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Germany

Germany’s Latest Media Star Is A Wayward Country Cow

Yvonne, a dairy cow, has been hiding since May in the woods near Zangberg, a tiny Bavarian municipality. So far, she has eluded all attempts at capture - but now it’s Ernst the bull’s turn to be trucked in, in the hopes he can woo her out.

A renegade German cow has her friends and followers.
A renegade German cow has her friends and followers.

Worldcrunch NEWS BITES

ZANGBERG -- On May 24, a German dairy cow, Yvonne, got past electrified fencing in the pasture where she was grazing and headed for the woods near this tiny Bavarian commune (pop. 1,100).

She has since captured media attention all over Germany, having become something of a symbol for the freedom and dignity of animals, and particularly of cows, which are treated with little regard as nothing more than sources of meat and milk.

When the local mayor, Franz Märkl, looks out his office window and sees yet another group of rubber-booted, camera-toting people heading for the woods where Yvonne is occasionally spotted, he can't help but laugh. "We sure trained that cow up good," he says jokingly. "Now everybody in Germany has heard of our beautiful commune."

"It's unbelievable how famous she's become – for sure nobody would dare shoot her now," says Märkl.

A TV team is setting up near the volunteer fire department to interview an animal conservationist for the late news, and the Volkswagen Tiguan belonging to the manager of an animal rescue farm, Gut Aiderbichl, in nearby Deggendorf has become the informal press headquarters for the cow story. Every 15 minutes or so, he gives phone interviews on his mobile, and every hour takes journalists hoping to get a look at Yvonne up into the woods. He's also general search coordinator.

"Yvonne knows exactly what she's doing, and she's tricking us," he says.

So far, Yvonne has proven very canny, resisting food traps and visits by another cow, Waltraud, and a calf, Waldi.

On Tuesday, locals built a shelter for Yvonne so she would be sheltered from rain and comfortable. Now, Ernst, a bull from Gut Aiderbichl, is due to be trucked in. Latest reports are that Ernst is actually an ox, and that the former stud has since been castrated. Not important, says a local expert – a love relationship can still build between them, and plans are afoot to truck them both back to Gut Aiderbichl so they can be together.

"He's fantastic, a real dazzler," says a local of Ernst. It's hoped that Yvonne will think so too.

Read the full article in German by Ulrike Heidenreich.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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