When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Premium stories from Worldcrunch's own network of multi-lingual journalists in over 30 countries.
Photo of a bottle of Sriracha sauce on a restaurant table
In The News

Special Sauce To Sriracha, Globalization Is Thriving And Terribly Broken

June 25-26

  • A foreigner’s view on U.S. gun culture
  • Scholz, at home and abroad
  • A environmentally-minded robo-fish
  • … and much more.


Special Sauce To Sriracha, Globalization Is Thriving And Terribly Broken

For some, it is the most memorable Hollywood dialogue of the late 20th century. Two hitmen driving through Los Angeles (on the way to their next job) are discussing what one calls the “little differences” between the U.S. and Europe after his visit to Amsterdam and Paris.

You know what they call a Quarter-Pounder with cheese in Paris?

They don’t call it a Quarter-Pounder with cheese?

No, they got the metric system there, they wouldn’t know what the f*ck a Quarter-Pounder is.

Then what do they call it?

They call it a Royale with cheese

Royale with cheese [smiles]. What do they call a Big Mac?

Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big Mac.

Le Big Mac. [laughs] What do they call a Whopper?

I don’t know. I didn’t go to Burger King.

The exchange in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction gives us a singular je-ne-sais-quoi cool from John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, as genuine curiosity in that which is foreign meets the utterly mundane.

The movie came out in 1994, at a moment when some believed the Pax Americana was bound to last forever as the Cold War had given way to the global dominance of U.S. culture, commerce … and fast food chains. The opening in 1990 of the first McDonald’s in Moscow was hailed as bonafide geopolitical history: The Iron Curtain had come down and the special sauce was flowing.

The same Golden Arches metaphor has been hauled back out in recent weeks — in the inverse — by commentators and politicians alike, as McDonald’s closed up all its Russia-based restaurants last month, in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Putin has insisted on a knock-off Russian burger brand taking over the shuttered McDonald’s locations, with stories shared about the similar menu, subbing in a new logo and customers barely noticing the difference in the products. Had the Kremlin gotten hold of the secret sauce recipe?

For the Russian president, the rebranded burgers would be proof on the domestic front (as pumped-up energy sales in Asia were abroad) that Moscow could withstand any economic sanctions the West had to present.

As with many other aspects of the Russian war in Ukraine, it is an odd twist to events: counterfeiting American fast food as evidence of standing up to the power of the American economy.

But it’s also worth remembering that around the same time that Tarantino’s hitmen were pondering the Royale with cheese, celebrated New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman had proposed what he called the “Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention.” As global capitalism expanded, he explained, conflict would eventually dissipate because countries had too much to lose in their economic and commercial relationships. “No two countries that both have a McDonald’s have ever fought a war against each other,” Friedman declared.

Of course, the theory has long since been proven far too optimistic — and as one commentator put it, “lazy” at its origin.

I have neither the foresight nor energy myself to come up with an alternative. Still, we know that food always gives us something to chew on. The war in Ukraine has set off economic disaster that extends well beyond Russia or McDonald’s, and we’re currently seeing factors from climate change to blockades to supply chain breakdowns combine to create serious food shortages — risking famine in some places, and elsewhere leaving shoppers without some of their favorite staple goods and consumer products.

That brings us to Sriracha, Thailand’s own brand of (spicy) special sauce, which by now is a beloved condiment for a variety of foods around the world. In recent months, a series of circumstances, including drought in Mexico, have caused a shortage of the chili peppers needed to produce Sriracha, and the global supply is expected to remain severely limited for months to come.

It’s a missing squirt of spice in the lives of diners around a world where globalized cuisine has long since spread well beyond multilingual McDonald’s. It no doubt has the makings of a new theory on where our messy world is heading. Hmmm…?

In the meantime, you know what they call it in Paris: La Sriracha.

— Jeff Israely


What do you remember from the news this week?

1. The BRICS summit was held this week, gathering the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China — and…?

2. Which country just voted to dissolve its parliament and move toward a new election, for the fifth time in less than four years?

