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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Valeria Berghinz & Jakob Mieszkowski-Lapping

Pakistan Procession Blast Kills 52, MAGA Shooting, Ancient Shoes

👋 Halló!*

Updated September 29 at 1:35 p.m.

Welcome to Friday, where a suspected suicide bomb blast at a procession kills dozens in Pakistan, the Dutch city of Rotterdam is shaken by twin shootings, and sandals found in a bat cave in Spain turn out to be really, really old. Meanwhile, we look at how Russia's mercenary model for warfare will survive the death of Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.

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In The News
Yannick Champion-Osselin, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Chloé Touchard and Valeria Berghinz

Niger Ultimatum, Pakistan Blast Aftermath, Michelle Yeoh’s Very Long Engagement

👋 Muraho!*

Welcome to Monday, where West African countries issue a one-week ultimatum to Niger’s junta, the death toll is expected to rise after a suicide bombing at a political rally in Pakistan killed at least 45, and Michelle Yeoh marries her Swiss beau Jean Todt some 19 years after he first proposed. Meanwhile, Martin Krause in Argentine daily Clarín explains why today’s youth ought to give iconic author Jorge Luis Borges a (re-)read.

[*Kinyarwanda, Rwanda]

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Yannick Champion-Osselin & Emma Albright

Trump Liable Of Sex Abuse, Pakistan Protests After Khan Arrest, AI Fake News

👋 Salve!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where former U.S. President Donald Trump is found liable in a civil suit of sexual abuse, violent protests rock Pakistan after the arrest of its former Prime Minister, and police in China detain a man accused of using ChatGPT to generate fake news. Meanwhile, German daily Die Welt writes that Ukraine's much-anticipated counteroffensive has actually already begun.


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Stefan Wolff

Two Years On, A Dangerous Temptation To Recognize The Taliban

After taking control of Kabul two years ago, the Taliban has continued to present a threat to human rights in the region. But the Taliban's takeover, now slowly nearing official recognition by some governments, has also posed challenges for the country's neighbors, including Iran and Pakistan.


The dramatic and rapid Taliban offensive in the spring of 2021 culminated in its takeover of Kabul on August 15. The chaos of the western withdrawal that surrounded the return of the Taliban represented a sad endpoint of two decades of failed US-led attempts to impose a liberal democratic system on a country that had hosted al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and facilitated his masterminding of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

For Afghanistan, the return of the Taliban marked the beginning of a deeply illiberal regime that is particularly hostile to women and minorities.

The swiftness of the Taliban takeover confounded more optimistic U.S. and UK predictions about the survival of the Afghan government. But most of its consequences were entirely predictable, and indeed predicted – from the worsening human rights situation to an economic crisis.

Five million Afghans fled the country and over three million were internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency’s update in July 2023. The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is now at an unprecedented critical level: more than 18 million people – just under half the Afghan population – face acute food-insecurity.

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Axel Bojanowski

The Problem With Always Blaming Climate Change For Natural Disasters

Climate change is real, but a closer look at the science shows there are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters. It is important to raise awareness about the long-term impact of global warming, but there's a risk in overstating its role in the latest floods or fires.


BERLIN — In September, thousands of people lost their lives when dams collapsed during flooding in Libya. Engineers had warned that the dams were structurally unsound.

Two years ago, dozens died in floods in western Germany, a region that had experienced a number of similar floods in earlier centuries, where thousands of houses had been built on the natural floodplain.

Last year saw more than 1,000 people lose their lives during monsoon floods in Pakistan. Studies showed that the impact of flooding in the region was exacerbated by the proximity of human settlements, the outdated river management system, high poverty rates and political instability in Pakistan.

There are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters, but one dominates the headlines: climate change. That is because of so-called attribution studies, which are published very quickly after these disasters to highlight how human-caused climate change contributes to extreme weather events. After the flooding in Libya, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described climate change as a “serial offender," while the Tageszeitung wrote that “the climate crisis has exacerbated the extreme rainfall."

The World Weather Attribution initiative (WWA) has once again achieved its aim of using “real-time analysis” to draw attention to the issue: on its website, the institute says its goal is to “analyse and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events." Frederike Otto, who works on attribution studies for the WWA, says these reports help to underscore the urgent need for climate action. They transform climate change from an “abstract threat into a concrete one."

