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In The News

Amnesty Denounces Russian War Crimes, U.S. Gun Reform Progress, Man Outruns Horse

Amnesty Denounces Russian War Crimes, U.S. Gun Reform Progress, Man Outruns Horse

A Ukrainian soldier walks inside a destroyed barn near the frontline in Zaporizhzhya province.

McKenna Johnson, Joel Silvestri, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Bertrand Hauger.

👋 Buongiorno!*

Welcome to Monday, where an Amnesty International report details Russian war crimes in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, gun reforms gain bipartisan support in the U.S. and an aptly-named man runs faster than horses. Meanwhile, Melilla-based, Spanish-language daily El Faro de Melilla explores how a new generation of Muslim women is managing to navigate both misogyny and Islamophobia to create its own space.



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.

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• Amnesty reports war crimes in Kharkiv: After investigating 41 specific strikes with a collective total of 62 deaths and 192 people injured, Amnesty International reports that Russia has committed a number of war crimes against the people of Kharkiv, Ukraine. In the report, Amnesty cites Russia’s use of indiscriminate ordinance, as well as specific attacks on playgrounds and against groups waiting for humanitarian aid as violations of international conventions.

• Gun reform gets bipartisan support in the Senate: Ten Republican senators have announced their support for a gun reform bill, signaling that the legislation will have enough support to become law when put to a vote. The bipartisan package includes increased resources for mental health checks, increased requirements for those under 21 who want to purchase a gun.

• Mysterious Iranian deaths:Two aerospace engineers in Iran have died, and Iran has labeled their deaths “martyrdoms,” insinuating that they may have been deliberately killed. The deaths are the latest in a string of suspicious deaths of Iranian military personnel and engineers that have occurred in recent weeks, some of which have been linked to Israel.

• Macron’s centrist alliance struggles in parliamentary elections: French President Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble group came out just ahead of leftist coalition NUPES (25.75% to 25.66%) in the first round of France’s parliamentary elections.

• Beijing COVID flare up highlights new struggles in fighting pandemic: At least 166 people have tested positive for COVID over the course of four days after a recent outbreak at a late-night drinking spot in Beijing. This flare up is worrying officials, who are saying that it is proving more difficult to contain than the infamous Xinfadi market outbreak in 2020.

• UK-Rwanda deportation plan sparks controversy: A plan announced by UK prime minister Boris Johnson to deport immigrants to Rwanda has sparked recent controversy after Prince Charles was quoted describing the policy as “appalling.” The policy will be disputed in the Court of Appeals of London today by a coalition of unions and immigration rights advocates.

• Man v. horse race: For the third time in the event’s history, a man has won the 22.5 mile “Man v. Horse” race in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales. The race was started in 1980 and pits people against horses. This year, Ricky Lightfoot won against 1,000 people and 50 horses, beating the fastest horse by two minutes.


It’s “make or break” time for Emmanuel Macron, Brittany-based daily Le Télégramme writes on its front page; a day after the French president’s ruling party finished neck-and-neck with leftist coalition NUPES, in the first round of parliamentary elections.


Вкусно и точка

Russia opened the first 15 restaurants of its rebranded McDonald’s chain on Sunday, now called Вкусно и точка, or Vkusno-i tochka, which translates to “Tasty and that’s it.” The golden arches have been swapped for a red and orange stylized image of a burger and two fries on a green background, with a new slogan that reads, "The name changes, love stays." McDonald’s, the world's biggest burger chain, left Russia last month after closing its restaurants in March over the conflict in Ukraine. The new chain aims to make it so that guests don’t notice any difference in quality, and it has plans to create something similar to a Big Mac, but better.


This is what Muslim feminism looks like

A new generation of Muslims want to do things differently. This is especially true for women — Muslim feminism has never been as visible as it is now, writes Chaimaa Boukharsa for Melilla’s daily El Faro de Melilla.

🧕 We've been seeing more and more initiatives to expand the theological offer to the Muslim community by integrating the female component. The new generation of Muslim women has a spiritual, intellectual and theological conscience and wants to defend its place in the religious hierarchy. It also wants to contribute to the decision-making process beyond the social and psychological role that they are being assigned. However, the establishment still resists these initiatives and clings to a model of Islam where Muslim women have long been relegated and confined to small spaces in mosques.

☪️ The differences of opinion on Muslim women reveals a community of believers torn between different mentalities, cultures and interpretations of canon law regarding women. There is an intersection of discrimination suffered by Muslim women: misogyny and Islamophobia — the double fight. The problem of Muslim women is always caught between two extreme perceptions: one by certain absolutely rigid traditionalist Muslims and, on the other hand, some people outside the community perceive Muslim women as completely submissive and oppressed.

🗣 Let us not forget that the issue of Islam in Spain and in Europe, in general, is extremely sensitive. On occasions, when women denounce misogynistic behaviors within the community, it is used as an opportunity to reinforce the Islamophobic rhetoric propagated in the public opinion, by the media and some politicians. We Muslim women have a voice to speak and we must criticize sexist behavior, but at no time can these complaints be taken advantage of and/or used to establish and reinforce Islamophobia. Speaking in the media without fueling the stigma of Muslims can certainly be a balancing act.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


25,695 days

Queen Elizabeth II has become the second-longest serving monarch in history, serving 25,695 days, or 70 years and 127 days. Overtaking Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, she now is second only to Louis XIV of France who served 72 years and 110 days. She became the longest reigning British monarch in September 2015, when she surpassed Queen Victoria’s reign.

✍️ Newsletter by McKenna Johnson, Joel Silvestri, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Bertrand Hauger.

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Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

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