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THE GUARDIAN
Founded as a local Manchester newspaper in 1821, The Guardian has gone on to become one of the most influential dailies in Britain. The left-leaning newspaper is most recently known for its coverage of the Edward Snowden leaks.
Archive photo of a police unit looking for hidden weapons in 1963 in a home in Corleone, the birthplace of one of the most powerful mafia clans.
Society
Riley Sparks and Ginevra Falciani

Weird Stuff, Guns & Money: Inside The Hideouts Of Mob Bosses And Fugitive Warlords

After the capture this week of Sicilian Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, police revealed some notable contents of two of his hideouts after 30 years on the run. There's a long history of discovering the secret lairs and bunkers of the world's Most Wanted bad guys.

Expensive watches, perfumes, designer clothes and sex pills. A day after top Sicilian Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro was captured after 30 years on the run, police revealed some of the possessions found in the Palermo apartment where he’d been hiding out under a false name.

By Wednesday, Italian daily La Stampa was reporting, police had found a second hideout near Messina Denaro's hometown in the Sicilian province of Trapani, with a secret vault hidden behind a closet, where jewelry, gold and other valuables were found.

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Nordic 007: The Quiet Rise Of Russian Spies In Sweden
Geopolitics
Amélie Reichmuth

Nordic 007: The Quiet Rise Of Russian Spies In Sweden

This week marks the opening of what's been described as the biggest Swedish espionage case since the end of the Cold War, as tensions rise in the face of the Russian war in Ukraine.

STOCKHOLM — “Disappear in Sweden,” “Prosecuted before questioning,” “Spy.”

These are a few examples of the 28 internet searches Payam Kia did shortly before being arrested in November 2021, according to Stockholm based daily Aftonbladet.

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Two months earlier, his older brother Peyman, a former employee of the Swedish armed forces and security services, had been arrested on charges of aggravated espionage. The two brothers, who lived together in Uppsala, about an hour north of Stockholm, had long been suspected of sharing classified information. But it was only on November 11 that prosecutors brought charges against them, after having gathered enough evidence to support what has been described as Sweden’s largest espionage case since the end of the Cold War.

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Photo of France's Macron and Germany's Scholz in Berlin in October
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Alex Hurst

Putin’s Dream: Is The West’s Pro-Ukraine Coalition About To Unravel?

In a world divided between democracies and autocracies, the autocrats can count on the democrats eventually dividing among themselves— the freedom to disagree is, after all, the very cornerstone of democracy.

-Analysis-

PARIS — In a world divided between democracies and autocracies, the autocrats can count on the democrats eventually dividing among themselves— the freedom to disagree is, after all, the very cornerstone of democracy.

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In the global ideological clash playing out in the war in Ukraine, the moment has arrived where those divisions could wind up undermining the democratic cause itself. As Lucie Robequain writes for Les Echos, Vladimir Putin’s “dream” scenario is peaking over the horizon as France and Germany, the traditional co-drivers of European policy, are increasingly divided on a host of key issues from energy to industrial policy to arms production.

Supported by the West, Ukraine has managed to resist Russia’s invasion for eight long months.

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Forever Godard: 20 International Newspapers Bid Adieu To French New Wave Icon
Society
Chloé Touchard

Forever Godard: 20 International Newspapers Bid Adieu To French New Wave Icon

International outlets are saluting the passing of the father of the Nouvelle Vague movement, considered among the most influential filmmakers ever.

Jean-Luc Godard, the French-Swiss filmmaker who revolutionized cinema in the late 1950s and 1960s as the leading figure of the Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) movement, died Tuesday at the age of 91.

The Paris-born Godard produced now-cult movies such as À bout de souffle (“Breathless” 1960), Le Mépris (“Contempt” 1963) and Alphaville (1965), with his later works always garnering interest among cinephiles, even if often considered inaccessible for the wider public.

Godard's lawyer reported that that the filmmaker had been “stricken with multiple incapacitating illnesses," and decided to end his life through assisted suicide, which is legal in Switzerland, where he'd lived for decades.

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Photo of a Pride flag
LGBTQ Plus

LGBTQ+ International: Spain’s Transgender Bill, Istanbul Pride Arrests — And The Week’s Other Top News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — a topic that you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

Featuring, this week:

  • Spain moving on transgender rights
  • The ripples of Roe v. Wade's end on LGBTQ+ youth
  • Hundreds of weddings ahead of Mexico's Pride
  • … and more

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox: Subscribe here.

🇪🇸 Spain Approves New Bill On Transgender Rights

Spain’s Council of Ministers approved a bill on June 27, which — if passed through parliament — will allow anyone over 16 to legally change their name and gender on their identity documents through a system of self-determination. If approved, the draft law would allow the changes without judicial, medical, or psychological limitations, including the use of hormonal treatment. The same bill would require those between 14 and 16 to have parental or guardian consent to change gender, while children between 12 and 14 would require authorization from a judge.