In the immediate aftermath of a weather-related disaster, teams of researchers rush to put together attribution studies – “so that they are ready within the same news cycle," as the New York Times reported. However, these attribution studies do not meet normal scientific standards, as they are published without going through the peer-review process that would be undertaken before publication in a specialist scientific journal. And that creates problems.

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In The News
Marine Béguin, Chloé Touchard and Valeria Berghinz

Russia-Ukraine Drone Tit-For-Tat, BRICS 2.0, Game Over For Mario’s Voice

👋 Sveiki!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where BRICS leaders meet in South Africa aiming to expand the alliance, former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is arrested upon returning to Bangkok after 15 years in exile, and everybody’s favorite Italian plumber gives his voice a rest. Meanwhile, for Spanish online media Ethic, David Lorenzo Cardiel says the word on the street is literally worth preserving.


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In The News
Yannick Champion-Osselin and Chloé Touchard

Putin & Xi BRICS Speeches, Greek Forest Fire, India’s Moon Shot

👋 Báwo ni!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Day 2 of the BRICS Summit is rife with tensions and surprises, 18 bodies are found after a Greek forest fire and India’s Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft is about to touch down on the Moon. Meanwhile, in German daily Die Welt, Eva Marie Kogel writes that the old maxim “a woman's work is never done” still rings very much true today.


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In The News
Renate Mattar, Emma Albright, Inès Mermat, Hugo Perrin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

“Reckless” Russia In Drone Crash, Pakistan’s Khan Protests, Introducing GPT-4

👋 Demat !*

Welcome to Wednesday, where a Russian fighter jet collides with U.S. drone over the Black Sea, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan resists arrest, and there’s already a new ChatGPT to talk to. Meanwhile, Roman Kravets and Roman Romanyuk for Ukrainian news website Ukrainska Pravda look back on Putin’s original plans to take over Ukraine, and what foiled them.

[*Breton, France]

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Harish Khare

"Untouchable" For President — Could A Dalit Leader Unseat Modi?

India goes to the polls next year, with a united opposition hoping to unseat Prime Minister Modi after 10 years in power. Mallikarjun Kharge, who may be the best candidate, is from India's "lowest" caste system.


DELHI — If Novak Djokovic, the greatest grass-court player ever, can be defeated, then India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, can be vanquished in next year’s court of the people. Modi has been in power since 2014 and appears to have a tight grip on power.

But even though India's opposition political landscape remains extremely untidy, it still has a Carlos Alcaraz up its sleeve. His name is Mallikarjun Kharge. If the opposition leaders play the game intelligently, India could have its first Dalit prime minister next May. Dalit — previously known as "untouchable" — is the lowest stratum of India's deeply entrenched caste system.

The messiness of the opposition’s unity or lack of it revolves round the vexatious issue of leadership. That issue, itself, is predicated on a few givens.

The leaders of 26 Indian opposition parties are meeting to firm up their strategy to take on Modi's party in the next year's general election. Taking on Modi's BJP, which won more than 300 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha (the lower house of India's parliament) in 2019, will be a big task, even for a united opposition. The question still is who will lead the opposition.

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This Happened

This Happened — July 12:  Malala Yousafzai Is Born

Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist and Nobel laureate known for her advocacy of girls' education and women's rights was born on this day in 1997 in Mingora, Swat Valley, Pakistan. She gained international prominence after surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2012.

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In The News

Worldcrunch Magazine #41 — Death Trap At Sea: An Exclusive Die Welt Investigation Into The Migrant Tragedy In Greek Waters

July 10 - July 16, 2023

This is the latest edition of Worldcrunch Magazine, a selection of our best articles of the week from the best international journalists, produced exclusively in English for Worldcrunch readers.


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In The News
Emma Albright, Yannick Champion-Osselin, Michal Kubala and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Fresh Israel Protests, China Removes “Missing” Foreign Minister, Youngest World Cup Player

👋 Rimaykullayki!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Israel’s adoption of a controversial law to limit the Supreme Court’s powers sparks fresh protests, China officially removes Qin Gang (who hasn’t been seen in public since late June) as foreign minister, and scientists confirm that yes, extreme heat waves are linked to human-induced climate change. Meanwhile, Russian independent news outlet Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories shares tales of disappointment from Russian soldiers coaxed into joining the frontline in Ukraine.


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