Welcome to Monday, where China is on high COVID alert as Lunar New Year celebrations kick off, Tonga reels from a massive underwater eruption, and a veteran FBI agent may have found out who betrayed Anne Frank to the Nazis. Meanwhile, Russian daily Kommersant recounts how Kazakhstan has passed from one strongman to another.
[*Sundanese - Indonesia]
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🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• COVID update: China is on high alert as travel begins for Lunar New Year celebrations; travels now have to report their planned trips before arrival. France’s parliament has voted to turn its health pass into a vaccination pass, meaning vaccination (and not a negative COVID test) are required to go to restaurants, cultural and sports venues as well as for long-distance travel. And the chairman of Credit Suisse, Antonio Horta-Osorio, has been forced to resign after it was revealed he twice broke COVID quarantine protocol.
• Suspected Houthi drone attack in Abu Dhabi: A drone strike by Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels is suspected to have killed three near the airport of the United Arab Emirates capital. The attack also included three tanker trucks carrying fuel.
• Ukraine’s Poroshenko returns to face treason charges: Former president Petro Poroshenko was greeted by thousands of supporters after returning to Ukraine to face treason charges in a criminal case he blames on his successor, Volodymyr Zelensky. The clash comes as Ukraine faces the threat of a Russian invasion after a week of failed talks between Moscow and Washington.
• Texas synagogue taker was British citizen, 2 arrested in UK: Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British national, was identified as the hostage-taker in an 11-hour stand-off at a synagogue in Texas. Akram was killed, and the four hostages released unharmed.
• Tonga damaged following underwater volcano eruption: The Pacific Island nation of Tonga was hit by massive eruptions that started last week from the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano that triggered tsunami waves. The amount of damage is unclear, as Australia and New Zealand have sent planes to assess the situation.
• Djokovic’s Australia visa ban: Unvaccinated Serbian tennis star Djokovic was deported from Australia on Sunday after a long battle over whether he could compete in the Australian Open. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that under the right circumstances, the three-year ban could be shortened. Meanwhile, he’ll have a hard time participating in the French Open this spring, as the country just announced that all athletes competing in the country have to be vaccinated.
• UK island looks for a new “monarch”: It may be true that no man is an island, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be in charge of one. Piel Island, off the coast of Cumbria, is looking for a new “monarch” to manage its 300-year-old pub and the 50 acres of land, including a camping area and 14th-century castle for a 10-year lease. Of course, the position comes with a unique coronation ceremony: Alcohol is poured over the new royal’s head.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
Dutch daily De Volkskrant reports on the findings of a team of investigators, led by a veteran FBI agent, about the 1944 arrest of Anne Frank and her family who had been hiding in Amsterdam for two years during World War II. Using new technologies and artificial intelligence, the team determined there was a high probability that a Jewish notary named Arnold van den Bergh was the one who gave away the Frank family’s hiding place to the Nazis. The Diary of Anne Frank remains one of the world’s most widely-read books.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
China's birth rate dropped for a fifth consecutive year to hit a new record low in 2021 in spite of the government’s efforts to encourage couples to have more children in the face of a looming demographic crisis. The world’s most populous country reported 10.62 million births in 2021, in comparison to 12 million in 2020, with a birth rate of 7.52 births per 1,000 people according to the National Statistics Bureau — marking the lowest level since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
Kazakhstan, when one strongman replaces another
Violent unrest in Kazakhstan has resulted in a new authoritarian leader finally assuming proper power in the country. Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev promises a new way of doing things, but his methods are strikingly similar to his predecessor, write Vladimir Soloviev and Alexander Konstantinov in Russian daily Kommersant.
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan’s former president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had ruled the former Soviet Republic with an iron first since its independence in 1991, finally stepped aside to allow his successor, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, to take power in 2019. However, Nazarbayev retained enormous influence behind the scenes. The real transfer of power is in fact happening only now, following large-scale unrest and protests around the country. What will happen is still uncertain, but this much is clear: strongman rulers are able to keep power in Kazakhstan, but they can't ensure its peaceful transfer.
