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Premium stories from Worldcrunch's own network of multi-lingual journalists in over 30 countries.
Photo of German chess players
In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ Chess World In Checkmate, Xi Hoax, Darth Vader Retires

October 1-2

  • Fake news of a coup in China
  • Up close with Russian deserters
  • Sheep taking over London Bridge
  • … and much more.

🎲  OUR WEEKLY NEWS QUIZ

What do you remember from the news this week?

1. What was the top percentage claimed by pro-Russian forces to have voted in favor of annexation in the referendums in the four occupied regions of Ukraine?

2. Giorgia Meloni will become Italy's first female prime minister. What is the name of her far-right party?

3. Eliud Kipchoge broke his own marathon record by 30 seconds in Berlin, finishing in 2:01:09. What country does Kipchoge hail from?

4. Liverpool and Glasgow are vying to host what cultural event next year: The World’s Fair / The first Spring Olympics / The Eurovision song contest / The 60th International Art Exhibition?

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]

#️⃣  TRENDING


As a testament to how quickly false information can spread online, rumors surrounding China’s president Xi Jinping began popping up on Twitter for the past week with the hashtag #Chinacoup, saying the leader had been overthrown and put under house arrest. The speculation, originally posted by an exiled Chinese journalist, gained even more traction after a Beijing correspondent for a German news outlet tweeted a thread sarcastically covering the faux-coup as real news, which was then picked up by a major TV news channel in India.

🎭  5 CULTURE THINGS TO KNOW

• Roger Waters & Ukraine/Russia war: Concerts of Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters were canceled by venues in Krakow, Poland, following comments he made about the war in Ukraine. Waters criticized the supply of weapons by the West in an open letter to Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska. The artist, who was declared “persona non grata” in Poland for only addressing one side of the conflict, responded by writing another open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin urging him to bring an end to the war through a ceasefire and peace talks.

• Chess world in turmoil: Two scandals have rocked checkered chess boards this week. First, Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, who had abruptly resigned from a game against U.S. player Hans Niemann, accused him of cheating on Monday. Niemann denied it, although he admitted to having cheated in the past. Then on Tuesday, Israeli grandmaster and chess commentator Ilya Smirin was sacked by the International Chess Federation for making sexist comments during the Women's Grand Prix in Kazakhstan. Smirin admitted he had privately suggested that chess is “maybe not for women” and praised a woman for “playing like a man.”

• "AI am your father”: James Earl Jones, 91, has officially retired as Darth Vader’s iconic breathy voice, which he last interpreted for a voice cameo back in 2019. His job will be taken over by Ukrainian startup Respeecher thanks to an AI program that will be able to recreate his voice for further Star Wars projects.

• Myanmar OnlyFans model sentenced to six years in jail: Former doctor and model Nang Mwe San has been sentenced to six years in jail by a military court in Myanmar for “harming culture and dignity” after she posted pictures on adult subscription site OnlyFans. As the first person in Myanmar to have been jailed for OnlyFans content, it has been noted that Nang Mwe San has taken part in protests against the military.

• K-pop sweeps into Saudi Arabia: The Middle East, like other parts of the world, has been hit by the K-pop craze. Saudi Arabia will be holding the annual Korean culture convention KCON for the first time from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1. A dozen K-pop acts also took place in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, while Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture visited Seoul in June to discuss collaboration in the cultural field with a major K-pop producer.

 🇷🇺 Fleeing Russia For Peace


After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of the country to fight in the war in Ukraine, thousands of people are fleeing the country. Important Stories, an independent Russian-language news site, spoke to three of the many thousands who have chosen to leave their country. These testimonies convey the dilemma of leaving one’s country or fighting in a way they don’t believe in.

Read the full story: Why I Fled: Meet The Russian Men Choosing Exile Over Putin's War

☝️ Fascism Is Here — And We Can’t Say We Weren’t Warned


In December 2016, with the arrival of Donald Trump to power in the U.S., Spanish independent magazine La Marea organized a debate with prominent analysts to collect the responses the left was devising in the face of this wave that threatens the basic principles of a democracy. Six years later, their insights are more urgent and insightful than ever, especially after Giorgia Meloni was just elected Italy’s president.

“Fascism is going to be a reality in the whole of Europe in less than five years. And it is a complicated fascism because it is much more subtle. It does not have a face as familiar and it’s harder to distinguish when it’s coming.” That was the prediction back then by prominent Spanish politician Pablo Iglesias, who has since retired from politics.

