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La Croix ("The Cross") is a French-language Roman Catholic daily. It was founded in 1880 and is headquartered in Paris. It is currently owned by French publisher company Bayard Presse. Although it covers Church issues closely, it mainly focuses on topics of general interest.
Macron, Part Deux: France And The World React In 22 Front Pages

Macron, Part Deux: France And The World React In 22 Front Pages

Newspapers in France and around the world are devoting their Monday front pages to Emmanuel Macron's reelection as French president.

Emmanuel Macron won a second term as president of France, beating far-right leader Marine Le Pen by a wide 58.5-41.5% margin ... oui, mais.

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Swedish police officers walk towards a cordoned-off scene in Gothenburg, after the Sept. 28 explosion at a multi-family complex
Carl Karlsson

Nordic Mob? Why Organized Crime Is Exploding In Sweden

While remaining a remarkably safe country, Sweden is facing a recent surge of gang crimes that worries authorities, including a bombing in Gothenburg on Sep. 28th that injured more than 20. The fact that these family-based networks often have roots in North Africa and the Middle East is fueling criticism about the country's immigration policies.

Is this Sweden … or Sicily?

An explosion in a multi-family complex in the western Swedish city of Gothenburg on Tuesday has sparked a national debate over harsher punishment for organized crime.

The blast that left four people seriously injured and more than 20 hospitalized is still under police investigation. It is the latest in a series of explosions around Sweden linked to gang and mob violence; bombings in particular have increased dramatically in the last years, recalling the Mafia's campaign of violence on the Italian island of Sicily in the 1980s and 1990s.

From 2014, such targeted explosions in Sweden have risen from a handful to 107 in 2020 — the sharpest increase in any European country. Meanwhile, gun-related violence is on the rise too, with 366 confirmed shootings in 2020, claiming 47 lives, as daily Svenska Dagbladet reports. Today, lethal gun-violence in Sweden is almost three times higher than the per-capita European average, while the country's year-by-year increase is by far the continent's highest.

A wave of crime that sparked anti-terror debate

While overall crime levels in Sweden remain low, and homicide rates have fallen since the 1990s, it is particularly gang-related violence that worries authorities. A police report last year mapped out 36 different "clans" in major Swedish cities, tracking these family-based networks that often have roots in North Africa and the Middle East. These organizations engage in extortion and drug trafficking, fight each other over turf, and often have ties to other criminal outfits such as motorcycle clubs.

The crime wave has sparked a debate over extending the current anti-terrorism laws to also cover organized crime, which would grant courts the right to convict members of criminal groups even if no crime has yet been committed. Such a move in heavily unionized Sweden is particularly controversial as the country's welfare state was built on the right to association and organization.

In 2019, a government proposal for an extended anti-terror law was quashed after it was deemed incompatible with Sweden's constitutional freedom of association.

Criminal groupings represent a very small fraction of Swedish migrants.

Still, the Swedish government has recently proposed the largest-ever reform of the country's criminal code, including expanded surveillance rights, harsher sentences for organized crime and threatening witnesses, as well as a plan to add 10,000 police officers by 2024.

While some of the legal changes have already been implemented, Sweden's center-right opposition expresses doubts as to whether the measures proposed will be enough to curb the spread of violence, suggesting harsher action like deportation of non-Swedish citizens found guilty of committing crimes.

Photo of people looking at candles and flowers at a vigil in memory memorial of victims of a gang shootout in Norsborg, Sweden, in August 2020

A memorial for victims of a gang shootout in Norsborg, Sweden, in August 2020

Ali Lorestani / Tt/TT/ ZUMA

Tougher new laws in Germany and France

The rise in violence has also given ammunition to those opposed to the government's decision in 2015 to accept more refugees per capita than any other country — with 163,000 people applying for asylum that year. However, evidence points to the fact that these clan networks have been present in Sweden for decades, while some members have arrived more recently to give support to their respective clans in local conflicts or to expand the criminal network. It's also worth noting that criminal groupings represent a very small fraction of Swedish migrants. Between 2015 and 2018, only 8% of migrants born abroad were suspected of crime; and for second-generation migrants — with parents born in Sweden — the number was 3%, according to a government report cited in Dagens Nyheter.

