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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ African Migrants And Ukrainian Wheat, A Tale Of Two Seas

Photo of Ukrainian refugees taking the train in a small village on the Poland-Ukraine border

Ukrainian refugees taking the train in a small village on the Poland-Ukraine border

June 11-12

  • A letter to Putin
  • A French-U.S. take on gun culture
  • Saving Mariupol’s dogs
  • … and much more.


What do you remember from the news this week?

1.Which former world leader said she has “nothing to apologize for” while defending her policy towards Russia and handling of diplomatic relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin?

2. After the school shooting in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas, which American celebrity made an emotional plea to Congress for gun reform?

3. The EU has decided that by 2024, all phones, cameras, and tablets (including Apple’s) sold in Europe must feature the same: processor, charging port, or LCD screen?

4. Due to a shortage, KFCs in Australia replaced lettuce with what ingredient?

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


African Migrants And Ukrainian Wheat, A Tale Of Two Seas

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more than 14 million people have fled their homes — close to a third of Ukraine’s total population. Nearly half have left for neighboring countries, turning into the largest displacement in Europe since World War II.

It is a sudden surge in migration that nobody expected, a major anomaly that neither demographers or policymakers were prepared for. And as has been noted, unlike with migrants from other parts of the world, the EU quickly opened its doors, granting Ukrainians the right to stay and work throughout its 27 member nations for up to three years. The impact is being felt more severely especially in countries like Poland, which have welcomed the largest numbers of Ukrainians who crossed the border.

But there is also a wave of arrivals underway that nobody can claim was unexpected, arriving (often in perilous conditions) on Europe’s southern coasts — and this year, both the scale and danger of “migration season” is even more fraught than usual.

In Italy, there has been a 30% increase of arrivals by boat in the first five months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. Europe’s border and coast guard agency, Frontex, which polices the entries, said that the first quarter of 2022 saw the largest influx of migrants since 2016 — at the height of the so-called refugee crisis — without counting Ukrainians. Deaths have gone up too, with the central Mediterranean route through Libya remaining the most deadly.

Mediterranean countries are bracing for a new emergency, expecting migrant numbers to soar as a result of the drought in sub-Saharan Africa and the shipments of grains halted in Ukraine that has made wheat prices soar especially across Africa. In a summit last week, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Spain called on “adequate mechanisms to distribute migrants.”

Does this mean more detention centers in Libya, more repatriations to dangerous countries, more barriers put up for those crossing? And how much is Putin counting on solidarity beginning to wane out as the EU’s economy struggles after a pandemic and a war? As the summer approaches, we are seeing the blockade of Ukrainian food exports coincide with the swell of would-be migrants setting off from the shores of North Africa. Never before have the Mediterranean and Black Seas seemed so close.

Irene Caselli


• La Scala’s Russian choice: Milan’s most famous opera house La Scala has announced that it will be hosting a Russian opera in the spirit of separating politics from culture, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to dominate headlines.

• Unburnable Atwood: An unburnable copy of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale has sold for $130,000 at Sotheby’s. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to PEN America, an organization which advocates for free expression.

• Paula Rego dies: Portuguese-British artist Paula Rego died in London at age 87 after a short illness. Rego has been celebrated internationally for her visceral works and feminist stands, challenging traditional representations of women in art.

• Enter Ms. Marvel: The first episode of Marvel’s new series Ms. Marvel, based on the comic books of the same name, is now streaming on Disney+. It features the franchise’s first ever Muslim superhero.

• Taylor Hawkins tribute: Following the death of their drummer Taylor Hawkins earlier this year, U.S. band Foo Fighters have announced that they will be playing tribute shows in September to honor the late musician.

📝 Dear Vladimir: A Letter To End The War

Polish-born French writer Marek Halter, who fled the Nazis to the USSR, has known Vladimir Putin for 30 years. He sent a letter last month to the Russian president, trying to convince him that there’s a way to end the war without humiliating Russia. Marek shared the letter with French Daily Les Echos, which Worldcrunch translated into English.

Read the full story: My Debt To Russia, My Letter To Putin: A Very Personal Plea To End The War

🇺🇸 America & Guns: It’s Complicated

Gun control may be one of the hardest things to comprehend if you’re not from America. The countless mass shootings happening in the country continues to bewilder the rest of the world. This personal essay written by a young French-American, explores what it felt like to grow up in France but also be faced with the reality of gun culture when going back to Louisiana to visit family.

Read the full story: Uvalde And Moi: Reflections From The French Niece Of A Gun-Owning American

📰 What It's Like Being A Young War Reporter in Ukraine

As a war reporter, Ibrahim Naber has seen the terrible suffering that has been going on in Ukraine for more than 100 days now. In his personal account for German daily Die Welt, Naber speaks of the people he has encountered and how they are dealing with the unimaginable pain and loss. Through his “millennial’s” perspective, he also talks about the persistent relentlessness of Ukrainians and how his generation's illusion of peace has been shattered.

