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Two days after an earthquake tore through central Italy, the dust is settling on the razed buildings, and the hope of finding survivors in the rubble is fading away. The first burials of victims took place this morning, only hours after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi declared a state of emergency for the worst-hit areas and pledged 50 million euros to rebuild devastated towns, according to Italian daily Il Messaggero.


As with every natural disaster, we keep an eye on escalating tolls. At least 268 people were killed and more than 400 were wounded by the 6.2-magnitude quake. Dozens are still missing. Hundreds of aftershocks, including a 4.7-magnitude tremor early this morning, are putting the lives of thousands of rescue workers at risk.


But the images are often more potent than numbers: The drone expand=1] footage of the streets of Amatrice — one of the worst-hit villages — taken by the Italian fire and rescue service, brings back memories of the L'Aquila quake in 2009, which killed more than 300 in the Abruzzo region. In an op-ed, Italian daily Corriere della Sera focuses on the lessons we should learn from past earthquakes and the need to build structures that are resistant to them.


As is often the case, many are wondering what could have been done to avoid such a high toll in a famously earthquake-prone region. The dust may be settling, but the questions are only beginning to be raised.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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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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