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In The News

Zelensky Visits Breached Dam Area, Australia Bans Nazi Signs, Crocodile Gets Self Pregnant

Indigenous woman wearing a traditional outfit.

Indigenous people protest in front of the Brazilian Supreme Court in Brasilia during a vote that would limit indigenous peoples’ rights.

Yannick Champion-Osselin, Chloé Touchard, Marine Béguin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Сайн уу*

Welcome to Thursday, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits flood-hit Kherson, Australia announces a national ban on Nazi symbols, and a crocodile is found to have made herself pregnant. Meanwhile, we look at the increase of food counterfeiting around the world, from fake honey in Germany to Canada’s fish laundering.

[*Sain uu - Mongolian]


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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• Zelensky in Kherson region flooded after dam breach: After Tuesday's breach of the Kakhovka dam, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has visited flooded southern Kherson. Yesterday, he said it was impossible to predict how many people would die from the flooding, and criticized aid agencies for failing to help. So far, five people have been reported dead and Ukraine has evacuated 2,000 people as hundreds of thousands have been left without drinking water.

• Southern Asia’s unprecedented heatwave: Across Asia, the latest heatwave has set temperature records as climate change creates serious issues. Southeast Asia has reached once-in-200-years temperatures, with locals buffeted with 46 °C (115 °F) heat. Meanwhile in Bangladesh, frequent power cuts due to fuel shortages have worsened the heatwave’s effects, forcing schools and businesses to close.

• EU nears unified migration deal: European Union interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg are expected to approve a major deal on migration and asylum rules. The ruling would manage the reception and relocation of asylum seekers, after years of European division on the subject.

• Knife attack in France injures four children: A knife attack in a French park has left at least four young children and an adult injured, with three in critical condition. A man has been arrested following the attack in Annecy, a town in the French Alps across the border from Geneva.

• Hundreds of children rescued from Sudanese orphanage: After being trapped in an orphanage while fighting raged outside for the past six weeks, some 300 children, including infants, have been moved to a “safer location”. The al-Mayqoma orphanage’s plight made headlines as 71 of its children have died from hunger and illness since the war in Sudan began on April 15.

• Australia to ban Nazi symbols nationally: In response to a rise in far-right activity, Australia has announced it will introduce a national ban on Nazi symbols. Australians could face up to a year in prison for displaying the swastika or SS symbols in public, reinforcing state laws. The law will not cover the Nazi salute, often used by neo-nazis.

• Virgin Marygator?: The first case of a crocodile virgin birth has taken place at a zoo in Costa Rica. The crocodile became pregnant after 16 years in captivity, separated from males of her species. The fetus, which was 99.9% genetically identical to its mother, was fully formed in its egg, but stillborn. Such births, which have been found in species of birds, fish and other reptiles, might come from a trait inherited from an evolutionary ancestor, like the dinosaurs.


Canadian daily Toronto Star devotes its front page to the orange smog shrouding Canadian and U.S. cities as Canada is facing its worst wildfire season in history. Due to the harmful smoke, air quality in New York has worsened, causing the city to briefly top the list of the world’s worst air pollution.



According to data from China’s General Administration of Customs, bilateral trade between Russia and China has increased by 40.7% from January to May in 2023, compared to the same period last year, totalling more than $93.8 billion. China’s exports to Russia have also reached $42.96 billion since January 23 — a 75.6% jump compared to 2022 — making Moscow Beijing’s fastest-growing trade partner in the world. Following its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has been hit by unprecedented Western sanctions, shutting the country out of much of the global economy.


Bogus honey, olive oil remix: How fraudulent foods spread around the world

What you have on your plate isn't always what you think it is. As food counterfeiting increases in the food industry and in our daily lives, some products are more likely to be "fake," and it's up to consumers to be careful.

🍯 As German daily Die Welt notes, honey is one of the most counterfeited foods in the world. And Germany would know, as the country’s local honey production covers just one third of its consumption, which means that the rest is imported — and often of poor quality. Hence the rise of honey-like products made from glucose or other sugar syrups, containing added flavors, fillers, dyes and sugars — and possibly not even any bee honey at all.

🇮🇹 Like honey, the olive oil market is rife with food fraud. Extra virgin olive oil should mean that no product has been added during the production process — but is that always true? Forbes reports that around 80% of so-called Italian olive oil available in stores is actually not from Italy, nor made entirely out of olives. Instead, it’s often poor quality oil, a mixture of vegetable oils or oil from all over the world (often Turkey, Tunisia or Syria) — anywhere except Italy, but at the price of a 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil.

🐟 Fake fish is a rampant, illegal practice, and studies show that some fish are cheap, similar-looking species passed off as more expensive products, or sold as fresh when they’ve actually been frozen. In 2022, the Guardian Seascape looked at 44 studies on seafood in markets and restaurants in more than 30 countries and reported that, of the 9,000 samples studied, 36% were falsely labeled or otherwise fraudulent.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


“I believe that anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States.”

— Former Vice President Mike Pence, now a candidate in the 2024 presidential race, slammed former President Donald Trump for his behavior that led to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol rits. During a campaign speech in Iowa, Pence accused Trump of prioritizing his own desire for power over respect for the Constitution.

✍️ Newsletter by Yannick Champion-Osselin, Chloé Touchard, Marine Béguin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The Science Of Designing A Sanctions Model That Really Hurts Moscow

On paper, the scale of sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine is unprecedented. But opinion on the impact of sanctions remains divided in the absence of a reliable scientific foundation. A new study by Bank of Canada offers a way out.

Photo of people walking past a currency exchange rate board in Moscow on July 20.

People walking past a currency exchange rate board in Moscow on July 20.

Ekaterina Mereminskaya


The world has never seen sanctions like those imposed against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. There have been targeted sanctions, of course, or sanctions against rogue countries like North Korea with wide support from the international community. But never in history has there been such a large-scale sanctions regime against one of the world’s biggest and most important economies.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Here's the thing though: these sanctions were introduced in a hurry because the West needed to respond to the war decisively. No one calculated anything, they relied on generalizations and holistic visions, they were “groping in a dark room,” as Elina Rybakova, senior researcher at the Brussels think tank Bruegel, put it.

As a result, debates around the effectiveness of sanctions and how best to use them to influence Russia continue to do the rounds.

Supporters of sanctions have a clear and unified message: we must stop Russia from being able to continue this war. We must deprive them of the goods and technologies necessary for the production of weapons and military equipment, and prevent Russians from living normal lives.

Opponents argue that the sanctions backfire. They insist that Russia is a large enough economy, highly integrated into the energy market and international supply chains, and therefore has enough resilience to withstand restrictions. Those who impose sanctions will be the ones to lose markets and suppliers. They will face increased energy prices and countless other problems. Russia will be able to replace lost relationships with new and even stronger ties with other states.

Economists at the Bank of Canada have attempted to resolve this debate and figure out who is hit hardest by sanctions. They pieced together a model featuring three parties: a country imposing sanctions, a country against which they were imposed, and a third independent country.

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