According to La Razón, the legislation emphasizes issues of awareness and training, and would include sexual and gender diversity topics in the educational curriculum, as well as teacher training in this area. The new law will also allow for self-determination by trans migrants on their documents issued in Spain, if they can prove that they would not be able to transition in their country of origin.

🇺🇸 What The End Of Roe v. Wade Means For LGBTQ+ Youth

NYC Pride

Demonstrators at New York City Pride addressed the Roe v. Wade reversal.

Milo Hess/ZUMA


The historic June 24 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade ended the right to abortion that has existed since 1973 — and yes, it is major issue for the LGBTQ+ community, writes Pride media, of the many who are "furious about this decision and afraid of what it means.” It impacts those in the LGBTQ+ community who can get pregnant and their partners (certain cisgender women, transgender men, and non-binary individuals, among others).

Activists have called to donate, protest and vote, as tools to express their discontent and Pride events in the U. S. placed abortion rights front and center. New York City Pride expressed on its website: “This dangerous decision puts millions in harm's way, gives government control over our individual freedom to choose, and sets a disturbing precedent that puts many other constitutional rights and freedoms in jeopardy.”

LGBT+ media took the decision as a “reminder that in state and local penal codes are the never-repealed laws banning same-sex marriage & sodomy which are now a ticking time bomb”. As reported by LGBTQ Nation, dozens of states still have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage and 15 still have sodomy laws waiting to be revived.

After the Supreme Court’s decision, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that the high court could review other precedents that may be deemed “demonstrably erroneous,” in which case he would defend the defunct sodomy law, struck down by Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, said The Washington Post .

🇳🇴 Norway Gay Club Shooting Aftermath

Pride protesters in Oslo, Norway held a rally Monday and, in doing so, defied police recommendations that Pride celebrations be cancelled after a shooting took place outside a gay club in Oslo on Saturday. According to the BBC, law enforcement had requested the events be postponed because Pride remained a target for violence. Some activists have criticized the police’s response to cancel the event, arguing they shouldn’t cave to the wishes of extremists.

The shooting on Saturday left two people dead and at least 19 more injured. It happened around London Pub, a popular LGBTQ+ venue. According to local news outlet NRK, London Pub has called itself the “gay headquarters since 1979.” Norway is well known for its support of LGBTQ+ rights.

A suspect has been taken into custody, and the attack is being described as “an act of Islamist terrorism” by Norway’s domestic intelligence service. A memorial service was held at Oslo Cathedral on Sunday to honor the victims, with Norway’s prime minister and members of the royal family in attendance.

🇧🇦 Sarajevo Pride Peacefully Celebrates Family

Sarajevo Pride

Sarajevo's third Pride March celebrated "family gatherings".

Tom Barlow-Brown/SOPA Images/ZUMA


Bosnian capital Sarajevo hosted its third Pride March on June 25. This year, the organizers have chosen a special theme: “Family gathering” aimed at bringing families and the LGBTQ+ members together. “Family gatherings are something that belong to all of us, but some of us don’t have a chance to be who we truly are,” declared a member of the Sarajevo Pride organization committee.

Security has been increased in this third edition as the previous LGBTQ+ events held in the country have ended in unrest, due to opposition groups disrupting them.

As Bosnian-language news outlet Detektor notes, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, “LGBT people are not yet legally equal, and a law on same-sex partnerships needs to be enacted, and the issue of transition for trans people needs to be regulated.”

🇷🇺 U.S. Basketball Star Brittney Griner’s Trial To Begin In Russia

The criminal trial for U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner is set to begin on today in Russia. The Olympic Gold medalist was arrested at the airport on Feb. 17 for carrying vape cartridges that contained hashish oil in her luggage at the Sheremetyevo International Airport. She now faces charges for “large-scale transportation of drugs” and risks up to 10 years in prison. Griner’s pretrial detention has been extended three times and she is not set for release until a further 6 months.

Griner came out as lesbian early in her career and is widely recognized as an LGBTQ+ icon. Her wife Cherelle Griner has expressed concern about Griner being held as a “political pawn.”

The U.S. Department of State has established that the basketball player was indeed “wrongfully detained” and has mobilized the help of Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens. California Congressman John Garamendi said her chances for release could be strained by the nonexistent diplomatic relationships between the U.S. and Russia since the invasion of Ukraine, as well as Russia’s harsh “LGBT rules and laws”.

🇬🇭 Ghana Politician Says “Leave Gays Alone”

“Leave gays alone,” says Freddie Blay, chairman of Ghana’s current ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). With the remarks, Blay has defended the country’s LGBTQ+ citizens in the face of a bill labeled as “the worst anti-LGBTQ bill ever,” writes the news site Erasing 76 Crimes, an online resource for anti-LGBTQ+ laws around the world.

