifer Lopez HATED Sharing The Super Bowl Halftime Show Stage In 2020 With Shakira!


Jennifer Lopez was PISSED about sharing the Super Bowl halftime stage back in February of 2020!

Of course, at the time, the now-52-year-old pop icon graced the world stage for the NFL‘s big halftime show alongside another world-famous pop superstarShakira. But according to a new documentary tracking J.Lo’s career — and specifically focusing on the work that went into that halftime show appearance — that pairing was NOT ideal!

Related: Shakira & Gerard Piqué Confirm Split Amid Shocking Cheating Allegations!

Halftime, the highly-anticipated documentary following the Jenny from the Block sensation as she enters her 50s, premiered this week at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. The Netflix-produced doc, which is set to be released on the streaming app later this month, focused at one point on some of the major difficulties Lopez had sharing the stage with Shakira, as both A-listers tried to figure out how to work alongside each other.

At one point in the doc, Ben Affleck‘s partner slams the set-up, blaming NFL execs for having two women do a job that historically had gone to a single artist. Speaking candidly to her music director while rehearsing, the music legend said:

“We have six f**king minutes. We have 30 seconds of a song, and if we take a minute, that’s it, we’ve got five left. But, there’s got to be certain songs that we sing, though. We have to have our singing moments. It’s not going to be a dance f**king revue. We have to sing our message.”

And she didn’t stop there!

Lopez was particularly incensed at the execs who insisted on having two stars share the stage, saying:

“This is the worst idea in the world to have two people do the Super Bowl. It was the worst idea in the world. … This is something I have been working for and hoping for for years.”

Damn! Tell us how you really feel!

J.Lo wasn’t the only one who took issue with it, either. Her manager, Benny Medina, spoke in the new documentary as well. He offered historical context for the dramatic decision to put two artists in such close quarters for the halftime show:

“Typically, you have one headliner at a Super Bowl. That headliner constructs a show, and, should they choose to have other guests, that’s their choice. ‘It was an insult to say you needed two Latinas to do the job that one artist historically has done.”

Well, when you put it like that…

To Lopez and Shakira’s credit, they did find a way to work together. And they kept it professional! It’s just that, well, neither one wanted to share the stage with the other. Which makes sense! They’re both solo stars who fill stadiums on their own!

At one point in the film, during a rehearsal for the halftime event, the Colombian superstar can be seen telling Lopez:

“I know that the Super Bowl people want us to be weaved throughout the show. I haven’t had a confirmation about how many minutes I’m going to have.”

Lopez responds with grace:

“Let me address that really quick. They said 12 minutes. I got kind of a good confirmation that we could have an extra minute or two, so now we’re at, like, 13, 14 minutes. I think, Shakira, what we should have is you should have half the time and I should [have half].”

And J.Lo added more, too:

“If it was going to be a double-headliner, they should have given us 20 minutes. That’s what they should’ve f**king done.”


Of course, Perezcious readers will recall the perfect pairing J.Lo and Shakira ended up making during the actual event. It was really something! (And just like Lopez guessed, it ended up being about 14 minutes!)

Refresh your memory with the performance (below):

It’s honestly notable to see this play out behind the scenes, because for the 2022 show at the big game, the NFL opted to go with a really big group of superstars to headline halftime: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, and 50 Cent.

So perhaps J.Lo and Shakira served as something of a test run for the league to move forward with more? Then again, in the year between these two, the NFL opted for a solo act… Hmmm…

Related: Awww! Jennifer Lopez Gushes About ‘Building A Family’ With Ben Affleck!

BTW, Halftime also covers another controversial situation involving the halftime show — about how Lopez got on the bad side of the NFL’s content team for wanting to highlight children in cages as part of her performance. Of course, the superstar used the moment to make a political statement about the widespread outrage over immigrant children being held in cages at ICE detention centers during Donald Trump‘s presidency.

Lopez explained in the doc about how Medina took a lot of heat from the league during rehearsals over her wanting to have the cages as part of the show:

“We left rehearsal and I noticed everybody was freaking out, but I don’t know why. I get a call from Benny and he’s like, ‘They want to pull the cages.’ That night, the higher-ups at the NFL saw it for the first time and they’re like, ‘Hey, you can’t do that.’”

Benny added his own info about the league’s attempt at nixing the halftime theme, too:

“The NFL had a real concern about making a political statement about immigration. They looked at the plans, and the message was absolute. They did not want those cages in the show. That had come down from the highest authority.”

