When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

ISIS Wants Japanese Ransom, Pessimistic IMF, Kim Jong-Un V. Balloons

ISIS Wants Japanese Ransom, Pessimistic IMF, Kim Jong-Un V. Balloons

The International Monetary Fund has sharply cut its global growth forecast of just six months ago, with almost every economy except the United States expected to grow at a slower pace than previously thought, Bloomberg reports. The Washington-based lender said an economic slowdown in China, recession in Russia, and poor prospects in the eurozone and Japan will outweigh expected benefits from cheaper oil. According to IMF projections, the world economy will grow 3.5% this year and 3.7% in 2016.

  • This comes amid warnings from the United Nations that slower growth will lead to an extra 11 million people losing their jobs in the next five years. International Labour Organization chief Guy Ryder has blamed “the austerity trajectory,” especially in Europe, as a significant factor in growing unemployment and the widening gap between rich and poor. In an alarming report published yesterday, Oxfam said that the richest 1% would own more wealth than the other 99% by next year.

[rebelmouse-image 27088557 alt="""" original_size="317x238" expand=1]
On this day in 1929, the very first movie filmed outdoors was released. Get
your daily shot of history here.

In a video posted online today, Islamist terror group ISIS has threatened to execute two Japanese hostages if the government doesn’t pay $200 million within 72 hours, The Japan Times reports. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was in Jerusalem this morning as part of a Middle East visit, demanded the hostages’ immediate release and said that “the international community will not give in to terrorism.”

An Orthodox believer takes a dip Monday into the icy waters of a pond during celebrations of the Orthodox Epiphany near Minsk, Belarus (see lead photo).

Top-selling British newspaper The Sun now has “its top on” after quietly scrapping the (in)famous Page 3 that featured topless models. It was a custom that started in 1970, shortly after Rupert Murdoch bought the tabloid. Instead, the page now features famous women in bikinis.

U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union address tonight to his presidency’s first Republican-controlled Congress. The address is expected to focus on the middle class and his proposal for expanded paid family leave as well as possible tax breaks for middle-income earners in a bid to raise more taxes from the wealthy. Read more from The New York Times.

As La Nacion reports, protests denouncing Argentine President Cristina Kirchner erupted all over the country yesterday after prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead Sunday morning. Authorities are calling the death an apparent suicide, but protestors believe he may have been murdered for accusing the president of concealing Iranian culpability for the 1994 bombing that killed 85 and injured 300 at a Jewish community center. Read more from our 4 Corners blog here.

Britain’s electronic spy agency GCHQ captured the emails of journalists at some of the world’s top media organizations, documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian show. The documents also describe investigative journalists as being “of specific concern,” that “journalists and reporters representing all types of news media represent a potential threat to security.” The revelations are likely to increase pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron, who has been pushing for greater surveillance powers in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks.

[rebelmouse-image 27088558 alt="""" original_size="610x600" expand=1]

A group of South Korean activists led by a North Korean defector have started sending balloons with anti-Pyongyang messages across the border despite requests from South Korea not to do so and threats from North Korea, AFP reports. The militants have threatened to follow the leaflets with copies of the controversial film comedy The Interview.

Oscar-winning directors Joel and Ethan Coen will jointly head the jury at Cannes Film Festival in May. “Presiding over the jury is a special honor, since we have never heretofore been president of anything,” they said.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


The Pope's Bronchitis Can't Hide What Truly Ails The Church — Or Whispers Of Succession

It is not only the health of the Pope that worries the Holy See. From the collapse of vocations to the conservative wind in the USA, there are many ills to face.

 Pope Francis reaches over to tough the hands of devotees during his  General Audience at the Vatican.​

November 29, 2023: Pope Francis during his wednesday General Audience at the Vatican.

Evandro Inetti/ZUMA
Gianluigi Nuzzi

ROME — "How am I? I'm fine... I'm still alive, you know? See, I'm not dead!"

With a dose of irony and sarcasm, Pope Francis addressed those who'd paid him a visit this past week as he battled a new lung inflammation, and the antibiotic cycles and extra rest he still must stick with on strict doctors' orders.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

The Pope is dealing with a sensitive respiratory system; the distressed tracheo-bronchial tree can cause asthmatic reactions, with the breathlessness in his speech being the most obvious symptom. Tired eyes and dark circles mark his swollen face. A sense of unease and bewilderment pervades and only diminishes when the doctors restate their optimism about his general state of wellness.

"The pope's ailments? Nothing compared to the health of the Church," quips a priest very close to the Holy Father. "The Church is much worse off, marked by chronic ailments and seasonal illnesses."

Keep reading...Show less

The latest