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Valentine Pasquesoone

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Dirty business

Uncovering A Colombian Diaper Cartel

BOGOTA How dirty can business get? In Colombia, it can get as dirty as a diaper. An investigation by the country's Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) has uncovered a series of illegal, coordinated price hikes in the highly lucrative diaper industry.

Trade and industry inspectors started investigating price-fixing practices in late 2013, with the aim of ridding Colombia's economy of illegal business activity. They looked into product industries as diverse as rice, sugar and cement.

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Love and Marriage in China?

The Cambodian Brides Of China

A market of matchmaking has sprung up to wed poor Cambodian women and middle-class Chinese men, spurred by both China's newfound wealth and one-child policy. It's not all roses.

HUANGGANG — It is a hot and sticky midsummer day in a small village along the Chang River in the northeast Jiangxi Province. The most popular spot is the pergola in front of the local grocery where a few women are playing mahjong as children chase each other around.

In the corner, sitting separately, are two young women, whispering. With darker complexions, deeper eye sockets and thicker lips, they look distinctly different from the locals. One of them wears a pair of high-heeled shoes, a short T-shirt and tight jeans, out of place with the more traditional local environment. The other woman is pregnant and is playing with her big-screen smartphone.

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The Central Bank of Mexico

Why Mexico's So-Called Liberalization Is Bound To Fail Again

Current privatization proposals for the telecom and energy sectors suggest Mexico has learned little from the partial, and failed, liberalization processes of the past.

MEXICO CITY — Insanity, Einstein once said, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Thirty years ago, during a deep recession Mexico chose the path of liberalization and privatization to try to finally achieve the economic growth that had been eluding the country during the final period of rule of the center-left Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

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Harp Duo Beautifully Mixes Welsh And West African Sounds

Clychau Dibon is a one-of-a-kind album. The first collaboration between Welsh classical harpist Catrin Finch and Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita, the album brings to life an extraordinary combination.

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French Police clash last Saturday with pro-Palestinian protesters in Paris

Wake Up France! The 'New' Anti-Semitism, As Dangerous As Ever

Blaming French Jews for Israel's actions in Gaza is just the latest vile expression of a rising wave of anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in the heart of Europe.

PARIS — Never in my life did I think that on the streets of Paris I would hear cries of "Juif, la France n'est pas à toi" (Jew, France is not yours). But that’s what happened in an anti-government march on January expand=1] 26.

Never in my life could I imagine synagogues being attacked. In France.

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A man protests in St. Petersburg against the introduction of Russian troops in Ukraine, in March 2014.

The Russian Dream Is All About Empire

The country's old imperialist ambitions are back. If you are inside or outside, and trying to understand Vladimir Putin's 21st century Russia, keep that in mind in making your calculations.

MOSCOW — According to Lenin, Joseph Stalin, the founder of the USSR's Red Empire, particularly liked "spicy food." Decades later, Vladimir Putin is now the one serving up the hot plates.

Empty shelves in stores and long lines for toilet papers may be things of the past in Russia, but affluence never led to democracy in Russia. It only helped an imperialistic mindset resurface.

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Gaza Mother Finds Son After Thinking He'd Been Killed In Air Strike

Gaza Mother Finds Son After Thinking He'd Been Killed In Air Strike

GAZA — A dramatic video has emerged that captures — in a very different way — the horror of Gaza parents facing the death of their children in the ongoing assault by the Israeli military.

In this video, (SEE BELOW) posted late Wednesday by al-Quds news in Jerusalem, a Gazan mother finds her young son, alive and well, in a local clinic after she had been informed earlier that the boy had been killed in Israeli air strikes.
Medics try to calm the shocked mother as she incredulously hugs and then examines her son's entire body for wounds. The young boy, sobbing softly and looking rather shocked, is tugged in the midst of doctors and nurses and scattered family members.
The mother breaks down in tears, wailing her grief and surprise at this sudden moment of luck in the midst of death; the boy and his aunt promise her that he really is okay.
A male family member appears and urges the mother to try to calm down: "You are scaring the boy; this isn't the time for it." But she can't control herself and collapses into her son's lap.

More than 132 children have died since the start of Israel's military offensive against Hamas in Gaza, on July 8. The Palestinian death toll passed 700 on Thursday, while Israel has lost 32 soldiers since the beginning of the conflict.

A Mapuche woman near the housing units built by architects from Undurraga Devés in Huechuruba, near Santiago.

In Chile, Modern Housing Fit For Ancient Customs

Architects near Santiago are building a new kind of housing in Chile, both modern and adapted to the ancient culture of the Mapuche community.

SANTIAGO — This new kind of home combines practicality with cultural understanding. Chilean architects from Undurraga Devés have recently worked with members of the indigenous Mapuche community in Huechuruba, near Santiago, to help build a very specific type of housing: a place that would not only meet their basic needs, but also respect their traditions and ideas.

The goal is to help the housing units' residents "participate in modern society without discarding their identity," as the architects from Undurraga Devés put it. This has become a major focus of the studio, founded in 1978 — launching "low-tech" and culturally sensitive housing projects in Chile.

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Coach Löw shakes hands with veteran Miroslav Klose during Sunday's match

The Bigger Meaning Of Germany's National Team

The Mannschaft's World Cup winning team was the perfect embodiment of what Germany hopes to be perceived as — a mix of artistry, perseverance, solidarity and individual freedom.

BERLIN — Our national soccer team's appearance Tuesday with the World Cup trophy at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, their triumph will also move to the core of the Republic.

The summer of 2006 — when Germany hosted the World Cup and finished third — was a fairy tale for the country. It resulted in a sort of miracle: Germans made peace with themselves in the face of a young soccer team, whose charm and joyful playing style had little to do with the scrappy, uninspired play of its predecessors.

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