When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Criticism Of Algerian Blitz To Free Hostages, As It Moves Into Day Two

ANI (Mauritania), TSA, EL WATAN (Algeria), LE MONDE, L'EXPRESS (France), AP


ALGIERS – Confirmed information on the ground is still scant, but Algerian authorities do acknowledge that the assault against Islamist hostage takers was still ongoing Friday, more than 24 hours after it began at a gas treatment plant 1600 kilometers south of the capital.

Reports of casualties among the hostages range from a handful to up to 50, but few doubt that additional Westerners were killed when Algeria decided to storm the foreign-run gas facility less than a day after an Islamic radical group had launched an assault and taken hostage an estimated 41 Western employees and killing two people, including a British citizen.

Washington has sent a plane to bring back the American citizens waiting in the safe area. There are no reports yet on U.S. casualties. The AP is reporting that President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke on the phone to share their confusion. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the Obama administration was "seeking clarity from the government of Algeria."

Meanwhile, Japanese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Shunichi Suzuki said he was "deeply worried that the Algerian government engaged in military action in this hostage situation," reported Le Monde.

France's President Francois Hollande, whose decision to launch a military operation in neighboring Mali was cited by the terrorists, expressed confidence in the Algerian government, operating "under dramatic conditions." He added that what has happened the last two days in Algeria "justifies even more the decision taken to intervene in Mali."

Here are some preliminary details about how and why the Algerian military operation was launched:

The Algerian army used helicopters and ground forces in a frontal assault Thursday morning to free the remaining hostages inside the vast gas complex, which is jointly run by BP, as well as Norwegian, Japanese and Algerian energy companies.

Negotiations, it appears, never occurred.

Algerian newspapers and the Mauritanian agency ANI report that the leaders of the insurrection repeatedly claimed through these media that they had attached explosive belts to several people, and asked not to be harmed as they left the site in an attempt to cross the Libyan border.

The Algerian officers chose not to accept these conditions and sent helicopters to stop the several cars moving terrorists and their captives, reports El Watan. This operation is believed to be where rebel leaders say 34 hostages and as up to 15 terrorists were killed. The Algerian government has described these numbers as "unrealistic," reports the Express.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

food / travel

Legalizing Moonshine, A Winning Political Stand In Poland

Moonshine, typically known as “bimber” in Poland, may soon be legalized by the incoming government. There is a mix of tradition, politics and economics that makes homemade booze a popular issue to campaign on.

Photo of an empty vodka bottle on the ground in Poland

Bottle of vodka laying on the ground in Poland

Leszek Kostrzewski

WARSAWIt's a question of freedom — and quality. Poland's incoming coalition government is busy negotiating a platform for the coming years. Though there is much that still divides the Left, the liberal-centrist Civic Koalition, and the centrist Third Way partners, there is one area where Poland’s new ruling coalition is nearly unanimous: moonshine.

The slogan for the legalization of moonshine (known in Poland as "bimber") was initially presented by Michał Kołodziejczak, the leader of Agrounia, a left-wing socialist political movement in Poland that has qualified to be part of the incoming Parliament.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

”Formerly so-called moonshine was an important element of our cultural landscape, associated with mystery, breaking norms, and freedom from the state," Kołodziejczak said. "It was a reason to be proud, just like the liqueurs that Poles were famous for in the past.”

The president of Agrounia considered the right to make moonshine as a symbol of "subjectivity" that farmers could enjoy, and admitted with regret that in recent years it had been taken away from citizens. “It's also about a certain kind of freedom, to do whatever you want on your farm," Kołodziejczak adds. "This is subjectivity for the farmer. Therefore, I am in favor of providing farmers with the freedom to consume this alcohol for their own use.”

A similar viewpoint was aired by another Parliament member. “We will stop pretending that Polish farmers do not produce moonshine for their own use, such as for weddings,” the representative said, pointing out the benefits of controlling the quality. “Just like they produce slivovitz, which Poland is famous for. It's high time they did it legally.”

Keep reading...Show less

The latest