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Egypt Plane Hijacked, Brussels Toll Reaches 35, Smoking Quiz

HOSTAGES HELD ON HIJACKED PLANE IN CYPRUS

A Cairo-bound commercial jet that was re-routed to Cyprus this morning was hijacked over what appears to be a personal matter involving a woman, The Guardian reports. The hijacker is reportedly still holding seven hostages in the plane that landed at the Cypriot city of Larnaca 7:50 a.m. local time. The man reportedly threw a letter from the plane, asking it to be delivered to his Cyprian ex-wife. Reuters reports that the hijacker has made a political demand for unspecified female prisoners in Egypt to be released. Meanwhile, one Egyptian minister said of the hijacker, "He's not a terrorist, he's an idiot."

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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