When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Geopolitics

The Best Of 2012, Worldcrunch Style: Your Favorite Stories, And Ours

Barack and Michele Obama, in the end, had a good year...
Barack and Michele Obama, in the end, had a good year...
White House

Yes it's that time of the year again!

Readers' Picks

These are the articles that got your attention (and clicks) in 2012.

1. Catholic Church Makes A Fortune in the German Porn Business

DIE WELT


Weltbild, one of Germany’s largest publishing companies, happens to be owned and operated by the Catholic Church. But that has not stopped it from publishing books that many of the faithful find offensive.

2. Why Facebook Must Die For Internet Freedom to Flourish

SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG

Op-Ed: Facebook is squaring with Google in a race for control not only of the social network market, but of the Internet as a whole. Regardless of who “wins,” there’s a danger for users, who bit by bit are losing control of both their digitial profiles – and digital freedom.

3. When Chimpanzees Attack: 10 Killed In Possible "Revenge" For Past Human Brutality

SYFIA


The terrifying story of apes attacking villagers in eastern Congo captivated you -- or was it the chimpanzombie photo?

4. My Father’s Work Eviscerated: Tolkien

LE MONDE

Christopher Tolkien gave his first ever press interview with Le Monde, shedding light on his father's vision and sharing his own deep dismay with Hobbit director Peter Jackson.

5. Why Eastern Germany Is The Most Godless Place On Earth

DIE WELT

More than two decades after its political reunification, Germany continues to be divided along religious lines. Christianity still holds a fair amount of sway in the West. Not so much in the East, where two thirds of the population – young and old – are declared atheists.

Staff Picks

And these are our favorites, here at Worldcrunch's Paris HQ:

1. The Little Town With A Big Airport That Wants To Secede From Russia

KOMMERSANT

The story about the national independence of Domodedovo sounds like a joke. But the best jokes come from the most tragic material, and this story says much about shifting power in modern Russia.

2. Four Years Later, Obama's African "Brothers" Give Him Mixed Marks

LE TEMPS

"He gave us back our pride. If a black man can become president of the United States, it means that we blacks are capable of anything" versus "He had the legitimate right, because his father is from our continent, to talk to African dictators in very strong language. But he kept silent."

3. "Kids, Jose Is Now Melisa" - Meet Buenos Aires' First Transsexual Teacher

CLARIN

"Some of the changes appear to have been completely accepted, but seeing her in heels and a skirt still provokes surprise. ‘You’re pretty, teacher!’ and ‘Why did you change now and not earlier?’ were some of the comments."

4. When Women Conquer Men Of Power - How It Looks In China

ECONOMIC OBSERVER

Men conquer women by conquering the world; women conquer the world by conquering men: an analysis of the silent but supreme power of mistresses, from Julius Caesar to Bo Xilai and David Petraeus.

5. From Post-Revolution Tunisia, The Brutal Odyssey Of A Convicted Blasphemer

LE MONDE

The roving journey across seven countries of a convicted blasphemer facing a seven-and-a-half-year jail sentence for publishing online caricatures and pamphlets depicting the prophet Muhammad.

BONUS

A Real Animal Lover? Meet The Man Fighting To Keep Bestiality Legal In Germany

SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG

Undoubtedly 2012’s most WTF story – if only for this quote: "But I stay away from horses; the danger of falling in love is simply too great."

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.

Society

In Northern Kenya, Where Climate Change Is Measured In Starving Children

The worst drought in 40 years, which has deepened from the effects of climate change, is hitting the young the hardest around the Horn of Africa. A close-up look at the victims, and attempts to save lives and limit lasting effects on an already fragile region in Kenya.

Photo of five mothers holding their malnourished children

At feeding time, nurses and aides encourage mothers to socialize their children and stimulate them to eat.

Georgina Gustin

KAKUMA — The words "Stabilization Ward" are painted in uneven black letters above the entrance, but everyone in this massive refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, calls it ya maziwa: The place of milk.

Rescue workers and doctors, mothers and fathers, have carried hundreds of starving children through the doors of this one-room hospital wing, which is sometimes so crowded that babies and toddlers have to share beds. A pediatric unit is only a few steps away, but malnourished children don’t go there. They need special care, and even that doesn’t always save them.

In an office of the International Rescue Committee nearby, Vincent Opinya sits behind a desk with figures on dry-erase boards and a map of the camp on the walls around him. “We’ve lost 45 children this year due to malnutrition,” he says, juggling emergencies, phone calls, and texts. “We’re seeing a significant increase in malnutrition cases as a result of the drought — the worst we’ve faced in 40 years.”

From January to June, the ward experienced an 800 percent rise in admissions of children under 5 who needed treatment for malnourishment — a surge that aid groups blame mostly on a climate change-fueled drought that has turned the region into a parched barren.

Opinya, the nutrition manager for the IRC here, has had to rattle off these statistics many times, but the reality of the numbers is starting to crack his professional armor. “It’s a very sad situation,” he says, wearily. And he believes it will only get worse. A third year of drought is likely on the way.

More children may die. But millions will survive malnutrition and hunger only to live through a compromised future, researchers say. The longer-term health effects of this drought — weakened immune systems, developmental problems — will persist for a generation or more, with consequences that will cascade into communities and societies for decades.

Keep reading...Show less

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.

The latest