Read the full story: We Still Don't Know How To Fight Fascism — 2016 Warnings Coming To Life

🌍 Justice And Closure For The Families Of Migrants Lost At Sea


In West and North Africa, families of migrants who've vanished have come together to support each other and pay tribute to their family members. On Sept. 6, 2022 in the town of Zarzis, in the south of Tunisia, families of people who went missing during migration marched with sympathetic activists, holding banners and slogans in hopes of someday finding out the truth and getting justice for their loved ones.

Read the full story: Across Africa, Families Of Migrants Lost At Sea Join Forces For Comfort And Justice

❄️🌬️  BRIGHT IDEA

Air conditioners are commonly singled out for their harmful environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions. But their use is predicted to increase significantly as temperatures rise across the world. As an answer to this issue, a research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed a passive cooling systemwhich relies on evaporation and radiation, but not electricity, to produce cooler air. The device can provide up to 9.3 °C of cooling from the ambient temperature.

🇬🇧🐑  SMILE OF THE WEEK


The London Sheep Drive and Livery Fair celebrated its 10th anniversary last Sunday, gathering more than 1,000 Freemen of London for a tradition that dates back to the 12th century. Freemen were originally members of the city craft guilds and allowed to bring their sheep into the city without a bridge toll to sell them at the market. When cars started taking over the roads in the 20th century, the tradition disappeared — but the Worshipful Company of Woolmen revived it a decade years ago. A fab-ewe-lous event for passersby and tourists who were able to snap woolesome photos of sheep trotting across London Bridge.

👉  OTHERWISE

Here’s the latest Dottoré! piece from the notebook of Neapolitan psychiatrist and writer Mariateresa Fichele:

Sowing The Seeds Of Paranoia

"Dottoré, I know a lot of flags, and let me tell you why. I grew up in the province of Caserta, and — like everybody in those days — my parents owned a piece of land, and they would take me with them to farm it.

I remember there were other kids in the fields around us. But then, slowly, we were the only ones left because everybody was selling the land, making a lot of money off of it too.

Papà wouldn't listen to reason and he kept the land. But in the meantime, instead of farmers, trucks began to arrive. Many many trucks, unloading thousands of barrels and burying them into the ground.

I would look at the trucks' license plates: They had flags on them, all of them different, from all over the world. So I bought a book and learned them, one by one. My parents and I didn't speak any of those languages so we couldn't ask these people what they were doing, but one day I heard my father say :

'They must be dumping garbage — good, it makes for good fertilizer!’

Yet, Dottoré, Mamma and Papà died young from cancer, and I was diagnosed with schizophrenia at 18. Now, you may think this is another persecution I suffer from. But that garbage, in my opinion, was not manure — it was poison!"

Giovanni, 56, died a week ago. Unfortunately, on this point, he probably wasn't paranoid at all.

➡️ Read more from our Dottoré! series on Worldcrunch.com

⏩  LOOKING AHEAD 

• Brazil is set to have its first round of presidential elections on Oct. 2. Candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is leading over current President Jair Bolsonaro according to a poll released by IPEC. Lula reached 48% of voters' support against 31% for Bolsonaro a week before Election Day. If no candidate reaches more than 50% in the first round, a run-off between the top two finishers will take place Oct. 30.

• A delegation from Sweden’s Ministry of Justice will arrive in Turkey on Oct. 5. Scheduled talks involving senior officials will deal with Sweden’s NATO application as well as the extradition of “criminal terrorists” from Sweden to Turkey.

Cambodia Culture Week in Vietnam 2022 is taking place until Oct. 2 in Ho Chi Minh city and the Mekong Delta province. The event is organized in honor of the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Paris Fashion Week will last until Oct. 5, with the world’s top designers showcasing their Spring/Summer 2023 collections. Leathers and monochromes will be taking the main stage, with furs and feathers expected to make a comeback.

News quiz answers:

1. According to Russian officials, 93% of votes cast in the Zaporizhzhya region were in favor of being annexed by Moscow, 87% in the Kherson region, 98% in Luhansk and 99% in Donetsk.

2. Far-right Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni is poised to become the country’s first ever female Prime Minister as she vowed to “govern for all Italians.”

3. Eliud Kipchoge set a new world record at the Berlin marathon, breaking his own previous record by 30 seconds. The Kenyan double Olympic champion has won 15 out of the 17 marathons he has run through his career.

