North Korea Missiles, Brazil Crisis, Norway Jails

North Korea Missiles, Brazil Crisis, Norway Jails


North Korea fired a pair of ballistic missiles today from its eastern coast, the latest in a series of provocations that included a nuclear detonation in January and the launch, last month, of a long-range rocket.

  • The mid-range missile test came one day after U.S. President Barack Obama imposed new sanctions on the government of Kim Jong-un. U.S. officials said the missiles flew approximately 500 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan.
  • The show of force also comes on the heels of a decision by North Korea’s Supreme Court to sentence a U.S. university student to 15 years of hard labor for crimes against the state, Voice of America reported. The student, Otto Warmbier of the University of Virginia, was visiting North Korea as a tourist when he allegedly attempted to take down a banner containing a political slogan. Pyongyang released what it said was surveillance video of the incident.


Brazil is barreling toward a full-blown constitutional crisis over President Dilma Rousseff’s decision to appoint her predecessor, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, as chief of staff â€" presumably as a way to shield him from an ongoing graft investigation.

  • Less than an hour after the administration rushed to swear Lula in yesterday morning, a federal judge ordered that the appointment be blocked, Brazilian daily O Globo reports.
  • “It’s an unprecedented crisis. The facts change from hour to hour, day after day,” Antônio César Bochenek, president of the Association of Federal Judges of Brazil, told The Wall Street Journal.
  • Nationwide demonstrations and calls for the president’s resignation were sparked by a leaked conversation between the two leaders suggesting the purpose of giving Lula a cabinet post is to protect him from money laundering charges tied to the Petrobras corruption scandal. “This is how coups start,” said Rousseff.


“For Turkey, the refugee issue is not an issue of bargaining but an issue of values, humanitarian values as well as European values," Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu said today in Brussels, Turkish daily Hürriyet reports. The Turkish Prime Minister is set to meet with European leaders today as they try to find a solution to the influx of migrants into the 28-nation bloc. The discussion will center around the “one in, one out” deal according to which for every Syrian readmitted by Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU member states.


A new light is shining on the Norwegian penal system as terrorist Anders Behring Breivik demands (even) better treatment. Check out Worldcrunch’s exclusive video: Norway’s Alternative Prisons, Part Of Global Push To Innovate On Inmates.


The Chilean Navy has rescued the entire crew of an experimental Norwegian expedition called Kon-Tiki2. The group was located yesterday approximately 1,000 miles of the coast of Puerto Montt, in southern Chile, and is expected to reach the mainland by Saturday, Chilean daily La Tercera reports.


Photo: Zhai Jianlan/Xinhua/ZUMA

South African President Jacob Zuma is facing new accusations of influence peddling, in what may be the most perilous scandal of his political career. On its front page today, Cape Town-based Afrikaans-language daily Die Burger asked if this was "The End?"


She was born on March 18 and is considered one of hip hop's pioneer feminists. Who is she? Find out in today's shot of history!


A U.S. man who was captured in Iraq and is accused of fighting for ISIS forces said in an interview aired yesterday on the Kurdish news station K24 that he made “a bad decision.” The man, identified as 26-year-old Mohamad Jamal Khweis of Virginia, said he traveled to Europe, passing through London and Amsterdam before heading to Turkey, where he met an Iraqi woman from the ISIS-controlled city of Mosul. Together they traveled to Iraq, arriving in Mosul on Jan. 16. There he received indoctrination: "There was an imam who taught us the sharia and the religion," Khweis said. “At the time I made the decision, I was not thinking straight,” he added. “On the way there I regretted, and I wanted to go back home after things didn’t work out and I saw myself living in such an environment.”


User ratings systems on service apps and websites are making some people obsessive about their online reputations, even as customers, Guillemette Faure writes for Le Monde. But where is all this headed? “Annual company ratings, customer service appraisals, user-to-user websites. It's now possible to spend half the day rating and the other half being rated. When a smartphone owner downloads an app, he is pestered and prodded to decide how many stars to give it. Ask Uber drivers how they cope with the pressure of ratings, and they'll answer, ‘You know, we rate them too.’ Discreetly, once they've left the vehicle. And when drivers answer a request, the platform gives them the customer's average score.”

Read the full article, The Spreading Psychodrama Of Being Rated Online.



Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey denied reports that the famously terse social media platform would extend its character limit from 140 to 10,000. Asked about the limit on the Today show, he simply said: “It’s staying.” For the record, if his words were a tweet, that’s 13 characters, period included.

