L'EST REPUBLICAIN
L'Est Républicain is a daily regional French-language newspaper based in Nancy, eastern France. It was established in 1889.
Coffee On The Road? French Motorists Loot Capsules After Nespresso Truck Spills Over
WHAT THE WORLD
Genevieve Mansfield

Coffee On The Road? French Motorists Loot Capsules After Nespresso Truck Spills Over

What else...?

Weary motorists between Basel and Mulhouse, in eastern France, were treated to something of a jolt last week when a truck transporting a load of Nespresso coffee pods crashed, sending hundreds of capsules into the road.

The accident took place on the eastern A35 highway during a traffic jam caused by the Tour d'Alsace cycling event, the local daily L'Est Républicain reports. Unaware, apparently, of the vehicles backed up ahead of him, the Nespresso driver slammed into two trucks, sending hundreds of coffee capsules flying across the highway. Perhaps he'd been running latté?

By the time police arrived on the scene, several drivers had already gotten out of their vehicles and begun helping themselves to the brand-name (and relatively expensive) coffee doses.

"People were stopping to pick up the capsules from the road," a local gendarmerie officer told reporters. "I think they saw that they were Nespresso capsules, and with the usual price per capsule, they thought: Let's help ourselves."

A video published on the Twitter account "Info Trafic Alsace" shows drivers stopped on the side of the road, collecting scattered pods, some even scoring several boxes worth. Luckily, no injuries were reported, and police opted against booking any of the coffee scavengers. No mug shots, in other words.

Johnny Hallyday riding his Harley-Davidson in the 1980s
LES ECHOS
Clémence Guimier

Paris Environmentalists Say Non To Statue Of ''French Elvis'' With Harley

Johnny Hallyday is perhaps the most American icon France has ever produced. Dubbed the "French Elvis', the late rocker put a je-ne-sais-quoi touch on a quintessentially U.S. musical genre, gave himself a Yankee stage name and wore leather and faded Levi's. And bien sûr, his motorcycle of choice was a Harley-Davidson.

Still, Hallyday, who died four years ago at the age of 74, was also sooo French. Born and raised in a rugged corner of the 9th arrondissement of Paris, the megastar singer (whose given name was Jean-Philippe Smet) was beloved by generations of French fans. The honors and street namings and tribute bars have continued around the country since his passing.

But it is in his hometown that the sanctification of the man simply known as "Johnny" has suddenly hit a wall. To coincide with the renaming of the square of the Palais Omnisports arena in Hallyday's honor, renowned gallery owner Kamel Mennour commissioned an artist to design a statue in front of the concert hall. The artwork conceived by French artist Bertrand Lavier, famous for his works of assemblage, features a real Harley-Davidson fixed atop a 15-foot-high guitar handle.

Kammel Mennour's tribute statue: Source: Johnny hallyday une passion une vie Facebook page

Although Hallyday's wife welcomed the statue, the top official in Paris' 12th arrondissement, where the arena is located, has blocked a vote on the statue. "I have my doubts," Emmanuelle Pierre-Marie, a member of the Green party, told Le Monde. "We want a sustainable city and the project puts on the foreground a Harley-Davidson – which symbolizes everything but this."

Other politicians in Paris have rushed to defend the popular singer, including some officials who are typically supportive of the capital's ongoing push to reduce traffic and other environmental measures. One called it "ecological punishment" for a national icon. After all, it was a different time: when Johnny was Johnny … and a Harley was a Harley.

Love At First Swab, Romance At A French COVID Testing Center
Coronavirus

Love At First Swab, Romance At A French COVID Testing Center

She looked into his eyes, he shoved a q-tip up her nose, and they may live happily ever after.

In the middle of a global pandemic and its neverending curfews, social interactions are rare and the dating game is on hold almost everywhere. But then there's France, where romance can strike where you least expect it.

Back in November 2020 in the eastern city of Belfort, Julie Bongiovanni, 21, became a COVID contact-case and had to get herself tested, reports local French newspaper L'Est Républicain.

Having been tested once before, she knew of the pain the nasal swab caused, so wasn't exactly looking forward to it. But as medical staff worker Mickaël Peter, 21, approached with the dreaded q-tip, she looked into his eyes and … l'amour.

Despite his facemask, protective glasses, hairnet and nurse's blouse, one gaze was all it took for the two of them to fall head over heels in love.

After a few nasal-passage-triggered tears, a long conversation ensued — so long, that one of Mickaël's colleagues came to check if everything was alright. Cupid's cotton swab had struck, they kept in touch via social media, agreeing to a date the week after her negative results — this time without masks. ("I hadn't even noticed he had a beard!")

Now, five months later, Julie has moved into Mickaël's place in the eastern city of Alsace. Leave it to the French, we might say, to discover the opposite of social distancing.

Pandemic Forces French To Buy Their Frogs From Vending Machine
WHAT THE WORLD
Benjamin Witte

Pandemic Forces French To Buy Their Frogs From Vending Machine

You're hungry and restaurants aren't serving because of COVID lockdowns, but at least there are always vending machines. Hmmm? What looks tempting from behind that plexiglass?A Snickers bar or a bag of chips? Or maybe a pair of plastic-wrapped triangle sandwiches and a can of Coke? Otherwise, if you're in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France … ribbit, ribbit?