The opposition has also pointed to other European countries that have introduced tougher anti-terror legislation in the last decade. Germany passed a law in 2015 that made it a crime to travel outside the country with the intent to receive terrorist training. More recently, France adopted new legislation in July that reinforces anti-terrorism and intelligence-gathering legislation by incorporating emergency regulations into regular law.

It remains to be seen if Sweden follows suit. And while the country's recent wave of violence resembles gang warfare more than ideological or religious terrorism, experts note that the criminal networks often operate in similar ways — and eventually can be dismantled in the same way too.

Visiting Santa in the coronavirus-era
Anne Sophie Goninet

The World Prepares For A Very Different Kind Of Christmas

After a year that's been as trying as it is troubling, the holidays are finally upon us, and for many there's a temptation to treat the upcoming festivities as a welcome catharsis. But for governments, this "most wonderful time of the year" represents a real conundrum: How to allow for some much-needed Yuletide joy while at the same time, taking steps to keep the New Year from beginning with a new surge of coronavirus cases.

Christmas bubbles: The UK will also allow people to gather, but only for five days, between Dec. 23-27, with a larger window for Northern Ireland to give more time to people to travel between the nations.

  • This "Christmas bubble" should not include people from more than three different households, the government guidelines read, adding that one person can only be in one such group and cannot change afterwards.

  • "A fixed bubble is a sensible and proportionate way to balance the desire to spend time with others over the Christmas period, while limiting the risk of spreading infection," the government says.

  • The guidelines also recommend that UK citizens celebrate Christmas in other ways — digitally, for instance, or by meeting outdoors.

A "moral contract": In Canada, the government of Québec announced an even narrower opening in the calendar for Christmas celebrations: Dec. 24-27, Radio Canada reports, with gatherings limited to 10 people maximum.

  • Prime Minister François Legault has asked Quebecers to limit themselves to two different family or friends gatherings, adding that this "moral contract" between citizens and the government also included a week of quarantine before and after these four days, to limit the risk of contagion in January.

A results-based approach: In Austria, authorities are so far taking a wait-and-see approach to the Christmas question. Easing restrictions is a possibility, but it depends — on the results of a massive voluntary testing campaign that began at the start of December.

  • Once it has the data in hand, the government will decide how and when to lift the national lockdown, which is so far set to end on Dec. 7.

  • The government has ordered at least 7 million antigen tests, which will first be used for teachers and police officers as well as citizens in areas with high infection rates.

Christmas tree baubles wearing face masks on display in a Russian factory — Photo: Andrei Samsonov/TASS via ZUMA Press

Santa's out-of-work helpers: Finland, world famous for its Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Lapland, has imposed strict travel restrictions for foreigners

  • Citizens from all European destinations other than the Vatican are currently subjected to a 10-day self-quarantine when entering the country. Either that, or they have to submit a negative coronavirus test certificate that is less than 72 hours old at the time of arrival, but which will only allow them to stay for a maximum of three days if they don't self-isolate.

  • Clearly, though, the restrictions are a blow to the country's winter tourism industry, which relies heavily on overseas visitors. "For the period mid-March 2020 to March 2021 we estimate around 700 million euros in tourism revenue loss and 5,000 fewer tourism-related jobs in Lapland," Sanna Kärkkäinen, CEO of Visit Rovaniemi, told Yle. The region is trying to attract domestic tourists, but tourism promoters believe this will not be enough to compensate for the huge losses.

  • The Finnish Parliament's Constitutional Law Committee has recently rejected a proposed testing-based model to allow visitors to enter the country for non-essential purposes, frustrating winter tourism businesses even more.

Prudence in Palestine: For obvious reasons, Bethlehem — Jesus Christ's birthplace — is usually buzzing with activity at this time of year. But with international pilgrims banned, and restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops closed, Christmas celebrations in the Palestine city will be noticeably subdued this time around.

  • The famed Christmas tree lighting service will be limited to just 15 guests, while the Midnight Mass, normally attended by religious leaders and hundreds of pilgrims, will be scaled back. The event will be broadcast live for the general public.

  • The Palestinian Authority has imposed a new nighttime lockdown from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., which could be extended through Christmas if the number of infections continue to surge.

"Reinventing Christmas," titles French daily La Croix

Silent nights: Catholic church officials in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, have announced Christmas carol activities will be banned, The Philippine News Agency reports.