4. Liverpool and Glasgow are the two cities vying to host the 2023 Eurovision song contest, organized by the United Kingdom on behalf of Ukraine, which can’t host the event because of the war.

✍️ Newsletter by Worldcrunch

Sign up here to receive our free daily Newsletter to your inbox

*Photo: Peter Gercke/dpa/ZUMA

Putin’s Landmark Annexation Speech Paves Way For Escalation
In The News
Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger, Chloe Touchard, and Emma Albright

Putin’s Landmark Annexation Speech Paves Way For Escalation

For Vladimir Putin, there are "four new regions of Russia."

In a wide-ranging and provocative speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the annexation of four Ukraine regions, which Putin says now make Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson officially part of Russia.

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

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Speaking in the Kremlin’s St George’s Hall, the much-anticipated address to the Russian nation follows the so-called "referendums" in the occupied areas of the four Ukrainian regions — which the West condemned as shams held under gunpoint. Friday’s annexation comes as Russia is losing territory on the ground following a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive.

Putin directly addressed the leaders of Ukraine and "their real masters in the West," that the annexation was "for everyone to remember. People living in Luhansk and Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are becoming our citizens. Forever."

Watch VideoShow less
The Royal Mint unveiled the first coins featuring the portrait of King Charles.
In The News
Chloé Touchard, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Ukraine Convoy Attack, Kabul School Blast, The King’s Coins

👋 Akkam!*

Welcome to Friday, where an attack on a line of civilian cars kills at least 25 in Ukraine, a suicide bomb attack in Kabul leaves 23 dead, and the first coins with King Charles’ portrait are unveiled. Meanwhile, Timour Ozturk reports from Istanbul for French daily Les Echos on how the historic Turkish city becomes the prime destination for Russians fleeing military conscription.

[*Oromo, Ethiopia]

✅  SIGN UP

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

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Ukraine convoy attack: Russian troops launched a missile attack on a line of civilian cars on the way out of the humanitarian regional center in the Zaporizhia oblast, killing 23 civilians and injuring 28, according to Zaporizhzhia Oblast Governor Oleksandr Starukh. The rescue operation remains ongoing.

• Finland shuts border to Russian tourists: Finland announced it is closing its border to Russian tourists from Friday after endless queues of people trying to flee the country have formed at border crossings following Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s call to mobilization. Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania already shut their borders early Septembre.

• Suicide bomb blast in Kabul kills 23: A suicide bomb attack on an educational center in the Afghan capital of Kabul has killed at least 23 people, most of them are reportedly young women, and injured dozens early on Friday. There has not been any claim of responsibility yet.

• Hurricane Ian update: After slamming Cuba and the U.S. state of Florida, Hurricane Ian is now moving inland and heading towards South Carolina and North Carolina as a Category 1 Hurricane. At least 19 people have been killed so far due to the storm and heavy flood waters, and millions of customers are without electricity in Florida.

• EU targets energy profits, Germany OKs €200 billion to help cope with energy prices: As the war in Ukraine pushes energy prices to record highs, European Union countries have agreed to impose emergency levies on profits of energy firms and began talks on a possible EU-wide gas price cap. Meanwhile Germany's government says it will spend up to €200 billion to help consumers and businesses cope with rising energy prices.

• Face masks dropped on public transport in Italy: The Italian Health Ministry announced that face masks will no longer be required on public transport, but will still have to be worn in hospitals and care facilities. Italy is one of the European countries worst-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Kashmir reopens movie theaters after 23 years: Movie theaters reopened 23 years after they were closed in restive Indian-administered Kashmir due to a rebellion against Indian rules that started in the late 1980s, forcing cinemas to close their doors.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Beijing-based daily the Global Times dedicates its front page to the beginning of the week-long National Day holiday in China. Local governments are taking measures to fight COVID-19 while supporting the holiday economy boost. Authorities have urged the public to take precautions as many travel through the country to celebrate the event.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

17.1%

Inflation in the Netherlands rose to 17,1% in September from 13.7% in August, its highest rate in decades. The steep increase was driven by skyrocketing energy prices, which were 114% higher than in September 2021. The Dutch government has responded by pledging 18 billion euros next year to support its population with paying their bills, as well as to cap the prices of gas and electricity. The situation across Europe is similar, with a new record of 10.0% across the entire Eurozone.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

The top destination for Russians fleeing conscription

Hundreds of thousands of men have left Russia since partial mobilization was announced. Turkey, which still has air routes open with Moscow, is one of their top choices. But life is far from easy once they land, Timour Ozturk reports for French daily Les Echos.

