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In The News

Le Weekend: Killers’ Georgian Apology, Portrait Photographer Of The Year, AI & Pink Floyd

Le Weekend: Killers’ Georgian Apology, Portrait Photographer Of The Year, AI & Pink Floyd

Iranian-born photographer Forough Yavari won the International Portrait Photographer of the Year competition for her “Salvation” series.

Anne-Sophie Goninet and Chloé Touchard

👋 សួស្តី*

Welcome to Saturday, where we take a look back at what’s been happening in the culture world this week, from the Georgian apology of U.S. rock band The Killers to the AI reconstruction of a Pink Floyd song using brainwaves and the rediscovery of a long lost Korean artwork. For our special Summer Reads edition of Worldcrunch Today, we feature an article by Ana Narciso in Portuguese news website Mensagem — and three other stories from around the world on culture and tradition.

[*Susadei - Khmer, Cambodia]


• The Killers band apologizes for playing with Russian fan on stage: The American alternative-rock band The Killers issued an apology after bringing on stage a Russian fan and declaring their fans were all “brothers and sisters” at a show in Batumi, Georgia. The lead singer's comment was met with boos and whistles from the Georgian crowd. The band released a statement on their Facebook page, stating that “it was never [their] intention to offend anyone” in Georgia, a country that faced its own Russian invasion in 2008, and is overwhelmingly pro-Ukrainian in the conflict between Kyiv and Moscow.

• Iranian photographer rewarded for portrait series of Black women: Iranian-born photographer Forough Yavari won the International Portrait Photographer of the Year competition for a second time. The photographer was awarded the prestigious title for her “Salvation” series, inspired by Langston Hughes' poems, which features portraits of Black women enhanced by hand-crafted gold pigments.

• AI recreates Pink Floyd song using brainwaves: Scientists have managed to reconstruct Pink Floyd's “Another Brick in the Wall” using brainwave recordings. The team analyzed brain recordings from 29 patients and used artificial intelligence to encode a reproduction of the sound and words, resulting in a muffled but recognizable version of the British band's famous song. The breakthrough could be used to restore musicality of speech for people with neurological conditions and shed light on how our brains process music and rhythm.

• Family reunion after lost Korean artwork is rediscovered: After it went missing for more than six decades, the 1955 painting titled Family by renowned modern Korean artist Chang Ucchin has been rediscovered by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Korea. The long-lost artwork, last sold to a Japanese collector in 1964, will be showcased in the museum’s upcoming exhibition dedicated to the artist.

• Leonard Bernstein’s family defends Bradley Cooper in biopic controversy: The family of Leonard Bernstein has come to the defense of actor Bradley Cooper amid controversy surrounding Cooper’s biopic of the late composer. The first trailer of Maestro, released earlier this week, drew criticism for displaying offensive Jewish stereotypes, due in particular to the size of Cooper’s nose, who used makeup to enhance his appearance as Leonard Bernstein. “It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts,” said the composer’s family members in a statement posted online. The movie is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September, before being released on Netflix in December.


Marchas Populares, A Great Lisbon Tradition Is Missing Men

The Marchas Populares, Lisbon's summertime carnival parades, are a spectacle of dancing and music — but a shortage of money, free time and men who want to dance are endangering this midsummer tradition, report Ana Narciso and Inês Leote for Portuguese news website Mensagem.

With evictions in the city's “soul” neighborhoods and the aging of residents who have carried on traditions, it sometimes seems that a basic sense of community in Lisbon is fading away.

Nine years shy of their 100th year, Lisbon's traditional Popular Marches — nighttime carnival parades through the city's neighborhoods — are having a hard time finding participants to join the march, especially men.

Meanwhile, just across the river from Lisbon, in nearby municipalities Setúbal and Charneca da Caparica, the solution is to take marchers from one bank to the other.

For many of the participants in this traditional choreography, it no longer matters whether they dance for the neighborhood São Domingos de Benfica, Bica or Campo de Ourique. What they want is to keep going every year, and to save the future of this tradition, which for years has been struggling with a lack of men.

The tradition started in 1932, sparked by journalist José Leitão Barros, who launched it in Notícias Ilustrado, in partnership with Diário de Lisboa. Luís Pastor de Macedo, a councilor responsible for culture, sponsored the first march and included it in the program of festivities in the city of Lisbon.

This year, Frazão is the marshal of the marches in the São Domingos de Benfica district. Everything from the costumes to the marches and lyrics will be created by him.

Frazão explains that it is not difficult to find women to participate. In São Domingos de Benfica, 38 showed up, but they could only take 25 – each march is limited to 25 men and 25 women. In Setúbal, they don't even open registration any more, he says: "They have been marchers for many years, and when there has to be a replacement, the daughter or a cousin usually comes to take the woman's place.”

