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In The News

Ukraine Interior Minister Killed In Helicopter Crash, Greta v. Polizei, World’s Oldest Person Dies

Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg is arrested by three policemen at a protest over the expansion of a coal mine in the Western German village of Lützerath

Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg was briefly detained by German police alongside other activists after she was arrested at a protest over the expansion of a coal mine in the Western German village of Lützerath. Thunberg was released after an identity check.

Ginevra Falciani & Inès Mermat

👋 Halo!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Ukraine’s interior minister is among 18 killed in a helicopter crash near Kyiv, the world’s oldest person dies at 118, and Greta Thunberg is briefly detained by German police. Meanwhile, London-based, Persian-language Kayhan wonders what’s behind the Iranian Supreme Leader’s repeated allusions to the end of the Shah's rule.

[*Bislama, Vanuatu]


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


• Helicopter crash near Kyiv kills Interior Minister: Ukraine's Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky died alongside his first deputy minister, his state secretary and other 15 people, including three children, in a helicopter crash in an eastern suburb of Kyiv. The cause of the crash is still being investigated.

• Philippines’ journalist Maria Ressa acquitted: Maria Ressa, a journalist in the Philippines who won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, has been acquitted of tax evasion in a case she’d described as part of a pattern of harassment by former President Rodrigo Duterte to muzzle critical reporting. If convicted of the four tax evasion charges, she would have faced 34 years in jail.

Brazil charges 39 people over riots: The office of Brazil’s prosecutor-general has presented its first charges against 39 of the several thousand people who stormed government buildings in an effort to overturn former president Jair Bolsonaro’s loss in the October election. The defendants have been charged with armed criminal association, violent attempt to subvert the democratic state of law, staging a coup and damage to public property.

• Former EU member Pier Antonio Panzeri agrees to “tell all” about Qatargate: Former European Member of Parliament Pier Antonio Panzeri held in EU-Qatargate bribery probe has agreed to reveal how the network operated, what the financial arrangements were with the countries concerned, and "the involvement of known and unknown persons” within the investigation. The plea deal, which reduced his sentence to a year in jail and the confiscation of €1m in assets was released a day after an Italian court agreed to extradite the his daughter, Silvia Panzeri, 38, on suspicion of involvement in the scandal.

• UN’s Guterres slams Big Oil for ignoring their own climate science: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres used his speech at the Davos summit to condemn the world’s energy giants for having “peddled the big lie,” about the role of fossil fuels in global warming. “Like the tobacco industry, those responsible must be held to account,” he said.

• Kazakhstan ends unlimited stay for Russians: Kazakhstan will no longer allow Russian citizens to stay in the Central Asian country indefinitely by doing so-called visa runs every three months, according to a government directive published this week. Tens of thousands of Russians, mostly young and middle-aged men, relocated to Kazakhstan last year as Moscow launched its first conscription campaign since World War II.

• World's oldest person, a French nun, dies at 118: The world’s oldest known person, a nun Lucile Randon, has died aged 118 in the southern French city of Toulon. Randon had worked as a governor and tutor before entering a convent at the age of 40. She became the world’s oldest person with last year’s death of Japan’s Kane Tanaka aged 119. It is not immediately clear who is now the oldest person on earth.


Lima-based daily Peru21 reports on the ongoing protests calling for the resignation of Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, writing that “Lima is at stake” on its front page. In recent weeks, brutal repression by public security forces killed at least 50 protesters and injured an estimated 450 people, while hundreds have been arrested. According to a poll by IEP, 71% of Peruvians disapprove of the Boluarte regime.


$2.6 million

Saudi real estate mogul Mushref al-Ghamdi paid 10 million riyals ($2.6 million) to see soccer greats Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi face off during a friendly game in Riyadh. The match will pit Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain against a team of players from Ronaldo’s new club Al Nassr and roval Saudi club Al Hilal. The proceeds of the auction will go to a national charity campaign in Saudi Arabia.


End-of-regime vibe? Supreme Leader keeps referring to Shah's final days

In recent weeks, Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, has made repeated references to the end of Iran's last regime in 1979. It may be a sign the country is indeed approaching another kind of revolution, reports Persian-language media Kayhan-London.

✊ Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered his forces to clamp down with renewed vigor on the remains of the mass protests that erupted across Iran in mid-September. Initially a reaction to police brutality, these turned into the biggest anti-state protests of the Islamic Republic's 40-year history. And they continue, in spite of thousands of arrests, more than 500 deaths on the streets and in custody, and four hangings.

🇮🇷 Khamenei makes frequent references to the monarchy that preceded this regime and Iran's last two monarchs, Reza and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. It is difficult to know whether it is because he believes he has learned the lessons of history, or to fire up images of the 1979 revolution in the minds of younger agents, militiamen and policemen who hear his speeches.

⚠️ Khamenei insists that what Iranians needed today was a "campaign of clarification" to understand that the Islamic Republic is good for them. If he is indeed comparing his predicament with that of the Shah in late 1978, he may even have contemplated unleashing an "Assad-style" massacre — which the Shah refused, preferring to leave instead. He once warned officers that the Shah was betrayed by his air force. Is he fearful of a coup or personal betrayal by military elements?

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“I think he's a little off his rocker, on a personal level.”

— A pre-trial questionnaire designed to select jurors for the civil lawsuit against Elon Musk, which opened yesterday in San Francisco, gathered public opinions of the billionaire entrepreneur. Prospective jurors deemed the billionaire "smart, successful" but also "off his rocker". Musk is being sued by Tesla shareholders who accuse him of manipulating the company’s share price.

✍️ Newsletter by Ginevra Falciani, Inès Mermat, Hugo Perrin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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food / travel

How Shaxian Snacks Went From Local Grub To Global Chain — With A Hand From Xi Jinping

In just three decades, the village of Yubang has become the cradle of one of the most popular food brands in China, under the watch of the local Communist Party and a certain governor named Xi Jinping. It now dreams of conquering the globe.

How Shaxian Snacks Went From Local Grub To Global Chain — With A Hand From Xi Jinping

Trainees learn to make Shaxian snacks at a training center in Sanming City, Fujian, China.

Jiang Kehong/Xinhua/ZUMA Press
Frédéric Schaeffer

YUBANG — Surrounded by green mountains, the village of Yubang in the coastal province of Fujian in southeast China was long isolated from the world. Until the 1980s, its few hundred inhabitants barely managed to live off the land. Their livelihood depended on whatever work they could find in the surrounding orchards, tobacco fields, or bamboo plantations.

Three decades on, once-bland Yubang and its people have lived to tell a tasty tale.

The large camphor tree planted on the square at the village entrance now sees thousands of tourists from all over China. They come here drawn by stories they've heard of Yubang's culinary specialties, but there's another compelling curiosity: a modest place President Xi Jinping visited in 2021, as advertised by the pictures of the Chinese leader broadcast in a loop on a giant screen in the main street.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

The shiniest showpiece of Yubang's transformation is a food brand that has established itself as one of the most popular in China over the course of the past 30 years. The name 'Shaxian Snacks', a nod to Shaxian district where Yubang is located, is everywhere in this village.

A one-of-a-kind entity in a world of food chains controlled by multinationals, Shaxian Snacks doesn't belong to any one company. Instead, the brand belongs to the entire community.

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