✈️ Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Istanbul has been one of the rare exit points for Russians leaving their country. Ankara has not closed its airspace to Moscow and Russian people can enter Turkey without a visa. Between 100 and 120 commercial flights connect the two countries every day. All the planes bound for Istanbul from Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan have been full since the partial mobilization announcement. On the Turkish Airlines website, bookings for flights between Moscow and Istanbul are not available before Oct. 3 and the cheapest one-way tickets sell for €1,350.

🇹🇷🇷🇺 According to the Novaya Gazeta Europe newspaper, Russian intelligence have reported that 261,000 men had left the country since the mobilization announcement. A new influx of refugees could change the profile of Russian exiles who have settled in Turkey. So far they usually only have one thing in common. Intellectuals, artists, independent workers, journalists, photographers: They have a degree, most of them speak English perfectly and had already come to Turkey for holidays. For IT workers, the companies that employ them have contributed to help them find a place to stay.

🏠 But a settlement trend is appearing. Through the first six months of 2022, Russians have bought around 6,000 housings, more than all of 2021, becoming the top foreign real estate buyers. The number has to be treated cautiously. Many of these buyers are trying to get Turkish nationality by investing more than $400,000 in bricks and mortar. Wealthy Russians who, far from being opponents to Putin, could be trying to get around Western sanctions thanks to Ankara’s permissiveness. Istanbul is as much of a popular destination for deserters as it is for Russian oligarchs.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

It's ugly for the president of the republic to blatantly lie all the time.

— Presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva responded to incumbent Jair Bolsonaro who called the leftist former president a “liar, ex-inmate and traitor” in a heated televised debate — the final one before the first round of the election on Sunday. The latest polls are reaffirming Lula’s status as the heavy favorite in the first round of voting, with a 14-point lead over Bolsonaro and a chance to garner more than 50% and avoid a runoff.

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


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

info@worldcrunch.com

Photo of a field with a tractor in the distance
Dottoré!
Mariateresa Fichele

Sowing The Seeds Of Paranoia

"They must be dumping garbage — good, it makes for good fertilizer!"

"Dottoré, I know a lot of flags, and let me tell you why. I grew up in the province of Caserta, and — like everybody in those days — my parents owned a piece of land, and they would take me with them to farm it.

I remember there were other kids in the fields around us. But then, slowly, we were the only ones left because everybody was selling the land, making a lot of money off of it too.

Papà wouldn't listen to reason and he kept the land. But in the meantime, instead of farmers, trucks began to arrive. Many many trucks, unloading thousands of barrels and burying them into the ground.

Watch VideoShow less
Mobilized men say goodbye to their families​ at a station in Moscow
Ideas
Anna Akage

To The Slaughter: Why Putin Can Count On So Many Russians Mobilizing For Their Death

Ever since Russia announced a “partial mobilization” of hundreds of thousands of new recruits, we’ve seen plenty of coverage of those evading the draft. But the real story is how many untrained and under-equipped citizens will blindly follow the Kremlin’s orders.

-Analysis-

From the first days of mobilization in Russia, we have followed reports of the thousands of Russian men of conscription age rushing abroad to flee the draft: buying a one-way plane ticket, driving to the border, even trekking by foot to the safety of a neighboring country.

But this stream of thousands are negligible in the ocean of a nation of 140 million. What we haven’t read about this past week are the masses obediently receiving their summons and marching down to distribution centers.

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

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Some are already now sleeping on a bare floor or in the forest in a tent, waiting to be sent to a war zone with little or no training, equipment or supplies. These tens and soon hundreds of thousands will head to parts southward and westward as part of a senseless and flailing attempt to try to hold back the Ukrainian counter-offensive.

They are, in other words, marching off to the slaughter. And they know it well.

Watch VideoShow less
Kremlin Confirms Annexation Of 18% Of Ukraine, Putin Doubles Down On Escalation
In The News
Cameron Manley, Chloe Touchard, Sophia Constantino, and Emma Albright

Kremlin Confirms Annexation Of 18% Of Ukraine, Putin Doubles Down On Escalation

Russian President Vladimir Putin will sign the annexation Friday of four occupied regions of Ukraine to become part of Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced this morning.