  • Churches were asked not to organize carolings in order to "protect the public and the choir members' as according to experts, the virus could easily spread through singing, officials say.

  • Christmas carols are an important part of the holiday traditions in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country which celebrates the world's longest Christmas season, from Sept. 1 to New Year's Eve.

New rules for Saint Nick: In Belgium, children eagerly await the arrival, on Dec. 6, of the gift-giving Saint Nicholas. But because the country is one of the hardest hit in Europe, the government decided this year to offer something to Saint Nicholas in return: a letter containing recommendations, the daily Le Soir reports, for keeping things fun but also safe:

  • "We can reassure you, you will not have to run from roof to roof in a spacesuit. However, we advise you to respect social distancing, wash your hands regularly and wear a mask when necessary," the guidelines read.

  • The letter also states that thanks to a ministerial ruling, Saint Nicholas will be allowed to distribute presents at night despite the curfew. The same permission was granted to "Père Fouettard," a companion of Saint Nicholas, who punishes naughty children. The letter adds, however, that "Every child is a hero and for once, you will not have to check your big notebook to see who was nice this year."

A woman in Hong Kong distributes copies of the Epoch Times
U.S. Election 2020 - Views From Abroad
Carl-Johan Karlsson

Trump Or Biden? What's At Stake For The Rest Of The World

From security and trade to COVID and climate change, the candidates differ on nearly every global topic. On Nov. 3, the world will be holding its collective breath.

PARIS — The weight of the U.S. on the rest of the world is worth remembering every presidential election cycle. And this year, the difference is particularly stark between the two candidates on everything from global trade to climate policy to cooperation on fighting COVID-19 — not to mention war and peace.

In the contrasting choice between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Americans will choose who will govern a country that still has unrivaled global influence, with a fundamental choice between engagement or retreat — and whether America is ready or not to abdicate its role as singular world leader.

We've put together a rapid tour du monde to compare what a Democratic or Republican win would mean in the years ahead:

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Lavatories for people to wash their hands on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

Lockdowns, Crackdowns, Diaspora: COVID-19 Seen From Africa

When Lesotho recently discovered its first coronavirus case, it marked the arrival of the pandemic in every country in Africa. Already, 70,000 people have been infected across the continent and the World Health Organisation warns of upwards of 190,000 deaths in Africa this year from COVID-19. The economic impacts are also forecast to be devastating: The World Bank estimated 20 million jobs will be lost in 2020, and as other health issues are pushed to the side, a "hunger pandemic" could follow.

Still, there is hope that Africa might actually wind up relatively well-protected from the pandemic. It is the world's youngest continent, with 60% of the population under age 25, a group that is less susceptible to coronavirus's deadliest impacts. Many African countries have also become accustomed to handling diseases including Ebola, HIV/AIDS and malaria. But a lack of more developed health care systems combined with the difficulty of social distancing in crowded urban centers and multigenerational households might prove to be a lethal combination. Here's how three countries across the continent are tackling the pandemic.

Morocco, Shutdowns & Crackdowns: Since mid-March, the North African kingdom has enforced strict containment measures that have limited the spread of coronavirus. Although, the heavy police surveillance and arrests of more than 85,000 violators has created what one UN operational officer described to Le Monde as a "culture of toxic lockdown" for human rights. Starting during Ramadan, the country has deployed drones to monitor potential social distancing violations and share alert messages. Morocco has also used the pandemic as an excuse to crack down on the limited rights of NGOs and independent journalists, with a drafted March law calling for increased restrictions on free speech, La Croix reports. On the positive side, the country is producing its own innovative PPE: It became an exporter of masks within a few weeks and a group of engineers and computer scientists created a prototype for a smart respirator that can tell if the user is sick. The Moroccan news outlet Yabiladi even reported that more Moroccans in the global diaspora have died of coronavirus than in the country itself. Aid packages have been created for both formal and informal workers, with the government distributing a basic income of around 100 euros a month. But the country's sub-Saharan migrant population has largely been forgotten, with at least 20,000 people facing an humanitarian emergency.

