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Founded in 1978 in Berlin, Die Tageszeitung, also known as "TAZ," is a left-leaning newspaper famous for its tongue-in-cheek headlines.
Near Lake Shasta, California, an air tanker releases fire retardant in an effort to extinguish the growing wildfire next to the northbound I-5 freeway. The U.S. Forest Service has ordered evacuations in the area.

The Latest: Bill Cosby Freed, China’s CCP Turns 100, Saudi Speed

Welcome to Thursday, where Bill Cosby is freed, a new study finds that COVID-19 is common in pets and China's Communist Party celebrates its 100th anniversary. Le Monde also takes us in the kitchens where African-American soul food has become a thing in the capital of haute cuisine.

• The Chinese Communist Party celebrates its 100th anniversary: Speeches and celebrations with military jet fly-pasts and patriotic songs continue through the day as China marks the official July 1, 1921 establishment of the CCP. The Communist Party, which first came to power in 1949 under the rule of Mao Zedong after a long civil war, today wields virtually absolute rule over China, which now counts 1.4 billion people and international superpower status, in both economic and military terms.

• Another 182 unmarked graves found at a Canadian school: The latest First Nation discovery found human remains at a former residential school in British Columbia, a third such finding in recent weeks. Ground penetrating radar technology had revealed the graves and discovered that some of the remains were buried in shallow graves of only three and four feet deep.

• Bill Cosby released from prison after verdict overturned: Legendary U.S. comedian Bill Cosby has been released from prison after the highest court of Pennsylvania overturned his sexual assault conviction, ruling that Cosby's due process rights were violated. Cosby was sentenced in 2018 to three to 10 years in a state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004, after dozens of women had come forward with similar accusations.

• Donald Rumsfeld dies: Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who served four presidents and led the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, died yesterday at the age of 88. He was the youngest, at 43, (under President Gerald Ford) and the oldest, at 74 (under President George W. Bush) to run the Pentagon.

• Serbian ex-spy chiefs jailed for Balkans war crimes: Jovica Stanišić, a former chief of Serbia's state security service, and Franko Simatovic, Stanišić"s deputy, have each been given 12 years for training the Serbian forces that carried out murder and ethnic cleansing in the 1990s Balkan War. The court ruled that they aided and abetted crimes against humanity.

• COVID update: After a final trial, the German COVID-19 vaccine CureVac proved to be 48% effective. The German biotech firm said that efficacy was slightly better (53%) when excluding trial patients older than 60 from the trial. A top African Union special envoy has criticized Europe for failing to deliver on crucial vaccine doses that were promised. Meanwhile, a study has shown that COVID is common in pet dogs and cats whose owners have the disease. According to the researcher, the concern is not the animals' health but the potential risk that they could act as a virus reservoir.

• Britney Spears' bid for freedom denied: A judge has denied the American singer's request to remove her father, James Spears, from his role overseeing her conservatorship. The decision comes a week after Spears delivered a dramatic testimony calling the conservatorship, which she was put under in 2008, "abusive."

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Pupils in Kenya are heading back to schools, which are reopening on Jan. 4 after a nine-month long closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Worldcrunch Today, Jan. 4: Assange Stays, Iran's Uranium, Where's Jack?

Welcome to Monday, where the UK blocks Assange's extradition, vaccinations are moving too slowly (almost) everywhere and the Asian business world is asking: Where's Jack? We also follow Le Monde to Casablanca where Moroccans are rethinking what it means to be a man.


There are more and more elected leaders these days willing to ride roughshod over the rules of democracy. But that hardly means the system's doomed writes Pedro Viveros in Colombian daily El Espectador.

In Colombia and elsewhere, there are voices declaring that democracy is doomed. They point to the proliferation of erratic leaders and budding dictators, people like Trump, Maduro, Putin, Duterte in the Philippines, or Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, but without properly analyzing things in any of those countries.

Instead they argue that the presence of such leaders shows how weak the citizens of those nations are. And their conclusion is that the 21st century is destined to suffer another epidemic: a plague of autocrats.

The ideological references of the past century, namely fascism, Nazism and communism and their "charismatic" leaders, have led some to assume that history will repeat itself. They argue that the present crop of pestilential challenges will inevitably take us back to the foul prescriptions that produced the world wars. And here we thought things couldn't get any worse!