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 Kremlin will host a ceremony on Friday where agreements will be signed on the annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Peskov said the ceremony would take place on Friday at 3 p.m. local time. Taken together the regions in the east and south make up 18% of Ukraine’s territory. The move follows the 2014 annexation of Crimea, which many consider the less violent pre-cursor to Russia's all-out invasion of Ukraine.

Watch VideoShow less
The head of the Donetsk People's Republic, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya Region pose in front of a plane after landing in Moscow
In The News
Chloé Touchard, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Russia Announces Annexation, Aung San Suu Kyi Jailed, MIA Liz Truss

👋 Ia Orana!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Russia announces it will formally annex four Ukraine regions, Myanmar’s former leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is sentenced to three years in jail, and the inventor of the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker gets rewarded. Meanwhile, Persian-language Kayhan-London looks at the Iranian regime's tools in crushing opposition, in the light of recent mass unrest in the country.

[*yo-rah-nah - Tahitian]

✅  SIGN UP

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

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Putin to annex Ukraine territories on Friday: Vladimir Putin will formally annex the four Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia during a ceremony at the Kremlin on Friday. The pro-Moscow administrators of Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk will sign treaties to join Russia following referendums that were described as sham by Ukraine and the West.

• Fourth leak found on Nord Stream pipelines: A fourth leak was found by Sweden’s coast guard on the damaged Nord Stream subsea pipelines. The first leaks were discovered on Monday: two in Sweden’s exclusive economic zone, and two in Denmark’s exclusive economic zone. Gas has since been flowing into the Baltic Sea, with the European Union suspecting sabotage.

• Aung San Suu Kyi and adviser get jail sentence: A Myanmar military court sentenced former democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her former adviser, Australian economist Sean Turnell to three years in jail. They were found guilty of violating a secrecy law. Turnell was sentenced to 3 additional years for violating an immigration law.

• Hurricane Ian hits Florida: A category 4 Hurricane Ian hit Florida’s western coast on Wednesday, with 150 mph winds causing power blackouts for more than 2.2 million people and floods stranding families in their homes. The storm weakened to a Category 1 around 11 p.m., and was heading towards central Florida with 75 mph winds early Thursday.

• U.S. reach deal with Pacific islands: U.S. and Pacific island leaders agreed on a partnership which will reinforce the U.S. presence in the region to counter Chinese influence. The Biden administration is expected to invest $860 million in different programs to aid the islands.

• Iran attacks kill 13 in Iraq’s Kurdistan: At least 13 people including a pregnant woman have been killed in Iraq’s Kurdistan region after several Iranian missile and drone attacks. Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps said the strikes targeted bases of Iranian Kurdish opposition groups who supported the recent protests. The attacks have been condemned by Iran, the U.S. and human rights groups.

• COVID tracker wins top science award: U.S. professor Lauren Gardner was awarded this year’s prestigious Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award on Wednesday for creating the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker in the early days of the pandemic. The tracker was credited with informing global response to the virus outbreak.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

The British daily The Independent issues a missing warning on its front page as Liz Truss has not made a public appearance in a week, despite launching her unpopular emergency Budget plan last Friday. In this time of crisis, with the pound falling to a record low and markets in panic, the new prime minister's absence is being widely criticized.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

1,733

One environmental activist has been killed every two days between 2012 and 2021 “by hitmen, organized crime groups and their own governments”; 1,733 deaths have been recorded according to figures from international NGO Global Witness. The deadliest countries are Brazil, Colombia or the Philippines.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Iran: a direct link between killing protesters and the routine of State executions

Iran has long had a simple and prolific response to political opposition and the worst criminal offenses, namely death by shooting or hanging. Whether opening fire on the streets or leading the world in carrying out the death penalty, the regime insists that morality is on its side, writes Ahmad Ra’fat for Persian-language Kayhan-London.

🗣 In early September, before Iran's latest bout of anti-government protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, there was another, quieter demonstration: Relatives of several prisoners sentenced to death staged a sit-in outside the judiciary headquarters in Tehran, urging the authorities to waive the sentences. The crowd, which doggedly refused to disperse, included the convicts' young children.

🇮🇷🇨🇳 Iran is listed as the biggest executor in the world after China, though China's figures are a secret. In terms of executions in proportion to the population, Iran is in fact ahead. From January to mid-September, the Islamic Republic executed 413 convicts, sharply up from the 117 executed in those months in 2021.