But J.Lo refused to budge!

She explained why it was so important to her as an artist — and as a human:

“For me, this isn’t about politics. This is about human rights. I’m facing the biggest crossroads of my life, to be able to perform on the world’s biggest stage, but to take out the cages and sacrifice what I believe in would be like never being there at all. There was a part of me that just got very zen and I was just like, ‘Benny I don’t care what you have to do, we’re not changing the show. The Super Bowl is tomorrow and we’re not changing anything.’”

Wow! Inspiring!

By the way, if you haven’t seen it yet, here is the trailer for Halftime (below), which is set to stream on Netflix beginning on Tuesday, June 14:

So much there!!

Reactions, Perezcious readers??

[Image via NFL/YouTube]


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Top 3 Stablecoins in 2022: Your Key To Success?


Stablecoins are an incredibly interesting asset in the crypto market in recent years. While cryptocurrencies at the beginning wanted to deliver a refined option to FIAT currencies through the blockchain and wanted to liberate themselves from their rates, stablecoins were later created, which mapped the rates of FIAT currencies. In this article, we will talk about the top 3 Stablecoins in 2022. 

What are Stablecoins?

Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies that are founded on the blockchain but are connected to the real value of a FIAT currency or other asset outside of the crypto world. These can be fiat currencies like US dollars, euros, or the British pound. Yet, these can also be special metals such as gold or other assets.

So if a stablecoin is pegged to the USD, then the value of that stablecoin is equivalent to the value of one US dollar at any given time. This indicates that stablecoins are “unchanging” in the sense that they adapt their value to the FIAT currency. Yet, they are of course subject to instabilities in the value of this FIAT currency, for instance, due to inflation or deflation.

 Top 3 Stablecoins: Tether (USDT)

Top 3 Stablecoins

USDT Weekly Market Cap: TradingView

Tether was initially pitched as an actual coin in 2014. It is the most extensive and well-known stablecoin on the market. Tether has a market cap of more than $72 billion, making it the third largest cryptocurrency. It is available on more than 400 crypto exchanges.

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Despite its exceptional functionality and position as a market leader, USDT has lately come under fire as the company has continually refused investigations and had to pay penalties for illicit activities in the US. Despite these hardships, USDT has functioned excellently as a stablecoin since its launch. Tether tokens are assembled on numerous blockchains—delivering effortless integration and adoption. Backed blockchains are Bitcoin (Omni & Liquid protocol), Ethereum, TRON, EOS, Algorand, Solana, OMG Network, and Bitcoin Cash (SLP).

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 Top 3 Stablecoins: USD Coin (USDC)

Top 3 Stablecoins

USDC Weekly Market Cap: TradingView

The USD coin was launched by the Coinbase exchange in 2018. USDC is the second-most extensive stablecoin. It has a market cap of $54 billion. This puts USDC in 4th place after Tether at Coinmarketcap. The USDC is available on more than 300 exchanges and functions broadly with financial establishments and regulators. Unlike Tether, monthly audits take place at the USDC.

Top 3 Stablecoins: Binance USD (BUSD)

Top 3 Stablecoins

BUSD Weekly: TradingView

After Coinbase launched USD Coin, the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance followed shortly in 2019 when it established its stablecoin. The market capitalization is 18 billion US dollars. This puts BUSD on number 12 on Coinmarketcap. BUSD is only available on more than 100 exchanges.

With the Binance Coin (BNB), Binance has already built the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Its own stablecoin Binance USD is one of the 3 most extensive stablecoins in 2022 and among the leading 12 of all cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. The BUSD is now carried by almost all major crypto exchanges. At Binance, it delivers the benefit of not charging any fees.

Is Stablecoin a Good Investment?

As stablecoins have a “steady” price, they are commonly regarded as the securest form of investment among cryptocurrencies. Yet, as an investor, you should understand that stablecoins are generally favorably centralized and likened to “true” cryptocurrencies, which are fully decentralized. Tether, USD Coin, and Binance USD are all completely owned by their parent organizations.

The financial institutions that issue stablecoins get authority and money equivalent to regular banks, but without having to obey the standard rules in the traditional financial market. In recent years, the market capitalization of all coins has grown massively in a short time. As these types of cryptocurrencies become more and more active in conventional financial markets, buzzes for more regulation are getting noisier. They are also more powerless in a financial crash.

