When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

The lockdown has created one of the highest recorded demand for jigsaw puzzles
The lockdown has created one of the highest recorded demand for jigsaw puzzles
Worldcrunch

The insidious path of COVID-19 across the planet is a 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: QUARANTINE BLUES AND THE POWER OF A JIGSAW PUZZLE

A sudden rush of stress, trouble sleeping or eating, overwhelming feelings of helplessness, general fatigue. Does it sound familiar? With approximately half the world still forced to live in lockdown, old and new psychological disorders are a widely diffused side-effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent study led by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 45% of Americans feel the current health crisis had impacted their mental health. In France, Le Figaro reported this week that 74% of adults in a recent survey developed sleeping disorders and 34% showed signs of psychological distress.

Humans are social animals — Aristotle taught us that 2,300 years before Mark Zuckerberg cashed in on the concept. And while we can acknowledge that our modern digital tools are providing instant links in the face of our respective quarantines, we are also seeing how crucial in-person interaction and stimuli are to the human experience. Those living alone or forced to put their professional activity on hold are particularly vulnerable to this enforced isolation.

Alongside the more severe threats to our emotional state is a seemingly less menacing effect: boredom. There is a fine line between enjoying some spare time to do nothing and repeatedly having nothing to do, especially when we yearn for distraction from the current uncertainty of the outside world. Board games that were piling up dust in the basement are seeing the light of day again and solo players indeed are able to play across the computer screen with friends and strangers.

Similarly, the lockdown has created one of the highest recorded demand for jigsaw puzzles, a pasttime whose time had seemed to have passed two or three generations ago. The American Puzzle Warehouse reported a jump of 2,000% in business compared to the same period last year. When the world seems to fall apart, putting back pieces together could be the ultimate satisfaction.

— Laure Gautherin


THE SITUATION: 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

  • Toll: Japan urges citizens to stay home today as new predictions warn that death toll that could reach 400,000 without tighter restrictions. Meanwhile the number killed by COVID-19 in the United States edges close to 30,000, and tops 15,000 in France.

  • WHO funding cut: President Donald Trump cut U.S. funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), blaming the organisation for mismanaging the outbreak of the global pandemic. Experts warn of risks in undermining the sole global coordinator of health contagions.

  • Markets: Stocks dip amid new forecasts that global economic crisis could be worst since the 1930s.

  • Oil Forecast: Oil demand is expected to take a sharp dive in April to a record low not seen in the last 25 years, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

  • Beijing embassy backlash: The Chinese ambassador was summoned by France, following a stream of controversial comments made by Beijing's embassy in Paris on what they perceived as the government's slow response to the coronavirus.

  • Back to school? Children in Denmark up to the age of 11-years-old are being welcomed back to school today, as the Prime Minister of Australia also considers reopening schools.

  • The Quarantine King: Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who'd been quarantining in a German hotel as the coronavirus ravages his country, finally left his ‘harem" lockdown and traveled 20,000 miles home for a national holiday.


Spanish daily ABC warns of economic storm coming.


COVID-19, THE GLOBAL CRIME REPORT: As about half of the world's population is forced to stay at home, local communities and entire nations are recording steep drops in overall crime rates. Burglars are generally less likely to prey on a home that's occupied, and most theft and assault hotspots such as sporting venues and pubs are shuttered. Still it's not all a pretty picture, as the unique dynamic of national lockdowns puts new pressure on law enforcement and spurs more cases of certain crimes. Here's a quick rapid tour of the world of crime in the time of coronavirus:

  • Murder in Mexico: Homicide rates, already high, are rising further in Mexico, reaching a new record in March, as the state reshuffled more resources into containing the health crisis and keeping alive its already sluggish economy.

  • Plague of domestic abuse: Reports from China to France to Argentina confirm fears that confining families to their homes will increase domestic violence. In Israel, the daily Haaretzreported that the number of cases opened by the police involving sex crimes within the family jumped by 41% this March compared to last year.

  • Crimes go digital: Since a big part of our lives went online, crimes are bound to follow. Swedish newspaper ETC has reported on an increase in online paedophile activity and cyberbullying, Europol warns about cyber-attacks exploiting the global chaos – including fraudulent online sale of COVID-19 tests, face masks or sanitisers.

  • Mob stories: In Italy, some fear that cash-strapped small and medium entrepreneurs will turn to the mafia to save their businesses. This way, mafia money enters in competition with the social and business support programs set up by the government, reported Radio France Internationale. According to Mario Vaudano, the former anti-mafia magistrate, other European countries with important mafia infiltration like Slovakia, Poland or Malta are in a high risk to see organized crime capitalize on the pandemic.

  • Police brutality: In some countries, authorities have been accused of excessive violence and abuse when enforcing the curfew, reported Le Monde. In the first days of lockdown in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Senegal and elsewhere, social media were flooded with images showing the military and police beating people in the streets, forcing them to do push-ups or even dancing in front of the camera while reciting curfew restrictions.

