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In The News

Kim-Putin Arms Talks, Gay Marriage Progress In Hong Kong, Pirate Olaf

"Excited to see the memes,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz joked after an official photograph showing him wearing an eye patch was released on Monday. The head of state fell while out running on Saturday and scratched his face. Although he has to wear an eye patch for the next few days or weeks, Scholz is doing well. “Looks worse than it is," the chancellor posted on his account on X, thanking the people for their get-well wishes and encouraging netizens to make fun of his new look. — Photo: Bundesregierung/Steffen Kugler

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz fell while out running on Saturday and scratched his face. Although he has to wear an eye patch for the next few days or weeks, Scholz is doing well.

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin, Valeria Berghinz and Michelle Courtois.

👋 *مرحبا

Welcome to Tuesday, where reports say Kim Jong-un plans to meet Vladimir Putin to discuss supplying Moscow with weapons, Hong Kong's top court moves to recognize same-sex civil unions, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz keeps his sense of humor after a bad tumble. Meanwhile, we look at the questionable “dark tourism” industry already in business in war-torn Ukraine.

[*Marhaba - Arabic]


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• U.S. says Putin-Kim meeting this month to talk arms: According to the U.S. government, North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un plans to travel to Russia this month to meet President Vladimir Putin to discuss a potential deal to supply Moscow with weapons. Meanwhile, Russia shot down at least three Ukraine-launched drones which “were trying to carry out an attack on Moscow,” the mayor of the country’s capital said. A new photograph has emerged on social media that appears to show Russian general Sergei Surovikin, a high-ranking ally of late Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, in what is believed to be Surovikin’s first public appearance since the mercenaries’ short-lived rebellion in June.

• Thailand's new prime minister sworn in: Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn has sworn in Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and 33 cabinet ministers in a coalition government made up of 11 parties. The 61-year-old U.S.-educated billionaire had previously secured enough votes in parliament to become Thailand’s new prime minister, ending three months of political deadlock.

• EU confirms Swedish diplomat is held in Iran: Following a report from The New York Times published on Monday, the European Union has confirmed that Johan Floderus, a 33-year-old Swede working for the bloc's diplomatic service in Brussels, has been detained in Iran for more than 500 days on espionage charges. The official’s identity had been kept secret so far by Sweden’s government and the EU as they tried to secure his release.

• Hong Kong’s top court recognizes same-sex civil unions: Hong Kong’s top court has ordered the city’s government “to establish an alternative framework for legal recognition of same-sex partnerships,” although it stopped short of granting full marriage rights in a partial win for the city's LGBTQ+ community. Read more about the state of LGBTQ+ rights in Hong Kong from The Initium, translated by Worldcrunch.

• One dead in Greece after torrential rain follows wildfires: Storm Daniel is battering western and central Greece, with torrential rain flooding homes and roads and killing one man. The heavy downpour comes in the wake of deadly wildfires that have torn through the country for more than two weeks.

• Qantas CEO to step down early: Long-serving CEO Alan Joyce has announced he will retire two months earlier than planned, amid a series of controversies surrounding Australia’s flagship carrier, including accusations of illegal ticket sales. Qantas’s chief financial officer Vanessa Hudson is expected to take over, becoming the first woman to lead the century-old airline.

• Have a baby, get a free pet: Terry Gou, the founder of Apple-supplier Foxconn who entered Taiwan’s presidential race last week, has proposed to solve the island’s demographic crisis by offering new parents a free cat or a dog. Taiwan has one of the world’s lowest birth rates while pet ownership is skyrocketing.


Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo covers the extratropical cyclone that hit at least 21 cities in the area of Rio Grande Do Sul on Monday. The natural disaster has caused the death of four people and many more are stranded in their homes without electricity.


$423 billion

A United Nations-backed report has found that invasive species cost the world at least $423 billion every year, increasing plant and animal extinctions, threatening food security and aggravating environmental catastrophes. Human activity is to blame for the spreading of these species — often done through travel or trade — with 200 new alien species being recorded every year, scientists have said. Of the 37,000 alien species currently known around the world, 3,500 are considered harmful and threatening, as they destroy native species, pollute waterways, spread disease and can worsen natural disasters.


Too soon? Ukraine's war crime tours and the limits of “dark tourism”

It took decades to transform Hiroshima and Auschwitz into authorized destinations that welcomed visitors to explain the sites of unspeakable horrors. Ukraine is encouraging people to see such places as Bucha and Irpin, where Russia is accused of war crimes. Exploring the line between the morbidity of dark tourism and the value of historical memory.

📸 Seventy-seven years after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, instantly killing 70,000 people and poisoning tens of thousands more, the city has become one of the top family tourist destinations in Japan. Already so far in 2023, more than 1.1 million people have visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The story of Hiroshima over the past seven decades exemplifies the evolution of what is known as "dark tourism," where a recent site of death and destruction eventually becomes an institutionalized historical destination.

💀 Dark tourism, defined as “an attraction for places associated with death”, where humans' morbid fascination for places of mortality and destruction can be fulfilled, was coined in 1991, even if it has existed for as long as we have had past tragedies to commune with. Recent years have seen an increase in participants visiting these destinations such as former concentration camps, war memorials, decommissioned prisons, natural disaster sites and places of atrocity.

🇺🇦 Since Russia's full-scale invasion, the Visit Ukraine travel agency made headlines last summer by offering tourist trips to the scene of “the largest civilian massacres of the Russian attack on Ukraine,” including to the cities of Bucha and Irpin where Russia is accused of war crimes. Has this dark tourism promotion come too soon?

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED


“My son misses his father.”

— Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska, discussed the emotional toll that the ongoing war has had on her family in an interview with the BBC. Zelenska explains that the family has been separated, as President Volodymyr Zelensky does not live with his wife and children. They meet as often as they can, and she supports his efforts as much as possible, but Zelenska expresses her pain by explaining that “this may be a bit selfish, but I need my husband, not a historical figure, by my side.”

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin, Valeria Berghinz and Michelle Courtois.

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Turkey: The Blind Spot Between Racial And Religious Discrimination

Before the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war, a social media campaign in Turkey aimed to take on anti-Arab and anti-refugee sentiment. But the campaign ultimately just swapped one type of discrimination for another.

photo of inside Istanbul's Eminonu New Mosque

Muslims and tourists visiting Istanbul's Eminonu New Mosque.

Levent Gültekin


ISTANBUL — In late September, several pro-government journalists in Turkey promoted a social media campaign centered around a video against those in the country who are considered anti-Arab. The campaign was built around the idea of being “siblings in religion,” and the “union of the ummah,” or global Muslim community.

(In a very different context, such sentiments were repeated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the Israel-Hamas war erupted.)

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While the goal is understandable, these themes are highly disconnected from reality.

First, let's look at the goal of the campaign. Our country has a serious problem of irregular migrants and refugees, and the administration isn’t paying adequate attention to this. On the contrary, they encourage the flow of refugees with policies such as selling citizenship.

Worries about irregular migrants and refugees naturally create tension in the society. The anger that targets not the government but the refugees has come to a point which both threatens the social peace and brought the issue to hostility towards the Arabs, even the tourists. The actual goal of this campaign by the pro-government journalists is obvious if you consider how an anti-tourist movement would hurt Turkey’s economy.

However, as mentioned above, while the goal is understandable, the themes of the “union of the ummah” and “siblings in religion” are problematic. The campaign offers the idea of being siblings in religion as an argument against the rising racism towards irregular migrants and refugees; a different form of racism or discrimination.

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