3. Twitter is testing a new “notes” feature that would let its users write how many words: 500 / 1,500 / 2,500?

4. What was caught in Cambodia, at a record 13 feet (4 meters) and weighing 660 pounds (300 kg)?

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]


More than 150 cultural sites destroyed in Ukraine: UNESCO has released a new assessment of the damage inflicted on cultural landmarks during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. An estimated 152 sites have been destroyed so far, most of them in the Donetsk, Kharkiv and Kyiv regions.

• Controversial mural taken down at German art fair: A mural depicting soldiers with antisemitic attributes has been criticized by German and Israeli authorities after it was exhibited at the documenta contemporary art fair in Germany. Taring Padi, the Indonesian collective behind the artwork, denied the allegations but the mural was subsequently taken down.

• Rupert Murdoch & Jerry Hall split: Australian-born U.S. media mogul Rupert Murdoch, 91, and American actress and model Jerry Hall, 65, are getting a divorce after six years of marriage. This is Murdoch’s fourth divorce and Hall’s second — she was previously married to the Rolling Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger from 1990 to 1999.

• “Lucy” paleontologist Yves Coppens dies: French paleontologist Yves Coppens, who was part of the team who discovered 3.2-million-year-old female Australopithecus fossil nicknamed “Lucy” in Ethiopia in 1974, has died aged 87 after a long illness.

Kate and Will’s first official portrait: The first official joint portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate and William, has been unveiled at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England. The portrait was painted by British artist Jamie Coreth and will be loaned to the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2023 to celebrate its reopening.

🇩🇪 Can German Chancellor Olaf Scholz cope with the pressure?

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has had a trial by fire since taking over for Angela Merkel, writes Claus Christian Malzahn for German daily Die Welt. With European leadership in high demand, Scholz has claimed that Germany bears “a very special responsibility.”

Read the full story: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz: A Very Special Responsibility

🇺🇸 Trying to understand U.S. "gun culture"

Understanding the unique nature of U.S. gun culture and the politics surrounding the issue can be confusing for Americans, let alone for foreigners who live there. In this essay for independent magazine La Marea, Spanish writer Azahara Palomeque, who just left the U.S. after living there for 12 years, recounts her thoughts and experiences living in a country so riddled with gun violence that she was close to panicking every time she walked out the door.

Between gun violence and the most expensive healthcare system in the world, the U.S. is governed by “necropolitics,” she says: the ruling class gets to decide who lives and who dies.

Read the full story: Real Fear, Fake Politics: How U.S. Gun Culture Looks To A Foreigner Living There

🇭🇰 The struggle to return for Hong Kong 2019 protesters

About 4,000 students have been arrested since the 2019 democracy protests in Hong Kong, and of those arrested, 1,150 have been prosecuted. Now three years later, some of those students are attempting to reintegrate into society. They may, at long last, be out of prison, but a new set of struggles await them, from finishing school to job hunting.

This piece by Hye-kwan Lee and Stanley Leung for Chinese-language media The Initium details the bitter road back for some of those arrested.

Read the full story: A Bitter Road Back For Hong Kong Students Arrested During 2019 Protests


A vintage, home-grown fast food chain in the Philippines called Tropical Hunt soared in popularity this week after a customer posted a picture showing an empty restaurant in Manila, prompting fans of the chain to post about their memories of the chain on social media. Tropical Hunt opened in 1965 and has become so popular now that some branches had to turn away dine-in customers to prioritize delivery orders. Hiring ads for the chain have also begun popping up on Twitter, so the restaurants can keep up with the increased demand.


Researchers at the Sichuan University in China have unveiled a tiny, self-propelled bionic fish robot capable of removing harmful microplastics from seas and oceans. The fish-bot absorbs the polluting particles through its soft body so that they can later be analyzed by scientists. It can also fix itself if it gets damaged thanks to the material it is made of — inspired by nacre, the interior of shell clams.


An officer from the Indian Forest Office captured a cute video showing a herd of elephants walking on a road in southern India in a very tight way to protect a calf in the middle. “Nobody on Earth can provide better security than an elephant herd to the cute newborn baby,” tweeted the man along with the viral video.