Blay’s comments supporting and encouraging LGBTQ+ rights in Ghana come while human rights activists have sued the Ghanaian police and attorney general over the arrests of human rights activists on homosexuality charges last year. Billboards promoting tolerance in the country have also been torn down. Another public figure, popular Ghanaian singer Reggie Rockstone, has spoken out to his fans to treat the LGBTQ+ community with respect.

🇿🇦 Documentary Focuses On South Africa’s “Radical” First Gay Imam

YouTube


Filmmaker Richard Finn Gregory spent four years filming Imam Muhsim Hendricks, a former clothing designer from Cape Town, South Africa, who became the world’s first openly gay imam when he came out in 1996. The resulting documentary, The Radical, is premiering at The Encounters International Documentary Film Festival, held in Cape Town and Johannesburg between June 23 and July 3.

The film explores the difficulties faced by queer South African Muslims as they are exposed to a conservative culture and history. Imam Muhsim is also seen meeting with queer Muslim activists in East African countries, where belonging to the LGBTQ+ community is outlawed. Mushim preaches tolerance and uses a “care-frontational” approach towards those who do not accept him. It is certain that The Radical will encourage dialogue: The film has caused both praise and outrage after its first screenings.

🇩🇪 Germany’s Quest For Nazi-Looted “Legendary” LGBTQ+ Library

A one-of-a-kind LGBTQ+ archive Berlin is still missing the majority of its “legendary collection”. The collection was part of the Institute for Sexual Science, set up by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld (the “Einstein of sex”, as German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung calls him) and Li Shiu Tong in 1919. They performed early gender confirmation surgeries, collected data on sexualities, and advocated for equal rights.

In the 1940s, it was looted by the Nazis. The library held thousands of books on same-sex relationships, erotica, and gender. Volunteers have been searching for the archive across the globe. So far, they’ve found 35 items out of the original 10,000 volumes.

Today, the small library attracts researchers, students, and anyone else who is interested in LGBTQ+ history. A few volunteers ensure that it keeps running. The society hopes to merge with Berlin’s lesbian and feminist library and archives to form “an umbrella queer archive with broad research access and communal spaces.” But to do that, they’ll need 10 million euros to reconstruct the building and hire a professional staff.

🇹🇷 Hundreds Arrested At Istanbul’s Pride March

Police force during Pride in Istanbul.

Police forces block people from going to Istiklal Street during Istanbul's Pride March.

Tolga Ildun/ZUMA


On June 26, Istanbul police cracked down on Pride celebrations, with at least 360 people arrested, including an AFP photographer. This was justified by a ban on organizing LGBTQ+ events for “health reasons” "for security reasons' ' and "to prevent crime."

The fact is that Istanbul Pride has been banned since 2014. Regardless of the bans in place, Turkish LGBTQ + activists took the streets in a peaceful march to chant “Discrimination is a crime, the rainbow is not" and “The future is queer. We are here. We are queer. We are not going anywhere”, as reported by Pink News.

According to the organizers of the event, Turkish police released all of the protesters and journalists detained during the march by Monday. Even though homosexuality is legal in the country, according to Pink News, public opinion regarding the LGBTQ + community has become increasingly conservative.

🇳🇱 Fears Of Monkeypox Spread Ahead Of Amsterdam Pride

The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has expressed fear that the upcoming Pride events in Amsterdam and other cities may lead to a “more intensive spread” of the monkeypox virus, according to Dutch daily Het Parool. The Netherlands’ most famous Pride event, Amsterdam Pride, will take place from July 30 to August 7.

A spokesperson for Amsterdam Pride sees no reason to take extra measures at this time. He also warns about stigmatization: “The RIVM is talking about men who have sex with men, but the Pride community is much broader than that.” He added that “"You don't go to Pride to exchange contacts with as many people as possible, but to speak out for equal rights and to be who you want."

🇳🇬 Nigerians Defy Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws

People are gathering to celebrate Pride in Nigeria in an act of defiance against laws which have criminalized being gay in the country. A 2014 law introduced punishments of up to 14 years in prison for public displays of same-sex affection, or membership in LGBTQ+ groups.

In recent years, LGBTQ+ community members and activists have been kidnapped, incarcerated, and killed, while their aggressors act with impunity. Despite the dangers of publicly being a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria, organizing and support groups are surviving by moving online to organize private pride celebrations, including art events and a drag competition in Lagos this year.

🇲🇽 Hundreds Of LGBTQ+ Tie The Knot Before Mexico Pride

Mexico City Pride

Weddings took place ahead of Mexico City Pride.

