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SPOTLIGHT: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

It's been a hairy few days in European politics. In what is being dubbed "CoiffeurGate", French satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchainé revealed that President Francois Hollande has a full-time hairdresser who earns 9,895 euros a month (over $10,000), about the same salary as a government minister. Bemused French citizens are not only citing the hefty bill but the fact that Hollande's hair is so utterly unremarkable.

Across the English Channel, the same cannot be said for Britain's newly appointed Foreign Secretary, former London Mayor Boris Johnson. Indeed, his anything-goes approach to both hair and political rhetoric have drawn comparisons across the Atlantic, to Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for U.S. President.

Controversy over political hair is not new, with former President U.S. Bill Clinton's "Hairgate" scandal in 1993, when a high-priced hairstylist came aboard Air Force One at Los Angeles Airport and reportedly delayed several commercial flights. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi also attracted plenty of attention for apparent hair-replacement procedures. Indeed, he once showed up wearing a bandana for an encounter with then British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Of course, this has been a troubling moment for Blair for very different reasons.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Kharkiv Revisited: Inside Russia's New Assault On The "Hero City" Of Ukraine

The nation's second-largest city, Kharkiv was quiet for weeks after Ukrainian forces took control. But now it is again under attack as Russia pushes to capture the city that's considered the "gateway" to Ukraine. Die Welt reports from the frontline.

Damages due to Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Alfred Hackensberger

KHARKIV — "Come, I want to show you something," Denys Vezenych says, opening the door of his dental office.

The 40-year-old begins to tell the story in the waiting room: "It was April 16 when the Russian artillery shell hit. The windowpanes were broken, the walls had holes everywhere and the roof was destroyed. But I renovated everything."

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The repairs cost him several thousand euros. "You have to think positively, because life goes on," he explains with a smile. But this attitude is not so present generally in Saltivka, a neighborhood in northeastern Kharkiv. The dental practice may be like new, but the rest of this area in the northeastern Ukrainian city is completely destroyed.

The Russian army has done a great job in its three-month offensive on Ukraine's second largest metropolis. Countless flats have been burned out, the facades of houses have been shot to pieces, entire shopping centers have been bombed. Debris still lie in the streets everywhere.

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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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