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Irene Caselli

See more by Irene Caselli

Photo of a marble statue of a man, focused on the torso
Society

Can Men Help Breastfeed Their Children?

In a tribe in central Africa, male and female roles are practically interchangeable in caregiving to children. Even though their lifestyle might sound strange to the West, it offers important life lessons about who raises children — and how.

The southwestern regions of the Central African Republic and the northern Republic of Congo are home to the Aka, a nomadic tribe of hunter-gatherers who, from a Western point-of-view, are surprising because male and female roles are practically interchangeable.

Though women remain the primary caregivers, what is interesting is that their society has a level of flexibility virtually unknown to ours.

While the women hunt, the men care for the children; while the men cook, the women decide where to settle, and vice versa. This was observed by anthropologist Barry Hewlett, a professor at Washington State University, who lived for long periods alongside the tribe. “It is the most egalitarian human society possible,” Hewlett said in an interview.

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A Deaf Child's Struggle, A Taste For Simple Things
Dottoré!

A Deaf Child's Struggle, A Taste For Simple Things

"It’s just that all the hardships he has faced have made him more appreciative of the simple things — he’s happier than us."

When Pasquale was told that his newborn son was deaf, his world fell apart.

He held that long-awaited and longed-for baby in his arms and cried, not even daring to look him in the eye.

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A Very Neapolitan Kind Of Halloween
Dottoré!

A Very Neapolitan Kind Of Halloween

Instead of going trick-or-treating, our Naples-based psychiatrist asks herself a dialectal question.

When someone wishes you “Happy Halloween," how should you respond?

“Same to you, andkitammuort!?”

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Quantifying The Effects Of The Pandemic On Nonna's Cooking
Dottoré!

Quantifying The Effects Of The Pandemic On Nonna's Cooking

"Dottoré, if today is to be my last lunch ..."

Back in the early days of the pandemic, a study was carried out on a sample of about 100 women in their seventies. It showed that the day after they got their first shot against COVID-19:

• 80% of the respondents woke up early to start making ragù, the meat sauce. Of these, the majority made it with pork ribs (tracchiolelle), a minority with ground beef.

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Diaper Diary: Why Parenting Division Of Labor Still Stinks For Moms
Society

Diaper Diary: Why Parenting Division Of Labor Still Stinks For Moms

Why are men still avoiding tasks that women don't want to do either?

A few months ago, at the beginning of spring in Greece, I was taking a stroll with my three-year-old son at a playground in Voula, in the southern outskirts of Athens, facing the sea. Suddenly, Lorenzo ran a few meters to the beach.

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photo of prince william smiling
Ideas

The Prince And I: At St Andrews With William — Lessons In Politics And Bicycles

The author was at university with the future monarch, who was evidently an object of fascination for many on campus, and a seemingly decent person. Still, with the death of Queen Elizabeth and the ascension of King Charles, we should remember that Prince William is also the embodiment of something sinister.

-Essay-

I went to university with Prince William — to be more precise, the future King of England went to university with me.

I’d arrived at the University of St Andrews two years before William — so I can definitively not be accused of being one of the many girls my age from around the world who (at least, according to the British press) had applied for entry at St Andrews with the dream of becoming a real-life princess.

In the one year that our paths crossed on campus, I never had a veritable conversation with young William, but did bump into him several times — not uncommon in the medieval Scottish town where university life is concentrated around three main streets.

Naturally, memories of that time have returned in recent weeks, since the death of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and the prince's rise to heir apparent to his father, King Charles.

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Vladimir Putin in a suit, sitting on a chair with russian flag in the background
Russia

Here Are Four Ways Putin Could Turn The Tide In Ukraine

Ukraine's recent successes on the battlefield have put pressure on Vladimir Putin, who has launched what appear to be desperate attacks on civilians and infrastructure in response. Experts warn that it is dangerous to believe that Russia is bound to fail.

-Analysis-

Russia's airstrikes on Ukraine have continued unabated throughout the week.

More than 40 cities have been hit by Russian missiles over a period of just 24 hours, the General Staff of the Ukrainian army announced Thursday. Heavy strikes occurred in the outskirts of Kyiv for several nights in a row. Sirens wailed, people ran in panic through the darkness.

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

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Thirty percent of the country's energy infrastructure has now been destroyed, according to Ukrainian figures — a dramatic development as rain and cold weather are just around the corner.

