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The Latest: NGO Workers Killed In Afghanistan, Macron’s Slap, Pricey Scroll

Joe Rush's “Mount Recyclemore” in Cornwall, UK, uses e-waste to depict G7 leaders
Joe Rush's “Mount Recyclemore” in Cornwall, UK, uses e-waste to depict G7 leaders

Welcome to Wednesday, where NGO workers are killed in Afghanistan, two are arrested after the French president is slapped in the face, and a 61-foot-long scroll makes a splash in China. Le Monde also takes us to Mali, where a second military coup in nine months leaves Malians and international allies alike worried about what happens next.

• Ten NGO workers killed in attack in Afghanistan: The Kabul government has blamed the Taliban for an attack that killed ten NGO workers and wounded 16 others, though the militant group denies responsibility. The workers were part of a British-American mine clearance organization, the HALO trust.

• Authorities in Nicaragua arrest two more presidential challengers: Opposition figures Felix Maradiaga and Juan Sebastián Chamorro have been arrested and were held under a controversial new security law passed by president Daniel Ortega's government. The 75-year-old Ortega is seeking a fourth consecutive term in November's election.

• Chinese students hold principal hostage: Rare school protests arose after a plan to merge a Nanjing college in Jiangsu province with a less prestigious vocational school. The principal was held hostage for more than 30 hours over students' fears that their degrees would be devalued as a result of the merge.

• U.S. billionaires avoid paying income tax: ProPublica, the investigative news website, obtains access to the tax returns of some of the world's richest people, who often manage to avoid paying income taxes thanks to loopholes in the law. According to ProPublica, Jeff Bezos paid no tax in 2007 and 2011, while Elon Musk paid nothing in 2018.

• Two arrested after slap of French President Macron: A man grabbed President Emmanuel Macron by the forearm and slapped him across the face yesterday during a meet-and-greet with a crowd in southern France. Reports say the first arrest is the bearded man who levied the slap, the second is the person who filmed it.

• "Butcher of Bosnia" loses genocide appeal: Bosnian warlord Ratko Mladic lost his final legal battle after being found guilty for orchestrating genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Balkan nation's 1992-1995 war.

• Woman saves her twin sister by punching a crocodile: UK-born twin sisters Melissa and Georgia were swimming in a lagoon in Mexico when Melissa was attacked by a crocodile. Georgia kept punching the crocodile on the head, and dragged Melissa out to the boat. Melissa is now in an induced coma and Georgia is covered in bite marks.

French local daily La Provence reports on "the slap" French President Emmanuel Macron received while shaking hands with the crowd during an official visit in the southeast of the country. Two men were arrested following the incident.

Mali: second military coup raises questions at home and abroad

Nine months after the military installed a new interim leader, a young Colonel has again taken over the country in what appears to be a pure power play. But it may not be so simple, and Malians and international allies alike are worried about what happens next, write Cyril Bensimon, Morgane Le Cam and Elise Vincent in French daily Le Monde.

While the years-long war against jihadists in northern and central Mali is still far from being won, the military has once again used its resources to intervene in the civilian-political game in Bamako. On August 18, 2020, a group of five colonels, led by Colonel Assimi Goïta, forced Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, known as "IBK," to resign. Nine months later, it was the same story all over again, this time with the transitional president.

What went on behind the scenes that allowed the overthrow of the Malian power structure for a second time in just nine months? As much as IBK's fall had been the culmination of weeks of popular protest, this second coup was a pure power play. Angered by the growing influence of the military, which has controlled four key ministries since the beginning of the transition period, President Bah N'Daw announced the dissolution of the government on May 14 and reappointed his Prime Minister Moctar Ouane. Colonel Goïta, the Vice-President and head of defense and security, was not informed. Tensions rose.

In Bamako, Malians appear tired of seeing their political life marked by ineffective policies sanctioned by successive coups d"état, the fifth since the country's independence in 1960. As expected, the virtues of democracy are no longer strong considerations for the group that formed on May 24 to support the takeover. "Our politicians, from IBK to Bah N'Daw, have all failed. When they betray the motherland, our army is there to teach them a lesson," warned one Malian named Alexandre.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

$65 million

A rare 61-foot-long Chinese scroll, dating back from the 18th century, has been sold for 414 million yuan (about $65 million) — becoming the third most expensive classical Chinese artwork ever sold at auction.

Chinese cameraman films (and wins) 100-meter race

A key to filming sports is being in position to capture the action. One cameraman in northern China showed how to get, and stay, ahead of the race — literally outrunning the sprinters he was filming.

For a 100-meter race at the University of Datong in Shanxi, another student, Hao Xiaoyang, was chosen to film the runners. When the start whistle blew, Hao took off running as well (with just a bit of a head start), hoping to get as close as possible to the athletes … before crossing the finish line in front of all the other runners.

The video of Hao's speedy filming went viral on Chinese social networks, with many users congratulating him as the winner.

Interviewed by Reuters, the student cameraman said he simply "wanted to capture the most beautiful images possible." And yes, Hao will be graduating with a degree in physical education.

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

Literally, I don't know anyone who hasn't been.

— British actress Keira Knightley, upon reflecting on women's safety for Harper's Bazaar, said she didn't know any woman who hasn't been sexually harassed at some point in her life. Knightley also stated in the interview that she would no longer act in intimate scenes directed by men.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

NYC Postcard: My Arab-American Friends And The Shame Of India's Foreign Policy

The author's native country, India, is both a burgeoning world power and part of the Global South. And yet, its ambitious Prime Minister Narendra Modi hasn't dared to say a single word against Israel's actions in Gaza and the West Bank, even when countries in South America and Africa have severed their diplomatic relationships with Israel.

Photo of pro-Palestinian protesters marching in New York on Oct. 8

Pro-Palestinian protest in New York on Oct. 8

Shikhar Goel


NEW YORK — The three years since coming to New York as a graduate student have been the most demanding and stimulating period of my academic life. One of the most exciting and joyous accidents of this journey has been my close friendship with Arab students in this city.

I have shared a house with a Syrian and a Palestinian here in Brooklyn, which I have grown to call home. I now make makloubeh with lal mirch and garam masala. Pita bread with zaatar and olive oil has become my go-to midnight snack. I have gotten drunk on arak and unsuccessfully danced dabke at parties. The Delhi boy in me has also now learned to cuss in Arabic.

These friendships have made me realize how similar we are to each other as people. My best friend in the city happens to be a Palestinian Christian whose family was displaced from Jerusalem in 1948 and has lived in exile ever since.

My roommate is from the West Bank, where she and her family have to face the everyday humiliation of crossing Israeli checkpoints to travel in their own country.

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