• The 2022 NATO summit will take place June 29-30, with a dozen leaders of the alliance attending the event in Madrid, Spain, and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenski virtually addressing the G7 and NATO summits.

• The 109th edition of the Tour de France kicks off on July 1 in the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark. The Tour will end in Paris on July 24.

• Starting July 1, Australian pet owners will be required to keep their cats indoors or contain them in enclosures 24/7 to prevent them from killing or hunting other animals in the wild.

• Wimbledon is set to open next week — and for the first time in over two decades, without Swiss tennis icon and eight-time winner Roger Federer who will undergo a third operation on his right knee.

News quiz answers:

1. China was the host of the 14th BRICS summit with the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa connecting virtually to discuss global economic recovery, climate action and public health.

2. Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the dissolution of his weakened coalition and called for new elections, which will be the fifth in three years. Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid will take over from Bennett as early as next week until a new government is sworn in.

3. Chatty people will be delighted to learn that Twitter is testing a new “notes” feature allowing users to write up to 2,500 words, in addition to its posts limited to 280 characters.

4. A giant stingray caught in the Mekong river in Cambodia has been recorded as the largest known freshwater fish.

✍️ Newsletter by Worldcrunch

Sign up here to receive our free daily Newsletter to your inbox (now six days/week!)

*Photo: Hiroko Nishimura

A woman holds up a sign in French that says "don't abort my right"
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank and Sophia Constantino

End Of Roe v. Wade, The World Is Watching

As the Supreme Court decides to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion rights, many fear an imminent threat to abortion rights in the U.S. But in other countries, the global fight for sexual and reproductive rights is going in different directions.

PARIS — Nearly 50 years after it ensured the right to abortion to Americans, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case, meaning that millions of women in the U.S. may lose their constitutional right to abortion.

The groundbreaking decision is likely to set off a range of restrictions on abortion access in multiple states in the U.S., half of which are expected to implement new bans on the procedure. Thirteen have already passed "trigger laws" that will automatically make abortion illegal.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the ruling "a tragic error" and urged individual states to enact laws to allow the procedure.

In a country divided on such a polarizing topic, the decision is likely to cause major shifts in American law and undoubtedly spark outrage among the country’s pro-choice groups. Yet the impact of such a momentous shift, like others in the United States, is also likely to reverberate around the world — and perhaps, eventually, back again in the 50 States.

Watch VideoShow less
War In Ukraine, Day 121: The Fall Of Severodonetsk
In The News
Cameron Manley and Emma Albright

War In Ukraine, Day 121: The Fall Of Severodonetsk

After weeks of raging battles, it appears Severodonetsk is set to fall under full control of Russian forces. The governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai wrote on Telegram that Ukrainian forces will have to withdraw from the strategic city in southeastern Ukraine.

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

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

The decision to retreat was made in order to save Ukrainian soldiers: “Nobody abandons our guys, nobody allows the encirclement (of our troops). The situation right now is as such that staying at these destroyed positions just for the sake of being there doesn't make sense,” Haidai said. At least 90% of the city's infrastructure has been destroyed.

Watch VideoShow less
​High school graduates from Chernihiv are dancing before the destroyed Hotel Ukraine.
In The News
Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Ukraine-EU, U.S. Gun Law Battles, Big Bacteria

👋 Halo!*

Welcome to Friday, where Kyiv gets EU candidate status in Brussels, while Ukrainian forces retreat from Severodonetsk, there’s good and bad news in the U.S. for gun control advocates, and scientists discover one big bacterium. Meanwhile, Persian-language news website Kayhan-London looks at the reasons behind the harsher tone the West has adopted toward Iran in recent weeks.

[*Sundanese, Indonesia]


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.