Read the full story: War Reporter's Diary: How My Young German Eyes Were Opened In Ukraine


Indian users rallied on Twitter with the hashtag #BycottQatarAirways [sic] to condemn companies from Muslim countries — including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran — that demanded an apology from the Indian goverment following controversial comments from two senior officials of the country’s ruling party about the Prophet Muhammad.


A nano-sensor capable of detecting pesticide residue on fruits in mere minutes has been developed by researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The new technology uses flame-sprayed nanoparticles made from silver to increase the signal of chemicals, and can be reproduced inexpensively at a large scale. The researchers hope their invention will help limit the consumption of pesticides, which lead to health issues when absorbed in large quantities.


Ukrainian Irina Petrova, who owned a chihuahua kennel in Mariupol, rescued dogs left behind by owners fleeing the war and evacuated the city with more than 30 dogs. She drove with all the animals in her car to the southeastern town of Zaporizhzhya. So far, 10 out of the 30 dogs have been adopted.


• The first round of France’s legislative elections will start this weekend to elect 577 members to the National Assembly, France’s lower house of parliament. On the same day, Italy will hold a five-part referendum to vote on the repeal of 5 articles and decrees related to justice.

• Starting next Wednesday, builders, construction staff and other employees in the UAE will not be allowed to work outside under the sun between 12:30 and 3 p.m. The measure was put in place because of rising temperatures in the summer, and will last until September 15.

• A “Strawberry Supermoon”, a.k.a. “Super Full Moon”, “Rose Moon” or “Hot Moon” will grace the night sky on Tuesday. For optimal viewing, find an observation location with a view low to the eastern horizon.

• The 90th edition of the world’s oldest sports car race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, begins today in France, with U.S. racer Joshua Pierson set to become the youngest racer to ever compete in the race, at age 16.

News quiz answers:

1. In a public interview Tuesday night with Der Spiegel in Berlin, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her track record with Putin. While calling Russia’s invasion “a great mistake,” the former German leader who served for 16 years, blamed the West for not managing to "create a security architecture" that could have prevented the war in Ukraine.

2. American actor Matthew McConaughey visited the White House earlier this week to deliver an emotional speech in which he called for stricter gun control, after a school shooting in his native Uvalde killed 19 children and two adults on May 24.

3. In a blow to Apple, which is known for its proprietary connectors and accessories, the EU has ruled that all mobile phones, cameras, and tablets must use the same charging port by 2024.

4. Australian KFC locations are now mixing lettuce with cabbage after floods destroyed lettuce crops, leading to a shortage.

✍️ Newsletter by Worldcrunch

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Feminists Infiltrate The “Incelosphere” — Where Toxic Content Warps Modern Masculinity

An increasing number of male teens and young adults who've experienced feelings of rejection wind up in what's been dubbed the “incelosphere,” a place where they can find mutual understanding in a world they think is against them. Two women Polish journalists spent two years on the online servers these “beta males” are flocking to in ever greater numbers.

Illustration of a man wearing a hoodie looking at a laptop, with two women watching over his shoulder.

Watching over "beta males" and their online toxic masculinity

AI-generated illustration / Worldcrunch
Patrycja Wieczorkiewicz

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. This week, we feature an investigation by two women Polish journalists for daily Gazeta Wyborcza, who spent two years infiltrating the online “incelosphere” and its patriarchal gurus spreading toxic ideas about masculinity on young, impressionable young people. But first, the latest news…

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

TW: This content may address topics and include references to violence that some may find distressing

🌐 5 things to know right now

• LGBTQ+ asylum seekers in the UK: Suella Braverman, the UK home secretary, says that fearing discrimination for being LGBTQ+ or a woman should not be enough on its own to qualify for asylum. But advocates have pointed out that Braverman is criticizing a policy that doesn’t exist: under the current system, asylum seekers must prove that they face persecution. Braverman also claimed, without evidence, that some asylum seekers pretend to be LGBTQ+, a suggestion which advocates have dismissed as baseless and “cruel.”

• Allies drown out anti-LGBTQ+ protests in Canada: Thousands of counter-protesters turned out in Canada to oppose demonstrations by self-described “parental rights” groups who are upset about sex education and trans-inclusive policies in schools. The conservative protests are part of a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in Canada, inspired by similar movements in the U.S. and the UK. Pro-LGBTQ+ counter-protesters outnumbered conservative demonstrators in most Canadian cities – including in Toronto, where about 1,000 LGBTQ+ protesters and allies met just a few dozen anti-LGBTQ+ activists, reports Xtra.

• Turkish President confuses UN colors with pride colors: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan complained that he was uncomfortable with what he described as "LGBT colors" at the United Nations General Assembly – but the rainbow-colored decorations were actually intended to promote the Sustainable Development Goals.

• Romanian government may recognise same-sex marriage: Under a draft law proposed by the Romanian government, same-sex marriages in other European Union states would be recognised as legal in Romania. The decision comes five years after the Court of Justice of the European Union ordered Romania to allow same-sex spouses of Romanian citizens to live in the country. The law still has to be approved by the Romanian parliament.