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Queen Elizabeth II with UK PM Boris Johnson at a reception at Windsor Castle yesterday

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Hej!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where chaos hits Syria, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is accused of crimes against humanity and a social media giant plans to rebrand itself. For Spanish daily La Razon, reporter Paco Rodríguez takes us to the devastated town of Belchite, where visitors are reporting paranormal phenomenons.



• Syrian violence erupts: Army shelling on residential areas of the rebel-held region of northwestern Syria killed 13 people, with school children among the victims. The attack occurred shortly after a bombing killed at least 14 military personnel in Damascus. In central Syria, a blast inside an ammunition depot kills five soldiers.

• Renewed Ethiopia air raids on capital of embattled Tigray region: Ethiopian federal government forces have launched its second air strike this week on the capital of the northern Tigray. The air raids mark a sharp escalation in the near-year-old conflict between the government forces and the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) that killed thousands and displaced over 2 million people.

• Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity: A leaked draft government report concludes that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro should be charged with crimes against humanity, forging documents and incitement to crime, following his handling of the country's COVID-19 pandemic. The report blames Bolsonaro's administration for more than half of Brazil's 600,000 coronavirus deaths.

• Kidnappers in Haiti demand $17 million to free a missionary group: A Haitian gang that kidnapped 17 members of a Christian aid group, including five children, demanded $1million ransom per person. Most of those being held are Americans; one is Canadian.

• Putin bows out of COP26 in Glasgow: Russian President Vladimir Putin will not fly to Glasgow to attend the COP26 climate summit. A setback for host Britain's hopes of getting support from major powers for a more radical plan to tackle climate change.

• Queen Elizabeth II cancels trip over health concerns: The 95-year-old British monarch has cancelled a visit to Northern Ireland after she was advised by her doctors to rest for the next few days. Buckingham Palace assured the queen, who attended public events yesterday, was "in good spirits."

• A new name for Facebook? According to a report by The Verge website, Mark Zuckerberg's social media giant is planning on changing the company's name next week, to reflect its focus on building the "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet.


"Oil price rise causes earthquake," titles Portuguese daily Jornal I as surging demand coupled with supply shortage have driven oil prices to seven-year highs at more than $80 per barrel.



For the first time women judges have been appointed to Egypt's State Council, one of the country's main judicial bodies. The council's chief judge, Mohammed Hossam el-Din, welcomed the 98 new judges in a celebratory event in Cairo. Since its inception in 1946, the State Council has been exclusively male and until now actively rejected female applicants.


Spanish civil war town now a paranormal attraction

Ghosts from Spain's murderous 1930s civil war are said to roam the ruins of Belchite outside Zaragoza. Tourists are intrigued and can book a special visit to the town, reports Paco Rodríguez in Madrid-based daily La Razon.

🏚️ Between August 24 and September 6, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, more than 5,000 people died in 14 days of intense fighting in Belchite in north-eastern Spain, and the town was flattened. The fighting began on the outskirts and ended in house-to-house fighting. Almost half the town's 3,100 residents died in the struggle. The war annihilated centuries of village history. The town was never rebuilt, though a Pueblo Nuevo (or new town) was built by the old one.

😱 Belchite became an open-air museum of the horror of the civil war of 1936-39, which left 300,000 dead and wounds that have yet to heal or, for some today, mustn't. For many locals, the battle of Belchite has yet to end, judging by reports of paranormal incidents. Some insist they have heard the screams of falling soldiers, while others say the Count of Belchite wanders the streets, unable to find a resting place after his corpse was exhumed.

🎟️ Ordinary visitors have encountered unusual situations. Currently, you can only visit Belchite at set times every day, with prior booking. More daring visitors can also visit at 10 p.m. on weekends. Your ticket does not include a guaranteed paranormal experience, but many visitors insist strange things have happened to them. These include sudden changes of temperature or the strange feeling of being observed from a street corner or a window. Furthermore, such phenomena increase as evening falls, as if night brought the devastated town to life.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


We still cling to the past because back then we had security, which is the main thing that's missing in Libya today.

— Fethi al-Ahmar, an engineer living in the Libyan desert town Bani Walid, told AFP, as the country today marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The leader who had reigned for 42 years over Libya was toppled in a revolt inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings and later killed by rebels. Some hope the presidential elections set in December can help the country turn the page on a decade of chaos and instability.


Iran to offer Master's and PhD in morality enforcement

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.

Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.

Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."

Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.

Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

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