📈 Executions are the regime's ultimate tool in crushing opposition. There is a hike in execution numbers after every bout of protests or mass unrest, and no doubt that can be expected in response to the current uprising that has galvanized the nation. The regime's forces have opened fire in the streets, killing unarmed protesters, with the death toll rising to 76.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

Any decision of this sort has ramifications not only within India but also across the world.

— Aparna Chandra, an academic at the National Law School in Bengaluru, told Al Jazeera that the Indian Supreme Court’s decision that even unmarried women can undergo abortion at any time up to 24 weeks will have a far-reaching impact on women’s rights in the Indian Constitution and across the world as well. A law dating from 1971 previously limited the procedure to married women, divorcees, widows, minors, survivors of assault or rape and disabled and mentally ill women.

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


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

info@worldcrunch.com

2022 Kharkiv Pride Parade​
LGBTQ Plus
Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra, Sophia Constantino and Lila Paulou

LGBTQ+ International: Cuban Marriage, Kharkiv Pride, Trump’s Gaffe — And The Week’s Other Top News

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

This week featuring:

  • LGBTQ+ and Iranian protests
  • What the new far-right Italian PM means for the community
  • Hallmark’s landmark Christmas movie
  • … and more

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

🇨🇺 Cuba Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage And Adoption 

Cuba approved a new Family Code that legalizes marriage and adoptions "between two people", thus allowing same-sex marriages and LGBTQ+ families adoptions. The referendum passed with over 66% in favor.

This was the first time that a law other than the Constitution was submitted to a referendum in Cuba. Presentes LGBTQ+ media called the moment “a recognition of rights and a reparation towards the LGBT+ collective that was persecuted during the '60s and '70s.” Same-sex relationships were’nt decriminalized until 1979 in the country and “gay people were persecuted and sent to work camps”.

The new family Code also legally recognizes several fathers and mothers (in addition to biological ones) and non-profit surrogacy, among other rights. According to the BBC, some anti-government activists interpreted the referendum as “an effort by the state to improve its human rights image following a brutal crackdown on all forms of dissent in recent years.”

🇺🇦 Ukraine’s Kharkiv Pride Unfolds Underground

Despite constant shelling, the annual Pride Parade was held in Kharkiv. Participants rode through all three subway lines, visiting ten stations. The news website Kharkiv Today reports that many participants wore Ukrainian national clothing and carried posters condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine.

"In general, the Kharkov Pride march went safely. However, we learned about the attack on one participant of the march in the city center. He was wearing a vyshyvanka [embroidered traditional shirt] and was photographing a large flag of Ukraine, so the attack could have been based on homophobia and Ukrainophobia," the rally organizers reported.

Kharkiv Pride has been held since 2019. This year's Pride events included a renewed call for marriage equality — which has become all the more important for the LGBTQ+ community since the start of the war, CBC explains. Without it, LGBTQ+ people are not allowed to visit their significant other in hospital or to take care of their partner’s personal affairs for their partners while they are away fighting the war.

🇲🇽 Trans Activist And Netflix Actress Susana Villarreal Murdered 

Prominent trans activist Susana Villareal has been found dead. There are signs she was violently murdered. Villareal, 54, was an entrepreneur from Durango in northwestern Mexico, and gained icon status with her role as “Madam” in the Netflix series Somos, which aired last year.

According to Presentes, Susana was a pioneer in LGBTQ+ visibility. Being openly trans in the state of Durango is very difficult with police raids still common. "That is why her transfeminicide has shocked us," said Alejandra Roldán, a trans activist and president of the association Diverse Warriors for Durango.

Roldán and other LGBTQ+ activists in Durango demand that the State Prosecutor's Office classify the murder of Susana Villarreal as transfeminicide.

🇮🇷 Mahsa Amini Protests Uniting Communities In Iran

Protestors taking to the streets have gathered around a simple phrase composed of three powerful words. \u201cWoman, Life, Freedom.\u201d\u200b

Protestors taking to the streets have gathered around a simple phrase composed of three powerful words. “Woman, Life, Freedom.”

allofmyarts


After the murder of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Iranian woman killed at the hands of Iranian morality police who claimed she was wearing her hijab incorrectly, protestors taking to the streets in the country have gathered around a simple phrase composed of three powerful words. “Woman, Life, Freedom.”

The slogan used by protestors tired of living under strict rule from political and religious leaders was previously a Communist motto (“Work, Bread, Freedom”). In the past days, it has been repurposed and used across the country to protest the harsh regime of the Islamic Republic, as LGBTQ+ people, women, Afghans, Jews and Sunni Muslims, ethnic minorities such as Kurds, and all people who have been persecuted by the theocratic regime have found solidarity under the slogan.

