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Possible Armageddon, Hong Kong Typhoon, Juncker's Little Black Book


The stuff of disaster films, an asteroid could strike Earth causing death and destruction in the next 200 years. Asteroid 101955 Bennu is currently barreling through space at 63,000 mph and is expected to slip through the moon and Earth in 2135. But a "return trip" later that century could see the asteroid, which is larger than the Empire State building, pummeling our planet with a force 200 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The good news? There's only a 2,700-in-1 chance that Bennu will meet Earth. Moreover, NASA has invested in a laboratory that can map the route of dangerous asteroids in our solar system. The space agency will also launch a spacecraft to study Bennu on Sept. 8. Unfortunately, Ben Affleck or Bruce Willis will not be on said spacecraft.

If all else fails, humanity always has nuclear weapons at its disposal to stave off Armageddon.


  • Funeral for murdered French priest Jacques Hamel to be held in Rouen.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to meet foreign investors in Ankara to reassure them about country's stability after coup attempt.


American warplanes yesterday targeted the locations of the Islamic State in the Libyan city of Sirte, the terror group's last remaining stronghold in the North African country. Prime Minister Fayez Serraj requested foreign air strikes after local forces had cornered the militants to a small area of the city during months of fighting.


Venezuela's national electoral council accepted initial signatures gathered by the country's opposition for a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro. El Nacionalreports that the opposition will now proceed to the next step of a long-drawn process, which involves collecting millions more signatures in just two days.


Stubborn Surfer — Grand-Baie, 2000


Typhoon Nida swept through Hong Kong after making landfall in southern China, putting the city on a storm alert and shutting down the stock market. According to the South China Morning Post, Nida is the region's largest storm this year and represents the biggest threat to the city since Typhoon Vicente in 2012.


Rescuers in the Syrian rebel-held town of Saraqeb said a helicopter dropped barrels of toxic gas overnight affecting 33 people, mostly women and children, Reuters reports. The rescuers, who describe themselves as a neutral group, suspected chlorine was used. Hours earlier, a Russian military helicopter was shot down near the site of the gas attack, killing all five people on board.


Tensions are rising in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where national elections are scheduled for late November. Rallies in support of and against the candidacy of President Joseph Kabila, whose mandate ends in December, drew tens of thousands of demonstrators over the past few days. Read more in Le Monde.


This British-Irish actor who played T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia would have turned 84 today. Remember him? Check it out, and more, in your 57-second shot of History.


"She's the devil," said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, referring to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.


Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen offered a historic apology to the country's aboriginal population yesterday for 400 years of mistreatment during a ceremony celebrating Indigenous People's Day. Fulfilling a key campaign promise, Tsai also launched a commission for transitional justice, the Taipei Timesreports.


In 2002, the third-biggest Chinese city gave developers a decade to revitalize 138 old villages as part of China's rapid urbanization. Almost 15 years later, only four have been revamped, and the last holdout residents still refuse to leave. Writing for French daily Les Echos from Guangzhou, Alain Ruello reports: "In the nearby village of Xiancun, cranes that have been idle for a year and collapsed houses make the scene look like Beirut during the civil war. A barber says: ‘It has been at least seven years since the developer wanted to level the area.' On the opposite side of the street, a poster on a wall warns that blocking demolition is like being ‘heartless towards one's parents.' Still, no one pays it much attention anymore.

This is a country where more concrete has flowed in the last 30 years than all the concrete used in the United States in the 20th century."

Read the full article, Guangzhou, How Villages Get Swallowed Into A Megacity.


The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its interest rate to 1.5%, a record low for the country. Glenn Stevens, the Bank's governor, cited slow growth and declining business investment as reasons for the new policy. Read more in the Sydney Morning Herald.



In an unusual personal revelation, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Le Soir in an interview that he keeps a "little black book" where he writes the names of all the people who've betrayed him. As if that wasn't bizarre enough, the 30-year-old book even has a name: "Little Maurice."

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

After Abbas: Here Are The Three Frontrunners To Be The Next Palestinian Leader

Israel and the West have often asked: Where is the Palestinian Mandela? The divided regimes between Gaza and the West Bank continues to make it difficult to imagine the future Palestinian leader. Still, these three names are worth considering.

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas speaking into microphone

Abbas is 88, and has been the leading Palestinian political figure since 2005

Thaer Ganaim/APA Images via ZUMA
Elias Kassem

Updated Dec. 5, 2023 at 12:05 a.m.

Israel has set two goals for its Gaza war: destroying Hamas and releasing hostages.

But it has no answer to, nor is even asking the question: What comes next?

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the return of the current Palestinian Authority to govern post-war Gaza. That stance seems opposed to the U.S. Administration’s call to revitalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume power in the coastal enclave.

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

But neither Israel nor the U.S. put a detailed plan for a governing body in post-war Gaza, let alone offering a vision for a bonafide Palestinian state that would also encompass the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers much of the occupied West Bank, was created in1994 as part of the Oslo Accords peace agreement. It’s now led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat in 2005. Over the past few years, the question of who would succeed Abbas, now 88 years old, has largely dominated internal Palestinian politics.

But that question has gained new urgency — and was fundamentally altered — with the war in Gaza.

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