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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ Truss One-Way Ticket, Wind Turbine 2.0, Rear-Ending Japan’s Oldest Loo

Le Weekend ➡️ Truss One-Way Ticket, Wind Turbine 2.0, Rear-Ending Japan’s Oldest Loo

A conservation worker accidentally reversed his car into a building which is believed to be Japan’s oldest toilet in Kyoto

October 21-22

  • Ex-USSR unrest
  • Eurovision 2023: nul points
  • Pan Solo
  • … and much more.


What do you remember from the news this week?

1. In this week’s Communist Party Congress, why was China’s Xi Jinping allowed to stand for a third consecutive term?

2. Why did an Iranian climber competing in Seoul find herself in the midst of a controversy?

3. Which country has announced it would no longer recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?

4. Which U.S. singing icon was immortalized with her very own Barbie doll? Tina Turner / Cher / Loretta Lynn

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


The announcement of UK Prime Minister Liz Truss’ resignation after just 45 days in office has sparked jibes and mockery on social media, with Irish airline Ryanair issuing her a boarding pass from “London Gatwick” to “Anywhere”. Liverpool John Lennon Airport joined in by responding: “Make sure it's non-refundable. We know what she's like.” When she officially leaves her office next week, Truss will become the shortest-serving prime minister in UK history.


• Swiss author shaves head in solidary with Iranian women: Swiss novelist Kim de l’Horizon was awarded the prestigious German Book Prize in an emotional ceremony which saw the non-binary writer shave their head in support of Iranian women.

• Da Vinci's painting travels to Louvre Abu Dhabi: Saint John the Baptist, one of Leonardo da Vinci’s last paintings, will travel from the Louvre in Paris to the United Arab Emirates’ Louvre Abu Dhabi, as part of the museum’s fifth anniversary celebrations. The painting will remain on display for two years starting Nov. 8.

• Three nations pull out of Eurovision 2023: Montenegro, North Macedonia and Bulgaria have announced their withdrawal from the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, due to the increase of the registration fees which have been affected by Russia’s ban from the contest, leaving a hole in the budget.

• BTS to serve in the military: Members of K-pop band BTS will undertake their 18-month mandatory military service in South Korea, the supergroup’s record label confirmed, with oldest member Jin starting the process at the end of the month. BTS plans to reconvene as a group around 2025.

• Japan’s oldest toilet damaged by car: A conservation worker accidentally reversed his car into a building which is believed to be Japan’s oldest toilet at the Tofukuji Temple in Kyoto, smashing through a wall of the approximately 600-year-old wooden communal latrine. The site has been closed to the public for over a century.

💥 The Simmering Conflicts Of The Post-Soviet Regions

Moscow has always considered the post-Soviet regions its zone of “privileged interests,” claiming to be the guarantor of regional stability and security. But with the war in Ukraine, it seems that Russia has lost both strength and authority. From hostilities resuming between Armenia and Azerbaijan, another coup d'état in Kyrgyzstan and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko becoming an outcast in the West, there are increasing risks that instability and simmering conflicts could converge and take a bloody turn in the region.

Read the full story: Belarus To Kazakhstan: Russia's Weakness Is A Powder Keg In Ex-Soviet Lands

🇧🇷🇦🇷 Why Brazil and Argentina need to form a strategic alliance

“It is imperative to rethink inter-state relations in South America, especially between the region's two biggest states, Brazil and Argentina. Both countries need each other in order to face today's global challenges,” write Martin Redrado and Carlos Corach in an OpEd for Buenos Aires-based daily Clarin. The former head of the Argentine central bank and former Argentine interior minister argue that Brazil and Argentina must revive a strategic alliance able to create a relevant geopolitical bloc and be able to interact with the world's chief actors. This requires both countries to undertake a new agenda in five broad areas: trade, finance, infrastructures, science and technology, and insertion in regional and global value chains.

