When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

TOPIC: bangladesh


Inside The Lead-Poisoning Scandal Rocking Bangladesh's Spice Bazaars

Traders in Bangladesh use lead chromate to enhance the appearance of turmeric roots. But the use of the chemical compound has now been linked to potential kidney and brain damage, and could cause developmental delays in children.

ATAIKULA — Before the heat of the day set in, dozens of people were already gathered under a large banyan tree at the twice-weekly turmeric market in Ataikula, Bangladesh. The season for harvesting turmeric was quickly coming to an end. Those who had arrived watched from the shade as other farmers brought their haul on motorbikes and auto rickshaws on the dirt road, their harvests to be combined in large piles atop orange and blue tarpaulin mats. Traders would buy however much they wanted in bulk.

Mohammad Abdullah Sheikh wandered around the market helping farmers weigh their sacks and traders make their purchases. Over the last 30 years, he’s become well acquainted with the space, as his turmeric processing business and trading facilities are headquartered next door. He buys most of his turmeric from this market and processes it to sell to larger food manufacturers and wholesalers across the country.

Watch VideoShow less

How Beijing's Backing Of Myanmar Sharpens China-India Tensions

While the 1,600-kilometer border between India and Myanmar has seen waves of Burmese refugees fleeing to India as the civil war and air strikes have intensified, the Chinese government has been vocal about its support of Myanmar's military junta. Inevitably, already tense relations between China and India

MIZORAM — In early May 2023, reporters entered the Simei Camp in Mizoram, northeast India. The camp, located on the outskirts of Aizawl, the capital of the Indian state of Mizoram, has housed 140 refugees since the coup of Burmese military ruler Min Aung Hlaing in 2021.

Prior to the February 1, 2021 coup, the term "Burmese refugees" was primarily associated with the Rakhine/Rohingya people of Myanmar. The first wave of Burmese refugees was in 2015, when more than 25,000 Rohingya refugees crossed the Indian Ocean on overcrowded and dirty boats to countries such as Malaysia, and became known for being stranded at sea.

The second wave occurred between 2016 and 2017, when armed conflict and genocide erupted in the Rakhine State of Myanmar, home to Rohingya, and a large number of refugees fled to neighboring Bangladesh. As of May 2023, there were 930,000 Rohingya refugees in camps in Bangladesh.

But the Rohingya are not the only refugees in Myanmar, as more than 1.49 million people, regardless of ethnicity, have been displaced or exiled to neighboring countries as a result of the civil war against the military regime that followed the coup d'état in 2021. According to UNHCR, 88,300 people have fled to neighboring countries since the coup until May 1 of this year, with more than 40,000 Chin refugees, who are of Sino-Tibetan origin, fleeing to the neighboring Indian state of Mizoram.

Keep reading...Show less

Will Hack For Nukes: Inside North Korea's Cryptocurrency Extortion Ring

North Korea has industrialized the theft of cryptocurrency to finance its nuclear weapons program and its state-sponsored hackers are getting better at emptying digital wallets. But global law enforcement agents are in hot pursuit, and cashing in crypto is harder than ever.

The threat on the screen was clear and simple enough: I've encrypted your files — and if you don't pay me within a week, you'll never be able to recover them.

At noon on May 12, 2017, a red alert page popped up on the computer screens of more than 300,000 Windows users worldwide, asking them to transfer approximately $300 worth of Bitcoin to recover their files.

Keep reading...Show less

Meet The Transgender Women Breaking Into The World's Top Beauty Pageants

After years of resistance, more and more major beauty pageants are selecting transgender women to compete. It's shaking up ideas about inclusivity, questioning the modern world’s beauty standards — and perhaps redefining gender itself.

Jenna Talackova’s selection to compete for Miss Universe Canada in 2012 was a watershed moment for both beauty pageants and transgender rights. Believed to be one of the first trans women to participate in a major beauty contest, Talackova won the title of Miss Congeniality, and many hoped it would pave the wave for more trans pageant contestants around the world.

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

It would take awhile, but just over a decade later, the revolution that Talackova sparked is finally gaining momentum. As Berlin-based Die Welt reports, Germany just announced that for the second year in a row, a trans woman has made the finals of its national pageant. Last week Miss Universe Puerto Rico said it will include its first openly transgender woman, all adding to a wave the past three years of top pageants opening up to trans contestants to compete.

Not surprisingly, there has been resistance. Last year, a U.S. judge rejected the appeal of Anita Green, a transgender woman, who had sued The Miss United States of America pageant for barring her from participating in the competition.