People can purchase stablecoins if they want to dive into the cryptocurrency world but are scared of the lofty volatility first or want to get to understand the processes first. Nevertheless, of course, they do not fetch any income, since their value is steady against the US dollar.

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Britney Spears’ Lawyer BLASTS Jason Alexander For Wedding Crash Stunt: He’ll Be ‘Aggressively Prosecuted’


Jason Alexander crashed the wrong wedding!

On Thursday, Britney Spears’ attorney, Mathew Rosengart (above, right), released a fiery statement shortly after the pop icon’s ex-husband trespassed onto her private wedding venue and yelled her name.

As we reported, Alexander livestreamed the whole ordeal before he was ultimately arrested by police on an outstanding warrant — leaving Brit feeling freaked out by the whole thing. Understandably!

Related: Britney’s Wedding Guests Include Paris Hilton, Selena Gomez, & MORE!

Naturally, Rosengart is royally pissed his client’s big day was almost ruined, and he made it clear to TMZ that Alexander needs to be locked up. While speaking to the outlet, the lawyer confirmed that Britney was unharmed, noting he’s “absolutely livid” over the situation. He shared:

“I am personally working with the sheriff’s department to ensure Mr. Alexander is aggressively prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Sounds like the party’s over for Jason!

[Image via Instagram/NBC News/MEGA/WENN]


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Marshall Emberton ll Bluetooth Speaker Review


Today, I have this with me, it’s the Marshall Emberton 2 portable Bluetooth speaker, note I said two, this is the second generation of this speaker. I’ve tried a few products from Marshall now, with the last being the Motiff earbuds and they are fantastic, I still use them a lot and I’m hoping that trend follows with these.

Out the box, I just love it. If you play the guitar or you’ve been in a band playing something else or if you’ve ever been to a gig and seen what a Marshall amp looks like in the flesh, it’s iconic and they’ve continued that appearance through their speakers, earbuds and headphones, which I absolutely love. The speaker has that faux leather/snake skin finish wrapped around the sides, then this criss-cross grille to the front and back, and of course, the front grille has that iconic gold Marshall logo. To the top, a large gold button that you hold in, to power on/off or play/pause, then push it left, right or up, down to control volume and content. To the left of that button, a Bluetooth connection button and then to the right, a battery indicator, that has 10 small red lights, showing the remaining battery level in increments of 10%. On the right-hand side, is a USB C port used for charging. It’s also worth noting the speaker sits on a thin rubber base, keeping it sturdy on your surface.


Size-wise, it’s certainly handheld and it was comfortable to carry around in one hand. As for weight, it’s not too heavy but then also doesn’t feel really cheap and lightweight. If in a backpack, it shouldn’t cause too much concern. It also feels very well constructed and robust, I get the feeling it can get knocked around or dropped a little bit and survive. It is also IP67, so will withstand a splash of water.

Spec-wise, connectivity is via Bluetooth 5.1 only, there are no wired ports available. It’s got two 2” speakers with a 10watt output each, plus two passive radiators, facing outwards from either side, so the speaker delivers sound from the front and back. Battery life is stated at over 30 hours, with a charge time of about 3 hours. There is no microphone built into the speaker, so this is not good for making calls if you do that with Bluetooth speakers. Marshall does also have their own app, which is compatible with the Emberton, so you can boot up the app to offer equaliser options and push firmware updates out to the speaker. Lastly, if you bought two speakers, which I know is a tad expensive, you can pair the two, and stack them like a cab for double the experience, kind of.

Setting up and using the speaker is very straightforward. Turn it on, it’ll go into pairing mode, pair it with your smartphone or other device and away you go. The multi-directional button on the top of the speaker works well, it’s very easy to push up or down for volume control, left or right to change tracks. I did download the marshall app again, which I used with the Motif earbuds and it added a fair amount of functionality, however with the speaker, not so much. There are just 3 EQ presets, ‘Marshall’, ‘Push’ which is boosted bass and treble, plus ‘Voice’ for more clarity. Switching between the three is instantaneous and you can hear a difference. You cannot edit those EQ’s or create your own. The app also allows you to stack two Embertons if you have two, plus send firmware updates out as well.


