When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

TOPIC: smoking

In The News

Le Weekend: Killers’ Georgian Apology, Portrait Photographer Of The Year, AI & Pink Floyd

👋 សួស្តី*

Welcome to Saturday, where we take a look back at what’s been happening in the culture world this week, from the Georgian apology of U.S. rock band The Killers to the AI reconstruction of a Pink Floyd song using brainwaves and the rediscovery of a long lost Korean artwork. For our special Summer Reads edition of Worldcrunch Today, we feature an article by Ana Narciso in Portuguese news website Mensagem — and three other stories from around the world on culture and tradition.

[*Susadei - Khmer, Cambodia]

Watch VideoShow less

Meet Blanca Alsogaray, The First Woman To Win Cuba's "Oscar Of Cigars"

For the first time, Cuba's prestigious annual cigar festival recognized a woman, Alsogaray, owner of an iconic cigar shop in Buenos Aires, as the top representative of this celebrated lifeline of the Cuban economy.

BUENOS AIRES — Cigars are traditionally reserved for a man's world. But this year, for the first time, a Latin American woman has won one of three awards given at the 23rd Habano Festival in Cuba.

Every year since 2000, the Festival has gathered the top players in the world of Cuban cigars including sellers, distributors, specialists and aficionados. A prize is given to an outstanding personality in one of three areas: production, communication and sales. The latter went to Blanca Alsogaray, owner of the Buenos Aires shop La Casa del Habano. She says these prizes are not unlike the "Oscars of cigars."

"It's a sexist world for sure, but I won," she said of a prize which was called "Habano Man" (Hombre habano) until this year, when the word was changed for her.

"It recognizes a lifetime's work, which I consider so important as Argentina isn't an easy place for business, and less so being a woman." She was competing with two men. "In truth," she added. "I really do deserve it."

Alsogaray opened her shop in 1993. At the time there were only two sellers anywhere of Cuba's premium, hand-rolled cigars, the other one being in Mexico. Now habanos are sold in 150 outlets worldwide. "I want to celebrate these 30 years, and the prize. We're going to have a big party," she said. The firm celebrated its 30th anniversary on May 16.

Keep reading...Show less

No Smoking When The Dottoré Is In

Our Naples-based Dottoré puts out an argument with patients during a night shift at a psychiatric ward.

There is a seemingly obvious and trivial rule that patients in a psychiatric ward have to enforce, for everyone's safety: no smoking at night.

But making sure that people understand and accept it is perhaps one of the most difficult things in our job, especially if the night is busy.

Imagine, then, an agitated patient being admitted at 2 a.m.: ambulances, hubbub, voices of people chasing each other — eventually everybody is awake, and after a while, despite things having quieted down around 3 a.m., no one can fall back to sleep. And that's when the procession starts: patient after patient knocking on my door asking for a cigarette, and a lighter.

And the night goes on, with "no" after "no" seemingly falling on deaf ears.

Keep reading...Show less

The World's Toughest Anti-Smoking Laws

New Zealand is proposing to effectively ban cigarette sales in the future, the culmination of decades of increasingly tough laws aimed at tobacco use around the world, from Kyoto to California to Costa Rica.

New Zealand has announced what may be history's toughest anti-smoking law, saying it will not allow young people to buy cigarettes for life. Over the coming years, it amounts to a de facto prohibition-to-be, reports the New Zealand Herald.

Health activists are hailing the radical measure as the best way to begin to end the millions of deaths each year from smoking-related illnesses. The New Zealand legislation would be the culmination of worldwide efforts, both national and local laws, to limit tobacco use — from rules on cigarette packaging , bans on tobacco advertising and restrictions on smoking in public places.

Keep reading...Show less

The Latest: Biden's Big Day, Jack Ma Is Back, Tokyo Games At Risk

Welcome to Wednesday, where Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th U.S. president, Italy's prime minister hangs on, and the Tokyo Olympics may be cancelled again. We also visit six iconic businesses around the world, which have survived wars and depressions, but are now at risk of closing down due to the pandemic.

Joe Biden won't fix the world's broken diplomacy by himself

Democrats who reach the White House do not necessarily play into the hands of Europeans. It is up to them to unify their voice to pass their agendas.

The inauguration of Joe Biden opens a new chapter in the history of the United States, one filled with hopes that may quickly prove to be excessive. A new "New Deal" promises a shift in public health, diplomacy, and welfare for the American people.

It is also an opportunity to repair the historic bridges linking the two sides of the Atlantic. The next few days will be marked by actions of major symbolic importance: Washington's return to the Paris Climate Accord, a reconciliation with the World Health Organization, and likely, the revival of nuclear talks with Iran. Yet it would be a trap for us to believe that this means the return to a time when America and Europe were working together in defense of freedom and democracy.