It's easy (and free!) to sign up to receive it each day in your inbox: 👉 Sign up here


• Ukraine’s EU candidate status, Severodonetsk set to fall: EU leaders granted Ukraine and Moldova official candidate status to join the bloc, a major diplomatic victory for Kyiv that also sends a clear message of European unity to Russia four months after invading Ukraine. Meanwhile, Severodonetsk appears set to fall under full control of Russian forces, after the governor of the Luhansk region said Ukrainian forces will have to withdraw from the strategic city.

• U.S. Senate gun safety bill follows Supreme Court gun rights decision: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Americans have the right to carry guns in public, on the same day the Senate approved a bipartisan gun control bill, the first in nearly three decades. This comes at a time when mass shootings are surging across the country.

• Xi Jinping’s potential visit to Hong Kong: Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Hong Kong is on hold after two top officials have been tested positive to COVID-19. Xi Jinping's visit was expected for the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover next week.

• Afghanistan lacks medical supplies for earthquake survivors: Two days after the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that killed over 1,000 people and injured 2,000, Afghanistan authorities have announced that the health ministry is running short of medical supplies. Pakistan, Japan, South Korea, India, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates have all replied to the call for assistance.

• UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson under pressure after election defeats: The UK’s Conservative party lost two major seats during parliamentary elections, a new setback for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who refuses to hand his resignation.

• German transgender athletes can choose their team: The German football federation has passed a regulation allowing gender-noncomforming football players to choose whether they want to play in men’s or women’s teams, starting the coming season. The rule concerns transgender, intersex and non-binary players for youth, futsal and amateur football.

• Largest bacterium ever discovered by scientists: The world’s biggest bacterium has been discovered by scientists in the French Caribbean. Thiomargarita magnifica measures up to 1 centimeter, looks like an eyelash and is visible to the naked eye.


Today’s frontpage of Russian daily Kommersant addresses the technical challenges encountered by BRICS leaders during a visioconference meeting as part of their 14th summit. Russian President Vladimir Putin had to suggest Indian President Narendra Modi to use earphones as he could not hear nor be heard.


142.9 million

Senegalese comedian Khaby Lame has dethroned American teen dancer Charli D'Amelio to become the most-followed person on TikTok with 142.9 million fans — all without uttering a word. After losing his job during the early days of the pandemic in 2020, the 22-year-old who currently lives in Italy started posting videos in which he makes fun of life-hacks videos wordlessly, rapidly gaining success on the platform.


Why the West is finally taking a harder line on Iran

After years of ignoring or downplaying domestic protests in Iran, Western states and media have begun to imagine — and even prepare for — the still slim but growing possibility of a regime change in Tehran, writes Persian-language Kayhan-London.

🇮🇷☢️ In past weeks, European countries and the United States have adopted a harsher tone against Iran, with criticisms going beyond the issue of stalled talks to revive the 2015 multilateral pact on Iran's nuclear program. While the European Union and United States are still reluctant to declare the pact dead, they know the negotiations are at death's door. That is because the Iran has shown it has no intention of ending nuclear activities with the aim of developing a bomb. Many of the regime's think tanks believe possessing nuclear weapons is its guarantee against foreign attempts to bring about regime change.

🗞️ Broadly ignoring the various protests in Iran over the past year, the Biden administration seems to have shifted a little at least in recent weeks through its statements in support of ordinary Iranians. On June 16, the State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned the use of force against peaceful protests. This shift is more evident in Western media, which have finally decided to report on the repression of protests in Iran. The mainstream media line of past years was to view self-declared reformists inside the Iranian regime as the only proper opposition to itself. But no longer.

✊ These changing nuances among Western states and media are a symptom of the Iranian regime's weakness. Every day it is challenged by people who have lost all hope of it meeting their basic needs, and rightly concluded that the only way to clear the nation's horizon is to sweep away a failed polity. Belatedly, the West has seen this utter disenchantment. That said, until it can see a clear alternative to a 40-year-old regime entrenched in power, it is unlikely to take further, or bolder, steps backing Iran's democratization.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


You are a mess, guys.

