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I read the news today, oh boy
I read the news today, oh boy
Jeff Israely

By now, our regular readers know that Worldcrunch works hard at being of and for and about no one particular place or people or subject matter. Our beat and our audience are written in our name, and we work with journalists and newspapers everywhere to tell the stories (no matter how big or small) that resonate around the world.


Still, as far-flung as we might be, we do have a home, a pretty special one: in Paris, France. As the American-born editor of our atypical and purposefully global news animal, I sometimes find myself guarding against giving too much weight to either the U.S. or France in our daily coverage, trying to be sure readers have a decidedly international view of the world.


Still, it's inevitable that French events (and attitudes) will wind up seeping into our coverage a bit more than those elsewhere. And so it was back on March 17, when this country was put on what would become among the tightest national lockdowns to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.


We had of course been covering the pandemic since soon after it began to spread in China, and on to South Korea and finally to our neighbor across the Alps, in Italy. But when it brought to a halt our own life as we'd known it, something fundamentally changed for us — and thus for our readers too. As our core team dialed in that first Monday, we realized something colleagues in Wuhan, Seoul and Milan had understood earlier: this "story" was now everything.

The nature of this global health pandemic and its shutdown of much of daily life — combined with the inevitable worldwide economic crash to come — is unlike anything I have covered in 25 years in the news business. And for the past two-plus months, our work (beginning with this daily newsletter) has been reshaped into what is effectively a coronavirus news operation — though, like the pandemic itself, as global as ever.


Still, and thankfully, life goes on, and news (good and bad) is happening that is unrelated to COVID-19. China is again cracking down on Hong Kong protesters, U.S. police have killed another unarmed African-American man. Soccer matches are starting back up, even if the stadiums are empty.


And so it is, coincidence or otherwise, one day after French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that this country's lockdown was over, that we too are ready to turn the page — starting with returning this Newsletter back to its original name, Worldcrunch Today.


Coverage no doubt will still largely be focused on the related health and economic crises, but for now, this is just what we call the world. That's, at least, how it looks to us here in Paris.

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Geopolitics

North Korea And Nukes: Why The World Is Obliged To Try To Negotiate

How to handle a nuclear armed pariah state is not a simple question.

North Korea And Nukes: Why The World Is Obliged To Try To Negotiate

North Korea's missile launch during a news program at the Yongsan Railway Station in Seoul

Alexander Gillespie

The recent claim by Kim Jong Un that North Korea plans to develop the world’s most powerful nuclear force may well have been more bravado than credible threat. But that doesn’t mean it can be ignored.

The best guess is that North Korea now has sufficient fissile material to build 45 to 55 nuclear weapons, three decades after beginning its program. The warheads would mostly have yields of around 10 to 20 kilotons, similar to the 15 kiloton bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

But North Korea has the capacity to make devices ten times bigger. Its missile delivery systems are also advancing in leaps and bounds. The technological advance is matched in rhetoric and increasingly reckless acts, including test-firing missiles over Japan in violation of all international norms, provoking terror and risking accidental war.

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