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In The News

Bakhmut Fighting Raging, Rescuing SVB, All At Once Oscars

Photo of Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh with her Best Actress award

Michelle Yeoh made history last night by becoming the first woman of Asian descent to win an Academy Award for best actress, for her role in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Emma Albright, Inès Mermat, Hugo Perrin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Bok!*

Welcome to Monday, where the battle for Bakhmut rages on between Russia and Ukraine, Europe’s biggest bank pledges to rescue the sinking Silicon Valley Bank, and Everything Everywhere All at Once wins pretty much everything at the Oscars. Meanwhile, Juan F Samaniego in Spanish-language magazine La Marea suggests that trees may hold the key to adapting to climate change.

[*Croatian]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Xi Jinping possible visit to Moscow as battle for Bakhmut continues: Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning to visit Russia possibly next week, as Moscow and Kyiv both report intense fighting over the eastern city of Bakhmut. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has already publicly invited Xi to Moscow without specifying a date, would be likely to portray it as a show of support for Russia's war on Ukraine.

• HSBC rescues British arm of Silicon Valley Bank: Following the historic failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), governments in the United Kingdom and the United States have taken extraordinary steps to stop a potential banking crisis. The UK Treasury and the Bank of England announced early on Monday that they had facilitated the sale of SVB UK to HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, ensuring the security of $8.1bn of deposits.

• North Korea conducts new weapons tests: North Korea has fired two strategic missiles from a submarine in a show of force just hours before the United States and South Korea began their largest joint military exercises in five years. The test reported by state media on Monday, came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw a series of weapons launches and ordered his soldiers to intensify efforts to repel its rivals’ “frantic war preparation moves.”

• Myanmar army accused of mass killing at monastery: At least 28 people were killed by the Myanmar army at a monastery in southern Shan State after troops shelled the Nan Nein village on Saturday, the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) said.

• UK ramps up defense spending by $6 billion: The United Kingdom will ramp up defense spending by $6 billion to “fortify” against growing threats from Russia and China, the country’s leader announced on the eve of highly anticipated talks with AUKUS partners, the United States and Australia. The partners are expected to announce that Australia will purchase at least four nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarines from the U.S.

• BBC reinstates Gary Lineker: Britain's BBC reinstated its highest-paid presenter Gary Lineker on Monday after a decision to take the sports host off air over his criticism of the government’s immigration policy sparked a near mutiny at the public broadcaster.

• Oscars 2023: Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win best actress, as Everything Everywhere All at Once dominated at the Oscars. The movie won seven awards including best picture, director and original screenplay.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

The Boston Herald features U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on its front page dedicated to the sudden collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank. After a dramatic weekend, regulators said the failed bank’s customers will have access to all their deposits starting Monday, after a new facility was set up to give banks access to emergency funds.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$161 billion

The world's largest oil producer, Saudi Aramco, recorded a net profit of $161 billion in 2022, a historic high for the company. This $49 billion net profit increase from 2021 was mainly due to the surge in oil prices and the company's efforts to cut costs and boost efficiency. Saudi Aramco's total revenue also increased from $229 billion in 2021 to $485 billion in 2022.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

How a “climatic memory” gene helps trees face environmental threat

Humans and animals have strategies to deal with their surroundings, including the impacts of climate change. But what about trees? Researchers in Spain have identified mechanisms in plant life to learn over time from unfavorable environmental situations, writes Juan F Samaniego in Spanish-language magazine La Marea.

🌳 How does a tree survive? These living beings are anchored to the same place, where they spend tens, hundreds and even thousands of years. For this reason, their strategies to deal with stressful situations, such as a drought, a heat wave or a plague, are very different from those of animals. New research has discovered something incredible: trees have a kind of climatic memory in their genes.

🧠 The latest research published by García-Campa and other researchers from University of Oviedo has concluded that trees have mechanisms to remember unfavorable environmental situations, respond better and better to stressful situations, and transmit this information to their offspring.

⚠️ According to a special report from the IPCC, the health and functioning of both individual trees and forest ecosystems are being affected with increased frequency, severity and duration by extreme weather events. “Plant cells are able to cope with adverse conditions and learn from them. But investing efforts in alleviating stress also has negative physiological consequences such as slowing down growth,” concludes researcher Lara García-Campa.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

“[We must] build the People’s Liberation Army into a great wall of steel.”

— On Monday, in the first speech of his precedent-breaking third term as Chinese president, Xi Jinping informed the nearly 3,000 delegates of the National People’s Congress (NPC) of his decision to reinforce national security and build the military into a “great wall of steel.” Beijing’s leader, at the age of 69, is now the longest-serving head of state of Communist China since it was founded in 1949.

✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Inès Mermat, Hugo Perrin and Anne-Sophie Goninet


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Society

Italy's Right-Wing Government Turns Up The Heat On 'Gastronationalism'

Rome has been strongly opposed to synthetic foods, insect-based flours and health warnings on alcohol, and aggressive lobbying by Giorgia Meloni's right-wing government against nutritional labeling has prompted accusations in Brussels of "gastronationalism."

Dough is run through a press to make pasta

Creation of home made pasta

Karl De Meyer et Olivier Tosseri

ROME — On March 23, the Italian Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Francesco Lollobrigida, announced that Rome would ask UNESCO to recognize Italian cuisine as a piece of intangible cultural heritage.

On March 28, Lollobrigida, who is also Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's brother-in-law, promised that Italy would ban the production, import and marketing of food made in labs, especially artificial meat — despite the fact that there is still no official request to market it in Europe.

Days later, Italian Eurodeputy Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of fascist leader Benito Mussolini and member of the Forza Italia party, which is part of the governing coalition in Rome, caused a sensation in the European Parliament. On the sidelines of the plenary session, Sophia Loren's niece organized a wine tasting, under the slogan "In Vino Veritas," to show her strong opposition (and that of her government) to an Irish proposal to put health warnings on alcohol bottles. At the end of the press conference, around 11am, she showed her determination by drinking from the neck of a bottle of wine, to great applause.

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