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The UN General Assembly's "Performances Of The Week"



As the rhetorical rollercoaster that is the UN General Assembly draws to a close Friday, amidst some of those heartfelt, or sometimes excruciatingly awkward, moments, we have picked our 2012 All-Star Team of top performers.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
By now, we shouldn't be surprised by the Iranian President's blatant disregard for UN protocol: hailing Allah at the moment he was supposed to offer customary greetings to the sitting president of the General Assembly; ignoring the mighty power of the flashing red button by speaking far beyond his allotted time. The twist this year, expected to be Ahmadinejad"s final official appearance at the annual event, was a stab at becoming a Persian incarnation of Che Guevara: he gave shouts out to the Occupy Wall Street Movement and called for a new world order that doesn't rely on "self-proclaimed centers of power who have entrusted themselves to the devil."

The UN General Assembly is also a chance for the New York Post to take its particular hometown Big Apple sensibility on the global stage. Outraged that Ahmadinejad would dare to give the peace sign, journalist Kate Sheehy exclaimed: "We've got a finger for you, too, Mahmoud!" Terrifying.

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Robert Mugabe
Bashing the West is something of a sport at the General Assembly. Robert Mugabe, true to form, gave a scathing critique of the U.S. and the UK. In his speech Wednesday to the Assembly, Mugabe compared the death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as no less tragic as the murder of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, killed earlier this month amid protests inflamed by the now-infamous anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims. Almost moved to tears, the longtime Zimbabwean leader evoked Gaddafi's death as "a tragic loss for Africa" and described Western efforts to oust the Libyan dictator as "a hunt, a brutal hunt."

Benjamin Netanyahu
Listening to all those speeches drone on, admittedly, must get a little tiring. Well the ever creative Israeli Prime Minister had an idea: props. A little visual aid would get people's attention about the progress of Iran's nuclear intentions. Right? Netanyahu's turning up with what he presumably thought was a very realistic (and scary) drawing of a nuclear bomb...SECURITY!!... set off a different kind of explosion, as the pundits and public universally mocked how silly the homemade drawing (and prime minister) looked up on the UN stage:

Netanyahu's cartoon bomb at the UN looks like the instruction manual for one of Wile E. Coyote's weapons from Acme. twitter.com/rorybarrs/stat…

— Rory Barrs (@rorybarrs) September 28, 2012

I didn't realize nuclear bombs looked like the bombs from Super Mario. twitpic.com/ayvcg7

— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) September 27, 2012

Iran is very close to getting bob-omb. twitter.com/BuzzFeedAndrew…

— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) September 27, 2012

François Hollande
And then there are the rare moments when the UN General Assembly can feel like an episode of Beverly Hills 90210. French President François Hollande was forced to forget such trivial matters as Mali and Syria, when he was forced to deal with some real serious drama: bumping into his ex- long term partner and mother of his children, Ségolène Royal, the Socialist politician. Knowing that his current partner Valérie Trierweiler and Royal are locked in an embittered Twitter dispute and fearing he may be sentenced to the dog-house for talking to Royal, he chose to snub his ex. Watch this video of Royal, being egged on by French journalists to go and say "Bonjour!" to Hollande, who doesn't respond. Awkward.

Stephen Harper
Real funny, those Canadians huh? A comedy duo from Quebec decided to have a little fun with the news that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper would not be attending the General Assembly this year, and decided to prank-call UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Impersonating Harper, they apologized for his not turning up as he was too busy combing his hair with super-glue. Now, if you're unfamiliar with Harper (let's face it, you probably are), he is known for his somewhat "helmet-like hair" (see image below). Ban Ki-moon, reports Reuters... well, brushed off the joke. Harper would be proud.

[rebelmouse-image 27085947 alt="""" original_size="290x461" expand=1]

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How Gen Z Is Breaking Europe's Eternal Alcohol Habit

Young people across Europe are drinking less, which is driving a boom in non-alcoholic alternatives, and the emergence of new, more complex markets.

photo of a beer half full on a bar

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Updated Dec. 6, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

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But that may be starting to change, especially among Gen Z Europeans, who are increasingly drinking less or opting out entirely, out of concern for their health or problematic alcohol use. A recent French study found the proportion of 17-year-olds who have never consumed alcohol has multiplied, from less than 5% to nearly 20% over the past two decades.

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