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The Latest: AstraZeneka Halted, Zulu King Dies, $69m JPG

People flee their homes in Makassar City, eastern Indonesia, where heavy rains have caused massive floods during monsoon season.
People flee their homes in Makassar City, eastern Indonesia, where heavy rains have caused massive floods during monsoon season.

Welcome to Friday, where additional countries suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccine, Alexei Navalny's whereabouts are unknown, and South Africa mourns the King of the Zulu. Argentine daily Clarin also shares the story of a legendary Buenos Aires ice cream shop, which has been forced to close for good.

• More countries halt AstraZeneca vaccine: Following Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, Thailand becomes the first Asian country to suspend the vaccine over sporadic reports that it produces blood clots, and at least one death attributed to an AstraZeneca vaccination.

• Turkey and Egypt resume diplomatic contact: The two nations have had their first diplomatic contacts since 2013 when two of the world's largest Muslim-majority nations broke off ties over the war in Libya.

• Alexy Navalny moved from jail: The Kremlin critic and democracy activist has been moved from jail and his whereabouts are currently unknown, according to his lawyers.

• Prince William denies racism: Asked by a journalist about recent allegations by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Harry & Meghan), Prince William responded that the British royals were "very much not a racist family.".

• South Africa King dies: The King of the Zulu people Goodwill Zwelithini has died from diabetes, aged 72.

• Myanmar court extends detentions: Myanmar's military has extended detentions of six journalists, claiming that the journalists provoked unrest when covering the protests. They have not had access to lawyers.

• JPG file sells for $69 million: A digital collage by the artist "Beeple," called Everydays — The First Five Thousand Days has sold for $69 million, breaking a record in the world of digital art.

"Extra vaccine caution in Denmark," titles Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, as the country's National Board of Health suspends the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for two weeks following multiple reports of blood clots, including one fatal case.

How an iconic Buenos Aires ice cream shop melted away with COVID

It's only now that the news is finally spreading. Founded in 1902 by the Cocitori family, El Vesuvio, Argentina's oldest heladería (ice-cream shop), is no more. The legendary Buenos Aires establishment had actually stopped operating shortly before the pandemic began. Its most recent owner was no longer able to keep it afloat, reports Nora Sánchez in Argentine daily Clarin.

Located at 1181 Corrientes Avenue, between Libertad and Cerrito streets, the shop is remembered for the iconic image, in its front window, of a smoking Mount Vesuvius, the Italian volcano after which the heladería was named. Mariano Marmorato was the last owner of the establishment, which for decades had doubled as a sweets and pastry shop and even offered tango shows. But in recent years business was slow. Others who have shops in the area and knew him say that Marmorato also struggled with health problems.

El Vesuvio has an important place in the entire history of ice cream in Argentina. Early in the 20th century, its founders, Mr. and Mrs. Cocitori, brought in one of the country's first ice cream-making machines. It consisted of a copper cylinder with a hollow space around it for ice and salt, to keep the interior part cold. To make the ice cream, two people had to crank the machine by hand for two hours, mixing the milk, cream and sugar inside.

El Vesuvio was synonymous with tango, and its customers included the world's best dancers, including Carlos Gardel. In 2002, the author and composer Ben Molar made reference to El Vesuvio in a text that was later included in a 2009 book called Heladerías de Buenos Aires (Ice Cream Shops of Buenos Aires). "On my regular walks along Corrientes Street, together with Jorge Luis Borges and with the great painters Raúl Soldi and Raquel Forner, ... we'd dip into the unforgettable Vesuvio and taste their rich hot chocolate with churros (Borges said ‘no!" to the churros) and delicious ice creams."

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

Pandemic forces French to buy their frogs from a vending machine

In the Franche-Comté region of eastern France, t'is the season right now for… ribbit, ribbit… frogs (of the edible variety). Mais oui!

Yes, grenouille season really is a thing. But it's also short lived (like the delectable amphibians themselves), lasting about a month that they're available at markets and restaurants in certain French regions.

For the Auberge du Château de Vaite in Champlive, near the city of Besançon, a normal frog season can bring in as much as one-third of their annual earnings, proprietor Béatrice Beauquier recently told the local daily L'Est Républican.

"Frogs are a historic thing for us," she said. "For a long time now our reputation has been based on them."

The problem, of course, is that this is anything but a normal year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, France's countless restaurants are still barred from serving sit-down customers.

While others have turned to Deliveroo, UberEats and other delivery apps, the Château de Vaite restaurant came up with a novel solution: using a vending machine to offer grenouilles-to-go.

Starting this weekend, customers can stop by at Château de Vaite (anytime, 24/7!) and grab a meal of frogs on the fly. They go for 16 euros ($19) a dozen, and come either ready-to-cook or prepared with cream and wine as a cassolette.

Yes, French and non-French connoisseurs alike, the pandemic has also brought us this ...

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1.6 million

According to a study published in the Human Reproduction journal, about 1.6 million twins are born each year worldwide, with one in every 42 children born a twin — a number on the rise due to the improvement of medical techniques such as IVF as well as delayed childbearing. Twinning rates have particularly risen in Asia (+32%) and North America (+71%) over the past 30 years.

It doesn't fit with the times that Deutsche Bank is having a coronavirus party.

— Fabio De Masi, a member of Germany's parliament, reacts to news that Deutsche Bank paid Chief Executive Christian Sewing 7.4 million euros in 2020, up 46% from a year earlier. De Masi noted that the bank has benefited indirectly from multiple public bailouts.

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Why The World Still Needs U.S. Leadership — With An Assist From China

Twenty years of costly interventions and China's economic ascent have robbed the United States of its global supremacy. It is time for the two biggest powers to work together, to help the world.

Photograph of Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden walking side by side in the Filoli Estate in the U.S. state of California​

Nov. 15, 2023: Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden take a walk after their talks in the Filoli Estate in the U.S. state of California

María Ángela Holguín*


BOGOTÁ — The United States is facing a complex moment in its history, as it loses its privileged place in the world. Since the Second World War, it has been the world's preeminent power in economic and political terms, helping rebuild Europe after the war and through its growing economy, aiding the development of a significant part of the world.

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Its model of democracy, long considered exemplary around the world, has gone through a rough patch, thanks to excessive polarization and discord. This has cost it a good deal of its leadership, unity and authority.

How much authority does it have to chide certain countries on democracy, as it does, after such outlandish incidents as the assault on Congress in January 2021? The fights we have seen over electing a new speaker of the House of Representatives or backing the administration's foreign policy are simply incredible.

In Ukraine's case, President Biden failed to win support for the aid package for which he was hoping, even if there is a general understanding that if Russia wins this war, Europe's stability would be at risk. It would mean the victory of a longstanding enemy.

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