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Indian Prime Minister Modi addresses the nation
Indian Prime Minister Modi addresses the nation

The insidious path of COVID-19 across the planet is a blunt reminder of how small the world has become. For the coming weeks, Worldcrunch will be delivering daily updates on this crisis from the best, most trusted international news sources — regardless of language or geography. To receive the daily Coronavirus global brief in your inbox, sign up here.

SPOTLIGHT: THE POISON AND THE CURE OF CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION

When considering the risks of misinformation circulating about COVID-19, the virus analogy is too useful to pass up. Self-serving broadcast propaganda, "fake news' targeted for social media clicks, bad medical advice passed on to a friend ... or a nation: all of it can spread rapidly — with the symptoms in plain view, or all but impossible to detect.

Of course the actual cure to the coronavirus ultimately rests in the hands of doctors and researchers. Yet until then (and beyond), the importance of a free press, of reliable and accurate information — especially in our digital age — cannot be overstated. Indeed, the plot line of what is perhaps the most far-reaching news story since World War II begins with Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old doctor in the central city of Wuhan, who was silenced by Chinese government officials for sounding the alarm online about coronavirus back in December.

Since then, we have seen political leaders from Brazil and the U.S., to Hungary, India and elsewhere, either spread misinformation or impose restrictions on the press, or both. This week in India, professional journalist associations tried pushing back against the goverment's new controls on how to report on the pandemic.

We sit on a particular perch at Worldcrunch as a global source of information that discovers, interprets and connects other sources from different countries and languages. More than ever, we are only as good — and free — as our colleagues around the world.

—Jeff Israely


THE SITUATION: 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

  • European glimmers of hope: The daily death toll in Spain has dropped for the fourth day in a row, down to 637 and Italy"s death toll dropped to its lowest in two weeks. France has 6,838 people in intensive care, some 105 of whom are under the age of 30, but the numbers are rising at a slower rate.
  • UK leaders: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted to hospital for persisting coronavirus symptoms, shortly after Queen Elizabeth gave a rare TV address to urge resolve in face of the pandemic.
  • Monday markets: Global stocks and U.S. futures on the rise as coronavirus cases slow in some European countries, but oil prices remain on edge with postponed Saudi Arabia-Russia talks.
  • Japanese emergency: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expected to declare state of emergency after surge of cases in Tokyo.
  • Abidjan fears: Locals destroy a coronavirus testing center that was under construction in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, fearing it was too close to their homes.
  • Feline cases: A tiger tested positive for the virus at Bronx zoo, after being reportedly contaminated by caretaker. Last week a cat was confirmed to be infected in Belgium.
  • Double duty: Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who worked as a doctor for 7 years, has rejoined medical register to help fight against the pandemic.
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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

Keep reading... Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

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  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
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