Carlos A. Moreno/ZUMA


Hundreds of couples part of the LGBTQ+ community married in Mexico City before Pride, Mexico-based, Spanish-language outlet NMás reports. The ceremony, funded by the local government and aimed at providing an affordable marriage had been canceled for two years due to the pandemic. Mexico City legalized LGBTQIA+ marriages in 2010, and 27 out of 32 states have also decriminalized it.

🇱🇰 Lesbian Couple Arrested In Sri Lanka For “Abnormal Relationship”

Two women were arrested by the police in Sri Lanka's city of Akkaraipattu for “abnormal relationship.” The lesbian couple — a 24-year old from India and a 33-year-old woman from Sri Lanka — had revealed their desire to get married to their families, and the father of the Sri Lankan woman lodged a complaint to the Akkaraipattu police.

Their case has then been transferred to a Court, where the women said they would commit suicide if not allowed to leave the country and to go to India. Sri Lanka’s law is restrictive vis-à-vis LGBTQ+ rights and does not recognize same-sex marriages or same-sex civil unions.

🇬🇧 Boris Johnson Doubles Down On Sports Bans With Transphobic Comment

When asked about the world’s governing body on swimming’s recent decision to ban trans women from competing in swimming competitions, Johnson said that he sees “no reason to dissent.” Johnson was also asked on Sunday if somebody can be a woman if she was born with a penis, to which he replied: “Not without being a man.”

Johnson had set “a very clear line” on the issue of trans women in sports, saying that women’s sports leagues should be reserved for people born of the female sex. In addition to sports inclusion, the prime minister also lists the appropriate age of transition and safe spaces for women (implicitly those born of the female sex) as main concerns of his regarding trans rights.

OTHERWISE

• From Lima to Mexico City, hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ Latin Americans took to the streets, united in their struggle against LGBTQ+ related restrictions across Latin America.

• Meet Dr. K. David Harrison, a gay anthropologist and linguist who hopes to use his work to increase “visibility for LGBTQ+ explorers, like 19th-century geographer Alexander von Humboldt and the late astronaut Sally Ride.”

• As Pride month comes to a close, check out these books of poetry by LGBTQ+ authors.

• Discover the works of Leilah Barbirye, the U.S.-based Ugandan queer artist “taking over the art world” with her sculptures.

• Police raided a gay sauna in El Alto, Bolivia. The police's actions — and the following media storm – were violent in more ways than one. Read the full piece in Bolivian-based magazine Muy Waso, translated from Spanish by Worldcrunch.

First Russian Found Guilty Of War Crimes, Gets Life In Prison
In The News
Meike Eijsberg, Anna Akage and Emma Albright

First Russian Found Guilty Of War Crimes, Gets Life In Prison

Vadim Shishimarin had confessed to shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man in northeast Ukraine shortly after the invasion began.

On Monday, Vadim Shishimarin became the first Russian soldier to be convicted of war crimes since the Russian invasion three months ago, found guilty of shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man in northeast Ukraine shortly after the invasion began.

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Shishimarin, 21, who confessed to the shooting and asked the victim’s wife for forgiveness, was sentenced by a Kyiv court to life in prison.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO
Geopolitics
Meike Eijsberg

NATO Entry For Sweden And Finland? Erdogan May Not Be Bluffing

When the two Nordic countries confirmed their intention to join NATO this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his plans to block the application. Accusing Sweden and Finland of' "harboring" some of his worst enemies may not allow room for him to climb down.

-Analysis-

LONDON — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO, it took most of the West's top diplomatic experts by surprise — with the focus squarely on how Russia would react to having two new NATO members in the neighborhood. (So far, that's been a surprise too)

But now Western oversight on Turkey's stance has morphed into a belief in some quarters that Erdogan is just bluffing, trying to get concessions from the negotiations over such a key geopolitical issue.

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To be clear, any prospective NATO member requires the consent of all 30 member states and their parliaments. So Erdogan does indeed have a card to play, which is amplified by the sense of urgency: NATO, Sweden and Finland are keen to complete the accession process with the war in Ukraine raging and the prospect of strengthening the military alliance's position around the Baltic Sea.

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Finland And Sweden In NATO? It Just Got Complicated
In The News
Shaun Lavelle, Irene Caselli, and Emma Albright

Finland And Sweden In NATO? It Just Got Complicated

Turkey's Erdogan puts up a veto, while Orban's Hungary plays it coy. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin throws a curveball.

Following Finland’s and Sweden’s historic decisions to apply for NATO membership, major questions are emerging as to how quickly — if at all — they will become actual members of the military alliance.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, a longstanding NATO member, surprised some observers by coming out strongly against Nordic countries joining.

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"Neither of these countries have a clear, open attitude towards terrorist organisations. How can we trust them?" Erdogan said on Monday. Turkey has accused Nordic countries, particularly Sweden, of harboring extremist Kurdish groups as well as supporters of U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen, a longstanding Erdogan nemesis whom Turkey blames for the 2016 coup attempt.

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