Connecting The Dots, French-Style

The crew here at Worldcrunch is busy scouring the best foreign-language journalism in search of untold local stories and points of view from different countries: like this German story from deep in Bavaria or a Chinese op-ed about China’s Olympic performance. Sometimes, though, it’s also useful to zoom back out, and weave together the whole world in 800 words or less. For that, we know we can always rely on the brain power and prose of Les Echos columnist Dominique Moïsi, a French master-connecter of the global dots.

This latest piece looks back on what appears to be a chain of seemingly unrelated (bad) events, from the July 14 terror attack in Nice, France, to the interests of Turkey and Russia (re)aligning in Syria, to ever uglier rhetoric from the Republican nominee for the White House â€" and back around to an almost surreal debate in France over what Muslim women wear to the beach. “What the summer of 2016 has shown is how bad we’ve become at seeing the world’s bigger challenges,” Moïsi writes. “While some issues are sensationalized, many others go underreported. It’s a dangerous mix of ignorance and indifference.”

The G20 conference currently being hosted by China in Hangzhou would, in theory, be a chance for world leaders themselves to try to do some connecting of the dots. The annual gathering, after all, accounts for two-thirds of the world population and 85% of global GDP. Though attention is inevitably devoted to things like ice cream and missing red carpets, and binding agreements across the 19 country members (and the European Union) are rare, it does force world leaders to both think more broadly, as well as sit down for some urgent bilateral talks.

Moïsi ends his piece with a whiff of post-summer optimism, imagining how a chain of events could be triggered in the right direction. It all begins, naturellement, in November … with a resounding defeat of Donald Trump.



Several young anti-Beijing activists won seats in Hong Kong’s legislative election, among them 23-year-old Nathan Law, the South China Morning Post reports. Law was one of the leaders of the so-called Umbrella Movement of two years ago. Pro-democracy candidates meanwhile looked set to retain their veto power, though pro-Beijing lawmakers will retain a majority in 70-seat council.


For the second time in two weeks, officials report a new series of North Korean ballistic missile tests. Read more from CNN.


ISIS fighters lost control of their last two villages on the Syrian-Turkish border, driven out by the Turkish-supported Free Syrian Army, Hürriyet reports. Syrian government troops meanwhile recaptured parts of Aleppo previously held by rebels, placing other rebel-held parts of the city once again under siege, according to the BBC.

â€" EXTRA!

Mother Teresa was made a Saint of the Catholic Church yesterday in a St. Peter’s Square ceremony attended by as many as 100,000 worshipers. The iconic nun who devoted her life to helping the destitute of India was actually born in what is today Macedonia, to ethnic Albanian parents. Here’s how the press covered her canonization back home.


Alternative for Germany (AfD), an anti-immigration right-wing party founded in 2013, defeated Angela Merkel’s CDU party in the German chancellor’s home state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. AfD’s tough stance on the migrant crisis earned the party the second place with 21.9%, behind the Socialists (30.6%), leaving the CDU with just 19% and Merkel heavily criticized. Read more from Deutsche Welle.


It’s been 44 years since the Munich massacre at the Summer Olympics in Munich. That, and more, in your 57-second shot of History.


French prosecutors have recommended that Nicolas Sarkozy, who’s hoping to return as France’s president next year, face trial over alleged illegal funding of his last presidential campaign in 2012, broadcaster Europe 1 reports. Magistrates are expected to make their decision public in a few months.


Little is known of what Dilma's successor actually plans to do to lift Brazil out of its crisis. Michel Temer, whose career has been defined by discretion, must now show his hand. For Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo, Clóvis Rossi writes: “Temer has always been a politician of extraordinary discretion. If the 75 year old had been more notable, somebody would have thought of him at some point in his long public life to be a presidential candidate â€" or at least to lead the São Paulo state.

Because of his discretion, the new president's view on the greatest issues facing the nation has never been solicited. What we know from him, it's true, are some noteworthy efforts on legal issues, but you're allowed to expect much more from a president.”

Read the full article, Michel Temer, Brazil’s New "Black-Box" President.


Truck drivers, farmers, storekeepers and others are holding protests around the northern French town of Calais to demand the closure of the infamous “jungle,” believed to be home to up to 9,000 migrants in squalid conditions, Le Monde reports. Protesters are blocking the highway leading to the port, from where ferries cross the Channel to Dover.


Caudillo Currency â€" Santiago de Compostela, 1963


Brett Smitheram, a 37-year-old Englishman, became the world’s new Scrabble champion, scoring 181 points with one word: "braconid" (a small parasitic wasp).



Competition can get intense when vying for a spot in the U.S. Open tennis quarterfinals. And then there was Sunday’s match between Frenchman Gaël Monfils and Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. First, we witnessed Monfils tying his shoe in the middle of a point, before Baghdatis started “texting his wife” during a changeover between games. What is that, golf?

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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