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In The News

Ukraine-Russia Prisoner Swap, UN Condemns Jenin Raid, “Out Of Control” Heat

Ukraine-Russia Prisoner Swap, UN Condemns Jenin Raid, “Out Of Control” Heat

People walking in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district as temperatures are on the rise in the Japanese capital and the world is experiencing its hottest week on record.

Valeria Berghinz, Yannick Champion-Osselin and Michelle Courtois

👋 ආයුබෝවන්*

Welcome to Friday, where Ukraine and Russia agree to a prisoner exchange, at least two Palestinian men are killed in an Israeli raid in the city of Nablus, and it really is getting hot in here. Meanwhile, Spanish monthly newspaper La Marea looks at the Wagner group’s formula for cashing in on ongoing conflicts, particularly in Africa.

[*Ayubōvan - Sinhala, Sri Lanka]


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.

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• Russia-Ukraine prisoner exchange, U.S. commits to cluster bombs for Kyiv: 45 soldiers per warring side will be returned home following Thursday’s announcement of a Russian-Ukrainian prisoner exchange. This came one day after Ukrainian forces launched a coordinated missile attack on the “entire Russian front” as part of counteroffensive efforts. Also, the U.S. confirmed it will include controversial cluster bombs as part of a new military aid package to Kyiv.

• Israeli raid kills two Palestinians, UN condemns Jenin camp assault: At least two Palestinian men were killed and three others injured this morning in an Israeli raid in the city of Nablus, as the UN issued a public condemnation of the excessive force used during Israel’s raid this week of the Jenin refugee camp.

• Diphtheria outbreak in Nigeria, malaria vaccine to be rolled out to 12 African countries: Nigerian health authorities announce outbreak of highly contagious diphtheria in the country’s capital following the death of a 4-year-old. Meanwhile, 18 million doses of “safe and effective” malaria vaccine are scheduled to be released to 12 African countries, with 16 others requesting access.

• At least 951 people have died this year trying to reach Spain: According to Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras, in the first six months of 2023 at least 951 people have died trying to reach Spain — an average of five people lose their lives everyday, a new report by the monitoring group revealed.

• Retirement home fire leaves six dead in Milan: Six people have died and 81 more are hospitalized with injuries this morning after a retirement home in Milan caught fire. The facility housed 167 people, and those saved were rescued “almost one by one by the arm.”

• Climate change “out of control” says UN, as hottest week on record follows hottest month: Climate change is “out of control,” declared UN Secretary General António Guterres as unofficial data finds that this week’s average world temperature has been the highest on record. After the record breaking Monday and Tuesday temperatures, estimates for the rest of the week remain unvalidated — but researchers warn that “the month of July will be the warmest ever.”

• Recently discovered Rembrandt portraits sell for $14.2 million: An anonymous buyer will pay $14.2 million for two Rembrandt paintings, which had been recently discovered in a private collection. Signed and dated 1635, the two portraits of an elderly couple related to the Dutch master sold Thursday night at a Christie’s auction in London.


The Belgian daily De Morgen dedicates its front page to the new warfare taking place in Ukraine. “High in the sky, drones determine the course of war” runs the headline, as the flying engines fight in the sky and strike civilian targets and military units on the ground. A recent British report estimated that the Ukrainian army is now losing 10,000 drones a month on the battlefield.



The Brazilian government has reported that deforestation in the Amazon has fallen by 33.6% compared to the same period in 2022. When he took power in January, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva pledged to end deforestation by 2030. In his first six months, the rainforest shrank by 2,649 sq km — less than last year's 3,988 sq km in six months under ex-President Bolsonaro. As the largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is critical in the global fight against climate change — and 60% of it is in Brazil.


Prigozhin's profit model: How Wagner cashes in on the non-stop business of war

The Wagner mercenaries, who came to the world's attention for their involvement in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and more recently in the coup attempt, have been operating in Africa and elsewhere for years with a profitable formula to cash in on ongoing conflict, reports Sergio Pascual in Spanish monthly newspaper La Marea.

🇷🇺 Enrica Picco, the Central Africa Director at the International Crisis Group, says that for groups like Wagner, Africa "would represent a huge market opportunity, as many Russian soldiers refuse to fight in scenarios like Ukraine." Journalist Alain Nzilo also agrees that there are African mercenaries among the Wagner troops: "Those who say that there are no Africans among Wagner's men are very mistaken."

💰 Where does the money come from to finance these private armies? In the case of Wagner and other companies, payment is shared between the contracting company and the state requesting their services. "Authoritarian regimes that, in order to consolidate their power, need a security provider, and that's when they call (the mercenaries)" continues the Central Africa expert.

🌍 Mercenaries "go where there is an opportunity," emphasizes Picco, who observes how the increasing presence of military companies like Wagner and their agreements with different African countries "is replacing multilateralism." This strategy, she argues, is based on Russia's discourse of "new pan-Africanism" where each country "is free to choose its security ally and free itself from former colonies," according to the researcher from the International Crisis Group.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“Competition is fine, cheating is not.”

— Tech billionaire and Twitter CEO Elon Musk has commented on the similarities between his platform and Threads, the conversation-based app launched by Meta earlier this week. Musk claims that there was “cheating” involved regarding the look-and-feel of Threads, deemed similar to Twitter. Meanwhile, Meta denied claims in a legal letter that ex-Twitter staff helped create Threads. As U.S. copyright laws do not protect ideas, Musk would have to prove direct intellectual property theft, such as programming or coding. More than 30 million people have downloaded the new Threads app within a day, a user base that took Twitter four years to build.

✍️ Newsletter by Valeria Berghinz, Yannick Champion-Osselin, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Michelle Courtois

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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