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Protests in Kiev on Dec. 11, 2013
Protests in Kiev on Dec. 11, 2013
Worldcrunch

UKRAINE PROTESTS: UPDATE

  • Ukrainian riot police forces have withdrawn from Kiev’s Independence Square after clashing with protesters during the night, in an attempt to remove the barricades in and around the City Hall, Reuters reports.

    The Polish Foreign Ministry summoned the Ukrainian ambassador over the use of force by the police during the recent events, news agency ITAR-TASS reports. Poland favors discussions between the government and opponents and had previously denounced the use of violence.

  • Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said the country was ready to sign the deal with the European Union if Brussels “minimizes” the losses to the Ukrainian economy that an agreement would cause. According to newswire Interfax, he estimated these at 20 billion euros.

  • For more on one of the leaders of the opposition, former boxer Vitali Klitschko, have a look at this Süddeutsche Zeitung/Worldcrunch piece.

U.S. CONGRESS CLOSING IN ON BUDGET DEAL
Republican and Democrat negotiators have agreed on a federal budget for the next two years, brushing aside fears of a new government shutdown in January, The Washington Post reports. If passed by the House and the Senate, the deal will translate into spending cuts and a pledge not to raise taxes, according to The Guardian.

BURMA FREES 44 POLITICAL PRISONERS
Burma has liberated another 44 political prisoners this morning, following a pledge from President Thein Sein to free all prisoners of conscience by the end of the year. But despite being released, some 200 political prisoners are still awaiting trial, AFP reports, citing a member of the country’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

15 DEAD IN CHINESE FOOD MARKET FIRE
At least 15 people have died in a massive fire that broke out in a food market the Southeastern Chinese town of Shenzhen, Xinhua reports. The cause of the sudden blaze, which burnt an area of 1,000 square meters, is still unknown.

URUGUAY LEGALIZES MARIJUANA PRODUCTION, CONSUMPTION, SALE
Uruguay senators approved yesterday an historic bill that will make it the first state to control the entire production, distribution and commerce of marijuana, Clarínreports. From April onwards, people over 18 will be able to buy up to 40g of the drug per month in pharmacies. Backers of the bill believe that it will help the fight against drug cartels.
On its front page, national newspaper El País welcomes the news by writing: “Green light to the experiment”.

BY THE NUMBERS
Government officials in Japan will be served rice from Fukushima for nine days to prove it’s safe for consumption. For more on the decontamination of the nuclear facility, read this Le Monde/Worldcrunch piece: Meet The Underpaid, Overexposed “Liquidators” Of Fukushima.

VERBATIM
President Hollande justifies French military intervention in the Central African Republic, hours after two French soldiers were killed in Bangui.

FRENCH FRIES
This Frenchman didn’t like having his McDonald’s fries served cold — so he attacked the restaurant with a hatchet.

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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