— Western Balkan countries’ representatives met with European leaders on Thursday to discuss their adhesion to the bloc. Tensions have been rising amid Bulgaria’s veto of launching talks for North Macedonia’s accession, which is in turn delaying negotiations for Albania. Albanese Prime Minister Edi Rama called out EU leaders for the delay: “You are a mess guys, you are a big mess and you are a disgrace.” European Council President Charles Michel replied that starting negotiations with both Albania and North Macedonia was a “top priority.”

✍️ Newsletter by Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Let us know what’s happening in your corner of the world!


Photo of a person swimming

LGBTQ+ International: Sports Bans Tipping Point, Indian Uterus Transplant — And The Week’s Other Top News

All things LGBTQ+, from Peru, Morocco, NYC, Uganda ...

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:

  • A flurry of sports governing bodies reviewing their transgender policy
  • A Bolivian Indigenous’ critique on “western” Pride
  • Moroccan lesbian makes history at UN
  • … and more

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

🌏 Sports Transgender Policy, A Tipping Point?

It’s been something of a domino effect since International Swimming’s top ruling body FINA voted last weekend to ban transgender athletes, excluding anyone who has been through male puberty from competing in women’s competitions. FINA promised to create a working group that would aim to establish an “open” category for trans swimmers at some of its events.

Since FINA’s decision, a growing number of professional sports bodies have indicated that they will review their transgender policy. They include:

• The International Rugby League, which ruled this week that transgender women will be barred from women’s rugby.

• World Athletics' president, Sebastian Coe, praised FINA’s decision, suggesting that track and field could soon follow suit.

• Soccer body FIFA said it is reviewing its gender eligibility regulations.

However, German soccer is bucking the trend. The German soccer federation passed a regulation on Thursday to allow gender non-conforming individuals to choose to play for men’s or women’s teams. “Football stands for diversity,” they said.

🇵🇪 Peru Court Refuses To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

The Constitutional Court of Peru has refused to recognize two same-sex marriages that were held abroad.

In one case, a Peruvian congresswoman and LGTBQ+ activist and her partner had married in Miami, and had been seeking recognition of their union in Peru since 2016. In the second case, dating back to 2012, Peru refused to recognize the marriage of two men who had wed in Mexico.

The top national court ruled against the plaintiff’s claim that their rights to equality, non-discrimination and the free development of the personality had been violated. In the Peruvian legal system, legal acts carried out abroad can be registered in Peru as long as they do not violate public order or “good customs.” Marianella Ledesma, the only magistrate who dissented from the majority, said that her Constitutional Court colleagues were acting like a “Court of the Holy Inquisition.”

🇧🇴 A Bolivian Critique On “Importing” Pride

Juan Pablo Vargas, a gay Bolivian journalist has written a fascinating essay for Muy Waso independent media asking if the struggle for sexual diversity in Latin America suffered from “importing social struggles from northern countries.”

Vargas encourages fellow Bolivian LGBTQ+ to seek “understanding from the Indigenous knowledge, beyond following the rules of the developed world on 'how to be gay'.”

He notes that Andean thought has its own understanding of the matter. “Juan de Santa Cruz Pachacuti wrote at the beginning of the 17th century that due to a crisis in the succession of rulers, the Inca summoned a God who has disappeared today: Chuqui Chinchay or the Apu of the Otorongos. A deity who was patron of the 'Indians of two sexes". It is a middle space between masculine and feminine. The space of the q'iwa, what Western culture calls queer."

Vargas cites Michael J. Horswell, who has studied how qariwarmi shamans (men-women) performed ceremonies for this God while crossdressed, “being a visible sign of contact between the two sexes (but also between the present and the past, life and death)”.

According to Vargas, there is an Andean understanding of the q'iwa that has survived colonialism in the form of bodies, dances and experiences. “It is our task to think about the social place that corresponds to us and demand it in laws and rights. But we must do it from a reflection of Andean thought that allows us to overcome the colonized mentality with which we do it today.”

🇲🇦 UN Hears Moroccan LBT Voice For First Time

On June 20, for the first time in Moroccan history, LGBTQ+ people were spoken about in a public intervention at the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of the Discrimination against Women. Activists submitted a shadow report on discrimination, violence, exclusion, and criminalization of Moroccan lesbian, trans and bisexual women. The shadow report was presented by the NGO Kasbah Tal Fin for freedom and equality, and ILGA World.

