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In The News

Ambush Kills Niger Troops, Drones Hit Ukraine Grain Silos, Harrison Ford Snake

Ambush Kills Niger Troops, Drones Hit Ukraine Grain Silos, Harrison Ford Snake

A grain depot at the damaged grain terminal of a port on the Danube River in the Odesa region, southern Ukraine.

Emma Albright and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Adishatz!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where at least 17 Niger soldiers are killed in an attack by suspected jihadists near the border with Mali, Russian drones strike grain silos along the Danube River and, yes, Harrison Ford, it had to be snakes. For our special Summer Reads edition of Worldcrunch Today, we feature an article by Jan Schulte in German daily Die Welt — and three other stories from around the world on architecture.

[*Occitan, France]


• Niger troops killed in attack near Mali border: At least 17 Niger soldiers have been killed near the border with Mali in an attack the defense ministry called “a terrorist ambush.” The border area where central Mali, northern Burkina Faso and western Niger converge has become the epicenter of violence by armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS in the Sahel region. Lack of security was the key reason cited in the recent military coup in Niger on July 26 when President Mohamed Bazoum was removed.

• Russian drone attack targets grain silos along Danube river: Grain silos and warehouses were hit during successive Russian drone attacks on Ukraine’s Danube river ports located near its border with Romania. Meanwhile, the U.S. is pushing Iran to stop selling armed drones to Russia as part of discussions between Washington and Tehran to de-escalate tensions.

• Poland holds biggest military parade in decades: Poland held its largest military parade in decades, as tensions rise on the border between the NATO nation and Russian ally Belarus. Poland’s Defense Ministry said the celebration of Polish Army Day showcased some of the latest technology Poland has in its arsenal.

• Latvia boosts security on border with Belarus: Latvia’s defense minister has ordered the army to help guard the country’s border with Belarus amid what was described as “hybrid threats,” while a reported 96 attempts were made by people to cross the border in 24 hours. Latvia blames Belarusian authorities of involvement in encouraging people to cross the border.

• First victims named in Hawaii fires as death toll reaches 106, Biden vows to visit: The first two victims from the deadly wildfires that swept Maui island last week have been identified by officials as Robert Dyckman, 74, and Buddy Jantoc, 79, both from the town of Lahaina. The death toll from the fires has now reached 106 with around 1,300 missing. Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden has said he will travel to Hawaii "as soon as he can" amid criticism of his government's response.

• North Korea says Travis King wanted refuge from racism in U.S.: North Korea has claimed that the United States soldier who crossed the border last month did so because he was seeking refuge from “inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination” in the U.S. The comments, published in state media, are Pyongyang’s first public statement on Travis King who crossed from South Korea into North Korea on July 18 while on a tourist tour.

• “Why’d it have to be snakes?”: Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones character may have a fear of snakes, but the actor now has a one named after him. A newly found species of snake in Peru has been named Tachymenoides harrisonfordi in honor of the actor's environmental advocacy.


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.

It's easy (and free!) to sign up to receive it each day in your inbox: 👉 Sign up here


Image of Maalwines' trash recycled winery Las Compuertas, Mendoza, Argentina.

Maalwines' trash recycled winery Las Compuertas, Mendoza, Argentina.

Maalwines Instagram

Winemaking and wine tourism installations are usually built with a tasteful nod at the landscape around them. In the case of the MAAL winery in western Argentina, its environment-friendly design includes use of 300 tons of discarded construction and decoration materials found in and around the district of Mendoza, as journalist Graciela Baduel reports in Argentine newspaper Clarín.

Read the full story: Mendoza's "Recycled" Winery — Argentine Eco Architecture With A Splash


Image of an old man following tram tracks in Lisbon, Portugal.

Following tram tracks in Lisbon, Portugal.

Annie Spratt

For Maria Manuela Maia, there are routes in Lisbon that are hard to forget, like the one that connects her home to the parish. But there are others where memory fails her. “Manuela is more or less autonomous,” says Orlando, her husband. “But the problem is when you change streets. Then she no longer knows where our house is.” As the population ages, the likelihood of diseases such as dementia increases. That means we need to rethink how we design and build cities for the future. A look up close from Lisbon, with Mensagem journalist Ana da Cunha.

Read the full story: Aging Cities Of The Future — How Urban Planning Can Factor In For Dementia


Image of the train station Taormina-Giardini in Sicily.

The train station Taormina-Giardini in Sicily.

Alexandra Schuler / DPA via ZUMA Press

Crossing Sicily by train can take as long as flying from Rome to New York. The tracks and carriages are outdated, the trains rarely leave on time. Meanwhile, the country's high-speed train lines are state-of-the-art and decidedly punctual. It's a metaphor (and more) for Italy's two-class society, as journalist Gabriele Romagnoli reports for Italian newspaper La Stampa.

Read the full story: Two-Track Nation: What Italy's Trains Say About The Limits Of Progress

✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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Photo of a drone on the tarmac during a military exercise near Vícenice, in the Czech Republic

Drone on the tarmac during a military exercise near Vícenice, in the Czech Republic

Sarah Scoles

Number 4 Hamilton Place is a be-columned building in central London, home to the Royal Aeronautical Society and four floors of event space. In May, the early 20th-century Edwardian townhouse hosted a decidedly more modern meeting: Defense officials, contractors, and academics from around the world gathered to discuss the future of military air and space technology.

Things soon went awry. At that conference, Tucker Hamilton, chief of AI test and operations for the United States Air Force, seemed to describe a disturbing simulation in which an AI-enabled drone had been tasked with taking down missile sites. But when a human operator started interfering with that objective, he said, the drone killed its operator, and cut the communications system.

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