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The River Thames burst its banks and reached record levels.
The River Thames burst its banks and reached record levels.
Worldcrunch

SECOND ROUND OF SYRIAN PEACE TALKS BEGIN
The Syrian government and opposition representatives are meeting in Geneva for the second round of peace negotiations, during which Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi is expected to meet separately with both delegations, AFP reports. The talks come as civilians from the besieged city of Homs were evacuated during a three-day truce. Yesterday alone, 611 people, mostly women and children, were rescued, according to state news agency Sana.

NSA’S ACTIVE ROLE IN DEADLY DRONE PROGRAM
According to top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the NSA relies more on electronic surveillance and on the analysis of metadata from supposed terrorists than on human intelligence for the deadly U.S. drone campaign in the Middle and Far East, Pierre Omidyar’s new website The Intercept reports. Although the method has apparently been successful for targeting terrorists, a former drone operator admitted that its lack of reliability had also led on several occasions to the death of innocent civilians.

LAWMAKER MURDERED IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Violent fights continue in the Central African Republic, with at least 11 people killed over the weekend, including lawmaker Jean-Emmanuel Ndjaroua, who had denounced violence against Muslims just before being gunned down by attackers on a motorbike. Read the full story on France24.

For more on the crisis in the Central African Republic, read this Le Monde/Worldcrunch piece: In CAR, Muslims Blame France.

SWISS VOTERS APPROVE IMMIGRATION CAP
Switzerland narrowly approved — with 50.3% of the vote — a referendum Sunday to cap immigration. Some 27% of its 8 million inhabitants are immigrants.

SCATHING REPORT ON U.S. MILITARY SEX ABUSE
Internal documents from the U.S. Department of Defense reveal that a majority of perpetrators of sex crimes at American military bases in Japan between 2005 and 2013 were not imprisoned, AP reports. In hundreds of cases, those found guilty were merely “fined, demoted, restricted to their bases or removed from the military,” while some 30 of them received a letter of reprimand as their only punishment. Describing a method that “verged on the chaotic,” the report also says that two recommendations to court-martial were overruled by commanders, leading to the charges being dropped.

IRAN: NUCLEAR DEAL CAN BE UNDONE THAT QUICKLY
Don’t underestimate the depths of mistrust toward the United States and the West that exist in Tehran’s halls of power. Read latest here from Iran Files.

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD

MUDSLIDE KILLS 4 IN BOLIVIA
At least four people have died and another 10 are missing after a mudslide buried 15 homes in central Bolivia, local newspaperEl Deber reports. The rainy season, which started in November and is expected to last until the end of February, has been particularly devastating this year, with over 46,000 families affected by the weather conditions and 40 casualties.

COPENHAGEN ZOO DEFENDS GIRAFFE KILLING
Zoo officials in Copenhagen are defending their decision to destroy an 18-month-old giraffe named Marius because his genes weren’t fit for breeding.

CRIME INT’L
A man in Russia has admitted to poisoning thousands of stray dogs, a recurring problem in the country.

FLOODING IN THE UK
Fourteen severe flood warnings along the Thames River are in place in Britain after the river reached record levels and burst its banks, and forecasters are warning of more rain coming late Monday and into Tuesday.

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Green

Fading Flavor: Production Of Saffron Declines Sharply

Saffron is well-known for its flavor and its expense. But in Kashmir, one of the flew places it grows, cultivation has fallen dramatically thanks for climate change, industry, and farming methods.

Photo of women harvesting saffron in Kashmir

Harvesting of Saffron in Kashmir

Mubashir Naik

In northern India along the bustling Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Pampore — known as the saffron town of Kashmir —people are busy picking up saffron flowers to fill their wicker baskets.

During the autumn season, this is a common sight in the Valley as saffron harvesting is celebrated like a festival in Kashmir. The crop is harvested once a year from October 21 to mid-November.

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