Mariyem Gamar, founder of Kasbah Tal Fin, spoke to the chair: “I am a young leader for freedom and equality, who happens to be a woman and a lesbian and a Moroccan. In Morocco.” She explained that Moroccan lesbian, bisexual and transgender women live between the weight of two oppressions, the legal criminalization of their existence and the lack of protection from social stigma.

Gamar spoke from her personal experience: “At the age of 16, I remember walking on an afternoon in my village, a group of boys threw a big rock on my back because they knew I am a lesbian. I felt fear and since then, I wanted peace. I chose to be out and visible as an equal individual of society, but that came with social stigma and violence.”

The activist demanded urgent legal reforms to protect women on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and the removal of article 489, which punishes "homosexual conduct" with fines and prison terms. She delivered the speech while Moroccan government officials were sitting in front of her, and risks persecution and prosecution for speaking out about this taboo and “illegal” topic.

🇺🇸 New York To Build Statues To Transgender Icons At Stonewall Landmark

New York will be the home of the first transgender women statues in the U.S. Placed at the site of the 1969 Stonewall riots, the statues will commemorate activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, leaders of the uprising. Johnson and Rivera, who died respectively in 1992 and 2002, were founding members of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. They also helped create a refuge for LGBTQ+ people living on the street.

🇯🇵 Japan Court Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Ban

\u200bParticipants hold a banner as they march during the 2016 Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade

At the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade

Alessandro Di Ciommo/ZUMA

The Osaka district court ruled this week that a ban on same-sex marriages is constitutional after three same-sex couples had argued that the ban violated their right to equality. The decision deals a significant blow to LGBTQ+ activists, and the plaintiffs will be appealing the ruling.

The court argued that the constitutional definition of marriage does not extend to couples of the same sex, though they indicated thatJapan may be able to create a new system that recognizes same-sex couples separately from traditional marriages.

Japan does not currently offer national protections against anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, and gay and transgender people in Japan regularly experience obstacles in employment opportunities, housing, education, and healthcare. Some 200 municipalities offer some form of recognition for same-sex couples which allow them to get housing together and receive some of the other benefits associated with traditional marriage in Japan.

🇺🇬 Ugandan Activists Call Out Criminalization Of HIV Transmission

Human rights defenders in Uganda have filed their final arguments in a landmark Constitutional Court petition challenging sections of the HIV/AIDS prevention and Control Act 2014 that criminalize HIV transmission. According to the executive director of the Uganda Health and Science Press Association, this law has been used to justify the application of forced anal examinations on homosexuals in recent arrests, to establish their HIV status.

More than 50 civil society organizations, led by The Uganda Network on Law Ethics and HIV/AIDS (UGANET), are challenging the Act 2014, which they allege is discriminatory and an impediment to the fight against AIDS.

According to the website Rights Africa, human rights organizations have called the law “flawed, and deeply troubling and in contradiction of science and human rights.”

🇮🇪 Irish Rugby Player Speaks For First Time About Coming Out

Photo of \u200bIrish rugby player Nick McCarthy

Irish rugby player Nick McCarthy (right)

Ettore Griffoni/LPS via ZUMA

Irish rugby player Nick McCarthy has spoken about his coming out journey. In his first interview since revealing his sexuality, the 27-year-old Leinster scrum-half said his experience had been “entirely positive”. However, he did reveal he had contemplated quitting the sport.

Even though gay players are still extremely rare in professional sport, particularly in rugby,

McCarthy said he has received support from his teammates. Leinster club captain Johnny Sexton said: “By speaking openly about his sexuality, Nick will be a role model for others and we couldn't be prouder of him.”

