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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ The Sarcophagus Returns, Lula’s Pen Controversy, High-Tech Heels

Le Weekend ➡️ The Sarcophagus Returns, Lula’s Pen Controversy, High-Tech Heels

Egyptian authorities announced the recovery of the “Green Sarcophagus” lid dating back nearly 2,700 years.


January 7-8

  • Putin’s 3 options
  • Iran releases actress Taraneh Alidoosti
  • Food delivery ringing in 2023
  • … and much more.


What do you remember from the news this week?

1. Who did Russia blame for a deadly Ukrainian missile strike on Makiivka that it said killed 89 servicemen?

2. U.S. Republican leader Kevin McCarthy repeatedly failed to secure enough support in the ballots to win the House of Representatives speakership. This makes it the longest contest for the position in: 64 years / 94 yeas / 164 years

3. Which holy site did Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visit this week, provoking the outrage of Palestinians and Muslims around the world?

4. Which country in Europe just switched to the euro currency? Denmark / Croatia / Poland

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


Newly-reelected Brazilian President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva was embroiled this week in a weird viral controversy that involved a German-made pen. Upon signing his official inauguration document, the leftist leader announced he would do so with a Montblanc pen that was given to him back in 1989 by a supporter from Piauí (the state where Lula received the highest percentage of votes: 76.84%). Only one problem: a Twitter accounted managed by an eagle-eyed pen specialist argued that this specific model wielded by the PT candidate only began to be manufactured in 2002 ...


• Iran frees actress Taraneh Alidoosti: Iran has released prominent actress Taraneh Alidoosti on bail, nearly three weeks after the 38-year-old star of the Oscar-winning 2016 film The Salesman was jailed for expressing solidarity with anti-government protesters. The actress had condemned the first execution of a protester while posting a picture on social media without a headscarf.

• Looted sarcophagus lid returns to Egypt: Egyptian authorities announced the recovery of the “Green Sarcophagus” lid dating back nearly 2,700 years which the country’s minister of tourism and antiquities said “was looted and smuggled from Egypt to the United States.” Over the past decade, the country has retrieved more than 29,000 antiquities that had been smuggled abroad. Meanwhile, Greek authorities and the British museum have confirmed secret talks that began more than a year ago over the return of some of the Parthenon marbles.

• 1968 Romeo and Juliet stars sue over teen nude scene: Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting who starred in Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet in 1968 filed a lawsuit against Paramount Pictures for sexual abuse over a nude scene in the movie. Underage at the time and now in their 70s, Hussey and Whiting claim the now-deceased Italian director threatened their career if they refused to do the scenes.

• Exhibition in Dubai celebrates Latif Al Ani’s photographs: A new ongoing exhibition at The Farjam Foundation in Dubai entitled “Latif Al-Ani: Documenting the Unforgettable and the Forgotten” displays the work of the Iraqi artist who photographed Iraq before the rise of Saddam Hussein, from the 1950s to 1970s, when the country was experiencing a socioeconomic boom. Latif Al-Ani, considered the “father of Iraqi photography” died in 2021 at 89.

• Rolling Stone’s 200 greatest singers of all time leave unhappy fans: Rolling Stone has released its updated 200 Greatest Singers of All Time list, with Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Sam Cooke occupying the top spots. But the list upset some fans who felt their favorite artists, including Celine Dion, Pink, Justin Bieber and Madonna, had been unfairly left out.

🇷🇺🇺🇦  All-out war, retreat or war of attrition: Putin’s options in Ukraine

It has been more than 300 days since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. The Russian president has not achieved his aim of forcing a regime change in Kyiv, and Moscow has recently suffered serious setbacks. As 2023 opens still without any notable victories against Ukrainian troops, which strategy will Putin choose?

For Pavel Lokshin, writing for German daily Die Welt, the most likely scenario is that of a war of attrition. “Behind this scenario would be Putin's calculation that his country's financial resources and the Russian people’s ability to endure hardship and loss could outlast the patience of Ukrainians and their Western allies,” the correspondent writes. Still other scenarios are not out of the question.