Meanwhile across the world, Miss Fabulous Laos 2022, a beauty pageant competition that allowed transgender women to participate, has been discontinued after the country’s ruling party banned transgender people from entering any beauty pageants.

Still, it seems as though the universe of women’s beauty pageants is reaching its transgender tipping point with more and more competitions opting for inclusivity, questioning the modern world’s beauty standards and redefining gender itself.

Here’s a look at some of the transgender women participating in beauty pageants around the world:

Keep reading...Show less
In The News
McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Putin Reacts To Finland And Sweden, Marcos Sworn In, Record Bangladesh Flood

👋 Zdravo!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Putin plays good-cop/bad-cop with NATO, dictator Marcos’ son is sworn in as Philippines president and a rare portrait by Francis Bacon goes under the hammer. We also look at anti-abortion movements around the world celebrating — and mobilizing — following the historic Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.


Watch VideoShow less
Sanjay Kathuria*

Pakistan And Sri Lanka Are Reminders Of The Political Power Of Economics

Both Pakistan's and Sri Lanka's leaders have resigned recently. Their fates should be a reminder to politicians in Asia and around the world: good economics might not be enough to get re-elected but bad economic decisions can hasten your fall.

On April 11, Shehbaz Sharif was sworn in as Pakistan’s new Prime Minister, following a no-confidence motion against the incumbent. A month later, in neighbouring Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe took oath as Prime Minister, for the sixth time, after the incumbent resigned.

Watch VideoShow less
In The News
Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

Omicron Spikes, Park Geun-hye Pardoned, Tasty Screens

👋 Bonjour!*

Welcome to Friday, where several European countries see record daily COVID cases, South Korea pardons Park Geun-hye, and Taste-the-TV is a thing. We also look at a familiar story unfolding in Ukraine, where former president Petro Poroshenko has been accused of being in cahoots with Russia.

As mentioned yesterday, the Worldcrunch Today crew is taking a short break, and will be back on Jan. 3, 2022. As always, we’ll continue publishing new stories through the holidays on Worldcrunch! Happy end of the year to all 🥳

Watch VideoShow less
In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

Biden v. Democrats, Australia To Lift Travel Ban, Beery Japan

👋 Szia!*

Welcome to Friday, where President Biden suffers a blow as the vote on his trillion-dollar agenda gets delayed, Australia and South Africa are set to ease COVID restrictions, and a wild encounter leaves Shakira shaking. For Russian daily Kommersant, Anna Geroeva reports on how Lake Baikal, the world's largest and oldest lake, is silently being crippled by plastic pollution.


Watch VideoShow less
Alessio Perrone

How Governments Are Using COVID-19 To Curtail Free Speech

In India, Thailand and elsewhere, authorities have recently passed laws or decrees limiting what media can do and say.

When Shafiqul Islam Kajol, a Bangladeshi journalist, turned up in police custody in early May, it had been 53 days since he was last seen or heard — and 54 since he was sued for defamation.

A politician from Bangladesh's ruling Awami League party had sued Kajol for allegedly publishing "false, offensive, illegally obtained and defamatory" content on Facebook. Kajol disappeared the day after.

Watch VideoShow less

Watch: OneShot — UNICEF: Children And The Right To Have Fun

Yes, to have fun and relax — at least sometimes —should be considered a human right. Especially for children. UNICEF France and One Shot put the concept together in a single image. Enjoy!

UNICEF For Summer Holidays 2019 ©UNICEF/Brian Sokol

Watch VideoShow less
Migrant Lives

Rohingya Refugees Lost Between Languages In Bangladesh

Caught between a host country trying to hinder their integration and a home country holding back their return, Rohingya children find themselves in linguistic limbo.

COX'S BAZAR — When Mohammed Reyas works on his math classwork, his mind splits among multiple languages.

The 11-year-old, a Rohingya refugee from Myanmar, starts counting in Burmese: "Tit, hnit, thone." He then switches to Bangla: "Char, panch, chhoy." Then Rohingya: "Hant, anchtho, no." Finally, he finishes in English: "Ten, eleven, twelve."

Watch VideoShow less
Caitlin Wake*

For Rohingya, The Risks Of A Premature Return To Myanmar

The Rohingya people’s long history of forced displacement tells us of the dangers of repatriation from Bangladesh before their safety and rights can be guaranteed.


Last week, trucks waited idly at Bangladesh's border to transport Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar. But not one of the refugees agreed to go. The impending return of the Rohingya is a disaster waiting to happen. There was no transparency in how refugees were chosen for return, and reports indicate that selected refugees have fled the camps or attempted suicide. Once the media spotlight fades, efforts to repatriate refugees are likely to be reinvigorated.

Watch VideoShow less