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French Courage, Trump Danger, Pokemon Goes Home

SPOTLIGHT: A FRENCH HERO AND THE REST OF US

When a murderous truck hurtled down a promenade in the French city of Nice last week, slamming into innocent bystanders and leaving a trail of death and destruction in its wake, a 49-year-old man riding his scooter nearby threw his life on the line to stop it. Franck, a mild-mannered local airport employee, says he's not a hero. But his attempt to stop the attacker, as recounted to French newspaper Nice-Matin, is certainly heroic. We have it here in English.


For most of us, it's hard to imagine reacting with such physical courage in front of a 19-ton vehicle and its well-armed driver. But we are all called on to think about how we must react as a society in the face of a terrorist threat that will not go away by itself. A piece by Worldcrunch editor Jeff Israely explores the symbolism of the Nice attack, which took place on Bastille Day, an occasion that marks the values of the French Revolution. The article refers to the 2011 book by historian Yuval Noah Harari that argues that humans have always organized themselves around "myths," which includes ideas such as liberté, égalité and fraternité that we take for granted as natural law and a public good. Israely writes: "The more frightening lesson in Harari's book is that the sheer scale of human history makes our supposedly self-evident progress look immensely small and fragile." You can read the piece here.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY (& WEEKEND)

  • G20 meets in Chinese city of Chengdu to talk about "Brexit" and China's weakening currency.
  • On Sunday, the Tour de France's final leg in Paris.
  • The International Olympic Committee will take a decision on whether to ban all Russian athletes from the 2016 Olympics.


TRUMP SPEECH

Dark, dangerous, fear-mongering, apocalyptic, terrifying — these were some of the words used in the press to describe Donald Trump's speech last night as he accepted the Republican party nomination for president. The real estate mogul painted a picture of the U.S. as rife with terror and lawlessness (despite the declining crime rate) and declared a date when violence would vanish: "Beginning on January 20th of 2017, safety will be restored."


RIO OLYMPIC TERROR THREAT ...

Ten people suspected of belonging to an organized group supporting ISIS were arrested, after discussing via social media acts of terrorism for the Rio Olympic Games, which start Aug. 5. See how Brazilian daily O Globofeatured the news on its front page today.


… BEIJING AND LONDON OLYMPIC DOPING BUSTS

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee has announced it had uncovered 45 new doping failures from the 2008 to 2012 games in Beijing and London. This brings the total number of athletes who have tested positive from 2008 and 2012 to 98.


POKEMON GOES HOME TO JAPAN

The addictive Pokémon Go smartphone app, which became a worldwide hit after launching overseas two weeks ago, will finally be available in the country that gave birth to the Pokémon franchise two decades ago.


— ON THIS DAY

Willem Dafoe, the actor famous for his prominent cheekbones and mentally unstable characters, is turning 61 today. That, and more, in today's 57-second shot of History.


SEARCH FOR MH370 FLIGHT TO BE SUSPENDED ...

The ongoing underwater search for the Malaysia Airlines Flight will be suspended if no sign of the plane is found in the 120,000-square-kilometer (46,300-square-mile) area currently being probed, China, Malaysia and Australia said in a joint statement today. The flight had been carrying 239 onboard when it went missing in March 2014.


… AND AN INDIAN MILITARY PLANE GOES MISSING

An Indian Air Force plane carrying 29 military personnel aboard disappeared today on its way to a remote chain of islands in the Bay of Bengal.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Countries and industries around the globe must make the painful choice between lucrative fossil fuel exploitation and efforts to prevent climate change. As Alieto Aldo Guadagni writes in Colombian daily Clarin: "The many speeches and good intentions on display at last December's Paris climate summit have not yet managed to slow the fossil fuels' carbon dioxide emissions from continuing to heat up the planet. The development of alternative energy sources is simply not happening fast enough. ... To achieve the Paris agreement's lofty goals —a global temperature rise of no more than 2 degrees Celsius — the world should be emitting 33% less greenhouse gases than it does today.

Contrary to earlier predictions, we have as much fossil fuel reserves today as we have ever had in the past. ... Using all those reserves — already factored into company balance sheets — is incompatible with the goal of avoiding the two-degrees rise in temperatures set at the Paris summit."

Read the full article, Time To Choose Between Oil Wealth And Saving The Planet.


FRANCE ATTACKER HAD ACCOMPLICES

Paris chief prosecutor Francois Molins told journalists yesterday that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the driver of the truck that killed 84 people in the southern French city of Nice, had accomplices and been planning the attack for months.


— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

For Whom The Bell Tower Leans — Pisa, 1969


MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH

LET TRUMP INSULT YOU

Wanna know what the Donald has to say about you? Hillary Clinton's campaign unveiled "Trump Yourself," a Facebook app that turns your profile picture into a Trump-insult-based piece of art (and incidentally shares your Facebook info with Hillary's campaign).

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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