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In The News

All Eyes On Zaporizhzhia, 21 Killed In Kabul Mosque Blast, Surfin’ Venice

All Eyes On Zaporizhzhia, 21 Killed In Kabul Mosque Blast, Surfin’ Venice

A municipal worker lays wreaths on the graves of unidentified people killed in Bucha, as Ukrainians continue burying the more than 450 people killed by Russian forces across the city in February and March.

Lisa Berdet, Chloé Touchard, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Molo!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Guterres and Erdogan meet with Zelensky to address the situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, a blast at a Kabul mosque kills at least, and surf’s up in Venice, much to the mayor’s chagrin. Meanwhile, Clarín visits an old friend: that botched restoration of a Christ mural, still a tourist hit 10 years on.

[*Xhosa, South Africa]


This is our daily newsletter Worldcrunch Today, a rapid tour of the news of the day from the world's best journalism sources, regardless of language or geography.I

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• Zaporizhzhia talks: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan are due to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Lviv today. High on the agenda is nuclear safety and the situation at the Zaporizhzhia power plant.

• Kabul mosque blast kills 21: The Afghan police said at least 21 people died in the bombing that hit a Sunii mosque in Kabul during evening prayers on Wednesday. Another 33 people were reportedly injured following the explosion that shattered windows. The perpetrators have not yet been identified.

• U.S.-Taiwan trade talks: The Biden administration announced that the U.S. and Taiwan will start new bilateral trade talks to boost ties, which are expected to begin in early fall. This comes amid high tensions with China after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and China’s military drills.

• Man arrested for murder of 87-year-old on mobility scooter: A 44-year-old man has been arrested by the police in London and is the main suspect in the murder of Thomas O’Hallaran. The 87-year-old man was stabbed to death while riding a mobility scooter in west London on Tuesday.

• New Zealand floods: Hundreds of New Zealand’s South Island residents have been forced to evacuate as the area is being hit by torrential rains for the third day in a row. According to experts, such bad weather is due to an “atmospheric river,” a huge corridor of moist air.

• Japan encourages young people to drink more alcohol: The National Tax Agency in Japan has launched a contest “Sake Viva!” aimed at encouraging young people to drink more alcohol, to boost an industry that has been hard hit by the pandemic.

• Khaby Lame given Italian citizenship: TikTok superstar Khaby Lame, who was born in Senegal, has been given Italian citizenship during a ceremony in Chivasso near Turin, where he grew up. He has lived there since he was one and said he “always felt Italian.”


Chinese daily the Global Times features a dry Yangtze running through Chongqing on its front page, as the region recorded its lowest rainfall in more than 60 years. Weather conditions in China, which included severe floods and rainstorms in other parts of the country, are expected to ease by the end of August.


$650.6 million

A federal judge in Cleveland ordered Walgreens, CVS and Walmart to pay more than $650 million in damages to two Ohio counties over the harm caused to communities in the way the three U.S. pharmacy chains distributed opioids to customers.


Holy mess! Spain's disfigured Christ mural remains a hit with tourists

The clumsy restoration of a mural of Christ in a Spanish chapel 10 years ago shocked, then amused, Spaniards and millions more abroad, and gave the local town a level of publicity and tourist revenues it never could have hoped for. Here's how it looks 10 years later, writes Marina Artuso in Argentinian newspaper Clarín.

⛪ Among the countless pictures and images of Christ around the world, it might not be outlandish to imagine that one of them might seek revenge — using humidity as the instrument of its vengeance. Painted in 1930 by a painter and academic, the Christ mural inside a chapel in Borja in the province of Aragón in Spain, was smothered in 2012 by Cecilia Giménez Zueca, a local resident and amateur painter. She wanted to help no doubt, but her "unfinished" restoration turned a venerable image of the suffering Christ — an Ecce Homo — into a bloated, indefinable cartoon.

🧑🎨 It made the news, big time, putting Borja on the tourist map. Travel agencies began organizing tours to Borja, and over 235,000 tourists have already visited the comical disaster. Pepa, a Borja resident who charges the entry fee for the chapel, says "you think this is the first time she touched it?" Cecilia, she adds, habitually came every summer to clean the chapel, walking five kilometers up a hill from Borja. Indeed, she had an "interventionist" reputation with the local heritage.

🗣️ Today, Pepa says "there were all kinds of reactions because there are people who don't like our town being known for this, and others who do." She doesn't mind, she says, "but there is so much more to Borja." She admits so many people used to pass through Borja without stopping. Now, she says, "they come to see this and stay in the area."

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


Look at these two overbearing idiots making a mockery of the City.

— Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro was visibly not amused by two surfers frolicking on the city’s Grand Canal, as shown on a video he shared on his Twitter account. The two foreign tourists were seen zig-zagging around gondolas and water buses on motorized surfboards, prompting the mayor to urge his followers to help him find the culprits (offering them a “dinner” as reward). The young men were eventually identified and fined €1,500 each.

✍️ Newsletter by Lisa Berdet, Chloé Touchard, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

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Forced Labor, Forced Exile: The Cuban Professionals Sent Abroad To Work, Never To Return

Noel, a Cuban engineer who had to emigrate to the faraway island of Saint Lucia, tells about the Cuban government's systematic intimidation techniques and coercion of its professionals abroad. He now knows he can never go back to his native island — lest he should never be allowed to leave Cuba again.

Forced Labor, Forced Exile: The Cuban Professionals Sent Abroad To Work, Never To Return

Next stop, Saint Lucia

Laura Rique Valero

Daniela* was just one year old when she last played with her father. In a video her mother recorded, the two can be seen lying on the floor, making each other laugh.

Three years have passed since then. Daniela's sister, Dunia*, was born — but she has never met her father in person, only connecting through video calls. Indeed, between 2019 and 2023, the family changed more than the two little girls could understand.

"Dad, are you here yet? I'm crazy excited to talk to you."

"Dad, I want you to call today and I'm going to send you a kiss."

"Dad, I want you to come for a long time. I want you to call me; call me, dad."

Three voice messages which Daniela has left her father, one after the other, on WhatsApp this Saturday. His image appears on the phone screen, and the two both light up.

The girls can’t explain what their father looks like in real life: how tall or short or thin he is, how he smells or how his voice sounds — the real one, not what comes out of the speaker. Their version of their dad is limited to a rectangular, digital image. There is nothing else, only distance, and problems that their mother may never share with them.

In 2020, Noel*, the girls' father, was offered a two-to-three-year employment contract on a volcanic island in the Caribbean, some 2,000 kilometers from Cuba. The family needed the money. What came next was never in the plans.

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