Welcome to Wednesday, where India's COVID death toll surpasses 200,000, two Spanish journalists are killed and Citizen Kane loses to a marmalade-loving bear in a hat. From the West Indies, Le Monde"s Jean-Michel Hauteville also looks at the controversial legacy of French national hero Napoleon Bonaparte.
• India's death toll tops 200,000. U.S. eases mask rules: Having again topped the country's deadliest day, India's overall death toll due to COVID-19 surpassed 200,000 on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask for modest-sized outside activities, Some 43% of Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
• Journalists killed in Burkina Faso: Two Spanish journalists and an Irishman have been killed in eastern Burkina Faso after they were abducted. The three Europeans were part of an anti-poaching patrol in Pama Reserve and were ambushed by gunmen believed to be jihadists.
• Historic U.S. spending plans: U.S President Joe Biden is about to unveil an additional $1.8 trillion federal investment in education, child care and paid family leave, as he delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress. Last month, Biden set up a $2 trillion infrastructure plan to help reshape the country's economy.
• Eight killed in an "illegal" Latvian hotel: Eight people were killed after a fire broke out at an "illegal" tourist hotel in Riga, Latvia's capital city.
• France arrests Italian leftists terrorists decades later: Seven Italians, on the run since their convictions decades ago in Italy for left-wing terrorism, have been arrested in France.
• Switzerland to hold referendum on same-sex marriage: The country will hold a referendum on whether to authorize same-sex marriage after opponents of a bill that recognised same-sex marriage gathered enough signatures to set up a vote.
• When a suspected hand grenade turns out to be a sex toy: A German police bomb squad was called to investigate a hand grenade in a Bavarian forest, and revealed on Tuesday that the suspected weapon was in fact a sex toy.
Spanish daily El Correo reports on the death of two Spanish journalists who were killed after they were kidnapped during an ambush in Burkina Faso by gunmen believed to be jihadists. The journalists were making a documentary on poaching in the region of Pama.
Cancel Napoleon? French West Indies decry emperor for slavery role
As France and its overseas departments mark 200 years since Napoleon's death, his role in spreading slavery to the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique is prompting more and more to reverse his heroic legacy, writes Jean-Michel Hauteville in Paris-based dailyLe Monde.
Many people in the French Caribbean blame Napoleon Bonaparte for reversing what had been gained overseas during the French Revolution. In February 1794, the National Convention (the parliament during the Revolution) passed a decree that freed all slaves and made them French citizens. And it wasn't just slavery that was abolished. "It is often forgotten, but the new Constitution of 1795 also put an end to the colonial regime and made Guadeloupe, Guyana and Santo Domingo state départements, subjected to the same law as the French mainland," recalls Frédéric Regent, a historian of ancestry in Guadeloupe.
All of this changed, however, when the man who was still known simply as Bonaparte came to power. "One month after the Coup of 18 Brumaire, Article 91 of the Constitution of 1799 restored colonial status with specific laws," says Frédéric Regent. For the French colonies, this setback would have lasting consequences: They'd have to wait all the way until 1946 to become French départements for good.
Historian Frédéric Régent argues that it's understandable to organize ceremonies to commemorate Napoleon's death. "To commemorate does not necessarily mean to honor: After all, we commemorate the Vél" d'Hiv Roundup," he says. But he also refutes the argument that says that the Emperor should be pardoned because he was only a man of his time. "Napoleon made a choice," Régent says. "Many of his contemporaries were against slavery, and in particular a whole assembly of deputies, who had abolished it in 1794."
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Sinhala for "burqa", as Sri Lanka has just approved a proposed ban on wearing full-face veils, including Muslim burqas, in public.
Author of Italian thrillers arrested for staging parents' murder-suicide
As a published author of futuristic thrillers, Marco Eletti has a knack for intrigue and unlikely plot twists. But police say his latest storyline doesn't add up, and have arrested the 33-year-old from the northern province of Reggio Emilia on suspicion of the brutal murder of his father and attempted murder of his mother, La Repubblica reports.
Eletti said he arrived at his parents' house Saturday in the hamlet of San Martino in Rio to find his 58-year-old father beaten to death with a hammer, and his 54-year-old mother near death with knife wounds to her wrists and arm.
But the Italian Carabinieri are questioning his version of events, accusing the novelist of drugging his parents before the deadly assault, with the idea to construct the scene to look like there had been a violent exchange between the spouses, with the wife killing herself after she'd realized her husband was dead. The mother is in a coma, but is expected to survive, reports regional dailyIl Resto del Carlino.
Eletti, whose books include La regola del numero sette (Rule Number Seven) Punto d'impatto (Point of Impact), denies any involvement. Police say they've found multiple clues and pieces of evidence including gloves and rope that point to the son, who they say plotted to kill his parents over a dispute about the family inheritance.
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Citizen Kane no longer holds the top spot on the popular movie review website Rotten Tomatoes. The Orson Welles 1941 classic, viewed as one of the greatest films of all time, lost one percent of its perfect "fresh" rating after a negative review from 80 years ago was added to the website. It is being replaced by Paddington 2.
The country has a right to know who contributed to the thousands of deaths, and they should be punished.
— Senator Renan Calheiros, a veteran lawmaker overseeing the Brazilian Senate inquiry into the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, responded to President Jair Bolsonaro's efforts to undermine the probe.
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