COVID Spikes In EU, Bulgaria Bus Crash, Uber Weed

Students attend their first day of school after months without face-to-face classes in Iran

Jane Herbelin, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Tere!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where EU countries face a sharp rise in COVID cases and conflict, at least 25 die in a Bulgarian bus crash, and Uber starts delivering weed. Bogota-based daily El Espectador takes us through the return of gang violence taking over the streets of Medellín, Colombia, which became notorious during the 1970s thanks to drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

[*Estonian]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• COVID warnings for Europe: Infection rates have risen sharply across Europe, prompting warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO). The Czech Republic and Slovakia barred unvaccinated people from pubs, hotels, hairdressers and most public events after a high surge of COVID-19 cases filled hospital intensive-care wards. The central European neighbors both followed Austria's suit, which initially set restrictions on unvaccinated people but has now returned to a full national lockdown. New restrictions have sparked protests across Europe. Riots broke out in cities across the Netherlands for the third night in a row.

• Wisconsin parade driver to be charged with homicide: Authorities in Wisconsin will seek to charge the driver who ploughed into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide.

• Sudanese ministers resign over deal with military: Twelve cabinet ministers, including the foreign minister, submitted their resignation to newly reinstated Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, in protest against a political agreement with the military council.

• Ex-military dictator in South Korea dies at 90: South Korea's most vilified former military dictator, Chun Doo-hwan, who seized power in a coup, ruled his country with an iron fist for most of the 1980s, has died at home, at the age of 90, his former press aide said.

• Bus crash in Bulgaria: At least 45 people, including 12 children, have died after a bus carrying mostly North Macedonian tourists crashed and caught fire in western Bulgaria, officials say. It is the most deadly bus accident in the Balkan country's history.

• Hong Kong: pro-democracy activist sentenced under security law: Hong Kong has sentenced a student activist to three years and seven months in prison for secession and money laundering. Tony Chung, 20, is the third and the youngest person, convicted under the security law being used to criminalize speech and muzzle dissent. Beijing imposed this law on Hong Kong in June 2020, prompted by the city's 2019 pro-democracy protests that led to the mass arrests of opposition activists and politicians.

• Uber Eats to sell cannabis to customers in Canada: Taxi-hailing app Uber will allow people in Ontario to place orders for cannabis on its Uber Eats app, and to be picked up within an hour, marking an official foray into the booming business.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Brazilian daily O Dia reports on the discovery of at least eight bodies by residents of a slum outside of Rio de Janeiro, following a violent gun battle during a police operation. The bodies had been thrown into a swamp, with some showing signs of torture. State police said clashes first erupted when a police sergeant on patrol was killed in an attack.

💬  LEXICON

#ThierryIsGevacineerd

Right-wing Dutch politician and prominent anti-vaxxer Thierry Baudet has been caught repeatedly sharing disinformation over the years on social media. Yesterday, Baudet got a taste of his own medicine when a comedian sent a satirical tweet using the hashtag #ThierryIsGevacineerd (#ThierryIsVaccinated). As more and more people reacted and shared the post, including other comedians, celebrities, and politicians, Baudet tweeted in response, "Our party is the ONLY one that strongly advises against getting injected with this experimental gene therapy. Of course I did NOT take a vaccine!"

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Not safe for Netflix, Medellín is back to its bad old ways

A dramatic, cinematic-like bid to rob a gold depot in the iconic Colombian city associated with Colombia's most violent drug cartels is just the latest sign that the city is back to its old system of crime and no punishment, writes Reinaldo Spitaletta in Bogota-based daily El Espectador.

💥📲 The footage looks like a crime series filmed on location in Medellín, yet it was anything but fiction. Earlier this month, around 30 armed and hooded criminals tried to mount an assault on a gold foundry in the Colombian city's El Poblado district. Their masks, motorbikes and dump truck were all indications of how dangerous Medellín has become — and reminiscent of how unsafe it used to be. Bystanders were brazenly filming it all, shouting admiration or surprise. Unbothered by the background noise of gunfire, their reactions were proof of how commonplace such incidents have become.

📺 While the spectacle became fodder for entertainment, it was far from the city's craziest heist. In the 1970s — that decade of historical events, hippies, economic parasites and free love — another gang of thieves hit the "industrial city" of Colombia. They went by the distinguished name of La Pesada ("the weighty one") and their principle was better to rob a bank than establish one. And of course there was perhaps the most iconic drug kingpin of the 20th century, Pablo Escobar, (a favorite subject of Netflix).

🚨 "Movie-like" incidents (as this kerfuffle was called) often indicate when a city is a den for criminals who control much of its territory. In many districts, as residents will tell you, "the law of the land" is very different from what is written in legal books. None of this is new in Medellín; the criminal presence here is both disturbing and endemic. Jokes and memes aside, the authorities must adopt responsible and effective positions. The city needs more than police intervention.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

There are those who don't (get vaccinated) because of ideology, for irrational reasons: as if a dictatorship were trying to demolish our free will.

— In highly unusual public remarks, Angela Merkel's husband, the acclaimed scientist Joachim Sauer, has lashed out at his fellow Germans who have refused to get vaccinated. "It disturbs me greatly, more than anything else, that one-third of the German population are not open to the successes of science," he said in an interview published Tuesday in Italian daily La Stampa.

➡️ Read the full story in Worldcrunch.com

✍️ Newsletter by Jane Herbelin, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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Society

Teachers v. Parents: The End Of Tunisia's "Golden Age" Of Education

Violence against teachers, poorly received educational reforms, conflicts with parents: In Tunisia, the entire education sector is in crisis.

In a Koranic school in Kasserine

Frida Dahmani

TUNIS — In Sousse, a city in eastern Tunisia, students tried to burn down their school with Molotov cocktails. In Mahdia, a coastal city, an English teacher was dragged before the courts after having given an F to a student. In Ezzahra, in the southern suburbs of Tunis, a student stabbed his history and geography teacher after not being allowed to retake an exam for which he had been absent without an excuse. Another student exhibited female underwear in class to make his classmates laugh.

Keep reading... Show less
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