Welcome to Wednesday, where the Taliban announce a ban on foreign currency, war crimes are blamed on both sides of the war in Ethiopia's Tigray region and an Italian car has been parked in the same spot since the '70s. We also feature an AmericaEconomia report on how South America is boosting coffee exports by cashing in on growing taste for the beverage in prosperous Asian countries.
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• Taliban bans foreign currencies: The Taliban announced that anyone using foreign currency for domestic business in Afghanistan would be prosecuted. It is a move that risks causing further disruption to an economy on the brink of collapse after the abrupt withdrawal of international financial support following the Taliban takeover.
• Ethiopia war crime report: A joint investigation by the UN and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) faulted all sides for committing abuse and violating international human rights in Tigray. Extra-judicial executions, torture, rape, and attacks against civilians and arrests on the basis of ethnicity were documented. Meanwhile, Ethiopia has ordered a state of emergency as Tigray forces have captured several key towns in recent days, and now threaten the capital of Addis Ababa.
• COVID update: As Russia reported 1,178 deaths related to COVID-19, its highest daily death toll of the pandemic, President Vladimir Putin said regional authorities could extend a nationwide non-working period beyond Nov. 7. Meanwhile in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered military and police to airlift vaccines throughout the country's provinces to avoid "gridlocks" in vaccine distribution, which he blames on local governments. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that all children ages 5 through 11 get a low-dose COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech.
• U.S. Republicans win Virginia: Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin wins the Virginia governor's race in a state which Democratic President Joe Biden won by 10 points in last year's presidential election. That result, along with the very tight race in New Jersey, is giving the Republican party hopes to regain control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
• European Parliament delegation visits Taiwan: For the first time ever, an official European Parliament delegation arrived in Taiwan, part of an effort to build closer ties with the island despite warnings from China. Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own territory and has vowed to take it one day, by force if needed, does not have formal diplomatic ties with any European nations except Vatican City.
• Missing Australian girl found alive after 18 days: Four-year-old Cleo Smith, who had disappeared from her parents' tent at a campsite in western Australia on Oct. 16, has been found alive and well in a locked house. Authorities said a man was in custody.
• Car parked on Italian street for 47 years becomes tourist attraction: A car that has been parked on an Italian street for 47 years has become a local landmark, attracting tourists and visitors from all over the world. Angelo Fregolent, now 94, parked his 1962 Lancia Fulvia outside the newsstand he ran with his wife in Conegliano, northeastern Italy, back in 1974.
Brazilian daily Folha de São Paulo's front page features a photo of President Jair Bolsonaro's meeting with far-right leader Matteo Salvini during his two-day visit to northern and central Italy — a visit made more controversial as the Brazilian leader chose to skip COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.
As political leaders leave the COP26 in Glasgow, it is now business time at the UN conference. Finance companies, estimated to be worth $130-trillion, are busy figuring out where are the opportunities for profit amid the pledges to cut emissions and find the innovations and infrastructures to fuel the transition to low-carbon energy alternatives.
How Asia's high-end demand fuels South American coffee exports
Amid post-pandemic trade distortions and changing consumer habits, Latin American countries seeking to boost coffee exports should eye a growing specialty market in prosperous Asian countries, writes Gwendolyn Ledger in business magazine America Economia.
☕ Like many sectors of the economy, coffee production has suffered the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. But COVID-19 and a consequent change of habits that include working from home have also boosted consumption of hot and caffeinated drinks. Now, cultivators of a crop grown around the Tropic of Capricorn are striving to meet this global demand of around three billion cups of coffee per day. As marketing consultants Euromonitor observed in a recent study, coffee is an eminently social drink and global lockdowns distorted social habits.
💸 All consumer packaged goods (CPG) firms, including the drinks industry, may soon feel the effects of inflation. Workforce shortages, supply bottlenecks, extreme weather events linked to climate change and other distortions rooted in the pandemic have pushed prices of inputs sharply above those of 2019. But there is hope for sellers — in the Asian market. Euromonitor believes that China and Japan aside, the ASEAN states could add $168 million to retail sales of coffee by 2025.
🇵🇪 While not traditionally associated with Peru, coffee has become its third farming export, after blueberries and grapes. Mario Ocharan, head of exports promotions at Promperú, Peru's country brand agency, says certain regions in Peru have unique coffees that have won awards abroad. Ocharan attributes this success to conditions like Peru's differing climates, but also collaborative efforts to make production more competitive, "from the selection of seeds to using blockchain, where something as traditional as coffee is digitized as far as it can be through these certified international sales." This is helping Peruvian coffees enter the Asian markets.
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We can't die without telling people what the Belgian state did to us.
— Monique Bintu Bingi and five other women are suing the Belgian state for crimes against humanity for the colonial policy that stripped them from their mothers. The Belgian government and the Catholic Church have apologized in recent years for the systematic kidnapping, segregation, deportation and forced adoption of thousands of mixed-race children under its colonial rule in Belgian Congo. Yet until now, little had been known about its victims: many of those abducted never saw their parents again, and remain without administrative documents from their childhood. Survivors are demanding modest reparations of 50,000 euros.
✍️ Newsletter by Jane Herbelin, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger
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