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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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Ideas

Joshimath, The Sinking Indian City Has Also Become A Hotbed Of Government Censorship

The Indian authorities' decision to hide factual reports on the land subsidence in Joshimath only furthers a sense of paranoia.

Photo of people standing next to a cracked road in Joshimath, India

Cracked road in Joshimath

@IndianCongressO via Twitter
Rohan Banerjee*

MUMBAI — Midway through the movie Don’t Look Up (2021), the outspoken PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is bundled into a car, a bag over her head. The White House, we are told, wants her “off the grid”. She is taken to a warehouse – the sort of place where CIA and FBI agents seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Hollywood movies – and charged with violating national security secrets.

The Hobson’s choice offered to her is to either face prosecution or suspend “all public media appearances and incendiary language relating to Comet Dibiasky”, an interstellar object on a collision course with earth. Exasperated, she acquiesces to the gag order.

Don’t Look Upis a satirical take on the collective apathy towards climate change; only, the slow burn of fossil fuel is replaced by the more imminent threat of a comet crashing into our planet. As a couple of scientists try to warn humanity about its potential extinction, they discover a media, an administration, and indeed, a society that is not just unwilling to face the truth but would even deny it.

This premise and the caricatured characters border on the farcical, with plot devices designed to produce absurd scenarios that would be inconceivable in the real world we inhabit. After all, would any government dealing with a natural disaster, issue an edict prohibiting researchers and scientists from talking about the event? Surely not. Right?

On January 11, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), issued a preliminary report on the land subsidence issue occurring in Joshimath, the mountainside city in the Himalayas.

The word ‘subsidence’ entered the public lexicon at the turn of the year as disturbing images of cracked roads and tilted buildings began to emanate from Joshimath.

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