With men, there is always a greater concern, both in Lisbon and in Setúbal.

“Many think that this is a woman's thing, and others that dancing is not very masculine. There are collectives that already choose to have only 10 men. The rest are women," he says.

So why has the shortage of men only become a problem recently? In the past, marches were seen as a place to find a partner. This is less common today — although there are still some, like Carmen and Nuno Jones, who find love at the marches.

“They were born from the march and have it in their blood,” says Carmen Jones, pointing to three children walking a little further ahead, towards the rehearsal field. When she was about 14, she started going to the March of the Cosmos, an extinct collective in Setúbal. Then, in 1997, she joined the Independente march, where she met Nuno. She was 19 and he was 17. “He's the one who messed with me! He stole my first kiss before the presentation in the bullring. He told me it was for good luck,” she says, smiling. They met on the march, fell in love, got married and had three children. Carmen didn't stop marching even while pregnant.

“Joana, my eldest, was born in April. I didn't miss a rehearsal. One day I was rehearsing; the next day she was born and the next rehearsal I was here again. I left her with my sister and spent the rehearsal calling home to ask if everything was okay. For Alexandre, the middle one, I also marched while pregnant. On the day of the presentation, I had to fix the skirt with rubber bands because my stomach was so big that I couldn’t put the buttons together any more.”

This is the first year for Inês, the youngest, as a marcher. The 12-year-old has been part of the march since she was four, first as a mascot – the child who accompanies godparents in the parade. Too old to be a mascot and too young to be a street vendor, Inês stopped last year, but still went with family to rehearsals. [...]

Read the full Mensagem article, translated into English by Worldcrunch.


Image of people checking their phone on the subway.

People checking their phone on the subway.

Hugh Han

A simple tale from Italy of a hundred strangers in a waiting room, and the limits of our modern obsession with privacy, written by journalist Concita De Gregorio for Italian newspaper La Stampa.

Read the full story: How I Lost My Smartphone And Found My Neighbors


Image of fishermen on Lake Kivu.

Fishermen on Lake Kivu.


Rwandan fishers dive into the silent waters of one of Africa's largest lakes. The rhythms are relatively calm, but a lifetime of hard work rarely adds up to much where earning even a euro a day is a long shot, as journalist Alfonso Masoliver writes for Spanish newspaper La Razon.

Read the full story: Fill My Nets, Row Me Home: The Fleeting Fortunes Of Lake Kivu Fishermen


Image of Alsogaray smoking a cigar at her shop in Buenos Aires.

Alsogaray smoking a cigar at her shop in Buenos Aires.


For the first time, Cuba's prestigious annual cigar festival recognized a woman, Alsogaray, owner of an iconic cigar shop in Buenos Aires, as the top representative of this celebrated lifeline of the Cuban economy, as journalist Mariana Iglesias writes for Argentine newspaper Clarín.

Read the full story: Meet Blanca Alsogaray, The First Woman To Win Cuba's "Oscar Of Cigars"

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet and Chloé Touchard

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Bibi Blinked: How The Ceasefire Deal Could Flip Israel's Whole Gaza War Logic

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed ahead a deal negotiated via Qatar, for a four-day truce and an exchange of 50 hostages for 150 Palestinian prisoners. Though the humanitarian and political pressure was mounting, Israel's all-out assault is suddenly halted, with unforeseen consequences for the future.

photo of someone holding a poster of a hostage

Families of Israeli hostages rally in Jerusalem

Nir Alon/ZUMA
Pierre Haski

Updated Nov. 22, 2023 at 8:55 p.m.


PARIS — It's the first piece of good news in 46 days of war. In the early hours of Wednesday, Israel agreed to a deal that included a four-day ceasefire and the release of some of the hostages held by Hamas — 30 children and 20 women — in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners, again women and children. The real question is what happens next.

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But first, this agreement, negotiated through the intermediary of Qatar, whose role is essential in this phase, must be implemented right away. This is a complex negotiation, because unlike the previous hostage-for-prisoner exchanges, it is taking place in the midst of a major war.

On the Palestinian side, although Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is present in Doha, he does not make the decision alone — he must have the agreement of the leaders of the military wing, who are hiding somewhere in Gaza. It takes 24 hours to send a message back and forth. As you can imagine, it's not as simple as a phone call.

And on the Israeli side, a consensus had to be built around the agreement. Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right allies were opposed to the deal — in line with their eradication logic — even at the cost of Israeli lives. But the opposition of these discredited parties was ignored, and that will leave its mark.

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