Onto audio performance and I think it sounds brilliant. What Marshall has done in such a small form factor, hats off to them. I listen to a lot of rock music, so the Marshall EQ, their signature sound suited me down to a tee. At low volumes, its very pleasant, I’d have the speaker playing while working, it’s not overly boomy and the mix is fairly balanced so you get a little thud from the bass drum, vocals are crisp and prominent. Turn the volume up a little, to mid-volume and that’s the sweet spot for me. More than loud enough to fill any room in my house, the quality is good, and highs and mids do overpower the bass just a little bit but there is a small rumble on the desk. However, if you turn this all the way up to the maximum volume, it just can’t cope, the quality drops, it gets a bit tinny, it’s overly crisp, the bass is lacking and it’s not very enjoyable at all. This is a portable, Bluetooth speaker though don’t forget, if you need something with more juice, Marshall do bigger speakers for that very reason, so you’ve just got to decide on that balance before purchasing.

I think it looks fantastic, It sounds very good when used for its purpose, don’t turn that volume all the way up. It’s got a good battery life, it can withstand a knock, it’s splash-proof and it’s portable. Price-wise, this retails at £149.99 which is on the higher side of the market and I think you are paying a bit of a premium because of the brand. The previous model can be bought slightly cheaper and from what I can see online, they should perform the same, but the first model does have a smaller battery. Obviously, you can see the speaker is black but Marshall has said this will be available in cream too which looks pretty smart and it’s got that more vintage looks to it.


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What Living as an Expat in Strasbourg is Really Like


What living in Strasbourg as an expat is really like

Today, for my Living Abroad series, I’m chatting with Claire, an American freelance writer who lives in beautiful Strasbourg, France (a city I visited when I worked as an au pair!). Here, Claire shares the reasons she loves living in Strasbourg so much, including the romantic architecture and laid-back pace of life. She also shares the best way to make friends as a new expat.

Claire’s background:

Hi! I’m Claire and I grew up in the Chicagoland area. I initially moved from the US to Paris for the 2018-2019 school year to au pair. By the end of that school year, I was ready to move on from Paris. Paris is a gorgeous city but I’ve discovered that I’m more of a midsize city girl. Conveniently enough, my French boyfriend was starting a PhD in Strasbourg and I already knew I liked the city from visiting before, so it was an easy choice to enroll in more French language classes and move here.

On making friends: Facebook expat groups are such a lifesaver! The one I utilized was Girls Gone International Strasbourg. They regularly post events and meet-ups, which can be intimidating depending on how many people go and how social you are to begin with, but I was fortunate enough to meet a really great group of girls fairly early on who have been nothing but friendly and inclusive. It’s a mostly American group, but we all have partners or other friends who are from other English speaking countries or France, which always makes for fun big group get-togethers.  

I’ve also made some friendly acquaintances through bachata dance classes at a local bar called Barco Latino. If you have any inclination to learn how to dance, Latin dances are some of the best ways to break the ice, practice the local language, and meet local, easygoing men and women.

READ NEXT: How to Make Friends When You Move to a New City

On the pace of life: The pace of life in Strasbourg is pretty laid-back. It can get hectic, but I think the romantic architecture and canals really do a lot to contribute to the relaxed and pleasant city atmosphere. That being said, Strasbourg is one of the most bike-friendly cities in Europe, which essentially means that pedestrians are always at risk of being run over. Always make sure to be aware and look both ways before crossing any street or sidewalk-seriously!

What living in Strasbourg as an expat is really like

On the cost of living: You need at least €1500/mo per person to live here comfortably. Now, you can get by on much less than that if you want/need to, but our figure takes into account the basics, such as rent, groceries, Internet, transport, etc, and also leisure activities such as grabbing happy hour drinks fairly regularly, dining out or splurging on groceries to prepare nicer meals, and the occasional shopping excursion.

On the Strasbourg expat community: Strasbourg has a huge community of expats! It’s an incredibly international city due to the fact that the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the University of Strasbourg draw people from all over the world for employment and education. American expats in Strasbourg tend to be on either student visas or a visa “vie privée et familiale,” which means they are in a civil union or married to their French partner. 

On living in Strasbourg as an American: Americans are pretty well-received in France in my experience, and this extends to Strasbourg. Although, one very specific exception I’ve experienced firsthand is when a group of people attempts to order food at a restaurant with lots of customized requests (substitute this for that, add this on, etc). While customized requests are par for the course in the US, they’re not really a thing in France and servers get extremely annoyed trying to keep track of all the extra detail. Obviously, if you have a dietary restriction, that’s one circumstance, but beyond that the reception to special requests gets extremely chilly. 