A health worker disinfects a building in the countryside of Sale in Morocco — Photo: Chadi/Xinhua/ZUMA

Nigeria, Oil Fallout & Covid-19 Humor: Despite an increasing number of coronavirus cases, Africa's largest economy is beginning to reopen, with the hope that informal and formal sectors will pick up again. Less than 20,000 people have been tested and social distancing measures including wearing masks and overnight curfews are still in place. While only 10 coronavirus deaths were reported in April, that number is expected to grow exponentially. Over 600 people have reportedly died in the northern state of Kano, raising suspicions of a widespread outbreak. Economically, Nigeria" dependence on its oil industry in lieu of more diversified development has proven fatal with prices collapsing. The country is set to enter its second recession in four years. With schools having been closed since March, remote learning is largely nonexistent, with only one in four Nigerians having internet access. But education is continuing: Nigerian filmmaker Niyi Akinmolayan released an animated video to teach kids about the importance of staying inside and comedians are creating humorous sketches to inform the public.

Ethiopia, Diaspora & Democracy: Plagues of locusts and the coronavirus might prove a deadly combination for Africa's second most populous country. Although only 250 cases have been reported, a coronavirus outbreak in Ethiopia could be devastating, with a ratio of only one doctor per every 10,000 people, according to the World Bank. The country's only ventilator expert is trying to train as many medical professionals as possible. The many Ethiopian doctors who are now working around the world, including in pandemic hotspots like New York City, are also calling into a popular weekly radio show to share their experiences. They provide medical tips and advice on acquiring PPE as well as combat widespread superstitions in the religious country that God will save them from illness. Those with resources including pop star Hamelmal Abate donated their homes to be used as quarantine centers in Addis Ababa. Politically, the country might be gearing up for government upheaval, having decided to indefinitely postpone the August presidential election and its parliament ending its five-year term in October.

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Just hold still...
Rozena Crossman

Coronavirus Nightmares, Metaphorical And Otherwise

French super chef Philippe Etchebest was simply describing reality when he called coronavirus a "national nightmare" in a recent article published by La Croix. He was referring specifically to France's shutdown restaurant owners and workers, but the metaphor can also describe the collective, surreal sense of uncertainty and fear currently permeating the world's subconscious like a bad dream come true.

Yet to call this global pandemic a nightmare isn't merely figurative. Quartz reports that Google searches for "coronavirus dreams' have shot up in the past weeks, and Le Monde invited Marc Rey, the president of France's National Institute of Sleep and Vigilance to answer readers' questions about troubled slumber. Yes, people all over the world are reporting increased nightmares as life under COVID-19 continues.

Of course, it is hardly surprising that the heightened anxiety of quarantine, health worries and a deeply uncertain future are having a serious impact on our slumber. Stress not only causes more nightmares, but more nightime wake ups — which means we're remembering more of our dreams. The continuing shutdown and social isolation multiply the effects, according to Courtney Bolstad, a sleep researcher interviewed by Time magazine: "Social rhythm theory says that the rhythms we have during the day, what time we get up, whether we see our friends, can influence our circadian rhythm," she explained. "If you aren't doing the things you typically do during the day, that could mess with your circadian rhythm which could mess with your sleep."

This doesn't necessarily mean that we'll be tossing and turning for months to come. "We're confined. It's violent. But confinement situations exist independantly of the epidemic," Marc Rey reminded Le Monde's readers. "In monastaries, in submarines, in space stations … If others can adapt to this confinement situation, we should be able to as well." Keeping a regular schedule, doing gentle exercise, practicing breathing techniques— there are many habits we can learn to regain a more peaceful rest. And it's in our best interest, as not only does sleep boost the immune system, it can alleviate stress and trauma.

So let's all do our best to dream of brighter days to come, and maybe even a night out at a Philippe Etchebest Michelin-star restaurant.

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Passengers line up to enter the Wuhan Railway Station in Wuhan on Wednesday.

Coronavirus — Global Brief: What Happens In Wuhan Matters In Wichita

The insidious path of COVID-19 across the planet is a blunt reminder of how small the world has become. For the coming weeks, Worldcrunch will be delivering daily updates on this crisis from the best, most trusted international news sources — regardless of language or geography. To receive the daily Coronavirus Global Brief in your inbox, sign up here.


And 76 days later…

It was Jan. 23, 2020 when the central Chinese city of Wuhan was cut off from the rest of the world, as government authorities took action to severely restrict people's movements at the epicenter of what was then just the beginning of the burgeoning coronavirus outbreak. On Wednesday, the two-and-a-half-month ban on travel was lifted, ending the world's longest mass quarantine in memory.