Read the full story: In 2023, Putin Has These Three Choices In Ukraine

🇮🇷✊ Iran, a tale of two Revolutions

The revolutionary uprising of Iranians against the Islamic Republic’s clerical regime, born in protest of police brutality and rotten governmental structures, did not fade out with the last days of 2022. And though this "revolution of minds," centered on a desire to live in a free and lawful state, unavoidably brings to mind Iran’s Revolution of 1979, its effects may differ widely.

Elahe Boghrat, editor of London-based, Persian-language outlet Kayhan, unpacks this movement's defining traits, and what this may spell for the future of the Iranian society.

Read the full story: Iran's Tale Of Two Revolutions: 1979 & 2022 (And Still Counting)

🇧🇷🌾 Hunger in Brazil has a color

For Marco Zero, a non-profit media in Recife, Brazil, Jones Manoel and Tiago Paraíba write that the face of a hungry Brazilian is most likely to be that of a black woman.

The fight against hunger should be a top priority in Brazil — provided it's addressed as a whole. To do that, the country needs to face its structural racism issues, an issue newly-reelected President Lula da Silva vowed to tackle. And Brazil still has a long way to go before a radical program to fight hunger materializes, one that is anti-racist, based on a profound agrarian reform based on agroecology and on a development model that places the preservation of nature as one of its central concerns.

Read the full story: To Tackle Hunger, Brazil Needs To Tackle Racism First


Italian company Gait-Tech has unveiled what could be a game-changer for high heels lovers: a patented biomechanical insole, made of recycled polymer, that relieves pressure on the foot metatarsal bone to provide a healthier and more stable gait when the foot is vertical in plantar flexion. In short: heels that are both elegant and not excruciatingly painful to wear!


A group of friends celebrating New Year’s Eve in India decided to order a cake last-minute from Zomato, the country’s largest food delivery company … and proceeded to invite the delivery man to their party. Judging by his big smile as he was asked to cut the cake he’d just delivered, this was a good way to ring in the new year!


• Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. President Joe Biden will hold talks at the White House on Jan. 13 to discuss North Korea, the war in Ukraine, China’s tensions with Taiwan and a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”

• Czech citizens will cast their ballot on Jan. 13 and 14 for the first round of the Czech Republic presidential election.

• After three years of tight control due to the coronavirus pandemic, borders between mainland China and Hong Kong will reopen on Sunday.

• Careful if you’re using Google Chrome with Windows versions 7, 8, or 8.1: the software will stop working from next week for these older versions.

News quiz answers:

1. After a deadly Ukrainian missile strike on Makiivka that killed at least 89 of its soldiers, Russia’s defense ministry blamed the illegal use of mobiles phones by its own troops, which “allowed the enemy to track and determine the coordinates of the soldiers' location.”

2. Republican Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become House Speaker failed repeatedly this week, due to the opposition of fellow Republicans of the far right. This has been the longest contest for the pivotal Congressional role in the last 164 years.

3. Israel’s newly installed right-wing National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound (a.k.a. Temple Mount), triggering the outrage of Palestinians who called the move an “unprecedented provocation.”

4. Croatia bade farewell to its national currency, the kuna, as it officially switched to the euro and entered Europe’s open-border Schengen zone. The change comes a decade after Zagreb joined the European Union.


The whole Worldcrunch team wishes you a very happy 2023! Watch this space for news about our petite enterprise (new features, partnerships, special offers and intros to some of the great journalists we work with.

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*Photo: @MfaEgypt via Twitter

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Hamas: Foreign Hostages Will Be Freed; First Video Of Hostage — Mideast War, Day 10

Screen shot of the video of Maya Schem, a French-Israeli hostage held by Hamas

Nir Alon/ZUMA
Emma Albright, Cameron Manley and Bertrand Hauger

Updated October 16 at 11:10 p.m.

A top Hamas spokesman appeared in a video late Monday to address the ongoing hostage situation, saying that between 200 and 250 hostages are currently being held in Gaza. Abu Obayda, the spokesman for Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the' military wing of Hamas, said that hostages with a foreign passport are "our guests," who will be protected and released when conditions on the ground permit, Times of Israel is reporting.

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