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"Seven killed in Dominican Republic and Haiti as rainfall continues" writes the Dominican Republic's daily El Caribe on its Wednesday front page as Hurricane Matthew — the most powerful Caribbean hurricane in years — devastated parts of the two countries that coexist on the same island.

With winds up to 230 km/h (145 mph), torrential rainfall and mudslides, the newspaper reports that the hurricane "displaced 22,745 people, affected 447 homes and isolated 32 isolated" in the Dominican Republic alone. But though El Caribe states that the hurricane killed at least seven people, the death toll remains uncertain at the moment, with sources reporting two deaths and others up to 11 casualties.

In neighboring Haiti, emergency efforts are struggling to reach some areas, as the storm blocked several roads and knocked down a bridge that linked the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince to the southern part of the country.

The United Nations has called Hurricane Matthew the "largest humanitarian event" that Haiti, one of the world's poorest countries, has had to face since a massive earthquake hit in 2010.

After making landfall in Cuba, the weakening hurricane is now moving towards the Bahamas. Later in the week, the storm is expected to sweep through the U.S. states of Florida, South and North Carolina, where warnings have been issued and the first evacuations have been ordered.

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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