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In The News

Israeli Raids Continue, Ex Chinese Premier Dies, Swede-Swiss Spat

Photo of a TV displaying a news show reporting on the death of Li Keqiang, the former premier of China, who died of a heart attack at age 68.

A local TV channel reports on the death of Li Keqiang, the former premier of China, who died of a heart attack at age 68.

Anne-Sophie Goninet & Michelle Courtois

👋 Salve!*

Welcome to Friday, where Israeli troops carry out “targeted raids” inside Gaza for a second consecutive night, former Chinese premier Li Keqiang dies of a heart attack at 68 and Sweden has had enough of being confused with Switzerland. Meanwhile, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza goes undercover inside Poland’s sweatshops, which produce clothing for some of the biggest brands and best known designers in Europe.



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• Israel continues “targeted raids” inside Gaza: Israeli troops carried out “targeted raids” inside Gaza, which included aircraft and artillery strikes in the Shaja'iyah neighborhood, for a second consecutive night before withdrawing. Also a top Hamas leader was welcomed for talks in Moscow. Meanwhile, a top UN official providing aid to Palestinian refugees in Gaza warned that current aid levels were “nothing more than crumbs” and that hunger and disease are rapidly becoming a major issue. Read more about the escalation here: On The Risk Of Sliding Into The "War To End All Wars" — For Real This Time, translated from Spanish by Worldcrunch.

• U.S. strikes Syria bases used by Iran-backed militia: U.S. fighter jets have carried out strikes against two weapons and ammunition storage facilities used by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps in eastern Syria on Friday, in retaliation for recent attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq by Iranian-backed militia. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the strikes were “separate and distinct from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.”

• Manhunt for Maine shooter enters second day: An intensive manhunt is still underway for a U.S. Army reservist suspected of killing at least 18 people in a mass shooting at a bowling alley in Lewiston, Maine. Police have urged residents to shelter in place and classes were canceled in the city and multiple other districts. The attack is the deadliest U.S. mass shooting since the 2022 Uvalde school massacre.

• Former Chinese premier Li Keqiang dies at 68: Li Keqiang, the former premier of China, has died of a heart attack aged 68, less than a year after he stepped down from his post as the country’s second-highest-ranking leader. Once tipped to be the country's future leader, Li retired in March after serving two terms alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping.

• Ghana suffers nationwide power outage due to lack of gas: Most of Ghana has been experiencing a major power outage since Thursday evening due to a lack of gas that is used to power the machinery that generates electricity.

• South Korea court upholds ban on gay sex in armed forces: South Korea’s Constitutional Court has upheld a law banning same-sex relations in the military for the fourth time since 2002, saying it could harm troops' combat-readiness and undermine discipline. The country’s Military Criminal Act bans “anal intercourse” or “any other indecent act” during service and allows for punishments of up to two years in prison. Stay up-to-date with the most recent news on LGBTQ+ topics.

• Sweden launches “we are not Switzerland” campaign: Sweden’s tourist board has launched a new campaign titled “Welcome to Sweden (not Switzerland),” which pokes fun at those who mix up the Nordic country with Switzerland. Each year, about 120,000 people ask Google whether Sweden and Switzerland are the same country.


Mexican daily La Prensa devotes its front page to the devastating Hurricane Otis, which has left 27 people dead and four missing in Mexico’s Guerrero state. While rescue and relief work continues, reports say that businesses are getting ransacked, there is “desolation, sadness and mourning” and communities remain in a critical state. Acapulco was among the areas worst hit with 80% of their hotels damaged and streets flooded.


$143.1 billion

U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon has reported $143.1-billion revenue for the quarter ending in September, a 13% increase as compared to the same period last year. The company also posted $9.9-billion quarterly profits, again exceeding analysts’ expectations. According to CNN Business, Amazon’s steady revenue growth in 2023 — after a challenging 2022 marked by cost-cutting measures — is an indication that “CEO Andy Jassy’s efforts to rein-in costs across the sprawling business empire appear to be paying off so-far.” We also offer this recent Internazionale article, translated from Italian by Worldcrunch: How Amazon Worker Exploitation Looks In Small-Town Italy.


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Inside the Polish sweatshops churning out clothes for Europe's biggest brands

In an undercover investigation for Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, journalist Dominika Klimek discovered the brutal reality of Poland’s sweatshops, which produce clothing for some of the biggest brands and best known designers in Europe.

🇵🇱👕 In 2023 alone, Poles spent 65 billion PLN (about 14 billion euros) on clothes. According to financial services company PKO BP Polska, Poland is also the 12th largest exporter of clothing worldwide. Fashion brands like to display the label “Made in Poland,” which is meant to guarantee good quality and “sustainable” production standards, and distinguish these brands from Asian sweatshops which have received heavy media attention. The clientele of Polish garment factories include not just local designers but some of the largest European brands.

🧵 When I enter the factory undercover, the owner welcomes me. I tell her that I worked in a sewing shop in my hometown, and that I can fold, pack, and iron clothes. “When would you like to start? Tomorrow?”, the owner asks me. And just like that, I end up with a job at one of the largest clothing companies in the area. The manager pushes a cart with a stack of shorts towards me. My task is to check the size, lay the shorts flat, and then fold them in half, turn up the crotch, roll up the bottom, and place a T-shirt, already packed, on top

💸 “Do you know whether the rate will be the same after the trial period?” I ask the receptionist on my way out. “I can’t tell you”, she replies. “Everyone is paid differently here”. After a day of work, I still don't have a contract, but the office receptionist hands me a card to enter the hall. No one wants to talk to me about employment conditions. After returning home, I found the jackets I saw in the factory online. They’re from Weill Paris, a well-known foreign brand. The price of this jacket? 675 euros.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“We shouldn't be the hostage of Mr. Orban.”

— Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has slammed Hungary’s decision to impede new financial assistance to Ukraine as it seeks to unblock its own frozen EU funds. Prior to a meeting with European leaders gathered in Brussels on Friday, Bettel stated: "You can't say: if you want money for Ukraine, we want money for us,” referring to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s vow not to agree to any increase in the EU budget until Hungary’s access to it is restored. Read this Gazeta Wyborcza piece on the possible impact of Poland’s recent elections on Orban’s fate, translated from Polish by Worldcrunch.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Michelle Courtois and Bertrand Hauger

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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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