The deplorable events that left society fractured between three worlds — the Western and Eastern worlds, and we in the developing world — were based on extremist conceptions of nationalism that made jingoism a defensive response to anything external. Xenophobia became a rhetorical instrument amid unprecedented socio-economic crises. Voting, democracy's simple tool, was no longer enough to hold back the hordes of supporters running after the paradise promised by a Hitler, Mussolini or Lenin.

Today, too, the vote might not be enough to contain the pandemic of demagoguery. Fortunately, the many crises humanity has faced over the past century have raised the immunity of the democratic body. Its boosted defenses now include complementary mechanisms like the separation of powers, charters, multilateralism, independent bodies and human rights courts, the World Court at The Hague and the globalization of problems, but also solidarity, solutions, knowledge and education.

Voting has become the beginning and the end of a system designed to call out, criticize and control its own outrages. Donald Trump's desire to remain in the White House is, well, just that, a desire. And fortunately, the laws of the United States, forged to prevent entrenchment in power, will prevent his doing so — just as Colombia's Constitutional Court prevented former president Álvaro Uribe from seeking a third, unconstitutional term.

Likewise, multilateral coordination has guided scientific action against the coronavirus, creating a "live-and-direct" global response that has prevented the pandemic's already tragic impact from taking an even higher toll.

Democracies are behind the denunciations of corruption and of unnecessary wars. They have helped reduce poverty worldwide and forge sustainable development goals set out in the UN, itself a democratic consequence of the threats of intolerant elements mentioned above. All these efforts and tools will be crucial not only for keeping democracy alive, but also for protecting those of us who vote in this most beguiling and enduring of government systems.

— Pedro Viveros / El Espectador

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Angela Merkel on Nov. 17

From Mugabe To Merkel, The Many Ways To Cling To Power


Lord Acton's famous phrase about the corrupting effect of power (and absolute power) should have come with a footnote about the "clinging" factor. On any given day, it isn't hard to find someone in charge, somewhere in the world, using all their wits and energy to hold onto power beyond any reasonable claim to be doing so for the greater good of the nation, business or other realm supposedly being served.

Robert Mugabe is currently in the final throes of his decades-long iron grip on power in the southern African nation of Zimbabwe. A slow-motion military coup that began last week (which the generals continue to deny is a coup) is up against a 93-year-old dictator with nine lives, at least.

Observers were expecting Mugabe's address to the nation Sunday to include a declaration that he was signing away power. Well, guess what? The fear is that when such a power cling is up against a power play, the country is bound to pay in blood. Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim recognized how important it was for African rulers to learn to voluntarily give up power — so much so that he set up a prize whose central purpose was to honor (and pay) national leaders to step aside.

Across the South Atlantic, another continent has seen its share of autocratic power-clingers. To its credit, South America has largely opted for bona fide democratic systems over the past two decades, following years of dictatorships across the region. Several countries have even included constitutional provisions against power-clinging, prohibiting a president from serving consecutive terms. In Chile, as a next-best alternative, we've seen recent presidents step aside for the obligatory term out of office ... only to return to run again in the next election.

"Piñera and Guillier set for a competitive and uncertain second round" — Chilean daily La Tercera"s Nov. 20 front page

After the first round of voting on Sunday, Sebastian Piñera, who was Chile's president from 2010 to 2014, won the first round ahead of a runoff next month to move back into his old office. He would replace Michelle Bachelet, who herself returned to the presidency after Piñera served his first term. It may seem like an odd form of democracy, but musical chairs always beats clinging to your seat.

At the same time, we are witnessing another political drama playing out in Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel announced early Monday that negotiations had broken down in her attempt to form a coalition government with two other parties.

"We are standing here, disappointed and concerned / We've closed the curtains and opened all questions From Bertolt Brecht's "The Good Person of Szechwan" — German daily Die Tageszeitung"s Nov. 20 front page

This comes nearly two months after Merkel came out atop national elections, and looked to be headed to a fourth term as the leader of Germany's government, which has no term limits for the position. Will Merkel opt for new elections? If she does, will she stand as her party's candidate? Or will she instead choose to remain as chancellor even without a parliamentary majority? To cling or not to cling …

Aug. 23 front page
Lucie Jung

German Daily Turns Trump Into Rambo After Afghan Policy Reversal

German daily Die Tageszeitung showed no photoshopping restraint on its Wednesday front page, in reaction to Donald Trump's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.

With "Trumbo" — a portmanteau neologism combining the U.S. president's name and fictional U.S. Army Special Forces soldier John RamboDie Tageszeitung spoofed the poster for the third installment of the Rambo series, released in 1988. Directed by Peter MacDonald, the movie follows the title character, played by Sylvester Stallone, on a mission to Afghanistan.