• Malaysian PM doubles down on anti-LGBTQ+ views: In an interview with CNN, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said that his government “will never recognize LGBT rights.” In August, his government banned Swatch watches and other products with pride colors, threatening up to three years in prison for people caught with the products.

Feminists Infiltrate The “Incelosphere” — Where Toxic Content Warps Modern Masculinity

In her book For The Love Of Men: From Toxic To A More Mindful Masculinity, Canadian feminist writer Liz Plank explained that the struggle of women can never be one without confronting the crisis of manhood.

Plank is part of the forward-thinking feminist researchers and authors who've dedicated a significant amount of their work to the problems of men and masculinity, always sure to arouse suspicion. In reality, from a young age, we are forced into one of two oppressive patterns – masculinity and femininity – which in turn shape our behavior and our choices.

Thanks to the feminist movement, women now enter roles once reserved for men more frequently and eagerly than ever before, and teach their daughters that they can be whoever they want to be.

What has not changed nearly as much is our perception of masculinity.

The dominant image is still that of the strong, resourceful, male who pushes forward, takes risks and copes with adversities on his own. But today, they also must be sensitive, attentive, and empathetic as well (just not too much). Parents are still afraid of raising “weak” sons.

These are the roots of the so-called “masculinity crisis”. Usually, this phenomenon is reduced to some version of "men cannot keep up with emancipated women”. In reality, however, we as a society are the ones who cannot keep up with the need of dismantling toxic patterns of masculinity and creating new, healthy ones.

Instead, we leave young, lost adolescent boys at the mercy of patriarchal gurus who are preaching online.

Without anyone to talk to about their fears and uncertainties, and unable to count on their loved ones for understanding, these boys join internet communities, where they are taught that the “order” of certain men being naturally superior to them is natural, that it has been shaped by evolution, and that it cannot be changed.

In other words, they’ve already lost, so it’s better to get used to it and admit to their failures.

In March 2021, I was an exemplary feminist. I had several years of activist and journalistic work on behalf of victims of sexual violence under my belt, and my book about rape in Poland had just been published. Every day, I spoke to women who experienced sexual violence. With every story I heard, my aversion to men only grew stronger.

Only a few months later, I found myself in a closed internet server with a few dozen incels, exchanging messages and sharing observations from my experiences on a daily basis. My being there divided the feminist community.I received a lot of support, but I also read that I had “betrayed” the feminist movement, that I was a “guardian of the patriarchy”, that I was spending time with rapists, and that I wanted to force women to “bow down” to these men, or to sexually gratify misogynists.

Who are incels? In simple terms, they are men, typically young, living in what they call “involuntary celibacy”. They would like to have sex, but in their view they have no one to do it with. They blame women for their lack of luck in this area, believing that women do not view them as attractive enough. They also blame the society that they believe despises “beta males”, as they call themselves. Some of them blame their parents, who gave them “defective genes”. Oftentimes, they also blame themselves.

Online and in the news, incels are first and foremost associated with the misogyny on incel forums on the internet, and the terror attacks that several have been involved in, notably in the U.S., where self-described incels have opened fire on their peers and even strangers.

The harmfulness of the “incel mentality” should not be underestimated, especially since it regularly attacks specific people, usually women. Some people organize campaigns to expose girls on Tinder and create profiles of extremely attractive men, who they call “Chads”. When they match with women, they arrange dates and then randomly unmatch them, or tell the girls that they are ugly and should lower their standards when it comes to the appearance of a potential partner. I myself saw glorification of rapes and mass executions from the U.S. online, and was personally threatened two or three times.

Together with Aleksandra Herzyk, the co-author of the Polish book "Przegryw. Mężczyźni w pułapce gniewu i samotności" (Loser: Men In The Trap Of Shame And Loneliness), I spent an intense two years in the “incelosphere”. We began by setting up an account on Wykop, a portal where self-described incels and “losers” gather online. We did not intend to hide who we were, though it was obvious that, as feminists, we were unlikely to receive a warm welcome.

We wrote a post in which we assured those within the portal that we were sincerely interested in the difficulties faced by people posting with the #loser tag. Within a few hours, it managed to gain over 400 likes and about as many comments. One comment compared us to pedophiles luring children with candies or kittens. Some people called us names, like one comment that read "get the fuck out of the tag, p0lki”, while others were plainly sceptical. One commenter wrote, “this cannot work out”. The vast majority of commenters doubted our good intentions, believing that we wanted to build trust within the community in order to destroy it from the inside.

We were afraid of reading our private messages, which within the first day — over 70 on the first day itself. You can imagine our surprise that — apart from a few haters — the men actually wanted to speak with us. The majority's motivations boiled down to the fact that no one else was willing to listen to them, so feminists could do it for lack of anything else.

Read the full story here, translated in English by Worldcrunch.

— Patrycja Wieczorkiewicz/Gazeta Wyborcza

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