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In The News

U.S.-Russia Prisoner Swap, Earth Overshoot Day, Meta Drop

A little boy plays next to residential containers in a registration center for refugees from Ukraine in the German northern town of Bad Segeberg
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Ćao!*

Welcome to Thursday, where the White House and the Kremlin discuss a prisoner swap, Earth Overshoot Day tells us we keep living beyond our Earth’s means, and Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta takes a $2.8-billion dip. Meanwhile, Eleonora Camilli in Italian magazine L’Essenziale focuses on how the children of immigrants are seeking a new path to obtain Italian citizenship.



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• Ukraine update: More than 20 missiles were launched over Ukraine from Belarus in the span of one hour, early in the morning. The number of victims is as of yet unknown. Although Belarus, a long-time Kremlin ally, has not entered the war with Ukraine, Russian missile launchers and warplanes have been deployed at military bases in the country, near the Ukrainian border.

• Prisoner swap between Russia & U.S.: The Biden administration has offered the Kremlin to exchange arms traffickers Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence in the U.S., for two Americans held by Russia, basketball player Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.

• Kim says North Korea ready to use nuclear force: At a Korean War anniversary ceremony, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country was ready to use its nuclear war deterrent, amid concerns that Pyongyang could soon conduct a seventh nuclear test. The last one occurred in 2017.

• Iraqi protesters storm Parliament: Hundreds of Iraqi demonstrators stormed the Parliament building in Baghdad on Wednesday to protest against the nomination of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani for prime minister by pro-Iran parties. Most of the protesters were supporters of the Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr.

• New Wuhan lockdown: About one million people living in the Jiangxia district of Wuhan, the city where the first COVID cases were recorded, have been placed under lockdown for three days following the discovery of four asymptomatic cases. This move is part of China’s drastic “zero COVID” strategy.

• Earth Overshoot Day: Today marks the day humanity has consumed all resources that the Earth can regenerate in a year, which has been dubbed “Earth Overshoot Day,” which occurred one day earlier than last year. This means people live as if we have 1.75 Earths, with 55% of our planet’s resources used to feed humanity.

• New U.S. political party: Dozens of former Republicans and Democrats have gathered to form a new centrist party called Forward, to propose an alternative to the United States’ two-party system. The party will initially be co-chaired by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and New Jersey’s former Republican governor Christine Todd Whitman.

• Spain’s positive summer body campaign: Spain’s equality ministry has launched an inclusive campaign encouraging women of all body types to enjoy the beach in spite of stereotypes. “Summer is ours too,” reads the colorful promotional poster. Social Rights Minister Ione Belarra commented: “All bodies are beach bodies.”


Filipino daily Manila Bulletin devotes its front page to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake which hit northern Luzon, the Philippines’ most populous island, killing at least five people and injuring more than 130. More than 400 homes, dozens of schools, several hospitals and bridges have been damaged.



China has reacted to NASA’s warnings that debris from a massive Chinese rocket could re-enter the atmosphere next week and hit Earth. State-backed media refuted the claims, saying it was proof of western media’s “sour grapes” (酸葡萄, pronounced Suān pútáo) mentality over the country’s rise as a space power. It is unclear at this stage where the rocket parts would fall or whether the size of the debris would present a risk to populations, were they to land in inhabited regions.



Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta reported its first-ever yearly revenue decline for the second quarter and a 36% drop in profits — meaning a loss of $2.8 billion — since the social platform became public a decade ago.


Fighting for the right to citizenship through school status

Italy is debating a new bill that would allow foreign-born students to become Italian citizens, linked to their status within Italy's school system, reports Eleonora Camilli in Italian media L’Essenziale.

🇮🇹 Children of immigrants who are born or raised in Italy could obtain Italian citizenship thanks to the Ius Scholae (or right to school), the latest bill to reform Law 91 of 1992 on the acquisition of citizenship. The bill would make it possible for children of immigrants who were born in Italy or arrived before the age of 12, and who have attended at least five years of school, to apply for Italian citizenship. After months of delays and parliamentary obstruction, the bill was scheduled for debate, which began on June 29, though not expected to move forward until after Italian national elections in late September.

🏫 Some schools have launched a mobilization drive that will continue in the coming months under the slogan #ItaliaDimmidiSì (#ItalyTellMeYes). "It is definitely good to link citizenship to the education path, because it calls on schools as an active part of society," says Natalia Vetta, a teacher at Di Donato School in Rome. "We teachers will be responsible for accompanying a process that is actually already underway in our classrooms: the children we call foreigners rightly feel they are Italian, even if they are not by right."

❌ For Zeliha Compaore, 24, the system is built to tell a section of the population that it does not really exist. Born in Burkina Faso, she arrived in Italy at the age of two. "Twenty-two years later, I am the only non-EU member of my family. My father managed to obtain citizenship when I was already 18 years old," she explains. "My parents and siblings are Italian, while I am not. And I pay for this difference every day.” These small episodes of everyday segregation, added to forms of institutional discrimination, mirror a short-sighted society for Compaore.

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✍️ Newsletter by Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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Why The World Still Needs U.S. Leadership — With An Assist From China

Twenty years of costly interventions and China's economic ascent have robbed the United States of its global supremacy. It is time for the two biggest powers to work together, to help the world.

Photograph of Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden walking side by side in the Filoli Estate in the U.S. state of California​

Nov. 15, 2023: Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden take a walk after their talks in the Filoli Estate in the U.S. state of California

María Ángela Holguín*


BOGOTÁ — The United States is facing a complex moment in its history, as it loses its privileged place in the world. Since the Second World War, it has been the world's preeminent power in economic and political terms, helping rebuild Europe after the war and through its growing economy, aiding the development of a significant part of the world.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

Its model of democracy, long considered exemplary around the world, has gone through a rough patch, thanks to excessive polarization and discord. This has cost it a good deal of its leadership, unity and authority.

How much authority does it have to chide certain countries on democracy, as it does, after such outlandish incidents as the assault on Congress in January 2021? The fights we have seen over electing a new speaker of the House of Representatives or backing the administration's foreign policy are simply incredible.

In Ukraine's case, President Biden failed to win support for the aid package for which he was hoping, even if there is a general understanding that if Russia wins this war, Europe's stability would be at risk. It would mean the victory of a longstanding enemy.

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