On Monday, Trump, in an apparent policy reversal, spoke against a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country, instead stating that an additional 5,000 soldiers were to join the 8,500 men already stationed in the country. Afghanistan Reloaded, as the German daily suggests?


A Not-So-Goode German Newspaper Ode To Chuck Berry

Monday's edition of Die Tageszeitung features a front page that, at best, we can call overly creative. The Berlin daily's editors unlikely photoshopped mash-up is a blend of two big stories from over the weekend : the death Saturday of rock'n'roll legend Chuck Berry at the age of 90, and the unanimous selection Sunday of Martin Schulz to head the Social Democratic Party of Germany, ahead of September's election where he will challenge three-term incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Whether the bearded former head of the European Parliament can actually beat Merkel will be in the hands of German voters. But we can all agree that the singer of such classics as "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Johnny B. Goode" would be doing some rollin" over even before he's in his grave if he could see his signature duckwalk blasphemed by that photomontage.

See instead Rolling Stone magazine's coverage of Berry's death.

eyes on the U.S.

Trump's Big Mouth On German Front Page

I love Germany. I love Great Britain. I love Mexico. I love free trade.

I like Angela Merkel, but I don't know her.

I liked President Obama. He was very nice. He was very nice in personal conversations. Maybe not so nice for the rest.

NATO is obsolete. Apart from that, it's still very important to me.

You know, they all thought I was crazy.

I have tweeted a bit, yes.

I love the world

Berlin-based daily Die Tageszeitungsplashed U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's face and words across the front page Tuesday after his joint interview with The Times of London and Germany's Bild tabloid. Die Tageszeitung winked at Trump's "hot air," both in his positive and negative comments to the reporters in the interviews that appeared Monday. Several of Europe's leaders reacted sharply to Trump's criticism of the European Union, NATO and trade policy. Here's a full transcript (registration required) of the interview.


German Front Page: Merkel Morphs Into Kohl

After German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed her run for a fourth time, Berlin-based daily Die Tageszeitung opted for a notably creepy photo montage.

Die Tageszeitung — Nov. 21, 2016

With the announcement that German Chancellor Angela Merkel would run for her fourth time, Berlin-based daily Die Tageszeitung opted for a notably creepy photo montage Monday, mashing Merkel's face with that of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

"Merkel Becomes Kohl," reads the headline. The newspaper highlights the growing similiarities in the careers of Merkel and Kohl. As chancellor from 1982 to 1998, Kohl holds the longest tenure of any democratically elected leader of Germany. With her announcement to seek a fourth term in elections next year, Merkel could match Kohl's 16-year tenure if she wins reelection.

Merkel, 62, confirmed Sunday she was seeking another term to "serve Germany," but observers both at home and abroad noted that the centrist's candidacy stands as a potential fortress against the rising tide of populism around Europe and the world.


A Leftwing Alternative For Germany After Berlin Vote?

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Die Tageszeitung, Sept. 19

Another election, another humbling defeat for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In a Berlin state vote, Merkel's CDU party polled 17.6% — its lowest showing since 1990, figures from public broadcaster ARD showed on Monday. It's the second poll drubbing as CDU got crushed just two weeks before in an eastern German state election.

The anti-immigration Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), or the Alternative for Germany, a far-right upstart, snatched 14.2% of the vote in Berlin, riding a backlash against Merkel's open-door policy for refugees. Although Merkel's conservatives came in second place, its lower numbers mean the end of their "grand coalition" with the Social Democrats SPD, which topped the election with 21.6% of the vote. SPD's celebrations would be muted, however, as it's down almost 7 percentage points from the last election.

Left-leaning Die Tageszeitung newspaper sees CDU's descent as an opportunity for a different sort of "alternative for Germany," namely a grand coalition of the left, rather than the right-wing alternative AfD proposes. As an editorial in today's newspaper explains, the center-left SPD and Green party are often reluctant to work with far-left Die Linke party. They've previously preferred to team up with center-right CDU, a move the paper describes as "political nonsense."

But with both Greens and Die Linke each taking a respectable chunk of the vote — each polled about 15% — a new kind of coalition is possible, the Die Tageszeitung notes. "We could almost thank the AfD for that," the paper says, arguing that a grand coalition of the left would show that a "real alternative" in Germany is possible with general elections just a year away.