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University students in Athens clash with police forces during a protest against a government bill that would allow the creation of a special campus police force and disciplinary councils in national universities.
University students in Athens clash with police forces during a protest against a government bill that would allow the creation of a special campus police force and disciplinary councils in national universities.

Welcome to Thursday, where the WHO has given the green light to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for all ages, U.S. imposes sanctions on Myanmar and we go to France for a big parenting fail. We also explore the troubled relationship between oil and politics in Venezuela.

• COVID-19 latest: The World Health Organization has backed the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for adults of all ages, even in people aged over 65, which some countries have advised against. The UK variant is likely to "sweep the world," says the head of genetic surveillance programme, as the strain, first identified in September 2020, has already been detected in 86 countries.

• Biden's Myanmar sanctions: U.S. President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to impose sanctions on the leaders of Myanmar's coup as well as to block access to $1 billion of government funds.

• Trump's trial: Prosecutors to wrap up their opening arguments on the third day of Donald Trump's impeachment trial. Day 2 was marked by the presentation of new, violent footage of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots which the former U.S. president stands accused of inciting.

• China-India breakthrough: India and China have begun pulling back troops from part of their disputed Himalayan border in what is seen as a breakthrough nine months after the deadly clash in Ladakh.

• Belarus' "People's Assembly": Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has launched an "All-Belarusian People's Assembly" of 2,700 delegates to ostensibly discuss constitutional reforms. Opponents say its a smokescreen for Lukashenko to consolidate power.

• Tokyo Olympics chief to step down: Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori is set to resign following "inappropriate" sexist comments about women, which sparked public debate in Japan about gender equality.

• Geeky piggys: Scientists in the U.S. have found that pigs can play video games with their snouts.


Today's edition of The Hindu, the Indian daily based in the southern city of Chennai, leads with coverage of the China-India border dispute, as well as the latest in the ongoing standoff between the Indian government and Twitter over content removal and freedom of expression.

Venezuela's PDVSA, mixing big oil and leftist politics

Venezuela's Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), once among the world's most powerful oil firms, was transformed and largely gutted under Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. But the story is more complicated than it may seem, writes Gustavo Bazzan in Argentinian daily Clarin.

Amid anxiety in Argentina over the state of the country's main oil firm, YPF — with problems of debt, management and an uncertain future under a socialist government — people are inevitably making comparisons with Venezuela's PDVSA another South American energy giant that was a victim of politicized mismanagement. Still, the Argentinian firm's fate so far is not comparable with the havoc wreaked on PDVSA under the governments of presidents Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro.

With Venezuela sitting, in nominal terms at least, on the world's biggest oil reserves, PDVSA would inevitably become a cash cow, as it generated some 90% of the country's foreign currency earnings, before and after Chávez. It would have been naïve to think it could be free of political influence. Yet experts in the sector widely agree that since its creation on Jan. 1, 1976, PDVSA has largely worked as a "state within a state."

PDVSA went bankrupt after Chávez was elected president in Feb. 1999. Seven years before he had tried and failed to take power through a coup against President Pérez. The firm went bankrupt a second time after an oil strike in 2002. After the strike, Chávez decided on a management overhaul, dismissing top directors and firing 18,000 technicians who constituted 40% of the firm's staff. In other words: He removed the brains behind the firm.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


Weak parenting, cops called in

Parenting can be a tricky thing.

Who can safely say they've never, in the heat of the moment, brandished over-the-top threats to try to get unruly offspring to comply? And who ever follows through?

Well the scene earlier this week inside a family home in Limoges, France, was looking familiar, as reported by local radio station France Bleu Limousin:Facing their 15-year-old son's refusal to clear the table after dinner, Papa and Maman launched the not-so-credible We'll-call-the-cops ultimatum. But this time, they followed through and dialed #17, the emergency police number in France, to report a "big family dispute."

When officers arrived, after making sure that everyone was fine, they had a lecture for the parents, that the situation "was more a matter of lack of authority than a police concern."

All clear then — that is, except for the table.

➡️ Keep up with all the planet's police reports and plot twists on Worldcrunch.com

$67.50

That's the hourly price that cinemas in South Korea are charging individual gamers to rent out their screens. Renting out the "giant-screen" video game experience is a new attempt for movie houses to compensate for the loss of revenue during lockdown rules.

We're not still where we want to be.

— European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has acknowledged the shortcomings of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Europe, admitting to the European Parliament that "we were late to authorize. We were too optimistic when it came to massive production." The rates of vaccination in EU countries are a fraction of those in the U.S., UK and Israel.

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The Hindu, started in 1878 as a weekly, became a daily in 1889 and from then on has been steadily growing to the circulation of 15,58,379 copies (ABC: July-December 2012) and a readership of about 22.58 lakhs. The Hindu's independent editorial stand and its reliable and balanced presentation of the news have over the years, won for it the serious attention and regard of the people who matter in India and abroad. The Hindu uses modern facilities for news gathering, page composition and printing
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Society

How Iran's Women-Led Protests Have Exposed The 'Islamist Racket' Everywhere

By defending their fundamental rights, Iranian women are effectively fighting for the rights of all in the Middle East. Their victory could spell an end to Islamic fundamentalism that spouts lies about "family values" and religion.

Protests like this in Barcelona have been sparked all over the world to protest the Tehran regime.

Davide Bonaldo/SOPA Images via ZUMA
Kayhan London

-Editorial-

Iran's narrow-minded, rigid and destructive rulers have ruined the lives of so many Iranians, to the point of forcing a portion of the population to sporadically rise up in the hope of forcing changes. Each time, the regime's bloody repression forces Iranians back into silent resignation as they await another chance, when a bigger and bolder wave of protests will return to batter the ramparts of dictatorship.

It may just be possible that this time, in spite of the bloodshed, a bankrupt regime could finally succumb to the latest wave of protests, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the so-called "morality police."

Women have always played a role in the social and political developments of modern Iran, thanks in part to 50 years of secular monarchy before the Iranian Revolution of 1979. And that role became the chief target of reaction when it gained, or regained, power in the early days of 1979, after a revolution replaced the monarchy with a self-styled Islamic republic.

Whether it was women's attire and appearance, or their rights and opportunities in education and work, access to political and public life or juridical and civil rights — all these became intolerable to the new clerical authorities.

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