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The Latest: Bill Cosby Freed, China’s CCP Turns 100, Saudi Speed

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.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

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

Al Jazeera is a state-funded broadcaster in Doha, Qatar, owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current-affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty television channels in multiple languages.
CNN (Cable News Network) is a multinational news organization and TV channel. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, it is part of the Warner Media group and was founded in 1980 by Ted Turner and Reese Schonfeld.
Reuters is an international news agency headquartered in London, UK. It was founded in 1851 and is now a division of Thomson Reuters. It transmits news in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Urdu, and Chinese.
The New York Times (sometimes abbreviated to NYT) is an American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. It has won 117 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. Its daily circulation is estimated to 1,380,000.
This leading French daily newspaper Le Monde ("The World") was founded in December 1944 in the aftermath of World War II. Today, it is distributed in 120 countries. In late 2010, a trio formed by Pierre Berge, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse took a controlling 64.5% stake in the newspaper.
Founded in 1978 in Berlin, Die Tageszeitung, also known as "TAZ," is a left-leaning newspaper famous for its tongue-in-cheek headlines.
The BBC is the British public service broadcaster, and the world's oldest national broadcasting organization. It broadcasts in up to 28 different languages.
Founded as a local Manchester newspaper in 1821, The Guardian has gone on to become one of the most influential dailies in Britain. The left-leaning newspaper is most recently known for its coverage of the Edward Snowden leaks.
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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Zelensky And Putin Agree On One Big Thing Right Now

Even with the war at a stalemate, and as far away as victory may be for both sides, negotiations are an absolute non-starter for both the presidents of Ukraine and Russia.

photo of zelensky looking tired

Zelensky in Kyiv on Dec. 6 to honor those killed in the war.

Pool /Ukrainian Presidentia/Planet Pix via ZUMA
Yuri Fedorov

Updated Dec. 6, 2023 at 7:20 p.m.


The Russian-Ukrainian war appears to have reached a strategic impasse — a veritable stalemate. Neither side is in a position at this point to achieve a fundamental change on the ground in their favor. Inevitably, this has triggered no shortage of analysts and politicians saying it's time for negotiations.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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These conversations especially intensified after the results of the summer-autumn counteroffensive were analyzed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhny, with not very optimistic details.

Though there are advances of the Ukrainian army, it is mostly “stuck in minefields under attacks from Russian artillery and drones,” and there is a increasing prospect of trench warfare that “could drag on for years and exhaust the Ukrainian state.”

Zaluzhny concluded: “Russia should not be underestimated. It suffered heavy losses and used up a lot of ammunition, but it will have an advantage in weapons, equipment, missiles and ammunition for a long time," he said. "Our NATO partners are also dramatically increasing their production capacity, but this requires at least a year, and in some cases, such as aircraft and control systems, two years.”

For the Ukrainian army to truly succeed, it needs air superiority, highly effective electronic and counter-battery warfare, new technologies for mining and crossing minefields, and the ability to mobilize and train more reserves.

China and most countries of the so-called global South have expressed their support for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. Meanwhile in the West, certain influential voices are pushing for negotiations, guided by a purely pragmatic principle that if military victory is impossible, it is necessary to move on to diplomacy.

The position of the allies is crucial: Ukraine’s ability to fight a long war of attrition and eventually change the situation at the front in its favor depends on the military, economic and political support of the West. And this support, at least on the scale necessary for victory, is not guaranteed.

Still, the question of negotiations is no less complicated, as the positions of Russia and Ukraine today are so irreconcilable that it is difficult to imagine productive negotiations.

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