On learning French: Oh god, I’ve cried more times than the rest of my life combined since commencing my French language studies a year and a half ago. Technically French isn’t a hard language to learn, and I already had a healthy helping of Spanish language background going in, but the French insistence on “just right” pronunciation and their general lack of cocern for someone who can’t really participate in a conversation can feel very jarring and isolating. 

To anyone who is wanting to learn or beginning to learn French, the best advice I can give you is also the advice I find the hardest to execute: Just do your best, and try to let the grammar and pronunciation blunders roll off your shoulders. If you’re in conversation with someone and are really struggling, just ask to switch to English. It’s not rude if you’ve clearly been making an attempt. And, more often than not nowadays, French people are fully capable of holding conversations in English–they just avoid it and will rarely offer to switch on their own volition. 

READ NEXT: 10 Tips for Becoming Fluent in a Second (or Third!) Language

On French food: French food is an experience. Different regions in France specialize in different types of food. For example, Strasbourg gastronomy has been heavily influenced by Germany due to its geographic proximity and subsequent geopolitical exchanges throughout history. But overall, French food can be summarized as an experience meant to be savored and enjoyed. There is never any sense of urgency to a meal and, as I’ve learned to control my hungry American “need it NOW” impulses, I’ve learned to appreciate the pride French people take in the loooong preparation of a meal to share together, too. 

What living in Strasbourg as an expat is really like

On must-try local foods: Tarte flambée and choucroute are absolute must-try local dishes in Strasbourg. Tarte flambée is basically an extremely thin flatbread served with fresh cream, onions, chewy bacon pieces, and salt and pepper. If you want a kick of yummy local cheese, ask for Munster as an add-on.

Choucroute features around five different types of meat (sausages, ham, roast pork) served on a bed of cabbage with a hearty side of potatoes. Don’t be put off by the cabbage! The very specific, tangy flavor actually marries really well with all the salty meat and neutral potato going around. Be sure to order a glass of Riesling or recommended white wine by the server.

On personal safety: I live in the city center and personally have never felt unsafe in the city, however, I have been harassed a couple of times by men during the day, so I’m extra-vigilant at night time as a result. 

On the local fashion: Women in Strasbourg dress just a little more practical than women in Paris due to the fact that there are cobblestone streets everywhere and biking is the most popular form of transportation, but nevertheless, the average Strasbourgeois could still be considered runway-ready. 

What living in Strasbourg as an expat is really like

On the biggest challenge of living in Strasbourg: The hardest part was swallowing my pride and moving to a city to be with a boy. In its own right, Strasbourg is a fantastic city, but it’s highly unlikely I would have ended up here if I hadn’t met my partner. Furthermore, I never imagined myself to be the “type” of girl who would move somewhere “just to be with” someone, and I really struggled with the decision as something that went directly against my feminist ideology. I’ve developed a much more nuanced perspective on the decision in the last few months and both my relationship and I are better for it, but I did want to acknowledge this motivating factor because it’s a paradox a lot of American expats live with daily, this living in France because they love a French person and genuinely loving life in France in its own right.

What living in Strasbourg as an expat is really like

Thanks so much, Claire!

P.S. What Living as an Expat in France is Really Like and What Living as an Expat in Berlin Is Really Like.

This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). Please read my disclosure for more info.


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UkraineX: How Elon Musk’s space satellites changed the war on the ground


It’s not just about military communications. Others in Ukraine’s 93rd mechanized brigade let friends and family know they are safe through daily encrypted satellite messages after the local cellphone network was severed weeks ago during heavy shelling.

In their downtime, Oleksiy and his comrades keep tabs on the latest developments in the war via Starlink’s internet connection and — when there’s a lull between artillery duels — play “Call of Duty” on their smartphones while sheltering in bunkers and standing by for orders.

“Thank you, Elon Musk,” said Oleksiy soon after logging on through Starlink’s satellites to discover the Biden administration would be sending long-range rockets to the Ukrainian army in its fight with the Russians.

“This is exactly what we need,” he added in reference to the rockets.

The first 100 days of Russia’s invasion of its western neighbor have left thousands dead and even more injured. Ukrainian forces now find themselves in a war of attrition with the Russian army that, despite setbacks in and around Kyiv, continues to chip away at local resistance in the country’s east.