💰 On Jan. 11, Tokayev declared an almost revolutionary slogan: to build a "new Kazakhstan." The wording alone indicates an intention to do away with the former Kazakhstan built by Nazarbayev. The protests that have rocked the country were ostensibly about an increase in gas prices, but they illustrate Kazakhs' frustration at a rising cost of living and massive inequality. Under Nazarbayev, a small elite accumulated huge wealth while the economy stagnated. Tokayev announced a policy of economic reforms.
❌ Tokayev's speech draws a firm line under the Nazarbayev era. He said directly that the old social contract, including the intra-elite contract, is over and that the groups that enriched themselves under the first president should accept the new rules of the game. To begin, they have to pay their dues to the people's fund. Apparently, this should be seen as an offer to the old elite — pay or we will deal with you.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
“Confrontation does not solve problems, it only invites catastrophic consequences.”
— Chinese leader Xi Jinping said in a speech at an all-virtual Davos Forum, warning world leaders against the "fanning of ideological antagonism and the politicizing of economic, scientific, and technological issues."
✍️ Newsletter by Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
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Bowl Of Cool: The Best Summer Soups From Around The World
If you love soups in the winter, you can feel like you're missing out in the summer. But don't fear! Here's a roundup of the best soups from around the world for warm weather.
A bowl of warm soup on cold winter days always seems like food for the soul. So for soup lovers out there, the arrival of summer may feel a little depressing.
But fear not! Cold soups are still a great option when the weather is warm. From light, refreshing soups to rich and creamy ones, here’s a list of cold soups around the world that will fulfill your winter cravings and help you cool off on a summer afternoon.
🇧🇬 Bulgaria's tarator
Bulgaria has one of the freshest and lightest cold soups ever made. Tarator is made from plain yogurt and cucumber. Bulgarian yogurt is known for its taste and is a key part of Bulgarian cuisine. Most dishes include yogurt in their soups, salads, desserts and sauces. The secret of Bulgarian yogurt lies in a small bacteria called Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, which causes the milk to ferment and create the unique flavor. An easy recipe that also helps your gut!
🇪🇸 Spain’s gazpacho
Gazpacho is a typical Spanish cold soup using tomatos, bread, and vinegar topped with croutons.
Spanish gazpacho is a classic. Originally from Andalusia, the recipe stems from peasants and laborers who used dry bread dipped in water and mixed with tomato. The name Gazpacho actually stems from the Arabic origin meaning “soaked bread”. And now the Andalusians in Southern Spain have also come up with a meaty twist. Just add some hard-boiled eggs and some Iberian ham (jamón ibérico) if you’re craving that extra protein to turn the basic gazpacho into a full course meal!
🇱🇹 Lithuania’s beet soup
Another delicious summer soup is Lithuania's beet soup. The ingredients include kefir, cucumbers and beets. The soup even has its own national festival called the “Pink soup fest”. According to Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT, the first event will take place in June and is set to become an annual tradition. The aim of the festival is to present modern variations on the Lithuanians' favorite soup. Although every Lithuanian knows the traditional recipe, famous chefs will demonstrate how to improvise and create new versions of the meal.
🇰🇷 Korea’s naengmyeon
Naengmyeon is a cold noodle soup and a favorite treat in Korea. Buckwheat and starch noodles are placed into a cool beef broth accompanied by pickled radish, slices of hard-boiled eggs, and Korean pear, with all of the ingredients seasoned with mustard and vinegar. Buckwheat noodles originate from North Korea, but after the Korean War, the dish became popular throughout the country regardless of the season. Are you craving a cold soup yet?
🇫🇷 France’s Vichyssoise
Vichyssoise soup is made out of leeks, onions and potatoes.
Huy Mach/St Louis Post-Dispatch/Zuma
This French soup is made out of leeks, onions, potatoes, cream and chicken stock. Its history is disputed: some food historians claim the soup invented by French chef Jules Gouffe in 1859. Others say the original creator was Louis Diat, a French chef working at the New York Ritz-Carlton, who was inspired by the potato and leek soup of his childhood, so he named the soup after his hometown of Vichy. Either way, what's not up for debate is how delicious Vichyssoise is.
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