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Dydh da! *

Welcome to Wednesday, where Merkel makes way for Scholz, Biden threatens Putin, and a Botox scandal has hit Saudi Arabia’s camel beauty pageant. We are also listening to London-based Kayhan, who describes the geopolitics of the clashes reported last week on the border with Iran and Afghanistan.

[*Cornish, UK]


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• Olaf Scholz becomes German Chancellor: Social Democrat Olaf Scholz became the country’s 9th Chancellor after World War II, ending 16 years of conservative rule under Angela Merkel. After being sworn in later today, the former mayor of Hamburg, 63, will head an SPD-Greens-FDP coalition which has promised “a new start for Germany”.

• Follow-up of Biden-Poutin calls: During the much-anticipated two-hour conversation, US President Joe Biden told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the United States is ready to take strong economic sanctions against Russia if it chooses to invade Ukraine. . He specified that these measures would be more severe than those taken in 2014 which did not prevent Russia from occupying Crimea.

• COVID update: The World Health Organization has said existing vaccines are expected to work against the new Omicron variant, despite some lab tests showing a decrease in the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine. As it tries to curb the fourth wave of the pandemic, Germany has recorded its highest number of daily deaths from COVID since February.

• Australian diplomatic boycott of the Olympic Games: Australia has joined with the United States in boycotting the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “human rights violations” worried governments in his country, but Australian athletes will continue to compete.

• Arrest of the suspect in the murder of Khashoggi in France: A suspected member of the Saudi squad who killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 has been arrested at Charles de Gaulle airport, on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by Turkey. Khashoggi, who has written reviews of his home country, was assassinated at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

• The Japanese billionaire targets the stars: Entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa has become the latest in a list of the world’s super-rich who choose to spend their money on space travel, today soaring to the International Space Station (ISS). Maezawa – a former punk drummer who made his fortune in e-commerce – will complete 100 tasks during his 12-day trip to the ISS, including playing golf. He also plans to visit the Moon in 2023.

• Botox scandal at camel beauty pageant in Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia has organized six editions of a competition to determine the most beautiful dromedary. But at this year’s event, it was revealed that 43 contestants had broken the rules with Botox, gel implants, and rubber band enhancements.


“Change of power”, headlines the German daily Der Tagesspiegel as a social democrat Olaf Scholz has been officially chosen by German lawmakers as the country’s new chancellor, replacing Angela Merkel after her 16-year term (with her iconic hand pose).


Taliban and Iran: the impossible alliance may already be falling apart

The clashes reported last week along the Iran-Afghanistan border may have been inevitable, writes Persian-speaking Kayhan, based in London.

?? What happened: There are so far few details of what sparked the blaze on Wednesday between Iranian border forces and Taliban fighters near the Hirand district in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province. Still, images posted on social media indicated that the exchange of fire was quite intense, with troops on both sides using both light and heavy weapons.

?? The context: Less than five months ago, in July, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said he hoped “we will have good relations with the Islamic Republic.” And so far, the Islamic Republic of Iran has enjoyed warm relations with the Taliban. Former Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammadjavad Zarif welcomed them to Tehran before they took power. After the Taliban conquered Kabul, the conservative Tehran newspaper Kayhan insisted that this fate was different from “the Taliban we know, who cut off heads.”

?? Lime bleaching: The Fars news agency, close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, for its part completely whitewashed the Taliban by reporting attacks on “Iranian farmers” by unspecified gunmen coming from “areas where bandits and traffickers were active “. Iran’s foreign ministry said the “border disagreement” was resolved on December 1 through the efforts of “border guards on both sides,” without any mention of any Taliban involved. But Kayhan-London asks how long the facade can hold up.

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The impeachment motion failed, fascism failed, the parliamentary coup to democracy failed.

– Vladimir Cerron, leader of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo‘s party, Peru Libre, said on Twitter after a vote in Congress prevented an impeachment process against Castillo from moving forward. Castillo was elected president of Peru by a very narrow margin last July, but his popularity has since plummeted, amid allegations of corruption.


Fed up, the mayor of France forbids snow from falling

Icy roads, power cuts… There is only one solution to putting an end to the winter chaos.

No one dreams of a white Christmas in the town of Cerdon, in eastern France. Marc Chavent, mayor of this town nestled in the Jura mountains, apparently has a very different dream: so frustrated by the difficulties encountered by his community because of the snowfall that at the beginning of the week, he banned cold precipitation absolutely.

While the sarcastic decree was naturally a symbolic gesture, it drew attention to very real problems: as reported by the French news site actuLyon, the city’s electricity is often cut as soon as it starts to snow. , and a few weeks ago the Cerdon snow removal tractor broke down.

“It is difficult to invest 150,000 euros in new snow-clearing equipment,” Chavent wrote in the mandate, accusing the endless bureaucracy of the French government of hampering the financial autonomy of small towns.

The mayor is also attacking a new part of the population of Cerdon – “neo-rural people who, although having chosen to live in a mountainous region in winter, believe themselves to be in downtown Lyon” – who apparently find the snow to be cold, wet and slippery. Ban it, indeed!

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Pronounced owl, the buzzword used to poke fun at an outdated, old-fashioned aesthetic typically associated with Millennials went viral on TikTok earlier this year. Examples of “cheugy” trends include skinny jeans and “Live, Laugh, Love” signs. Alongside “Omicron” or the last name of pop singer Billie Eilish, “cheugy” has been identified as one of the hardest words to pronounce by news readers and people on television this year. The list was compiled by the US Captioning Company, which provides captions for live events on television and in courtrooms.

✍️ Newsletter by Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, Rozena Crossman, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

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