The United States, European Union and other NATO countries have donated billions of dollars in military equipment to Ukraine since the war began in late February. But Musk’s Starlink — based on a cluster of table-sized satellites flying as low as 130 miles above Ukraine and beaming down high-speed internet access — has become an unexpected lifeline to the country: both on the battlefield and in the war for public opinion.

Ukrainian drones have relied on Starlink to drop bombs on Russian forward positions. People in besieged cities near the Russian border have stayed in touch with loved ones via the encrypted satellites. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the country’s president, has regularly updated his millions of social media followers on the back of Musk’s network, as well as holding Zoom calls with global politicians from U.S. President Joe Biden to French leader Emmanuel Macron.

All told, Starlink — and Ukraine’s use of the satellite network, both for its military and civilians — has thwarted Russia’s efforts to cut the Eastern European country off from the outside world, giving Kyiv a much-needed victory against Moscow in a conflict that shows no sign of ending.

“The strategic impact is, it totally destroyed [Vladimir] Putin’s information campaign,” said Brig. Gen. Steve Butow, director of the space portfolio at the Defense Innovation Unit, the Pentagon’s Silicon Valley tech outpost. “He never, to this day, has been able to silence Zelenskyy.”

The conflict in Ukraine also has provided Musk and SpaceX’s fledgling satellite network with a trial-by-fire that has whetted the appetite of many Western militaries. Commanders have been impressed by the company’s ability, within days, to deliver thousands of backpack-sized satellite stations to the war-torn country and keep them online despite increasingly sophisticated attacks from Russian hackers.

“We’ve got more than 11,000 Starlink stations and they help us in our everyday fight on all the fronts,” Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, told POLITICO. “We’re ready, even if there is no light, no fixed internet, through generators using Starlink, to renew any connection in Ukraine.”

Star Wars: Battle for the sky

Ukraine isn’t the only country to see the importance of satellite communication in the unfolding war in Eastern Europe.

Just an hour before Russian troops launched their full-scale assault in the early hours of Feb. 24, the Kremlin successfully hacked Viasat, an American satellite provider whose network was used by the Ukrainian military to communicate with front-line troops, according to intelligence reports from the U.S., EU and the United Kingdom.

The cyberattack, which crippled the country’s military communications and also took out thousands of other internet users across Europe, fast-tracked negotiations, started in early 2022, between Kyiv and SpaceX to bring the satellite network to the country, according to four officials with knowledge of those discussions.

Zelenskyy’s government had realized that internet access — both for the military and civilians — would be critical in the likely war to come. Soldiers needed a sure-fire way of staying in touch during the haze of war, and raw footage of Russian attacks, often uploaded by Ukrainians themselves via social media, has brought the conflict directly to people’s smartphones worldwide.

SpaceX, whose goal is to launch more than 40,000 satellites into so-called low earth orbit in the coming years, quickly positioned roughly 50 satellites ready to be used in the Eastern European country. But red tape, including official government approval needed to turn on the system, slowed down the rollout.

Then, Russia attacked. Two days after the invasion, on February 26, Fedorov — the Ukrainian vice prime minister who doubles as the country’s digital minister — tweeted directly at Musk to urgently send Starlink equipment. Two days after that, the first shipment showed up.

“They tweeted at Elon and so we turned it on,” Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president, told an audience at the California Institute of Technology on March 7 in reference to Starlink’s arrival in Ukraine. “That was our permission. That was the letter from the minister. It was a tweet.”

SpaceX did not respond to repeated requests for comment about its involvement in Ukraine.

What’s the big deal with Starlink?

Starlink isn’t the first commercial satellite provider to be used on the battlefield. The U.S. military piggybacked on private networks during the first Gulf War — a tactic that has become a mainstay of conflict zones globally.

But where the system — one of many low-orbit satellite networks, including a rival early-stage project from Amazon, currently under development — stands apart is its ability to withstand attacks from the Russians, according to three military officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, and two researchers who have studied Starlink.

Unlike traditional high-orbit satellites, which orbit thousands of miles above the earth, hovering over one point on the ground and beaming down radio signals, the new generation of low-orbit satellites relies on many more satellites working in a constellation. That configuration makes it more difficult, if not impossible, to take offline because an attacker would have to pinpoint all the satellites, at once, to cripple the entire system.

