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Brant deBoer

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Crusoe remains an indefatigable presence. But why?
LES ECHOS

The Timeless Relevance Of Robinson Crusoe

Published 300 years ago, Daniel Defoe's classic story of shipwreck and survival still has much to teach us about human nature and the environment.

PARISThe Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe appeared, anonymously, in London in 1719. It was presented as an authentic memoir. Daniel Defoe's name didn't appear on the second edition either, but the work was immediately and widely successful.

For three centuries, attention has turned to various aspects of these strange and surprising adventures. And in all this time, interest has never waned. Crusoe remains an indefatigable presence. But why? And what can we make of him in the 21st century?

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Ghosn for good
Economy

Carlos Ghosn: The Extraordinary Fate Of A Boss Outside The Box

A path through Lebanon, Brazil and France, the former top Michelin manager may have met the end of the road in Japan.

PARIS — This time, it's unlikely that Carlos Ghosn will make it out unscathed. For the first time in his career, the man who has orchestrated the formation of the world's largest automobile group — bringing together Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi into one alliance — is experiencing a resounding setback and appears to be on the verge of being ousted from the presidency of the Japanese group he'd brought back to life.

He who survived the Chinese spying scandal at Renault, who was saved by slight-of-hand regarding quality control issues in Nissan's Japanese plants and who managed to win the power struggle with the French state, the majority shareholder, over his salary, now risks losing everything. Because after ceding the presidency of Nissan, his continued leadership of Renault — and therefore the entire alliance — seems to be extremely jeopardized.

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Tensions in Iraq are bubbling over amid government dissatisfaction
Iraq

In Iraq, The Revolt Of Generation 2018

Young people with little memory of the Saddam Hussein era are fed up with unemployment, public sector corruption and unfulfilled government promises.

BASRA — In one photo, Makki Achour stares at the lens, his eyes bright, his hair — like many Iraqis his age — in little tufts. In another, the frail young man appears in a military uniform, smiling proudly. The photo was taken in the field, where, as a member of the Popular Mobilization Front, a state-sponsored paramilitary organization established in 2014, Achour fought the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).

These snapshots, along with those of other young faces, are brandished by demonstrators in Basra, a large city in southern Iraq, and shared on social networks as a sign of solidarity. Achour has become an icon since he died what demonstrators call a martyr's death on Sept. 3. He was 26. The young man was shot and killed during a demonstration in front of the governor's seat in Basra. His death rekindled a dispute that has shaken the Shiite south since July and cost at least 27 people their lives.

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A wedding in Tunis, Tunisia
Geopolitics

Inside Tunisia's Battle Over Inter-Religious Marriages

Since 2017, Tunisian women have had the right to marry non-Muslims. But reality is playing out in different ways down on the local level amid an Islamist resurgence.

KRAM — It's marriage season in Tunisia, and the town hall of this municipality north of Tunis, is staying open late into the evening. They have to accommodate everyone. Howls resonate inside the expansive hall, where a blissful couple — the groom in a striped tie and pink shirt and the bride draped in immaculate muslin — moves timidly forward along the tile floor.

In his second-floor Kram office, Fathi Laayouni, wearing a fuchsia shirt, spreads out sheets of notes in front of him. Some passages are noticeably underlined in red. Laayouni, a lawyer by trade, prepares to speak. Before starting, he holds out a saucer with a baklava — a diamond shaped cake stuffed with pistachio and dried fruit — covered with a patina of honey. This is the heart of what is known, unofficially, as the Islamic Emirate of Kram. The moniker was conceived by a columnist from Buisinessnews.com, an online Tunisian news outlet, who apparently does not hold Laayouni close to her heart.

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At Starbucks' new Milano 'roastery'
food / travel

Starbucks In Italy, Latest Stop On U.S. Food Imperialism Tour

Taco Bell in Mexico? McDonald's in Hamburg? Americans find the recipe abroad, bastardize it, and then have the stomach to go back and sell it where it all began.

PARIS — Italy's borders have been breached, but this time it isn't by the Huns, the Visigoths or the Normans. It's Starbucks. The world's largest chain of coffee houses boasts more than 28,000 venues in 78 countries. But only now has the retailer finally found its first location in caffè-craving Italy, with the opening last Friday of a new Starbucks in Milan.

Howard Schultz, who recently stepped down as CEO and executive chairman of the U.S. company, had been trying for years to gain access to what he calls "the country of coffee." Both Italian habits and government regulations had resisted the advances — until now. Fittingly, the chic northern city of Milan is where Schultz was initially inspired to create his own spin on coffee culture back in 1983.

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