Yes, frogs (of the dead and edible variety) are now available via vending machines. And we can say "merci" to COVID-19 for this culinary-capitalistic breakthrough.

First thing to know is that the local grenouille are a seasonal delicacy, which are typically available at markets and restaurants in certain French regions for only about a month each year in early spring.

For the Auberge du Château de Vaite in Champlive, near the city of Besançon, a normal frog season can bring in as much as one-third of their annual earnings, proprietor Béatrice Beauquier recently told the local daily L'Est Républican. "Frogs are a historic thing for us," she said. "For a long time now our reputation has been based on them."

They come either ready-to-cook or prepared with cream and wine as a cassolette.

The problem, of course, is that this is anything but a normal year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, France's countless restaurants are still barred from serving sit-down customers.

While others have turned to Deliveroo, UberEats and other delivery apps, the Château de Vaite restaurant came up with the novel solution of using a vending machine to offer grenouilles-to-go.

L'Est Républican reports that, starting this weekend, customers can stop by at Château de Vaite (anytime, 24/7!), insert their payment and grab a meal of frogs on the fly. They go for 16 euros ($19) a dozen, and come either ready-to-cook or prepared with cream and wine as a cassolette.

The pandemic has certainly forced French connoisseurs to make fast changes. Snails may be catching up later.

At the Lag B'Omer festival on Mount Meron, Israel, just before a stampede killed at least 44
BBC

The Latest: Israel Stampede, Brazil COVID Deaths, Instagrammable Bird

Welcome to Friday, where dozens die in a stampede at a religious festival in Israel, Brazil's COVID death toll surpasses 400,000 and an owl-like bird is crowned Instagram influencer. We also look at how a Taiwanese oenologist is working to turn his country into a tropical wine terroir.

• Dozens killed at Israeli religious festival stampede: At least 44 people were crushed to death and hundreds more injured in a stampede at an over-crowded religious festival in northeastern Israel.

• As Brazil death toll tops 400,000, warnings for Latin America: The number of COVID deaths has risen to 400,000, the second highest in the world after the United States. Experts warn that the death toll could continue to grow in the coming months in Brazil, and elsewhere in Latin America, due to the slow vaccination campaign and the early loosening of restrictions.

• Deadly clashes at Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border: At least 13 people were killed and dozens injured after disputes over water surveillance equipment erupted in gunfire on Thursday. Poor demarcation of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border has already led to several clashes over the three decades since the countries became independent.

• Myanmar civilians look to flee to Thailand: If conflicts intensify between the Myanmar army and ethnic minority Karen fighters, thousands of Karen villagers are likely to seek refuge in Thailand. Around 2,000 villagers have already fled to Thailand, according to Thai foreign ministry.

• Zulu queen dies: Zulu Queen Mantfombi Dlamini has died from an unspecified illness aged 65, only a month after becoming interim leader of South Africa's largest ethnic group after her husband, King Goodwill Zwelithini, died from diabetes-related complications.

• EU vs. Apple: The EU's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager has accused Apple's App Store rules of breaking European antitrust law by undermining developers the U.S. giant competes with.

• The most "Instagrammable" bird: Researchers have singled out frogmouth, a bird species often mistaken for an owl, in a study about how social media users interacted with some of the most popular bird photography accounts on Instagram.

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People flee their homes in Makassar City, eastern Indonesia, where heavy rains have caused massive floods during monsoon season.
BBC

The Latest: AstraZeneka Halted, Zulu King Dies, $69m JPG

Welcome to Friday, where additional countries suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccine, Alexei Navalny's whereabouts are unknown, and South Africa mourns the King of the Zulu. Argentine daily Clarin also shares the story of a legendary Buenos Aires ice cream shop, which has been forced to close for good.

• More countries halt AstraZeneca vaccine: Following Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, Thailand becomes the first Asian country to suspend the vaccine over sporadic reports that it produces blood clots, and at least one death attributed to an AstraZeneca vaccination.

• Turkey and Egypt resume diplomatic contact: The two nations have had their first diplomatic contacts since 2013 when two of the world's largest Muslim-majority nations broke off ties over the war in Libya.

• Alexy Navalny moved from jail: The Kremlin critic and democracy activist has been moved from jail and his whereabouts are currently unknown, according to his lawyers.

• Prince William denies racism: Asked by a journalist about recent allegations by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Harry & Meghan), Prince William responded that the British royals were "very much not a racist family.".

• South Africa King dies: The King of the Zulu people Goodwill Zwelithini has died from diabetes, aged 72.

• Myanmar court extends detentions: Myanmar's military has extended detentions of six journalists, claiming that the journalists provoked unrest when covering the protests. They have not had access to lawyers.

• JPG file sells for $69 million: A digital collage by the artist "Beeple," called Everydays — The First Five Thousand Days has sold for $69 million, breaking a record in the world of digital art.

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