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Aurore Barlier

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Green Or Gone

Cattle Farming, A Wretched Environmental Legacy

Pope Francis' recent encyclical on the climate had a major blind spot: cattle farming and meat consumption. Nowhere is the damage more evident than his native Latin America.


BOGOTÁ — Pope Francis should have cited the harm meat and meat-eating are doing to the planet in his encyclical on the environment. Perhaps Adam was banned from Paradise not for biting into an apple, but for trying his first steak.

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Extra! New Earth-Like Planet Found

"The Earth has a cousin!" writes Canadian daily newspaper La Presse on the front-page headline of its Friday edition after NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-425b, one of the most Earth-like exoplanets identified so far. The planet was named after Kepler, the space telescope whose data enabled the discovery.

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Extra! Mexico Beats Panama In Soccer Chaos

"Sorry, Panama" reads Mexican newspaper Récord on the front page of its Thursday edition, after the chaotic and controversial 2-1 victory of Mexico over Panama in the semifinals of the Gold Cup soccer competition.

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Vargas Llosa in April 2015.

In Defense Of Vargas Llosa's Oh So Public Love Affair

There are plenty of good reasons Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa shouldn't be flaunting his affair with a Madrid socialite. But if it's really love, none of that really matters.


BOGOTA — One can try to put it politely. That he's getting up there. That he's reached his golden years. That he's getting long in the tooth. But the truth of the matter is that Mario Vargas Llosa, Latin America's preeminent living novelist, has gotten old.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping at the China-Belarus Industrial Park with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on May 12
China 2.0

Inside The Global Expansion Of Chinese Industrial Parks

A key component of the growing "Chinese-style" international capitalism.

BEIJING — It was in the late 1990s that the first batch of Chinese businessmen launched the idea of building overseas industrial parks, also called "economic zones," where they could both better sell their goods locally and capitalize on lower labor and transport costs.

Over the last dozen years, the model has proven to be one of the most successful features of the Chinese economic reforms and opening-up to the world.

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Muslims in Marseille

Being Gay And Muslim In France

MARSEILLE — Saïd* carries the dishes to the living room table as guests arrive in dribs and drabs with more food in their arms. The atmosphere is cheerful as greetings, kisses and the latest family news are shared with smiles.

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Garbage-Burning Plants And The Rise Of China's NIMBY Wars

Garbage-Burning Plants And The Rise Of China's NIMBY Wars

Woefully under-regulated and sometimes abjectly illegal, waste incineration plants across China are raising resident hackles and, worse, releasing unknown levels of toxins into the air.

BEIJING — In China's coastal Zhejiang region, residents blocked garbage trucks for three days last month to protest against a local waste incineration plant. Police finally had to remove the protesting villagers to allow traffic and the waste transport to continue.

Over the past decade such Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) incidents by local residents against waste incineration plants have multiplied in China. Like in Western countries, locals want to keep their towns and neighborhoods free of potential environmental risks. It is compounded here because China has no effective garbage classification and because environmental scandals about existing plants occur far too often.

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Ending The Taboo Of The German Language In Israel

The language of the Nazis will now be offered as an official course in public high schools.

The language of the people that built Auschwitz has always been regarded with deep suspicion in Israel. You could only study German at university or at Tel Aviv's Goethe-Institute, and hearing the language on the streets can sometimes still turn the heads of locals.

But this is all about to change as Israel introduces German as a school subject.

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Patience is a virtue in China

The Bureaucratic Nightmare Of Just Living In China

BEIJING — How many certificates or other public documents does a Chinese citizen need through a typical lifetime? A senior official of China's Communist party recently reckoned the answer is 103.

A newborn baby changing residence needs a proof of non-criminality. A Chinese grown man who lists his mother as the emergency contact person on a form is required by the authorities to "prove your mom is your mom." The absurd examples added up to the point that even Li Keqiang, China's Premier, lambasted all the extra administrative paperwork as "a joke."

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Extra! Spain Fears Of 'Contagion' From Greece

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La Razón, July 1, 2015

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Smoking Bans Get Tougher Around The World

Smoking Bans Get Tougher Around The World

As the largest consumer of tobacco in the world, China stunned everybody when it started imposing a tough smoking ban in Beijing this month. This comes as new smoking bans are being inaugurated in several other countries, particularly in Europe. Some 90 countries around the world now have anti-smoking legislation that just a few years ago would have been considered very strict. Here's an update in the global battle to clear the air:


January 1 was the date of the beginning of the smoking ban in restaurants and public facilities in South Korea. People smoking traditional and electronic cigarettes in public areas now face a fine of 100,000 W ($90) as reports the South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo.


On June 3, Wales voted in a law preventing parents from smoking in cars carrying children. The smoking ban will take effect in October, and offenders will be fined £50 ($79). As part as its aggressive new public health policy, the Welsh government also plans to ban e-cigarettes from all public places, reports The Guardian.


Until now, the Czech Republic is the last European Union country to allow unrestricted smoking in restaurants. From January 2016 however, the government will ban smoking in restaurants and hotels, but also in concerts and indoor entertainment zones. The anti-smoking bill, which also bans cigarette sales in vending machines, was approved June 3 despite fierce opposition by restaurants and hotels operators who fear potential smoking customers will stay home, according to thePrague Daily Monitor. People who violate the new smoking restrictions will be fined up to 10,000 crowns, or around $415, five times the present rate.

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Extra! U.S. Spied On Three French Presidents

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Libération, June 24, 2015

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