  • Crimes of contagion: Some brand new, coronavirus-related offenses are emerging, too. "Malicious coughing" is now a crime and has already sent a man in the UK to jail for six months. In the Czech Republic, a man posted on social media that he has coronavirus and licks bread in supermarkets for fun, reported the Czech new site iDNES.cz. The suspect is now facing up to eight years in prison for scaremongering during a state of emergency.


IMAGE OF THE DAY:


The Boston Globe reports on the story of 88-year-old Nick Avtges who had been shut out by COVID-19 restrictions from visiting his 85-year-old wife, Marion, at the nursing home in Waltham, Massachusetts where she's been living for the last year. The couple's son arranged to have the father hoisted up by a truck with a bucket lift to at least be able to see his wife through the window.



"How did the Western world allow itself to fall so far? Did they not believe the medical experts? Did they trust the regime in Beijing too much?"

— Laura Lin, France-based Taiwanese writer, in her Rue Amelot essay: Taiwan To France, Witness To The Global Contagion Of Chinese Lies




THOSE WHO CAN'T STAY INSIDE: In the French capital's Bastille neighborhood, Libérationreports on Roma families sitting on rotten mattresses and wrapped up in blankets. Normally, they wait for street market vendors to offer leftover food. But now those markets are closed. And with France's strict closing of public spaces, Roma communities also don't have access to the parks where they collect water from fountains. Another issue is the trouble that authorities have communicating with about anti-epidemic measures, and tracking infections and illnesses. What will happen to their longtime presence in Parisian neighborhoods, Liberation asks, facing "the phobias that will emerge tomorrow from the anxieties born in quarantine?"




With creativity abounding and plenty of time to exercise it, the Internet is full of fun and safe challenges to help us keep in touch while not keeping in actual touch:

  • Missing that noisy and nosey colleague and the sound of the copy machine? Tune in on that Open Space Simulator and you'll feel just like at the office!

  • British street artist creates 72-page "Emergency Art Book" filled with artworks, games and puzzles to help people keep busy.



IN OTHER NEWS



To receive the daily Coronavirus global brief in your inbox, sign up here.

Badge
AL JAZEERA
Al Jazeera is a state-funded broadcaster in Doha, Qatar, owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current-affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty television channels in multiple languages.
Badge
REUTERS
Reuters is an international news agency headquartered in London, UK. It was founded in 1851 and is now a division of Thomson Reuters. It transmits news in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Urdu, and Chinese.
Badge
NPR
An independent, nonprofit media organization that was founded on a mission to create a more informed public.
Badge
THE HINDU
The Hindu, started in 1878 as a weekly, became a daily in 1889 and from then on has been steadily growing to the circulation of 15,58,379 copies (ABC: July-December 2012) and a readership of about 22.58 lakhs. The Hindu's independent editorial stand and its reliable and balanced presentation of the news have over the years, won for it the serious attention and regard of the people who matter in India and abroad. The Hindu uses modern facilities for news gathering, page composition and printing
Badge
LE MONDE
This leading French daily newspaper Le Monde ("The World") was founded in December 1944 in the aftermath of World War II. Today, it is distributed in 120 countries. In late 2010, a trio formed by Pierre Berge, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse took a controlling 64.5% stake in the newspaper.
Badge
LIBERATION
Libération is a French left-leaning daily. Co-founded by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1973, it later moved away from its original far-left and anti-advertising stance to embrace a social-democrat view. It was acquired by Israeli businessman Patrick Drahi in 2014.
Badge
BBC
The BBC is the British public service broadcaster, and the world's oldest national broadcasting organization. It broadcasts in up to 28 different languages.
Badge
WORLDCRUNCH
Premium stories from Worldcrunch's own network of multi-lingual journalists in over 30 countries.
Badge
LE FIGARO
Le Figaro is a French daily founded in 1826 and published in Paris. The oldest national daily in France, Le Figaro is the second-largest national newspaper in the country after Le Parisien and before Le Monde, with an average circulation of about 331,000 copies Its editorial line is considered center-right. The newspaper is now owned by Dassault Media.
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Economy

Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

in the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading – and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

Protesters on Thursday in the German state of Thuringia carried Russian flags and signs: 'First our country! Life must be affordable.'

Martin Schutt/dpa via ZUMA
Stefanie Bolzen, Philipp Fritz, Virginia Kirst, Martina Meister, Mandoline Rutkowski, Stefan Schocher, Claus, Christian Malzahn and Nikolaus Doll

-Analysis-

In her State of the Union address on September 14, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, issued an urgent appeal for solidarity between EU member states in tackling the energy crisis, and towards Ukraine. Von der Leyen need only look out her window to see that tensions are growing in capital cities across Europe due to the sharp rise in energy prices.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

In the Czech Republic, people are already taking to the streets, while opposition politicians elsewhere are looking to score points — and some countries' support for Ukraine may start to buckle.

With winter approaching, Europe is facing a true test of both its mettle, and imagination.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