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Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2001
Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2001
Worldcrunch

PUTIN TO PARDON KHODORKOVSKY
After his annual press conference, Vladimir Putin stunned reporters by saying he will sign a pardon for jailed ex-Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky “in the nearest time,” RT reports.

MARKETS ON THE RISE AFTER FED’S STIMULUS REDUCTION
European and Asian stocks were on the rise this morning after the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it would reduce its $85 billion monthly stimulus to $75 billion, Bloomberg reports. The price of gold and some Asian currencies were dropping.

EU MOVES CLOSER TO BANKING UNION

  • The Finance Ministers of the European Union have reached an agreement on further banking integration, ahead of a two-day summit of EU heads of state, The Daily Telegraph reports. This complex pact will have to be validated by the leaders.

  • According to a BBC correspondent, the deal also represents “the biggest centralization of power in the European Union since the launch of the euro.”

  • For French newspaperLe Figaro, the pact is a victory for Germany and a defeat for French leadership as it was signed on Angela Merkel’s terms.

SOUTH SUDAN REBELS SEIZE MAJOR TOWN
Army defectors in South Sudan have taken control of Bor, a key town in the center of the country, as the fighting continues between rival army factions after Sunday’s alleged coup attempt, Sudan Tribune reports.

PALESTINIANS KILLED IN ISRAELI MILITARY OPERATION
Two Palestinians were killed in separate arrest raids by the Israeli army early this morning, Al Jazeera reports. One of the victims was a member of the Palestinian security forces and a known gunman who had fired first on Israeli soldiers according to an official statement, though locals quoted by news agency Ma’an said the man was shot “in cold blood.”

11 PILGRIMS DEAD IN SUICIDE ATTACK IN IRAQ
At least 11 Shiite pilgrims were killed in a suicide attack in Baghdad, as they were on their way to the holy city of Karbala, south of the capital, AP reports. Police officials said that 22 people were also injured in the attack.

MAN SETS HIMSELF ON FIRE ON ST PETER’S SQUARE
A 51-year-old man poured gasoline over himself and set himself on fire this morning on St Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Italian news agency ANSA reports. The man was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. Authorities don’t yet know the motive of the act.

JEALOUSY, MOSCOW-STYLE
During his annual press conference, Vladimir Putin made a stunning revelation: He envies Barack Obama. Find out what for.

FOTO

Surf’s up for Australian Santa!

ARNIE’S KILL COUNT
Ever wondered how many people Arnold Schwarzenegger has shot down, strangled or freeze-lasered in his acting career? This YouTuber did the math.

CRIME INT’L
The owner of a popular Japanese dumpling restaurant chain was shot dead outside his company’s headquarters.

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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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