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A worker refills medical oxygen cylinders at a charging station in New Delhi, India, where a surge in new cases has prompted an oxygen shortage.
A worker refills medical oxygen cylinders at a charging station in New Delhi, India, where a surge in new cases has prompted an oxygen shortage.

Welcome to Thursday, where India faces an oxygen shortage as COVID surges, Russia crackdowns on Navalny supporters and Italy nabs the worst slacker ever. We also turn to Le Monde for an analysis on what the killing of Chad President Idriss Déby means for the fight against jihadists in north-central Africa.

• India's COVID surge prompts oxygen shortage: The number of new COVID-19 infections in India has again hit a record, with 314,835 cases in the last 24 hours, amid a growing crisis of oxygen shortages and lack of hospital beds. The spike is being blamed in part on a double mutant variant first discovered in the country.

• Thousands arrested in Navalny protests in Russia: Police arrested more than 1,700 people yesterday, as large crowds took part in demonstrations all across Russia, in support of hunger-striking Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

• Four killed in a Pakistan hotel bombing: A car bomb near a luxury hotel in Pakistan killed four people and left 12 wounded. China's ambassador to Pakistan, who was staying at the hotel but was unharmed, may have been the target of the attack claimed by the Pakistani arm of the Taliban.

• Missing Indonesian submarine: Indonesia has about 72 hours to find a missing navy submarine before the 53 crew members run out of oxygen. The vessel disappeared on Wednesday morning, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Bali.

• Australia scraps deals and provokes China's anger: Australia has cancelled business agreements tied to China's Belt and Road initiative. The Chinese embassy in Canberra has warned about degradation in already tensed relationships between the two countries.

• U.S. green pledge on Earth Day: Joe Biden has announced plans to cut the country's emissions by at least 50% in the next ten years. The U.S. president made the announcement during a virtual climate summit hosted by the White House, with 40 world leaders participating, as the world celebrates Earth Day.

• Italian employee accused of skipping work for 15 years: A hospital employee in southern Italy has been accused of skipping work on full pay for 15 years, reportedly earning €538,000 in total, without showing up to work since 2005.

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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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