Ukraine needs to urgently "defend itself against the terrible Russian attacks on civilians," NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told the alliance's defense ministers meeting in Brussels earlier this week. The message got through.

Germany and the U.S. made new commitments to supply air defense, and a total of 15 countries signed a declaration of intent for a "European Sky Shield" in Brussels on Thursday. The goal is to "close the gaps" in air defense, said Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht.

But to be clear, as brutal as they are, the Russian missile offensives are the direct result of Ukraine's huge military gains in recent weeks.

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Fear Of Death — And Not Being Dressed Accordingly
Dottoré!

Fear Of Death — And Not Being Dressed Accordingly

"Antonietta, I'm completely fine. Don’t you even think of bringing me a nightgown.”

Antonietta has two obsessions: fine nightclothes, and death. Other people's death, that is.

Inside her psychosis-driven head, these two elements are linked as such: As soon as she hears that someone is ill, she shows up at their home, with a gift of silk nightgown or pajamas — worthy garments, she thinks, for someone who may be about to depart.

Today she came for a session and, unfortunately, I had a big headache.

"Dottoré, you don’t look well. Are you feeling ok?"

"Antonietta, I'm completely fine. Don’t you even think of bringing me a nightgown.”

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Screenshot of Madonna's 5-second TikTok video in which she alluded to her possible queerness
LGBTQ Plus

LGBTQ+ International: “Gay Propaganda” In Russia, Gruesome West Bank Murder, Madonna Out — 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:

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photo of a brown building and power lines
Society

Why Brazil Is Excavating An Infamous Torture Center 40 Years Later

As the country gears up for a politically-charged run-off election, a team of archaeologists, historians and forensics experts are set to excavate the grounds and buildings of one of the worst torture centers in São Paulo, trying to recover the country's painful history of torture during the military regime.

In 1964, the Brazilian Armed Forces carried out a coup, with support from the United States government, and installed a dictatorship that lasted for over 20 years. Although free elections returned to the country in the 1980s and a new constitution was approved in 1988, Brazil has lagged other South American countries when it comes to reconciling itself with the aftermaths of the dictatorship.

Challenging the crimes of the military elites is portrayed as a “leftist” cause in Brazil. Right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has even celebrated — on several occasions, including during the Congress session that voted to impeach former president Dilma Rousseff — the torture that was committed by the regime.

In contrast, countries like Argentina and Chile have made big strides in reckoning with their bloody past and prosecuting members of the military juntas.

SÂO PAULO — For the first time, an archaeological, historical and forensic project in Brazil intends to excavate the grounds and buildings of the former headquarters of a DOI-CODI (Department of Information Operations - Center for Internal Defense Operations), the much feared intelligence agency that carried out violent political repression during Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985).

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Photo of a woman walking past a street lamp at night
Society

Switching Off Street Lights? Not The Brightest Solution To Our Energy Crisis

Keeping the lights out at night may be a good measure both for the environment and in the context of an energy crisis – but it may have repercussions on people's sense of security, in particular for women.

As the leaves fall and an energy crisis looms, countries across Europe are preparing for a winter that will be dark, figuratively and literally.

After deciding to switch to cold showers in public buildings, Germany is now turning off street lights at night. Since Sept. 1, the Energy Saving Ordinance has officially prohibited the illumination of public buildings, including landmarks, from the outside.

Others are following suit: In Paris, the Eiffel Tower will see its lights dimmed an hour earlier than usual starting this week, while some 12,000 towns around the country have fully or partially switched off public lighting at night. Spain requires shops and monuments to dim the lights and shut down at 10 p.m. sharp.

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Delusions Of Grandfather
Dottoré!

Delusions Of Grandfather

"And where is your grandson?" — "Who knows. He must be old by now."

“Dottorè, do you know that I am a grandpa?”

When Gennaro told me this, at first I thought he was being delusional. But then I looked into his eyes: They were lucid — not because of the drugs his psychiatric treatment required, but from some strong emotion, something real that had at last lit up in his gaze.

Gennaro had to have a grandchild somewhere, and therefore also a child.

Yet, he had spent his life in a psychiatric hospital until 1994, and when he left the hospital, there was no trace of his previous life.

"And where is your grandson?"

"Who knows. He must be old by now. Maybe he's a grandfather himself. I've only seen him once: My son brought him to meet me outside the Leonardo Bianchi psychiatric hospital, when it was still open. He was ashamed to bring the baby there, it was the first and last time he came to see me.

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