🇬🇧 Harry Styles Helps Fan Come Out During A Show In London

British singer Harry Styles helped a fan to come out during a concert at London’s Wembley Stadium earlier this week. Matti, from Italy, held out a sign reading “From Ono to Wembley: Help me come out.” Styles thanked him and picked up the sign and a rainbow flag, saying, “When this flag goes over my head, you are officially out. I think that’s how it works: When this sign goes over the head, you’re officially gay, my boy.”

The audience cheered and sang Matti’s name as Styles progressively raised the flag and declared Matti a “free man”. The singer has been both hailed for its longstanding support of the LGBTQ+ community and accused of queerbaiting for embracing queer aesthetics while refusing to identify as such. Styles had already helped a young fan come out to her mother during a show in Milwaukee in November 2021.

🇮🇳 Indian Surgeon To Transplant Uterus On Transgender Woman

A surgeon in India is planning to perform a uterus transplant on a transgender woman. The patient plans to then undergo IVF treatment to carry a baby. If successful, the procedure could pave the way for trans women to bear children.

The operation will not the world’s first uterus transplant (though it is still rare for cisgender women to receive such transplants). But, it could be the world's first successful uterus transplant performed on a trans woman. There is only one other recorded case of a trans woman receiving a uterus transplant was Danish artist Lili Elbe in 1931, but she died later of complications.The surgeon, Dr. Narendra Kaushik, is optimistic about the procedure. “The way to do this is through a uterine transplant, similar to a kidney or other transplant," he told The Mirror.


Photo of a Greek statue looking down
Mariateresa Fichele

Mightier Than The Sword

"What am I supposed to do with this, Dottoré?"

I have a patient who’s in great distress because of a physical peculiarity of his.

"Gennaro, did you know that in Ancient Greece, heroes, kings and all important men were said to have a small penis? Greeks associated small penises with moderation, one of the indispensable qualities of manhood — and therefore of a warrior. In contrast, a large penis symbolized the inability to manage impulses and act with intelligence and decisiveness. Actually, elderly men were often depicted as having large penises."

"What am I supposed to do with this, Dottoré?"

"Well, based on what I’ve just told you, you should try to see the glass half full."

"Dottoré, I wish I could see it your way. But for me the glass, Greek and ancient as it may be, remains half empty…”

Learn more about Worldcrunch's exclusive Dottoré! series here.

Stark World Divisions, As BRICS And EU Meetings Coincide
In The News
Cameron Manley, Lila Paulou, McKenna Johnson, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Stark World Divisions, As BRICS And EU Meetings Coincide

Russian President Vladimir Putin is being hosted (virtually) by China, along with Brazil, India and South Africa, as Europe is set to offer precious EU candidate status to Ukraine.

The synching of the diplomatic calendar is pure coincidence, but it offers a clear picture of a world starkly divided nearly four months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

China is hosting the 14th BRICS summit alongside the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa to discuss global economic recovery, climate action and public health. The meeting is the clearest opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin since his invasion of Ukraine to demonstrate that he is not isolated diplomatically.

Watch VideoShow less
A woman wearing a pink coat and holding an flowery umbrella walks by destroyed buildings in Borodyanka, near Bucha, Ukraine​.
In The News
Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lila Paulou, McKenna Johnson, Joel Silvestri and Lisa Berdet

BRICS Meeting, Maradona Homicide Charges, Longer Tweets

👋 Mandi!*

Welcome to Thursday, where BRICS members are meeting for the first time since the Ukraine war began, a judge in Argentina orders a homicide trial for medical staff of football legend Diego Maradona and Twitter tests a new feature to push its character limit. Meanwhile, Ukrainian media Livy Bereg looks at the reasons why Belarus might not be so keen on joining the war against Ukraine.

[*Friulian, Italy]


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.

It's easy (and free!) to sign up to receive it each day in your inbox: 👉 Sign up here


• BRICS summit begins: China is hosting the 14th BRICS summit with the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa connecting virtually to discuss global economic recovery, climate action and public health. The meeting is the clearest opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin since his invasion of Ukraine to demonstrate that he is not isolated diplomatically.

• EU set to grant Ukraine candidate status: European leaders are expected to formally approve Ukraine’s candidate status today, along with that of Moldova, to join the European Union during a summit in Brussels. The EU has not accepted new members since Croatia in 2013.