Read the full story: Brazil And Argentina, It's Time For A Single Market

👶 Rethinking Fatherhood: The Pregnancy Journey Of A Trans Man

The idea of a man carrying a child only receives attention when it is sensationalist or entertaining. But as Iván Danilo Donato Castillo explains in independent Latin American journal Volcanicas, trans men like him who want to get pregnant face the barriers of discrimination and danger at all levels, from society to the healthcare system that is not ready to accompany a trans-masculine pregnancy. “The treatment of our identities is completely dehumanizing. They see us as the attraction at a freak show,” the activist writes.

Read the full story: So He Wanted To Get Pregnant — The Story Of A Trans Dad Ready To Give Birth


A new rooftop wind-harvesting device from Texas-based startup Aeromine Technologies is capable of generating 50% more electricity than solar panels, at the same cost. The unit also only requires about 10% of the space required by solar panels.


A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away — well actually, this week in Benicia, California, Star Wars’ beloved character Han Solo came to life as a life-sized bread sculpture. The baked work of art (a reference to a scene in the franchise's second installment The Empire Strikes Back that sees Harrison Ford frozen in carbonite), entitled Pan Solo, will enter the annual Downtown Benicia Main Street Scarecrow Contest. In 2019, the bakery had entered the same competition with an Iron Throne made of baguettes, named Game of Scones.


• Italy is expected to have a new government in place next week, with Giorgia Meloni set to become Italy’s first woman Prime Minister after her right-wing party Brothers of Italy garnered the most votes in national elections earlier this month.

• A new Iraqi government is expected to be formed after veteran political leader in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Latif Rashid officially took office as Iraq’s new president this week and designated Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as prime minister.

• The new British Prime Minister will be appointed by Oct. 28 by the Conservative Party, in the wake of Liz Truss’s resignation. Candidates have until Monday 2PM to gather the support of 100 MPs to run.

• U.S. energy envoy Amos Hochstein will travel to Beirut with a copy of the historic maritime border deal with Israel for Lebanese officials to sign. The agreement ends a decades-long conflict between the neighboring countries.

• A partial solar eclipse on Oct. 25 will be visible from most of Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and western parts of Asia.

• Happy Diwali!

News quiz answers:

1. China’s Xi Jinping is set to secure an unprecedented third term at this week’s 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, as the country removed the two-term limit on the presidency in 2018.

2. Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi found herself in the news when she took part in a competition without a hijab in Seoul. A post on her Instagram account later said her hijab had fallen off “inadvertently” during the tournament.

3. Australiahas reversed a decision taken four years ago to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying the move had undermined peace.

4. Barbie unveiled its new Tina Turner doll to mark the 40th anniversary of her hit song “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”

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*Photo: Kyoto Prefectural Board of Education

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

What Are Iran's Real Intentions? Watch What The Houthis Do Next

Three commercial ships traveling through the Red Sea were attacked by missiles launched by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels, while the U.S. Navy shot down three drones. Tensions that are linked to the ongoing war in Gaza conflict and that may serve as an indication as to Iran's wider intentions.

photo of Raisi of iran speaking in parliament

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the Iranian parliament in Tehran.

Icana News Agency via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — It’s a parallel war that has so far claimed fewer victims and attracted less public attention than the one in Gaza. Yet it increasingly poses a serious threat of escalating at any time.

This conflict playing out in the international waters of the Red Sea, a strategic maritime route, features the U.S. Navy pitted against Yemen's Houthi rebels. But the stakes go beyond the Yemeni militants — with the latter being supported by Iran, which has a hand in virtually every hotspot in the region.

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

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Houthis have been making headlines, despite Yemen’s distance from the Gaza front. Starting with missiles launched directed toward southern Israel, which were intercepted by U.S. forces. Then came attacks on ships belonging, or suspected of belonging, to Israeli interests.

On Sunday, no fewer than three commercial ships were targeted by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea. The missiles caused minor damage and no casualties. Meanwhile, three drones were intercepted and destroyed by the U.S. Navy, currently deployed in full force in the region.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for these attacks, stating their intention to block Israeli ships' passage for as long as there was war in Gaza. The ships targeted on Sunday were registered in Panama, but at least one of them was Israeli. In the days before, several other ships were attacked and an Israeli cargo ship carrying cars was seized, and is still being held in the Yemeni port of Hodeida.

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