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In The News

Fuel Depot Blast Kills 20 In Karabakh, Seoul Weapons, T. Swift Buzz

Photograph of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol saluting troopsas part of the country’s first military parade in a decade, which showcased an arsenal of advanced weaponry in the streets of Seoul.​

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol saluting troops as part of the country’s first military parade in a decade.

Michelle Courtois, Valeria Berghinz and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Goedemorgen!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where an explosion at a fuel depot in Nagorno-Karabakh kills 20, South Korea flexed its military hardware, and Taylor Swift’s NFL rumored beau goes viral. Meanwhile, in independent Latin American journal Volcánicas, Sher Herrera considers the roots and ramifications of the “white savior syndrome” and how it lives on in modern times.

[*Flemish]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• At least 20 dead in Nagorno-Karabakh fuel depot blast, refugee count doubles: At least 20 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in an explosion at a fuel depot outside Stepanakert, in Nagorno-Karabakh. It is not yet clear what caused the blast. The incident comes as the Armenian government said 13,350 refugees crossed into the country from the defeated breakaway enclave on the first day of the exodus. Meanwhile, the U.S. has called on Azerbaijan to “take concrete steps to protect the rights of civilians” and let in aid.

• Ukraine and Russia trade drone attacks, Black Sea Fleet commander reported dead: Kyiv's air force said it destroyed 26 of 38 Russian drones fired overnight, adding the key Ukrainian grain exporting port of Izmail was hit again, while Moscow said it repelled several Ukrainian drone attacks over the Belgorod and Kursk regions. Meanwhile, Ukraine's special forces said on Monday that they had killed Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of the Black Sea Fleet and Moscow's top admiral in Crimea, along with 33 other officers in a missile attack last week. The Russian Defence Ministry hasn’t confirmed the news. Here’s the exclusive account of a Ukrainian special forces soldier who survived after being thrown overboard in the Black Sea: Worldcrunch’s EN version of a Ukrainska Pravda reportage.

Joe Biden in Michigan to woo striking auto workers: U.S. President Joe Biden is set to join striking members of the United Auto Workers union on Tuesday on a picket line in Wayne County, Michigan, on the eve of a visit from former President Donald Trump. The union members are striking against the Big Three automakers, General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, for a second week, over wages and job security.

• South Korea hosts Japan & China diplomats, holds first military parade in decade: South Korea has hosted senior diplomats from China and Japan on Tuesday in a rare meeting aimed at kickstarting trilateral exchanges and ease Beijing’s concerns about Seoul and Tokyo’s deepening security ties with the U.S. The three countries agreed to revive a long-suspended three-way summit which last took place in 2019. On the same day, South Korea staged its first military parade in a decade, showcasing an arsenal of advanced weaponry in the streets of Seoul.

• Thailand activist jailed over calls for royal reform: Arnon Nampa, one of Thailand's most prominent political activists and human rights lawyer, has been sentenced to four years in prison under the country's lese-majeste law, after he called for royal reform during protests in 2020. Arnon’s lawyer said he would appeal the ruling.

• First Lahaina residents return to charred neighborhood: The first of thousands of residents who lost their homes in the deadly wildfire that ravaged the Hawaii town of Lahaina were able to return to the charred remains of their properties on Monday. Last month, the flames had killed 97 people in Maui and destroyed most of the historic town of Lahaina.

• Nelson Mandela's granddaughter dies at 43: Author and activist Zoleka Mandela, granddaughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, died on Monday evening after a prolonged battle with breast cancer at the age of 43.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Brazilian daily Estado De Minas dedicates their cover to a weather record — Belo Horizonte, the capital city of southeastern Brazil’s Minas Gerais state and the country’s sixth largest city, recorded its highest temperature ever. The city, referred to as “BH” on the front page, saw the mercury rise to 38,6 °C (101,48 °F) on Monday, the highest in the mountainous city since 1961, when temperature records began.

#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS

15.8 million


U.S. journalist Jarrett Payton’s video showing American pop icon Taylor Swift leaving with Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce has been viewed 15.8 million times within a day of posting on X, formerly Twitter. Payton described his four-second clip of the singer leaving Kansas City's Arrowhead stadium with her rumored new boyfriend, saying: “Talk about being at the right place at the right time!”

📰 STORY OF THE DAY

The colonial spirit and “soft racism” of white savior syndrome

Tracing back to Christian colonialism, which was supposed to somehow “civilize” and save the souls of native people, “white savior syndrome” lives on in modern times: from Mother Teresa to Princess Diana and the current First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer, writes Sher Herrera in independent Latin American journal Volcánicas.

🙏 Unlike overt racism, which defends white superiority through enslavement and annihilation, soft racism believes in the inferiority of racialized people but reaffirms white superiority through acts of benevolence and charity, adopting superhero attitudes. In essence, the white savior syndrome is a reaffirmation of whiteness that tends to benefit whiteness itself, as it assuages the conscience of white individuals, making them feel like better people than they actually are.

🔍 This phenomenon has also been analyzed by American psychologist Ramani Durvasula, who characterizes white saviors as community narcissists. She describes these individuals as enthusiastic leaders who always get what they want by manipulating and even exploiting other people who also want to save the world. How could anyone refuse to contribute even a small effort to save the world when they have everything?

👏 Their primary motivation for saving a racialized community lies in public validation, be it through likes and comments on social media or through praise from their family, partners, friends, or religious communities. Since white saviors fail to listen to the communities they claim to save, they often remain unaware of or fail to understand the needs and desires of these communities, or worse, simply do not care.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

"What happened on the day should not have happened."

— Gymnastics Ireland issued a statement on their official website on Monday to apologize for the treatment of a young black gymnast in 2022. The video of the incident, which went viral on Friday, shows an official skipping the only black gymnast as she hands medals to a row of girls. The footage drew international attention, with U.S. star gymnast Simone Biles offering the Irish athlete support.

✍️ Newsletter by Michelle Courtois, Valeria Berghinz and Anne-Sophie Goninet


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Ideas

The Demagogue's Biggest Lie: That We Don't Need Politics

Trashing politics and politicians is a classic tool of populists to seduce angry voters, and take countries into quagmires far worse than the worst years of democracy. It's a dynamic Argentina appears particularly vulnerable to.

Photograph of Javier Gerardo Milei making a speech at the end of his campaign.​

October 18, 2023, Buenos Aires: Javier Gerardo Milei makes a speech at the end of his campaign.

Cristobal Basaure Araya/ZUMA
Rodolfo Terragno

-OpEd-

BUENOS AIRES - I was 45 years old when I became a politician in Argentina, and abandoned politics a while back now. In 1987, Raúl Alfonsín, the civilian president who succeeded the Argentine military junta in 1983, named me cabinet minister though I wasn't a member of his party, the Radicals, or any party for that matter. I was a historian, had worked as a lawyer, wrote newspapers articles and a book in 1985 on science and technology with chapters on cybernetics, artificial intelligence and genetic engineering.

That book led Alfonsín to ask me to join his government. My belated political career began in fact after I left the ministry and while it proved to be surprisingly lengthy, it is now over. I am currently writing a biography of a molecular biologist and developing a university course on technological perspectives (futurology).

Talking about myself is risky in a piece against 'anti-politics,' or the rejection of party politics. I do so only to make clear that I am writing without a personal interest. I am out of politics, and have never been a member of what Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni calls la casta, "the caste" — i.e., the political establishment.

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