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Taliban Government, Paris Attacks Trial, Lazy Tax Advisor

Welcome to Wednesday, where the Taliban unveil their government, crypto is plummeting after El Salvador embraces bitcoin and one lazy Swedish tax advisor gets busted. In Mexico, we meet the nurse who has become the face of pandemic fatigue.

Taliban Government, Paris Attacks Trial, Lazy Tax Advisor

Thousands of Salvadorans took to the street in the country's capital city to protest the adoption of bitcoin as a legal currency .

Meike Eijsberg, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

• Taliban names government: The Taliban formally names new Afghanistan government, nearly 20 years after being pushed from power by the post-9/11 U.S.-led invasion. The government includes posts filled by an associate of the group's founder as premier and a man on the U.S. terrorism wanted list as interior minister. The Supreme Leader of the Taliban, in a statement following the capture of Kabul on August 15, said the Taliban is committed to international laws and treaties that are not in conflict with Islamic law.

• Start of November 2015 Paris attacks trial: The biggest trial in France's modern history is starting today as prosecutors seek conviction over the November 2015 terrorism attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

• Mexico decriminalizes abortion: Mexico's Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that it is unconstitutional to punish abortion as a crime. The landmark ruling clears the way for the legalization of abortion across the country, the world's second-biggest Roman Catholic country, and follows the historic legalization of the right in Argentina earlier this year.

• Hong Kong police arrest organizers of Tiananmen vigil: Hong Kong police arrest senior members of the group that organized the city's annual Tiananmen Square massacre vigil, accusing them of foreign collusion. The arrests early Wednesday come amid an increasing crackdown on political, professional and civil society groups accused of unpatriotic conduct or national security offences.

• At least 41 dead in Indonesian jail fire: A fire broke out at the overcrowded Tangerang prison in Jakarta, killing at least 41 inmates who were sleeping at the time. There were far more inmates in the affected prison block than was allowed; the guards unlocked some of the cells but had to leave as the fire raged. The cause remains unknown.

• Cryptocurrencies values tumble: Bitcoin nursed its immense losses on Wednesday after plunging amid El Salvador's historic adoption of the crypto currency as a legal tender. The downdraft also swept across other tokens, such as Ether, Dogecoin and the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index.

• Swedish tax advisor calls own number to avoid working: We can all feel unmotivated about work sometimes, but this Swedish tax advisor may have taken it too far. Instead of taking calls from customers, the 28-year-old called himself on his own personal number for a total of 55 hours until he was eventually unmasked by his superiors.

"Quarantine again?," asks Ukrainian daily Vesti after Ukraine's health minister announced the country would likely move to a yellow level and tighten lockdown restrictions next week, following a surge in coronavirus cases and low vaccination rates.

Nurse in Mexico "too tired" to inject COVID vaccine

A nurse in the eastern Mexican port of Veracruz has become the poster child for "pandemic fatigue" after a video showing her jabbing a patient but failing to actually inject the COVID-19 vaccine made the rounds of social media.

Her excuse? The healthcare worker says she was simply "too tired" to administer the dose, the newspaper Excelsior reported this week. She noted that staff working at the vaccination point, in the state's Luis Pirata Fuente stadium, had been working long days for the vaccinations.

The incriminating video led authorities to investigate and summon the nurse. State officials later said the woman was removed from the vaccination module.

Mexico has been one the countries hit hardest by the pandemic, with more than 260,000 deaths to date, fourth among all nations behind the United States (645,000), Brazil (583,000) and India (440,000), according to the latest Johns Hopkins University figures.

As of Sept. 3, just over 34.6 million people, or some 27% of Mexico's population, is reported to have been fully vaccinated.


The trial over the terror attacks of November 13, 2015, which opens today in Paris, is the largest ever staged in France. Here are some measures of its size: 20 defendants, including Salah Abdeslam, the only survivor of the Belgium-based group of ISIS followers that opened fire in the Bataclan concert hall and multiple Parisian cafes and restaurants, killing 130. Unprecedented in scale, the trial in the French capital will involve 1,780 plaintiffs of 20 different nationalities, and is expected to hear more than 300 witnesses during the 145 days of hearing that are scheduled through May 25, 2022. In purely paper terms, the case file runs to one million pages collated in 542 volumes.

Only god will take me out of Brasilia.

— A defiant Jair Bolsonaro told a crowd of 114,000 supporters in Sao Paulo. Protests rallied tens of thousands of people in cities across Brazil during yesterday's Independence Day celebrations. The Brazilian president had called his supporters to demonstrate against the Supreme Court and Congress which he said took unconstitutional decisions against his government.

✍️ Newsletter by Meike Eijsberg, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

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D.C. Or Beijing? Two High-Stakes Trips — And Taiwan's Divided Future On The Line

Two presidents of Taiwan, the current serving president, Tsai Ing-wen, and her predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou from the opposition Kuomintang party, are traveling in opposite directions these days. Taiwan must choose whom to follow.

Photo of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen

Tsai Ing-wen, the President of Taiwan

Pierre Haski


PARIS — Tsai Ing-wen, the President of Taiwan, is traveling to the United States today. Not on an official trip because Taiwan is not a state recognized by Washington, but in transit, en route to Central America, a strategy that allows her to pass through New York and California.

Ma Ying-jeou, a former president of Taiwan, arrived yesterday in Shanghai: he is making a 12-day visit at the invitation of the Chinese authorities at a time of high tension between China and the United States, particularly over the fate of Taiwan.

It would be difficult to make these two trips more contrasting, as both have the merit of summarizing at a glance the decisive political battle that is coming. Presidential and legislative elections will be held in January 2024 in Taiwan, which could well determine Beijing's attitude towards the island that China claims by all means, including force.

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