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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. Australia has 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.”

✍️ Newsletter by Worldcrunch

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*Photo: Kyoto Prefectural Board of Education

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To Tackle Hunger, Brazil Needs To Tackle Racism First

The fight against hunger should be a top priority in Brazil — provided it's addressed as a whole. And to do that, the country needs to face its structural racism issues, an issue newly-reelected President Lula da Silva vowed to tackle.

Photo of a man carrying food packages as residents of a favela in Santa Cruz, Brazil, receive aid.

Residents of a favela in Santa Cruz, Brazil, receive food packages.

Jones Manoel and Tiago Paraíba

It’s 2023, and over half of Brazil’s population is impacted by a hunger crisis. That is the shocking news from the Brazilian Research Network on Sovereignty and Food and Nutritional Security (PENSSAN).

After making strides in the first part of the 21st century, by 2020, hunger in Brazil had returned to 2004 levels. But now the problem is even worse. According to PENSSAN, 125 million Brazilians, or 58% of the country, face food insecurity, defined in various stages of severity by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, with technical “hunger” being the most severe. The number of Brazilians facing hunger has jumped from 9% to 15%, a return to 1994 levels, which corresponds to 33 million Brazilians.

This stunning step backwards has occurred in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic is not solely to blame. An economic crisis, lack of agrarian reform, inflationary effects on the cost of food, and a systematic dismantling of public policy to assist poor families have combined to make a bad situation worse. In Brazil, already one of the most unequal countries in the world, that has meant that in the past two years an additional 14 million people have found themselves dealing with hunger on a daily basis.

In the 1940s, the doctor and anti-hunger activist Josué de Castro called Brazil “a country of the geography of hunger.” In Brazilian history — from the colonial period to the development of capitalism and the formation of the Republic — high prices, deprivation, a lack of access to basic rights, and hunger have been present in the daily lives of working people. Concentration of land-ownership and wealth in the hands of a few have marked Brazil’s history.

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