Even before the Iranian Revolution of 1979, women in the country have been fighting for their rights. More recently — in 2019, 2021 and more earlier this year — protests were primarily the result of economic grievances, says Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, founder and CEO of the Bourse & Bazaar Foundation in London.

Today’s protestors face threats from Iranian authorities who have used extreme tactics to quell what is now being seen as the new Iranian Revolution. “This is different, because what people are really asking for is a more significant kind of political change,” said Batmanghelidj, adding that this movement has made it easier to “generate solidarity among different social groups.”

🌍 Bi Visibility Day: Time To Address Biphobia

As Sept. 23 marked Bi Visibility Day, DNA Magazine issued a reminder that bisexual people still face a lot of discrimination — even sometimes within the LGBTQ+ community. Their sexual orientation tends to be dismissed as “just a phase” and bi individuals regularly suffer from negative stereotypes such as being indecisive or more sexually promiscuous. They can also be unfairly accused of being “straight-passing” by some gay and lesbian people, which makes the LGBTQ+ community less of a safe place for them.

This tendency towards bi-erasure means there’s a lack of bi role models for young bisexual people. Many male celebrities depicted as gay also had loving relationships with women at some point in their life, including Irish writer Oscar Wild, British actor Alan Cumming and perhaps Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury.

Several personalities and organizations stepped up on social media on this special day, like Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Veteran bisexual activist Jen Yockney, who coined the term “Bisexual Visibility Day” for its first edition in 1999, released a statement encouraging people to keep making progress. “We are more talked about and more heard as bi people than ever before; yet also the challenges and particular needs of bisexuals have been thrown into sharper relief over that time,” he wrote.

🇺🇲 Hallmark Announces First LGBTQ+ Christmas Movie

'Tis (almost) the season! U.S. greeting cards company Hallmark announced it will release its first LGBTQ+-centric Christmas movie. The Holiday Sitter, out on Dec. 11, will star Jonathan Benett in the role of Sam, a workaholic bachelor coming to babysit his niece and nephew, while his love interest Jason, the charming helpful neighbor, will be played by George Krissa. A gay old Christmas time, indeed!

🇮🇹 Italian LGBTQ+ Community Worried About New Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni

Giorgia Meloni challenged by an LGBTQ+ activist in Cagliari\u200b

Giorgia Meloni challenged by an LGBTQ+ activist in Cagliari

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Even as the country’s first female prime minister is set to take office, many are nervous that Italy’s Giorgia Meloni’s ascension to power as the most far-right-leaning leader since WWII could mean detrimental legislative changes for the country’s LGBTQ+ community.

In the past few weeks, Meloni has repeatedly denied suggestions she might roll back legislation on abortion or LGBTQ+ rights, but still reaffirms her opposition to adoptions and surrogacy for same-sex couples. In the past, Meloni has been relatively open about her opposition to LGBTQ+ rights in general. "Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology, yes to the culture of life, no to the abyss of death," she said in Spain in June.

Within the 27-member European Union, when it comes to legal protections for LGBTQ+ people, Italy ranks close to the bottom at 23, according to advocacy group ILGA-Europe, and it is the only major country in Western Europe that has not legalised same-sex marriage.

"Even if she doesn't introduce any anti-LGBT laws, she will not speed up what we're trying to do to improve the current situation," says Roberto Muzzetta, a board member at Italy's biggest LGBTQ+ group, Arcigay.

🇰🇷 New Signs For Korean Deaf LGBTQ+ To Express Identity With Pride

Until last year, deaf gay and lesbian Koreans wanting to express their sexual identity had to sign a very connoted sexual intercourse.The degrading and prejudice-rooted expressions that have represented an extra obstacle for people wanting to come out. As for other gender identities and sexual orientations, some did not even exist in the official Korean Sign Language (KSL) vocabulary.

Woo Ji-yang, 33, Kim Bo-seok, 34, and members of the advocacy group Korean Deaf LGBT came up with 37 new sign expressions associated with gender identity, sexual orientation and Korean queer culture. They introduced them during the Seoul Human Rights Film Festival in April 2021 and got a good response from the community.

However, as the two activists and friends explain to The Korea Times, a double challenge remains, maybe the biggest: making theses expressions available for the entire signing population in the country, and having them officially validated — or not — by the Korea Association of the Deaf and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which oversees the national language institute. "For that, we believe we all need to come together ― the deaf and hearing people, as well as the sign translators," Kim said.

