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Thai navy sailors rescued four kittens abandoned on a ship which had caught fire and was starting to sink in the Andaman Sea.
Thai navy sailors rescued four kittens abandoned on a ship which had caught fire and was starting to sink in the Andaman Sea.

Welcome to Friday, where Pope Francis arrives in Baghdad, Youtube shuts down Myanmar military channels and a Thai cat rescue is captured in photos. We've also got a reportage from China, translated from The Initium, on how the "One-Child-Only" generation is opting out of kids of their own.

Whatever it takes, Mario Draghi: vaccine wars and Europe's burdens

It was nearly nine years ago that Mario Draghi first burst onto the world stage. The Italian-born Draghi, who had recently taken over as the President of the European Central Bank, declared that he would do "whatever it takes' to save the Euro from speculative attacks. "And believe me," he added, "It will be enough."

That statement, on July 26 2012, and the policies to back it up, were aimed at helping multiple European countries — Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Spain and Greece — survive a severe debt crisis that followed the 2008 global financial crisis. Many came to see Draghi's bold action as an essential turning point in the Eurozone — and the stuff to earn the dapper economist a place in the history books.

His skills in crisis management for the European economy also explains why Draghi, 73, was hand-picked last month by a wide range of Italian political leaders to step in to rescue his native country as a caretaker Prime Minister in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying economic crisis.

Yesterday, Draghi's first major decision as Italy's leader had a different flavor than his famous "whatever it takes' line: blocking the shipment to Australia of 250,000 Italian-made doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The same day, large swathes of Italy were put under new coronavirus restrictions and experts said the new variants risked again overwhelming the country, exactly one year after it became the first Western epicenter of the pandemic.

The Italian government said the shipment was blocked because Australia was doing relatively well to contain the spread of the virus, and because of AstraZeneca's long-running delays to deliver vaccine doses to EU countries.

The decision comes as most European countries have stumbled in their vaccine rollouts, particularly compared to other Western nations such as the U.S., Israel and notably the UK following Brexit. Draghi is the first leader of an EU country to apply new rules to give member states teeth to fight back against unfulfilled orders by the manufacturers of the different vaccines.

"Something has changed" headlined La Repubblica, while conservative-leaning daily Il Foglio had a blunter take: "Welcome to the global vaccine war."

Today's health crisis is of course very different from the debt crisis of nine years ago — it's far too early to tell whether Draghi's vaccine strategy will also be vindicated by history. But for Europe, there's a certain deja vu in seeing its own particular vulnerability to the latest illness spreading around the world. "Whatever it takes…" and whatever that means for a continent still trying to figure out how to be stronger than the sum of its parts.

Alessio Perrone

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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.
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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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