That, of course, leaves much time for the rest of the world to count the days shut inside our own homes and cities. But even as each of us monitors our respective local situation, we will all be watching Wuhan closely to see what happens after its landmark "liberation" from coronavirus lockdown.

The international criticism for what were considered draconian measures in Wuhan are no doubt seen in a new light as other countries are now enforcing lockdowns of their own. And now, we will see another real-world experiment as restrictions are eased, providing precious data: to epidemiologists on the resurgence of cases, to economists on how quickly businesses can bounce back, and to all of us on how much it will take to get back to normal after weeks or months in isolation.

There is certainly a lot to learn from the Wuhan example, even if containment measures in different countries have varied widely. In China, the virus has been contained by forcing anyone with a fever and people who had been in close contact with someone believed to be infected into "centralized quarantine." This means that thousands of people were taken from their homes and placed in converted hotels, dorms and classrooms in order to stop transmission, even among family members at home. This has not been the case in most Western countries, where authorities have sought to keep people out of hospitals unless their cases are severe and advised people with symptoms to self-isolate at home.

All this to say that what happens in Wuhan won't necessarily determine what will happen in the rest of the world. If the resurgence of cases depends on how much immunity is already in the population, as some epidemiologists claim, China's efficient containment might eventually prove to be a weak spot. So, even as we count the days, there will be plenty of other data to calculate as well.

Michaela Kozminova


  • Wuhan reopens: Coronavirus lockdown ends after 76 days in the central Chinese city where it was believed to have begun.

  • Toll: Deaths pass 10,000 in France, as the U.S. records highest death toll in a single day with more than 1,800 fatalities, 731 in New York state alone.

  • Europe blocked: Talks of European Union recovery fund to help southern countries, especially Italy and Spain, have stalled after 16 hours, leading the head of the European Research Council to resign, "extremely disappointed by the European response".

  • Polish vote: parliament approves legislation to allow presidential elections in May to be held as a postal ballot.

  • Pyongyang tests: In North Korea, 709 people have been tested and 509 are in quarantine, according to a WHO representative, but the country still reports no cases.

  • Where's El Señor Presidente? Even as Nicaragua continues to promote gatherings and mass events, while President Daniel Ortega has been absent for almost a month.

  • RIP Prine: U.S. raspy-voiced country icon John Prine dies from coronavirus complications in Nashville at age 73.

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Migrant workers and their family members walking towards Laxmi nagar train station leaving India's capital for their villages, during the nationwide lock down.

COVID-19: What's Happening To Migrants Around The World

Governments everywhere are telling residents to stay put, but their policies regarding some of the most vulnerable members of society raise a whole new series of risks.

PARIS — At a time when a third of the world is immobile, what happens to those who move by definition? Both domestic and foreign-born migrants, who have long struggled to find stability and security, are now even more vulnerable in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak and strict measures to limit movement. As governments scramble to create financial packages and deliver aid, some migrant groups are left further exposed, even as others are likely to benefit from new emergency measures:

  • Internal migrant workers in India are trekking back to their countryside origins — walking as far as 170 kilometers — because of the nationwide shutdown. "Hunger will kill us before the coronavirus," one migrant told Delhi-based The Wire.

  • Lisbon news site Observador reports that Portugal is granting temporary citizenship to all foreign migrants and asylum seekers currently applying for residency. They will remain citizens until at least July 1st. All visas that expired after February 24th are now valid until June 30th. The move ensures that all residents will have access to healthcare and social security, two crucial components to fight the virus.

  • In France, meanwhile, it's a mixed bag. Like Portugal, legal residents with expiring visas have been granted an extension. Yet many of those undocumented migrants gathered in the northern city of Calais say they've experienced food shortages and police brutality, and are so fearful of French authorities that they're attempting to make a dangerous run for the UK instead, the Guardian reports. The lockdown has also put the administrative procedures of asylum on hold, which means many risk sudden expulsion. According to a French immigration lawyer interviewed by the La Croix daily: "Asylum is a fundamental right, and I don't think there's ever been an asylum suspended in such a way since the Geneva Convention."

  • Italy, the hardest country so far, has been facing tough immigrant questions for the past two decades. This reportage in Internazionale notes that the spring harvest is at risk because 370,000 seasonal workers — mainly from Romania, Bulgaria and Poland – have been blocked from entering the country.