🇿🇲 Zambia’s Witch Hunt Against The LGBTQ+ Community

Zambia’s government is calling for a modern witch hunt against the LGBTQ+ community. Chief Government Spokesperson Chushi Kasanda released a controversial statement on her Facebook page on Sept. 21, dismissing allegations that the government supports homosexuality and stressing that this is its duty to “promote, protect and defend” the citizens’ interest.

Kasanda even reaffirmed Zambia’s commitment to criminalize homosexuality and LGBTQ+ practices and threatened that “anyone found practising or promoting any of the said acts is liable to prosecution in the Courts of Law”. She added that the values of the country should never be sacrificed “at any cost”.

According to Zambia's penal code, same-sex sexual activities are prohibited and those convicted face sentences up to the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

🇰🇪 Kenya Bans All Movies With LGBTQ+ Content

Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB)’s CEO Christopher Wambua said in an interview with Spice FM that any movie containing LGBTQ+ content is illegal in Kenya, in accordance with Article 165 of the Penal Code that punishes homosexual relationships by five years in jail. A number of movies produced in Kenya have been banned for that reason in recent years.

"As we rate and classify content, we also consider other applicable laws. If there is any content that normalizes, glorifies same-sex relationships, our position in Kenya has always been to restrict and not to broadcast, exhibit or distribute that kind of content within the borders of the country," Wambua said.

In 2021, a movie about a Kenyan man’s coming out, I Am Samuel, was banned by KFCB as part of this crackdown on LGBTQ+ movies. In addition, signed partnerships outside the country have restricted the viewership of the queer content within Kenya. "Restricted in this case means that the film is prohibited from exhibition, distribution, possession or broadcasting within the Republic of Kenya," KFCB specified.

🇿🇦🇺🇬 Activists Launch Site To Document Trans And Intersex History In Africa

Activists from South Africa and Uganda have created a website to collect and preserve the history of the trans and intersex movement in Africa.

As the movement is still very young on the continent, there is little reliable information. Many of its members are still perceived as "fake women," and subjected to ridicule and condemnation.

"LGBTIQ history has remained largely silent about African trans and intersex people, except for scandalized depictions of trans women who are, according to the media in many African countries, only viewed as 'female imposters' committing fraud or reduced to a spectacle to be humored," organizers said in a press release.

🇺🇸 Donald Trump’s “Keep America Gay” Gaffe


While delivering a speech at a campaign rally in the state of North Carolina, former U.S. President Donald Trump attempted to make a reference to his 2020 slogan “Make America Great Again” but said “gay” instead of “great”, telling the crowd “We have to keep our country gay.” The audience didn’t seem to react but the video went viral on the Internet.

🇫🇷 Paris Exhibition Celebrates Arabic LGBTQ+ Art And Communities

The "Habibi, love's revolutions" exhibition puts LGBTQ+ artists and creations in the spotlight at the Arab World Institute in Paris. The exhibition displays 23 artists from North and Eastearn Africa, Iran, Afghanistan and the global diaspora. The aim was to "make visible something obvious that stayed invisible for too long," said Institute's president Jack Lang.

Through photographs, narratives, paintings, videos or performances, the exhibition explores queer identities and their place in countries where the LGBT community often faces discriminations or legal sanctions. "We are aware that it is something rather unique on the international as well as the regional scale," said co-curator Khalid Abdel Hadi.

OTHERWISE

• Don't miss this great profile by Mariana Fagundes for Les Glorieuses on Black and LGBTQ+ candidates ahead of the Brazilian election.

MambaOnline sits with Zimbabwe’s “artist, activist, alchemist” Frank Malaba, whose new one-man show, Stories of my Bones, blends moments of his life with gay rights, traditional dance, song and theatre.

• Jamaican-American activist Maurice Tomlinson writes on how Jamaica, which still criminalizes homosexuality, is blatantly ignoring Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on LGBTQ+ rights.

• Learn how the soccer teams of the Netherlands, England, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Wales are planning on defending inclusion and fighting against discrimination at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

• Here’s a list of five LGBTQ+-inclusive video games that “got representation right” according to Pride, from post-apocalyptic The Last of Us to fantastic game series NieR.

• U.S. Conservatives really don’t want you to read these fantastic 25 LGBTQ+ books, now banned in American schools (so Advocate compiled them in a very handy list).