When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

You've reach your limit of free articles.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime.

SUBSCRIBERS BENEFITS

Ad-free experience NEW

Exclusive international news coverage

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Monthly Access

30-day free trial, then $2.90 per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch
In The News

Xi & Putin’s New World Order, More “Partygate” Evidence, Bali New Year

Photo of a Javanese Hindus parade in front of temples in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, as part of new year’s eve celebrations in Bali.

Javanese Hindus parade in front of temples in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, as part of new year’s eve celebrations in Bali.

Hugo Perrin, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Bertrand Hauger, Ginevra Falciani

👋 Sziasztok!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Xi Jinping leaves Moscow after pledging to “shape a new world order” with Vladimir Putin, Boris Johnson’s “Partygate” hearing opens and Google rolls out its Bard chatbot. Meanwhile, Anna Akage surveys experts on the likelihood that the Russian president is using a doppelgänger for public appearances.

[*Hungarian]

✅  SIGN UP

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

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Russian drones swarm Kyiv in display of force as Xi leaves Moscow: Russia launched a swarm of drones into Ukraine overnight, killing at least four people near Kyiv in a display of force as China's President Xi Jinping left Moscow with promises of friendship but little public mention of the war. The Ukranian military said it had shot down 16 of 21 Iranian-made Shahed suicide drones.

• Ukraine clinches first IMF loan to nation at war: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it has reached an agreement with Ukraine on funding worth $15.6 billion (£12.8bn). This is the first loan to a country at war by the organization, which has changed a rule to allow loans to countries facing "exceptionally high uncertainty."

• More Partygate evidence published as Boris Johnson prepares to face inquiry: More evidence has been published by a panel investigating statements made by former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Parliament about the Partygate scandal concerning alleged illegal gatherings of government and Conservative Party staff held during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Earthquake rocks Pakistan and Afghanistan: At least 12 people have been killed and more than 200 injured after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake shook large parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan on Tuesday evening. Tremors from the remote Jurm valley in northeastern Afghanistan were felt as far away as India.

• Uganda’s new anti-homosexuality law bans identification as LGBTQ: Uganda’s parliament has passed sweeping anti-gay legislation that proposes tough new penalties for same-sex relationships and criminalizes anyone identifying as LGBTQ+. Punishments include life in prison for gay sex, and death for so-called “aggravated” homosexuality, which includes gay sex with people under 18 years old or being HIV-positive.

• UN warns against 'vampiric' global water use: A United Nations report has warned of a looming global water crisis and an "imminent risk" of shortages due to "vampiric overconsumption and overdevelopment" and climate change. Its publication comes before the first major UN water summit since 1977, a three-day gathering in New York that begins Wednesday.

• Google begins rolling out ChatGPT rival: Google has opened up limited access to Bard, its new AI chatbot tool that directly competes with ChatGPT. Users can join a waitlist to gain access to Bard, which promises to help users outline and write essay drafts, plan a friend’s baby shower, and get lunch ideas based on what’s in the fridge.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“Europe on dry land,” titles Austrian daily Kleine Zeitung, featuring a photo of beached gondolas in Venice, Italy, amid new reports on the winter drought threatening southern and western Europe.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

€96

From September 2023, primary schools in the Republic of Ireland will receive €96 ($104) for each pupil to pay for textbooks and other materials as part of a €50-million government scheme to relieve parents from the costs of school supplies. The grant is expected to benefit more than 558,000 children and their families.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

That man in Mariupol: Is Putin using a body double to avoid public appearances?

Putin really met with Xi in Moscow — we know that. But there are credible experts saying that the person who showed up in Mariupol the day before was someone else — the latest report that the Russian president uses a doppelgänger for meetings and appearances.

👥 Reports and conspiracy theories have circulated in the past about the Russian leader using a stand-in because of health or security issues. But the reaction to the Kremlin leader's trip to Mariupol is the first time that multiple credible sources — including those who’ve spent time with him in the past — have cast doubt on the identity of the man who showed up in the southeastern Ukrainian city that Russia took over last spring after a months-long siege.

🤝 Andrei Piontkovsky, a Russian opposition writer and analyst, believes Putin has used doubles for smaller meetings and at some public appearances, although he shows up in person for meetings with country leaders or to deliver speeches. He’s sure Putin would never "would never humiliate" Xi Jinping by sending a look-alike to meet with the Chinese leader. But that’s not the case in Ukraine, he says: "In Mariupol, it wasn't Putin. He has all sorts of look-alikes.”

📸 “If you are a dictator hated by many people both inside and outside the country, you're being hunted, you live in a bunker and ride an armored train, you'll want look-alikes,” Russian journalist Michael Nacke says. The use of body doubles fits the classic portrait of the paranoid dictator — and becomes an absurd, darkly humorous detail when, as they did this week, observers compare photos of Putin, looking at the shape of his chin and jowls to figure out if the man pictured is the real deal or an impersonator.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

“The U.S. actually started the Ukraine war.”

During a speech in Mashhad, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused Washington of intentionally starting the conflict in Ukraine, namely to create “the grounds for this war to expand NATO in the east.” Khamenei added that “weapons manufacturing companies in the U.S. are reaping the benefits, so they won’t go along with ending the war.”

✍️ Newsletter by Hugo Perrin, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Bertrand Hauger and Ginevra Falciani


Let us know what’s happening in your corner of the world!

info@worldcrunch.com

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Society

A New Calabrian Mob Alliance Sparks Shocking Violence — And More Women Victims

United to colonize the region’s north, two allied mob families from Calabria's 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate have resumed methods to establish themselves that have been abandoned for years. The result is as bloody as the Italian mob has been in memory.

Armed Italian Carabinieri and their vehicule by the side of the road at San Luca

Italian Carabinieri involved in the arrest of 'Ndrangheta mob members

Giuseppe Legato

CASSANO ALL’IONIO — Here in the northern reaches of Calabria, a new mob alliance is combining the old ‘ndrangheta and nomadic criminality that is distinguishing itself by its ferocity.

The ‘ndrina Abruzzese and the ‘ndrina Forastefano, two opposing coschemob families), who had been at war with each other in the early 2000s, have now allied to take over what remains of northern Calabria up to the border with the Basilicata region.

The 44 kilometers of Calabrian coastline between the towns of Villapiana and Rossano are bloodied by a war that hardly anyone talks about, and yet is still fresh.

Cruel, cynical, archaic, harsh: this new hybrid Calabrian mob is back to shooting people in the streets, and it doesn’t spare women. In one year, two have died, bringing the number of victims in the past 24 months to 15.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

You've reach your limit of free articles.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime.

SUBSCRIBERS BENEFITS

Ad-free experience NEW

Exclusive international news coverage

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Monthly Access

30-day free trial, then $2.90 per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

The latest