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Praying in a hammam in Tehran
Praying in a hammam in Tehran

TEHRANThe Iranian capital used to boast 1,400 public baths, which the daily Shargh observes were among its "main public spaces," an integral part of Iran's social culture and an efficient way of facilitating hygiene for the masses. Yet today, just 10% of the baths remain, in spite of the needs of thousands of day workers and informal migrants who come to Tehran with limited resources or lodging facilities.

Mehdi Sajjadi, head of the Tehran bathkeepers' union, told Shargh that public baths, sometimes known as hammams, have shuttered over the past 20 years in large part because of the expansion of gas piping, which facilitated water heating in homes and in turn led to a proliferation of private bathrooms. The removal of gas and water subsidies starting in 2001, as well as the rising cost of land, have also made maintaining such operations too expensive, Sajjadi said.

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War In Ukraine, Day 85: Russia’s "Smaller" Operations And Shrinking Ambitions

U.S. Department of Defense officials report that instead of the typical battalion tactical groups in Ukraine, which number several hundred soldiers, the Russians have now shifted to attacks by smaller units.

Ukrainian soldiers in Donbas

Meike Eijsberg, Cameron Manley and Emma Albright

A new Pentagon report has found that Russia is continuing to reduce the scale of its military actions toward more "small" operations, which is another sign that it has lowered the ambitions of its invasion of Ukraine.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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The Washington Post, citing a U.S. Department of Defense official, reports that instead of the typical battalion tactical groups, which number several hundred soldiers, the Russians have now shifted to attacks by smaller units, each ranging from a few dozen to a hundred soldiers. These smaller units have also scaled down their objectives and are targeting towns, villages and crossroads.

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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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