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Near Lake Shasta, California, an air tanker releases fire retardant in an effort to extinguish the growing wildfire next to the northbound I-5 freeway. The U.S. Forest Service has ordered evacuations in the area.
Near Lake Shasta, California, an air tanker releases fire retardant in an effort to extinguish the growing wildfire next to the northbound I-5 freeway. The U.S. Forest Service has ordered evacuations in the area.

Welcome to Thursday, where Bill Cosby is freed, a new study finds that COVID-19 is common in pets and China's Communist Party celebrates its 100th anniversary. Le Monde also takes us in the kitchens where African-American soul food has become a thing in the capital of haute cuisine.

• The Chinese Communist Party celebrates its 100th anniversary: Speeches and celebrations with military jet fly-pasts and patriotic songs continue through the day as China marks the official July 1, 1921 establishment of the CCP. The Communist Party, which first came to power in 1949 under the rule of Mao Zedong after a long civil war, today wields virtually absolute rule over China, which now counts 1.4 billion people and international superpower status, in both economic and military terms.

• Another 182 unmarked graves found at a Canadian school: The latest First Nation discovery found human remains at a former residential school in British Columbia, a third such finding in recent weeks. Ground penetrating radar technology had revealed the graves and discovered that some of the remains were buried in shallow graves of only three and four feet deep.

• Bill Cosby released from prison after verdict overturned: Legendary U.S. comedian Bill Cosby has been released from prison after the highest court of Pennsylvania overturned his sexual assault conviction, ruling that Cosby's due process rights were violated. Cosby was sentenced in 2018 to three to 10 years in a state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004, after dozens of women had come forward with similar accusations.

• Donald Rumsfeld dies: Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who served four presidents and led the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, died yesterday at the age of 88. He was the youngest, at 43, (under President Gerald Ford) and the oldest, at 74 (under President George W. Bush) to run the Pentagon.

• Serbian ex-spy chiefs jailed for Balkans war crimes: Jovica Stanišić, a former chief of Serbia's state security service, and Franko Simatovic, Stanišić"s deputy, have each been given 12 years for training the Serbian forces that carried out murder and ethnic cleansing in the 1990s Balkan War. The court ruled that they aided and abetted crimes against humanity.

• COVID update: After a final trial, the German COVID-19 vaccine CureVac proved to be 48% effective. The German biotech firm said that efficacy was slightly better (53%) when excluding trial patients older than 60 from the trial. A top African Union special envoy has criticized Europe for failing to deliver on crucial vaccine doses that were promised. Meanwhile, a study has shown that COVID is common in pet dogs and cats whose owners have the disease. According to the researcher, the concern is not the animals' health but the potential risk that they could act as a virus reservoir.

• Britney Spears' bid for freedom denied: A judge has denied the American singer's request to remove her father, James Spears, from his role overseeing her conservatorship. The decision comes a week after Spears delivered a dramatic testimony calling the conservatorship, which she was put under in 2008, "abusive."


Germany daily Die Tageszeitung reports that German armed forces have "cleared the field" in Afghanistan, as Germany pulls its last troops from the country after a nearly 20-year mission. They leave "chaos," the daily writes, "The Taliban are more powerful than at the beginning of the mission."


What's chic now in Paris dining? African-American soul food

Chicken waffles, mac and cheese, cornbread… These iconic African American dishes aren't just trending on Netflix — they're also making a name for themselves in the capital of haute cuisine, reports Léo Bourdin in French daily Le Monde.

Soul food doesn't imply a region or nationality but something broader, closer to a sentiment — a feeling at the border of a sensory and culinary experience. With iconic dishes such as fried chicken (fried chicken legs seasoned with Cajun spices), mac and cheese (macaroni and cheese baked in the oven with melted cheese), and cornbread (a pan-fried, corn-based bread borrowed from Native Americans), this African American cuisine has become one of the most popular symbols of North-American food culture.

These comforting recipes, filled with history and emotion, have found their way to France as more and more restaurants, such as New Soul Food, Gumbo Yaya and Mama Jackson, advertise their soul food menus. Originally poor and rural, the nourishing tradition has come a long way from its 17th century origins, when its creators were Black slaves working the plantations of the southern United States.

At Gumbo Yaya — a Cajun expression that could be translated as "hubbub" (or "brouhaha" in French, which sounds vaguely similar) — Lionel Chauvel-Maga continues the Black culinary tradition of the American South. There, the chicken waffle reigns supreme. A simple waffle hot off the pan makes a cozy bed for one or two pieces of spicy fried chicken, topped with a generous drizzle of maple syrup if desired. Legend has it that Black jazzmen in Harlem restaurants invented the dish as they tried to choose between a breakfast waffle and yesterday's leftover chicken for their morning meal.

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18.9 million

Saudi Arabia has seized a total of 18.9 amphetamine pills in recent days. Saudi authorities announced the most recent seizure of 4.5 million pills, locally known as Captagon, which were hidden in a shipment of oranges. This comes after 14.4 million amphetamine pills were found on Saturday in a shipment of iron plates.


The Chinese people will never allow any foreign forces to bully, oppress, or enslave us. Anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.

— President Xi Jinping, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, celebrates the party's 100th anniversary on Tiananmen Square, where Chairman Mao announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China under the rule of the party in 1949. China is currently in nationwide celebration, and Xi's speech is also being read more than 140 million times.

✍️ Newsletter by Dan Wu, Genevieve Mansfield, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Meike Eijsberg and Bertrand Hauger

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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