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In The News

Channel Tragedy, Ahmaud Arbery Verdict, 3D-Printed Eye

Photo of workers inflating a giant balloon in New York ahead of the 95th Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Preparations for the 95th Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York.

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Hæ hæ!*

Welcome to Thursday, where 27 drown in the English Channel's deadliest migrant crossing on record, three white men in the state of Georgia are convicted for murdering African-American jogger Ahmaud Arbery and the soccer world marks one year since el pibe de oro left us. We also take a look at creative ways to avoid being drafted in countries where military service is obligatory.

[*Hi hi – Icelandic]


• Migrant boat tragedy in English Channel leaves 27 dead: The French government is set to hold an emergency meeting after 27 people drowned in the English Channel while trying to cross from France to the UK — the worst disaster on record involving migrants in the Channel. Two survivors are currently in hospital. French authorities have arrested five suspected traffickers and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed to step up efforts to prevent migrants from crossing.

• Sweden first female PM resigns after one day: Magdalena Andersson tendered her resignation just hours after she was appointed Sweden's first female prime minister on Wednesday, after a coalition partner quit the government and her budget failed to pass.

• Jury convicts three white men in Ahmaud Arbery trial: Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William Bryan face life in prison after they were found guilty of charges relating to Ahmaud Arbery's murder. In February 2020, the 25-year-old black man had been chased by the trio while jogging and fatally shot.

• Car bomb attack kills at least 8 in Somali capital: At least eight people were killed and dozens injured, including school students, in Somalia's capital Mogadishu in a car bombing that targeted a United Nations security convoy. The Islamist group al Shabaad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Australia deploys peacekeeping troops to Solomon Islands: Australia is sending police and army personnel to the Pacific Island nation "to provide stability and security," as riots are rocking the capital city Honiara for the second day. Crowds set fire to government buildings and defied a 36-hour lockdown implemented after protestors stormed the parliament to try to depose the prime minister over anger against his switch in diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China.

• North Korean man to be executed after smuggling Squid Game: A smuggler who was selling copies of South Korean Netflix's hit series Squid Game in North Korea has been sentenced to death by firing squad. A high school student also received a life sentence for buying a USB drive containing a copy of the show and six other students caught watching the footage were sentenced to five years of hard labor.

• First 3D-printed prosthetic eye: A British man will be the world's first person to receive a 3D-printed prosthetic eye, which is believed to be more realistic than traditional acrylic prosthetics.


"A year without Diego": Argentine daily El Dia pays tribute to soccer legend Diego Maradona who died, at age 60, one year ago today.



Check out this portrait of David R Chan, a 72-year-old former tax lawyer based in Los Angeles, who has carefully documented all the meals he has had over the past 40 years at some 7,812 Chinese restaurants across the United States.


Bad ruses, good reasons: How to avoid military service in 5 countries

In the countries that require military service, those who refuse to serve must either try to explain their exemption or find a creative short-cut to avoid the obligation. Here are some examples.

🎶 South Korea - Tattoos and K-Pop: South Korea has maintained its compulsory military service of 18 to 21 months for all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 28. Violating the military service act by dodging the draft or deserting once enrolled, leads to prison sentence. That was the fate of a man in his 20s sentenced to one year in jail on Nov. 3 for avoiding conscription by covering his body in tattoos. Another way to avoid the draft in South Korea? Become a K-Pop star. In December 2020, the National Assembly passed a law enabling those who "excel in popular culture and art" to defer their terms of service until the age of 30.

🤰 Eritrea - Getting pregnant: North Korea is infamous for having the longest conscription period in the world, with men serving for 10 years, from age 17, and women for seven. But it is the East African nation of Eritrea that holds the de facto record. On paper the draft is compulsory for 18 months for both men and women between 18 and 40. However, in practice, the length of service is indefinite. To avoid military service, some school students go as far as failing exams to stay in lower grades, dropping out of school or even becoming pregnant or marrying early for girls (married women are exempt).

🙏 Finland - Jehovah's witnesses: Despite growing popular and political criticism in recent years, attempts to abolish military or civilian conscription in Finland only led to failure. All Finnish men aged 18 and above must either serve between 165 and 347 days in the Finnish Defense Forces or 12 months at the Civilian Service Center in Lapinjärvi or at any non-profit organization listed by the government. However, for 30 years, it was possible for Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid military training based on their pacifist reading of the Bible. This right was revoked in February 2019.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


They must stop using us as punching bags in domestic politics.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin reacted to comments from the UK government blaming France for failing to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel. This comes after 27 people drowned yesterday while trying to reach the UK from France on an inflatable boat.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

Maradona or Messi? Tell us who you think is Argentina's all-time greatest, and let us know what's making news (off the pitch) in your part of the world: info@worldcrunch.com 

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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