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In The News

Le Weekend: Harry Potter In Tokyo, Roman Remains, Ghana’s Smooth TikTokers

Le Weekend: Harry Potter In Tokyo, Roman Remains, Ghana’s Smooth TikTokers

A new “Harry Potter” studio tour is coming to Tokyo, Japan — one of Warner Bros’ top markets and “best areas for Harry Potter fandom.”


March 18-19

  • Georgia on Moscow’s mind
  • Tarantino’s final movie
  • Parks & rec logo fail
  • … and much more.


What do you remember from the news this week?

1. Over what body of water did a Russian fighter jet collide with a U.S. drone?

2. Protests rocked Pakistan after whose attempted arrest?

3. How much did Europe’s biggest bank HSBC pay for SVB's UK arm, after its collapse? £1 / £100 million / £1 billion

4. What snazzy feature did NASA unveil this week for its upcoming moon mission?

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


Companies or institutions’ logos usually follow the same rules: a design that is simple and recognizable, yet memorable. But that doesn’t prevent some misunderstanding, as the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has experienced. In a rather irritated tweet that went viral, the U.S. Department, which is responsible for managing Oklahoma's fish and wildlife resources and habitat, voiced its tiredness of people who think its logo represents a bearded man wearing an orange hat (instead of a deer, a bass and a bird.) This led other companies to react, only for them to get their own logos roasted by the ODWC, which for instance, called the PBS logo a “sneezing bald dude.”


• Remains of Roman aristocrat identified in northern England: In what they called a “once in a lifetime” find, archaeologists have identified the skeletal remains of a high-status woman, believed to be more than 1,000 years old, after they were unearthed in a lead coffin in a previously unknown cemetery in northern England last year. The remains of 62 people were also dug up, potentially helping archaeologists understand more about “the development of ancient Britain and Yorkshire.”

In memoriam: U.S. Olympic high jump champion Dick Fosbury, who revolutionized the sport with his “Fosbury Flop” jumping technique, has died aged 76. In the UK, celebrated sculptor Phyllida Barlow, known for her colossal sculptures using everyday materials, has passed away at the age of 78. Meanwhile, South Africa has mourned the death of 28-year-old rapper Costa Titch who collapsed on stage while he was performing at a concert in a Johannesburg suburb. An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of death.

• Harry Potter headed to Tokyo: A new “Harry Potter” studio tour is coming to Tokyo, Japan — one of Warner Bros’ top markets and “best areas for Harry Potter fandom,” which the company hopes could attract fans from the Asia Pacific region. Expected to launch this summer, the experience will allow fans to explore the movies’ sets and see original props and costumes, just like Warner Bros’ existing London tour.

• Tarantino’s final movie reported to be about critic Pauline Kael: The Hollywood Reporter has unveiled the name of the script of Quentin Tarantino’s 10th movie, which the 59-year-old director has said will be his final film: The Movie Critic. Sources have described the story as being set in late 1970s Los Angeles with a female lead. The magazine speculates the film may be based on the life of noted film critic Pauline Kael, who Tarantino has previously described as “the professor in the film school of my mind.”

• As U.S. vinyl sales outstrip CDs, Metallica buys own factory: American metal band Metallica has purchased the Alexandria, Virginia-based Furnace Record Pressing to keep up with the demand for its vinyl records, as vinyl unit sales outperformed CDs in the U.S. last year for the first time since 1987. Despite not releasing any new music in 2022, Metallica sold more than 386,000 vinyl records — the sixth highest-selling-on-vinyl act in the country that year.

🇬🇪 What the Georgia protests mean for the future of Europe

Protests erupted in Georgia last week over the government's efforts to adopt a “foreign agents” law, a Russian-inspired measure which would require NGOs and independent media who receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad to declare themselves as foreign agents. Writing for Italian daily La Stampa, Georgia-born political scientist Nona Mikhelidze explains why the events have put Moscow on edge.

Read the full story: Red Flags, Blue Flags: Why The Georgia Uprising Makes Moscow So Nervous

🇹🇷 Turkey is trying to rebuild: from the earthquake and Erdogan’s politics

Turkey heads to the polls in May, with a newly formed opposition bloc hoping to dislodge President Tayyip Recep Erdogan. Despite some party infighting, many remain hopeful they can bring an end to Erdogan's 20 years in power. But first, clarity from within a complicated coalition is needed. Bekir Ağırdır writes for Turkish paper Oksijen about Turkey’s struggle of trying to build a bonafide democracy.

Read the full story: How Turkey's Jumbled Opposition Bloc Can Take Erdogan Down

🇱🇧 Beirut explosion seen through different eyes

Lebanese citizens around the world are connecting in new ways, thanks to the internet and social media. Renate Mattar for Worldcrunch explains how she recalls the massive explosion in the port of Beirut and how it triggered something altogether different.

Read the full story: Beirut Blast And Us: A New Generation Of The Lebanese Diaspora Finds Its Voice


Alan Grant, 70, a retired engineer from New Zealand, just unveiled the Bo Barrow, a project he spent three years developing: using parts of old mountain bikes, Grant has created an easy-to-use wheeled carrier — ideal for carrying hunting gear, or for anyone who would need to relieve their backs and shoulders.


A group of young Ghanaians gained wide acclaim after showing off their slick dance moves on TikTok, giving off "after church vibes" — and general feel-good energy.


• Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to Russia to meet his counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday and Tuesday, the Chinese government confirmed, as Beijing has been offering to broker peace in Ukraine. Xi also plans to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time since the start of the war.

• Rail traffic will resume "gradually" in Greece beginning on March 22 as the country reels from a Feb. 28 train crash which killed 57 people and injured scores. Rail unions have held rolling strikes to protest the management of train service and poor safety measures.

Denmark is set to host the Copenhagen Climate Ministerial this week. The high-level meeting of climate leaders and ministers from around the world aims to push for climate action and in preparation of the COP28 in the United Arab Emirates in December.

News quiz answers:

1. Black Sea The Pentagon has released a de-classified video showing Russia's intercept of a U.S. military surveillance drone downed over the Black Sea two days ago.

2. In response to the attempted arrest of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, his party has called for nationwide protests that sparked violent clashes between Khan supporters and police forces, notably in Lahore.

3. HSBC has stepped in to purchase the UK arm of collapsed tech startup lender Silicon Valley bank, paying just £1 in a deal that excludes assets and liabilities.

4. NASA has unveiled the first prototype for its next-generation spacesuit specially tailored and accessorized for the first astronauts expected to go back to the Moon’s surface in the coming years.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Return At Your Own Risk: Gazans Stranded In Egypt Use Ceasefire To Go Back Home

Having been stuck outside their besieged homeland, hundreds of Palestinians have reentered Gaza, preferring to risk it all to be close to loved ones.

Photo of a Palestinian woman waiting to cross into Gaza from the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing

A Palestinian woman waits to cross into Gaza from the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing during the ceasefire

Elias Kassem

RAFAH — Like most Palestinians elsewhere in the world, Marwan Abu Taha has spent the past seven weeks glued to his phone screen, anxiously following the news in Gaza and talking with family in the besieged enclave.

But unlike others, Abu Taha was also desperately trying to get back inside Gaza.

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

The father of four, among several thousand Palestinians stranded in Egypt since the war broke out, was allowed to cross back into Gaza on Saturday amid the current, temporary ceasefire.

“It’s a risk,” Abu Taha said over the phone from his home in Gaza’s central town of Deir Al Balah. “But I wanted to come back to be with my children.”

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