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Japan’s Next Leader, Asylum For Snowden “Guardian Angels”, Crypto-Trading Hamster

Marking the 2,572nd anniversary of the birth of ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius in China

Anne-Sophie Goninet & Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

👋 Bula!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Japan has a new Prime Minister, Canada grants asylum to four Edward Snowden "guardian angels," and a rodent gives cryptocurrency trading advice. Spanish daily La Razon also crunches the numbers to counter those who blame immigrants for spikes in crime.

[*Fijian]

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Fumio Kishida wins race to become Japan's next prime minister: The former finance minister won a ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) race for the top spot, and with the LDP-led party coalition holding a majority in both parliament houses, Kishida is virtually assured the role, taking over for TK. He will now lead a country rattled by the social and economic consequences of the pandemic, and fallout from the controversial Summer Olympics.

• Canada grants asylum to four Edward Snowden "guardian angels": These four refugees housed the former NSA contractor in Hong Kong while he was on the run for stealing and releasing classified documents. Originally from Sri Lanka, Supun Thilina Kellapatha and Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis and their two children are now resettling in Montreal thanks to the support of the nonprofit For the Refugees.

• Mexican president offers apology to Indigenous people: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador issued an official apology for crimes committed by the state against the Yaqui people, including under Porfirio Diaz's 1884-1911 dictatorship. The government will establish a welfare program for the Yaqui, as well as return their land and grant them water rights.

• UK grants only a dozen licenses to EU fishing boats: Just 12 out of 47 of applications for small boats were accepted, angering French fishers who have become frustrated over the UK's control of its waters post-Brexit. While some boats were rejected based on insufficient evidence, French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin argued that "French fishing must not be held hostage by the British for political ends."

• At least 24 dead in Ecuadorian prison gun fight: The battle in the port city of Guayaquil involved inmates wielding firearms, knives and grenades, resulting in close to 50 injuries. It's the latest bloodshed in a conflict between rival drug gangs that has caused at least 100 deaths this year.

• Manny Pacquiao officially retires from boxing, clearing way for presidential run: The 42-year-old Filipino boxing champion announced he was ending his 26-year long career in a Facebook video. Pacquiao has 12 world titles and won 62 of the 72 fights during his career. As president of the PDP–Laban Party, he will run in the My 2022 elections to replace President Rodrigo Duterte, whose term will expire.

• Meet the crypto-trading hamster: Live streaming on Twitch, a hamster named Mr Goxx runs in his "intention wheel" to decide on his cryptocurrency investments — and has beat out many human experts trading these digital tokens professionally. The rodent even has a separate part of his cage with a trading desk. His human owners, two friends, reassured BBC News that they created "Goxx Capital" to have fun during the pandemic, and not to take the crypto pet's advice too seriously. Should we say the same about the human traders?

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

UK daily The Independent reports on the premiere in London yesterday of much-delayed "No Time to Die," the 25th James Bond movie which will feature actor Daniel Craig for the last time in the role of the debonair English spy.

💬  LEXICON

Ampelkoalition


After the narrow victory of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in German elections to replace retiring Chancellor Angela Merkel, the country's political parties are facing months of negotiations to form a coalition government. The center-left SPD said it was likely to make an alliance with the Greens and the liberal Free Democracy Party, creating a "traffic light coalition," (Ampelkoalition), dubbed as such for the party's colors red, green and yellow. The CDU party of Merkel, which came second at the election, also said it would seek to form a "Jamaika-Koalition" with the Greens and FDP (black, green and yellow), named for the colors of the Jamaican flag.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Immigrants don't drive up crime: Here are the facts

Crunch the numbers, or just look around… and we see that immigrants, wherever they may come from, are not a disproportionate cause of crime or cultural degradation across Europe, reports Alfonso Masoliver in Spanish daily La Razon.

🗺️ In 2019, the 125,100 illegal entries into Europe were at the lowest number in seven years, while 491,000 non-EU nationals were thrown out of the EU. European Commission figures from 2020 indicate that 37 million EU residents, or 8.2% of its population, were born outside the block. Worldwide, the five countries with the most foreign-born residents are Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Norway and the United States, respectively. Only 10% — or about three million — of the world's refugee population is currently in the EU. Most settle in neighboring states like Turkey.

🔪 Comparing crime rates from 2012 to 2020 in the five countries with the most foreign-born residents, does not necessarily yield a rise in crime rates clearly and proportionately attributable to immigration. Australia's crime rate of 41.36 in 2012 stood at 40.36 in 2020. The United States' crime rate rose from 47.2 to 64.93, but Norway's fell from 35.43 to 19.07. The four EU countries with the most foreign-born residents are Germany, France, Italy and Spain. In those same years, Germany's crime rate rose from 21.02 to 34.81, France's rose slightly from 44.76 to 46.79, and Italy's fell from 56.67 to 44.26.

⚠️ The U.S. is facing so many social problems — including the 390 million firearms circulating among 330 million Americans — that blaming migrants for criminality is at best, simplistic. Nor can crime be linked to particular groups, like Muslims, or to regions. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates had the lowest crime rates in 2020 (and numerous migrants), while the Global Peace Index placed several African states like Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia above France as peaceful nations. The idea that migrants export the violence of their home countries is also debatable.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

+29.4%

According to new figures released by the FBI, an additional 4,901 homicides were recorded in the United States in 2020 compared with the year before — an increase of 29.4%, the largest since national record-keeping began in the 1960s. A greater percentage of the homicides were the result of gun violence (76%). While there is no simple explanation for the steep rise, possible factors driving the violence include the economic and social toll taken by the COVID-19 pandemic.

📣 VERBATIM

Fighting the only democracy in the Middle East doesn't make you 'woke'.

— Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in his first ever speech at the United Nations, slamming those who oppose Israel out of ignorance. "Adopting clichés about Israel without bothering to learn the basic facts, well, that's just plain lazy," added the leader, who also called on the international community to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet & Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

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Green

Sharm El-Sheikh, What's Lurking Behind COP27 Shine

The Egyptian coastal resort has been reinvented (again) to host world leaders for the COP27, as it aims to cast a climate-financing-hungry Egypt in a favorable light. But the cosmetic changes hide years of harm to the region's ecosystem.

Debris in the sea off Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

Mohamed Ezz and Nada Arafat

SHARM EL-SHEIKH — Amgad* arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh about 40 years ago, driven by curiosity like many other Egyptian youths at the time to explore this corner of Sinai, newly returned to Egypt in the wake of the 1973 war after a 15 years of Israeli occupation.

What Amgad found was a small Bedouin village sheltered within an immaculate landscape: to the east, the Gulf of Aqaba, teeming with marine creatures and jeweled with coral reefs; to the south, two Egyptian islands — now transferred to Saudi Arabia — that separated Sinai from Saudi Arabia; to the west, valleys and mountains, part of the Great Rift Valley, traversed by the Bedouin tribes who have settled in the area for centuries.

The coastline is home to 200 unique species of coral, 500 species of marine vegetation and various species of fish and marine animals, part of the Egyptian barrier reefs that marine ecology professor Mahmoud Hassan Hanafy tells Mada Masr are among the last sanctuaries for this type of marine life in the world, having demonstrated unique resilience to climate change. Onshore ecosystems also serve to protect marine life, he notes.

If, however, you’re among the thousands converging on the city this month to attend COP27, four decades separate you from the site of natural beauty that Amgad first laid eyes on.

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