From a European point of view, the hope inspired by Biden's inauguration Wednesday is just as dangerous as the blissful romanticism that swirled here with Barack Obama's arrival 12 years ago. First of all, Democrats who make it to the White House don't necessarily play into the hands of the Europeans. It was a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, who refused to ratify the Kyoto climate agreement and opposed the creation of an International Criminal Court. Barack Obama derailed an allied intervention in Syria.

In some ways, we may even miss Donald Trump who, for his own personal reasons, attacked the disproportionate power of the Big Tech companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon, which aligned with Europe's interest in reducing their powers. It is unlikely that Biden will join this fight, even if they are now the backbone of America's global domination.

We should not expect too much from the new president. The America of 2021 is not the America of the 2000s. The transatlantic relationship has reached the end of an era. The historic pillars of the international order have crumbled, and French President Emmanuel Macron already pronounced NATO "brain dead" a year ago.

Europeans will need to be particularly determined to grab the attention of Biden, who already has so much work to do domestically.

The Old World must propose a new transatlantic treaty that can seduce this new administration, around such crucial shared challenges as China's rising power, climate change, foreign investment monitoring, and industrial sovereignty. Washington will only listen if we speak with a single, unified European voice — and we offer them real value. Otherwise, our Inauguration Day hopes will quickly disappear.

— Lucie Robequain / Les Echos

Watch VideoShow less

Watch OneShot: Lewis Hine - Child Workers Smoking

Lewis Hine was an American sociologist and photographer, best remembered for his images of immigrants arriving in Ellis Island, and for shining a light on the brutal reality of poor children forced to work. His often disturbing photographs of young workers were considered instrumental in pushing through a series of child labor protection laws in the United States.

Watch VideoShow less

Iran Clampdown On Water Pipes Leads To Delivery Services

TEHRAN— The humble water pipe — that traditional contraption often found in the Middle East, designed to ensure a cool and smooth smoke — has been having a tough time in Iran.

Whether that's due to its association with traditional tea shops, which Iran's Islamic authorities frown upon for encouraging idle socializing, or to the health risks associated with it, the water pipe is in trouble, according to newspaper Arman-e Emrooz, which reports an increase in "raids" on tea shops or eateries providing customers with pipes.

Watch VideoShow less
Joëlle Kuntz

The Smoking Generation: Where 1946 Babies Are Today

What has become of the generation of people born in 1946? Le Temps' Joëlle Kuntz ponders the past seven decades and the findings of a watershed study of her age group.


GENEVA — Seventy years ago, tobacco was considered a kind of medicine. The fragility of our beliefs is enough to take your breath away. I feel a terrifying awe every time I glance at the advertisement for Villiger cigars stuck on my fridge. In it is a working-class man in his thirties, neat and tidy, with a cigar dangling from his lips. His blonde little girl, sitting on his lap, is lighting it for him, and the match glows at the center of this scene.

Watch VideoShow less
Teresa Nauber

New Youth Vices: Sugar And Sloth v. Smoke And Drink

New studies show teenagers in Europe and North America are consuming less alcohol and cigarettes than they did even a few years ago. But other problems have worsened.

BERLIN — Each generation is wilder than the last, or at least that's the common view. But it's actually not true for today's teenagers, according to a study by the World Health Organization. In fact, it shows that today's youth smoke and drink less, continuing a downward trend that began in 2010.

In Europe and North America, 25% of kids under age 13 smoked six years ago, but today that number is down to 17%.

Watch VideoShow less

Terror In Brussels, "New Day" For Cuba, No-Frills Smokes


Photo: Ye Pingfan/Xinhua/ZUMA

Watch VideoShow less
Liu Jiaying and Zhang Jin

Why China Has So Many Smokers: Tobacco Lobby, Chinese-Style

The power of "Big Tobacco" in a state-run industry in China is surprisingly similar to the hold that U.S. cigarette makers long enjoyed. Indeed, Chinese anti-smoking advocates are decades behind Western counterparts.

BEIJING — On Jan. 9, 2006 China signed the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. According to this international treaty, China had to ban smoking in all indoor public places and prohibit all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship within five years so as to protect the public from the deleterious health effects.

China patently failed to comply with the provisions during the first five-year term. Now, as the second term is set to end, it's clear that we will again fall well short of the goals set by the convention.

Watch VideoShow less

Israel Violence, Nobel Peace Prize, Rome Mayor Quits


ISIS killed Iranian Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani outside Aleppo overnight, Iranian military news agency Sepah News reports. Hamedani was providing military advice to Syrian government forces as part of support sent by Tehran. He was reportedly in charge of the Quds Force, a special unit fighting rebels in the war-torn country and one that the U.S. considers a terrorist group. Hamedani was also known for leading brutal crackdowns against Iranian protestors in 2009 and was hit with international sanctions.

Watch VideoShow less