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Watching Notre Dame burn on April 15
Olivia Han

Notre Dame On Fire, 25 Front Pages From Around The World

PARIS — Firefighters said early Tuesday that they'd extinguished the final flames of the massive Notre Dame cathedral fire that began shortly before 7 p.m. local time Monday. Authorities say the cause of the fire may be "potentially linked" to ongoing renovations. The images of a blaze engulfing one of history's most iconic sights, which draws some 13 million visitors a year, captivated much of the world. Newspapers in France and around the world Tuesday dedicated their front pages to the drama in the heart of Paris.



Le Figaro

La Croix

Le Télégramme

Sud Ouest

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Trump announces his decision to scrap the Iran nuclear deal

Trump's Iran Gambit And Europe's View Of History

PARIS — "Remember the Eighth of May. History may recall it as the day the United States abandoned its belief in allies." Edward Luce's opening sentence in a scathing column penned Wednesday for the Financial Times is probably as close as anybody can get to capturing the European spirit following Donald Trump's announcement that he is withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA).

In a similar vein, Le Monde editorialist Sylvie Kauffmann characterizes Trump's move as a "fragmentation bomb" that not only dashes hopes of achieving peace and stability in the Middle East but "also torpedoes his European allies and, behind them, the international liberal order." For German journalists Clemens Wergin and Daniel-Dylan Böhmer with Die Welt, Trump's announcement is "a slap in the face for Europe."

The EU's chief diplomat, Federica Mogherini, who helped finalize the deal back in 2015, said Brussels was "determined to preserve it," and the leaders of Britain, Germany and France quickly released a joint statement Tuesday in which they "urge the U.S. to ensure that the structures of the JCPOA can remain intact and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal."

Milan daily Corriere della Sera — May 9, 2018

The fact that Trump already threatened any company that continues to do business with Iran with "the highest level of economic sanctions' seems to suggest that Mogherini, May, Merkel and Macron are deceiving themselves. But some commentators, among them Le Figaro"s Jean-Jacques Mével, believe that Trump could still agree to an "eleventh-hour" deal, provided the new terms suit him. "In a well-honed act, he starts by theatrically storming out," Mével writes.

Still, it's a risky strategy. "Trump's move could well boomerang," Thorsten Denkler points out in a column for German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. "If the other contracting parties are unimpressed by Trump's threats, if the agreement simply remains in force without the U.S., and Iran doesn't, therefore, suffer too much from the U.S. sanctions, then Trump has just left the table with a lot of noise, but without achieving anything."

Judging from his instant reaction Tuesday evening, this is exactly the outcome Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is hoping to achieve. "This is a psychological war, we won't allow Trump to win," he said. But the moderate Rouhani will, in all likelihood, face increasing opposition from the hardliners in Tehran, who were opposed to the deal in the first place. Already, Iranian lawmakers set a paper U.S. flag on fire in Parliament this morning, shouting "Death to America!" And Iran's parliament speaker said that, "Trump only understands the language of force."

For all the positive reactions from Tel Aviv and Riyadh — the only powers to have welcomed Trump's announcement — the move may have the opposite effect of its supposed goal, as Michael J. Koplow argues in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Instead of pushing the danger away, in other words, it could bring the region and its immediate neighbors closer to a direct conflict, especially one between Iran and Israel. One of the stages of this confrontation, Koplow writes, could well be Syria, where Israeli strikes on a military base used by Iranian forces this morning killed nine fighters.

French daily La Croix— May 9, 2018

Former U.S. President Barack Obama, who signed what Trump says was "the worst deal ever," warned that violating the agreement was "a serious mistake." Without it, the United States could end up with "a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East," he said in a statement. There's also the risk of launching a new nuclear arms race — with Saudi Arabia ready to join the "club," editorialist Arnaud de La Grange writes in Le Figaro. Not to mention, of course, how the Iran announcement will be interpreted in Pyongyang, where the North Korean regime is in its own game of nuclear chicken with the White House.

Either way, President Trump appears to have put us all at a dramatic crossroads, Wergin and Böhmer argue in their Die Welt piece. He could either go down in history as someone "who made a daring decision and in the end got a better deal that actually kept Iran permanently away from the bomb, or as someone who broke a tolerably working agreement and only accelerated the Iranian road to the bomb," they write. A third possibility, according to the journalists, is that Trump's "maximum-pressure tactic" doesn't pan out and he ends up ordering military strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.