Starlink, too, is more adaptable than alternatives because each device’s computer code can be quickly altered in response to possible hacks. Last month, Musk said the Kremlin was “ramping up” its cyberattacks on his network, and SpaceX has repeatedly rewritten its code to keep one step ahead of Russia.

Todd E. Humphreys, a professor at the University of Texas who has delved into the Starlink’s inner workings and consulted with SpaceX and the U.S. military, said the system’s encryption technology also had proven more resilient than many had expected.

Together with the network’s other incremental tech advances, including providing high-speed internet from space that rivals people’s home broadband networks, Musk’s satellite system represents a step change in how satellites can be rolled out, and used, in conflict zones.

“It’s a crystal clear example that secure backup communications is going to be the lifetime of any modern military engagement,” said Humphreys. “The nimbleness with which Starlink was set up in Ukraine was just astounding.”

All eyes on Musk

Like with everything to do with Musk — the enigmatic billionaire whose business interests include everything from Tesla, the electric car giant, to a potential bid for Twitter, the social network — just how the Starlink equipment made its way to Ukraine is shrouded in confusion and rumor.

Soon after the first equipment began arriving in Kyiv, the South African-born tech magnate, who has picked fights with others on social media and run afoul of financial regulators, briefly swapped texts with Fedorov, the Ukrainian politician. He also talked — powered by Starlink — with Zelenskyy via Zoom about the ongoing rollout and promised to visit Ukraine as soon as the war was over.

In public statements, the company said funding for the satellite communication system in Ukraine — estimated to be around $15 million, with each satellite receiver, known as Dishy McFlatface, costing $499 a piece — came almost exclusively from private sources. SpaceX has pledged to pay for all internet access that, for those outside Ukraine, costs $110 a month.

Yet USAID said in early April it had bought over 1,300 satellite dishes as part of the Starlink project, with SpaceX donating a further 3,600 stations. The U.S. federal agency subsequently scrubbed references to how much equipment Washington had purchased from its press release, though it confirmed to POLITICO that it had shipped the equipment from the U.S. to Eastern Europe.

A USAID spokesperson said the agency was grateful to SpaceX and other donors for contributing to the Starlink project.

Other Western allies, including the French and Polish governments, have also helped with logistical support, including handling the last-mile delivery of the equipment to Ukraine, according to two European officials with direct knowledge of those discussions. One of those officials added that a so-called ground station, or hardware that linked Starlink’s satellites with local internet infrastructure, was housed in neighboring Poland to avoid Russian attack.

Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

“The invasion happened on a Thursday and by the next day, Elon had called together a meeting and said, ‘I want to get Starlink up over Ukraine,’” said Butow of the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit.

“By Sunday, the link was active. By Monday, 500 ground terminals showed up in Ukraine. By Wednesday of that week, all but 25 of those terminals were alive and providing real-time data,” he added. “That’s commercial speed. That’s amazing.”

Crowdsourced communications

Not all of the Starlink equipment has arrived via official channels.

For Alisa Kovalenko, who joined the Ukrainian military after Putin’s invasion and now fights with the 92nd Separate Mechanized Brigade near the Russian border in the northern Kharkiv region, her satellite dish was donated by a group of Ukrainian volunteers, who crowdfunded to buy the system and delivered it directly to the frontline.

“There’s no communication for us with the outside world without Starlink,” Kovalenko told POLITICO by phone over a Starlink connection. “During the last weeks, we had no mobile connections because we moved in our sector from a town to a village. It was impossible to call with any mobile network.”

Like everything on the frontline, her team’s Starlink has had its fair share of close calls — even as it gives both soldiers and civilians a direct connection with friends and family after Kovalenko’s comrades handed over Starlink’s password to locals so they could let relatives know they were safe.

Fuel to power the equipment is always in short supply. During a recent Russian artillery attack, the satellite dish was left exposed in a nearby field, and narrowly missed being destroyed. Whenever the soldiers move positions, they have to gently pull apart the high-tech equipment, putting the small components in a duffle bag and the dish in a waiting vehicle.

But for Kovalenko, a documentary filmmaker, the ability to keep in touch with almost anyone in the world via Musk’s satellite system is a godsend, even if it’s a tricky balance to keep the equipment safe and operational in the middle of the ongoing war.

“If there is bombing and you need to pack up fast and run, it still takes time to grab everything for the Starlink,” she said. “You have to be careful with it. It’s not just a pile of clothes which you can throw in the car.”

Laurens Cerulus contributed reporting from Brussels.


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