• Taliban appeal for aid after earthquake: The Taliban supreme leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada has asked for international aid after suffering its deadliest earthquake since 1998 on Tuesday night. The 6.1 magnitude earthquake killed more than 1,000 people and injured at least 1,500 in the mountainous Paktika and Khost provinces near the Pakistani border.

• Maradona’s medical staff tried for homicide: A judge in Argentina has ordered a homicide trial for eight medical staff who took care of Diego Maradona before the football legend’s death by cardiac arrest at the age of 60 in 2020.

• Aung San Suu Kyi moved to solitary confinement: Myanmar’s junta has announced that former leader Aung San Suu Kyi was moved to solitary confinement inside a prison compound in Naypyidaw. The 77-year-old politician has been held by the military since she was ousted from power in Feb. 2021.

• Remains of Patrice Lumumba returned to Congo: Belgium has returned the remains of Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba 61 years after he was executed by separatists and Belgian mercenaries. The remains will be laid to rest in Kinshasa’s mausoleum on June 30.

• Twitter tests “notes” feature with 2,500 word limit: Chatty people will be delighted to learn that Twitter is testing a new “notes” feature allowing users to write up to 2,500 words, in addition to its posts limited to 280 characters.


Ecuadorian daily El Universo reports on violent protests against president Guillermo Lasso’s economic policies. The country is facing food and fuel shortages as demonstrators continue to demand lower gas prices, price controls for agricultural products, an increased budget for education, and now that military and police be removed from areas where the demonstrations are taking place.



UNESCO published a new report after it reassessed the damage caused to cultural sites in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion: the UN agency added about 60 sites that have been partially or totally destroyed to its list, raising the total number to 152. This includes religious buildings, historical buildings as well as monuments, cultural centers, museums and libraries. Most of the damage occurred in the Donetsk region and around Kharkiv and Kyiv.


Unpacking why Belarus will or won't join the war against Ukraine

Analysts have closely followed whether Belarus, a loyal Putin ally, will invade its neighbor. But even though the Belarusian president toes the Kremlin line, he is unlikely to want to get in over his head in Ukraine, writes Igor Ilyash in Ukrainian media Livy Bereg.

🇧🇾 For several months, Belarusian troops have been conducting constant exercises and training, particularly in the regions bordering Ukraine. Combined with the specific statements by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, this raises logical concerns about the direct involvement of the Belarusian army in the war. In late May, Lukashenko once again held hours of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia. During the public part of the meeting, he supported the Kremlin's narrative of Poland's plans to seize western Ukraine.

❌ Anti-war sentiment in Belarus clearly dominates. A poll by Chatham House among the urban population shows that only 3% of Belarusians are ready to support the participation of the Belarusian army in the war against Ukraine. A study by sociologist Andriy Vardamatsky, which also covered rural residents, showed a higher level of approval — up to 11%. Meanwhile, 85-86% are unequivocally against. That is, even the vast majority of supporters of the dictatorship will not support the participation of the Belarusian army in the war.

🇷🇺🤝 Strong anti-war sentiment and a catastrophic electoral situation are a key deterrent to the Lukashenko regime. The first serious losses at the front could lead to military riots and revolution. At the same time, the threat of a complete destabilization of the situation in Belarus is exactly the argument that Lukashenko can successfully use in negotiations with Putin. After all, the collapse of the Lukashenko regime will mean that Russia has not only lost its only ally, but, in fact, has received a second front itself.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


This is our only option.

— Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said about striking a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help stabilize the country’s economy amid its worst financial crisis in seven decades. The country faces fuel, electricity and food shortages so severe that, according to police officials, 11 people have died while waiting in queues for fuel, CNN reports. In a parliament speech, Wickremesinghe also warned that the nation was “facing a far more serious situation,” adding that “Our economy has faced a complete collapse.”

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lila Paulou, McKenna Johnson, Joel Silvestri and Lisa Berdet

Let us know what’s happening in your corner of the world!