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New York (AFP) — With the setting sun glittering on the Hudson, nearly 5,000 people turned out for the fourth edition of “Diner en blanc” (Dinner in White), dressed to the nines.

In what amounts to a flashmob sunset picnic, diners get details of the event with virtually no notice, and turn up all in white — even bringing chairs.

This year, the surprise locale was Nelson Rockefeller Park, in Manhattan, with its enviable river view. As it is every year, the location was kept secret until minutes before organizers announced it.

Guests, who register in advance, turned out with tables, chairs, tableware — all in white.

The tradition dates back to an original event 26 years ago in Paris at which the organizer invited guests to all wear white so they would be easily spotted in a park.

The weather was more than cooperative. The music was more than a soupcon French, with tunes from Edith Piaf, to Michel Fugain and Joe Dassin.

Guests often get a little whimsical in their dress, with massive hats, masks, feathers, and the odd huge string of pearls.

This year, there was sushi, charcuterie, salads, salmon, a cheese plate, and champagne before dancing.

“It is a challenge to organize but it is worth it,” said a radiant Sandy Safi, co-founder of Diner en blanc international.

At midnight, the park must return to its original state. Guests even collect their own trash and cart it off.

This year’s international round has taken place in cities including Johannesburg, New York, Mexico City, Paris, and Singapore.

AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary

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Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell said failure to pay US debts is 'just not something we can contemplate'

Washington (AFP) - The chairman of the US Federal Reserve called on lawmakers to raise the nation's borrowing limit urgently on Wednesday, warning that failure to pay government debts would do "severe damage" to the economy.

"It's just very important that the debt ceiling be raised in a timely fashion so the United States can pay its bills when it comes due," Jerome Powell said as the central bank concluded its September meeting. Failure to pay, he added, is "just not something we can contemplate."

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