In Europe, where May 8 marks the end of World War II, the hope now is that this date doesn't become the starting point of another tragic chapter of history.

Anti-government protesters last month in Valencia, Venezuela

Venezuela, Curbing Press Freedom By Blocking Paper Supply

Ultima Hora — Aug. 30, 2017

ACARIGUA The political crisis in Venezuela is threatening freedom of the press in a new way. The daily newspaper Ultima Hora ("The Last Hour") has printed its final edition — at least for now — after it ran out of newsprint stock. " ¡Pausa Obligada!" ("Forced Break") was the front-page headline Wednesday, announcing the editor's decision to halt the publication of the paper edition for the first time since its founding in 1974.

Nestor Ramirez, editor-in-chief of the daily, based in the western state of Portuguesa, wrote that the country's sole newsprint supplier, which is controlled by the state, had cut off paper supplies because of Ultima Hora's critical coverage of President Nicolas Maduro. The French Press Agency AFP reports tens of newspapers in Venezuela, including El Nacional, had to turn into online news website or reduce their page number following the paper shortage.

Amid an ongoing political and economic crisis in Venezuela, limiting newsprint supplies is hardly the only way the government has clamped down on unfriendly media. According to Venezuelan's Union of Press Worker, 49 media outlets have been shut down by Maduro's administration since the start of 2017, French newspaper La Croix reports. Also, two popular radio stations in Caracas were taken off the air on Aug. 26 after broadcasting for more than 30 years.

Father Hamel as a saint, donated to the Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray church by a Muslim painter
Terror in Europe

Father Hamel, A Sole French Terror Victim Worth Remembering


PARIS — The nation of France has become a new sort of Ground Zero for Islamic terrorism's attack on the West. Over the past 30 months, images have spread around the world of both wanton and targeted terror on French soil: from the January 2015 shooting at the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices, to the coordinated assaults at Parisian cafés and the Bataclan concert hall later that year, to last summer's truck attack in Nice.

But there was another chapter in this drama, which happened one year ago today, that garnered far less attention abroad: the brutal execution of 85-year-old priest Jacques Hamel, stabbed to death by two Islamists during morning mass in his Normandy church.

The sole homicide was largely lost in the aftermath, just 12 days earlier, of the a self-proclaimed jihadist in a rented truck had run down 86 people as the summer resort city of Nice was celebrating Bastille Day, France's national holiday. Yes, the assault on Hamel may have happened in a place off the tourist map, and claimed just one victim — but it too deserves to be remembered.

The details of the assassination in the small northwestern town of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray have been vividly documented. The 85-year-old priest was presiding over mass with just a handful of parishioners, when two men with prior links to jihadism stormed in the church, holding knives and screaming "You Christians are wiping us out!" They forced Hamel to his knees and stabbed him 18 times. The terror group ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack.

La Croix —July 26, 2017

As far as symbolism goes, targeting a single priest in France was as chilling a signal from jihadists as killing cartoonists, young music fans or people celebrating the founding of the French Republic. It is believed to be the first time ISIS jihadists have targeted a church in Europe. France, also known as the Catholic Church's eldest daughter, was born more than 1,500 years ago, and its history was largely inseparable from that of the Catholic Church. And though it often escapes the secularists who dominate much of public discourse, France's soul is still profoundly Catholic.

Combating Islamic terrorism will require the commitment of all religions.

The objective was clearly not just to kill a single priest, but to try to set off an explicitly religious conflict within France, which has Europe's highest number of Muslims. French daily Le Figaro"s religious editor Jean-Marie Guénois spoke with Bernard Auvray, a 72-year-old who volunteers at Hamel's church, about the reaction in town. "Many things have changed over the past year," Auvray says. "There's still mistrust and acrimony for some, but a spirit of rapprochement now prevails between Muslims and Christians."

For the anniversary, Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Great Mosque of Paris, condemned the "cowardly killing" of the priest, the French Catholic daily La Croix reports. "Islam can never tolerate this kind of act in violation of divine law," Boubakeur said. Hamel's killing reminds us that combating Islamic terrorism will require the commitment of all religions, in big cities and small towns — in France, and beyond.