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In The News

Hezbollah-Hamas Meeting, China Sacks Defense Minister, Bangladesh Festival

Devotees are immersing an idol of Hindu deity Durga in the Surma River as part of the annual Durga Puja festival.

Devotees are immersing an idol of Hindu deity Durga in the Surma River as part of the annual Durga Puja festival.

Anne-Sophie Goninet and Laure Gautherin

👋 A jaaraama!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders meet to coordinate their actions, China removes a second senior official with no explanation after he disappeared from public view for two months, and Australia’s beloved national spread celebrates its 100th anniversary. Meanwhile, Aila Inete and Flávia Rocha, in Portuguese-language online magazine Revista AzMina, look at how thousands of Brazilian girls are deceived by “foster parents” and duped into forced labor.

[*Fula, West and Central 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.

It's easy (and free!) to sign up to receive it each day in your inbox: 👉 Sign up here


• Hezbollah-Hamas meeting, tensions in Israel over ground war delay: Hezbollah’s longtime leader, Hassan Nasrallah, met top officials from Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Wednesday to coordinate their actions. Meanwhile, tensions have been reported between the Israeli military and Prime Minister Netanyahu over when to begin an expected ground offensive in Gaza. Read the latest news on the conflict.

• Hong Kong to create own national security law in 2024: Hong Kong leader John Lee said on Wednesday the city will draft its own national security law in 2024, four years after Beijing imposed sweeping legislation meant to stifle criticism. The leader, appointed by Beijing, said that “external forces continue to meddle in Hong Kong affairs.”

• China sacks “disappeared” defense minister: China’s Defense Minister Gen. Li Shangfu was fired on Tuesday, two months after he disappeared from public view. Li is the second “disappeared” senior Chinese official to be removed from office, after former Foreign Minister Qin Gang in July. Read more about it here.

• Mike Johnson becomes 4th GOP speaker nominee: Republicans in the United States have nominated Mike Johnson as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, hours after Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer dropped out of the race. The Louisiana Republican is the fourth nominee for the speaker’s chair, three weeks after Kevin McCarthy was removed.

• U.S. states sue Meta over youth mental health: More than 40 U.S. states have filed a joint lawsuit in federal court in California against Meta, alleging that its social media platforms (which include Instagram and Facebook) can be addictive and violate consumer protection and child safety laws. French philosopher Gaspard Koenig has made the case for a social media ban for teens.

• Hurricane Otis makes landfall in southern Mexico: Hurricane Otis has hit Mexico’s southern coast near the resort city of Acapulco with sustained winds of 165 mph. Although the hurricane has weakened to a Category 4 storm, forecasters have warned of a “nightmare scenario” of destructive winds, flooding and mudslides.

• Australia’s Vegemite turns 100: Vegemite, Australia’s beloved national spread, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The salty condiment was invented by chemist Cyril Callister in Melbourne in 1923, when businessman and entrepreneur Fred Walker asked him to create a product similar to British Marmite, which became unavailable during and after World War I.


“The traces left by terror,” titles Brazilian daily O Dia, as it devotes its front page to the unprecedented assault on Rio de Janeiro’s public transport system launched by paramilitary gangsters, who set fire to at least 35 buses and coaches, four lorries and a train on Monday. The attacks were reported to be a retaliation for the killing of a senior paramilitary leader by police special forces. According to the daily, the city accounts for $38 million in damage, with 2.5 million passengers affected.


$6.1 million

Costa Rican anti-corruption authorities are investigating the theft of 3.3 billion colons ($6.1 million) in cash from state-owned Banco Nacional. The crime marks the largest bank heist in the country’s history. The money was noticed missing from bank vaults on Oct. 3, but the robbery itself must have taken place in August, or earlier, according to the interim manager of the bank — which had been investigating the theft privately until national prosecutors took up the case. No official arrest has been made but five employees who work in the targeted area of the bank have been suspended and are currently under investigation.


How thousands of Brazilian girls have been duped into slavery by foster families

Brazil has come a long way in improving the rights of domestic workers, but it has failed to completely abolish the dangerous nexus between domestic work and child labor, report Aila Inete and Flávia Rocha in Portuguese-language online magazine Revista AzMina.

👪 Luana, Leila, and Josiane are just three among thousands of Brazilian girls deceived by “foster parents” who steal them away from their families with the lure of a better life and a shot at education. It's all a lie. The chance to go to school never comes, nor do wages for their labor. They are barred from sitting at the family table or even turning on the lights. They are confined to cramped rooms, forced to eat what they don't like, passed around like objects. They work day and night.

👧 The figure of the “foster daughters” is an enduring one in Brazil. Girls from small villages and the outskirts of cities are “adopted” by families from urban areas with the promise of education and social mobility. They are told that “they would be looked after as if they were family,” but in effect they are recruited as bonded labor. Researchers Danila Cal and Rosaly Brito examine this scourge in the book Communication, Gender and Domestic Work, of which they are the editors. “The idea of being 'part of the family' is used to justify the exploitation of free labor by women and children,” Danila points out.

⚖️ The Child and Adolescent Statute (ECA) prohibits children under the age of 16 from working. There exists an exception for apprenticeships, permitted from the age of 14. Working nights, dangerous or unhealthy work, and activities on the TIP list ("the worst forms of child labor") are illegal for children under 18.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“Are we being told that it is wrong to kill a family, an entire family, at gunpoint, but it’s OK to shell them to death?”

— Queen Rania of Jordan accused Western leaders of a “glaring double standard” in an exclusive interview with CNN, saying that the world immediately stood with Israel in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, but there has since been “silence” for the suffering of the Palestinian people during Israel’s retaliation. Queen Rania added that for Jordan and the Middle East, the “Western world [is] complicit” in the deaths of the people of Gaza.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin and Valeria Berghinz

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Putin's "Pig-Like" Latvia Threat Is A Chilling Reminder Of What's At Stake In Ukraine

In the Ukraine war, Russia's military spending is as high as ever. Now the West is alarmed because the Kremlin leader is indirectly hinting at a possible attack on Latvia, a NATO member. It is a reminder of a growing danger to Europe.

Photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Pavel Lokshin


BERLIN — Russian President Vladimir Putin sometimes chooses downright bizarre occasions to launch his threats against the West. It was at Monday's meeting of the Russian Human Rights Council, where Putin expressed a new, deep concern. It was not of course about the human rights of the thousands of political prisoners in his own country, but about the Russian population living in neighboring Latvia, which happens to be a NATO member, having to take language tests.

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