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A mother feeds her baby suffering from microcephaly while waiting for examination in Recife, Brazil, on Feb. 2, 2016.
A mother feeds her baby suffering from microcephaly while waiting for examination in Recife, Brazil, on Feb. 2, 2016.

PARIS — A report says the use of an anti-mosquito pesticide in drinking water could be the cause of the mass outbreak of microcephaly cases in newborns Latin America, and not the Zika virus, as the Brazilian government and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been saying.

French weekly magazine Paris Match cites a report published earlier this month by a team of Argentinean and Brazilian doctors that suggests the malformations appeared at the same time the Brazilian health ministry started using pyroproxyfen, a chemical poison applied to drinking water in the states that have since been hit hardest by microcephaly.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Sergey Lavrov, Putin’s Decoy-In-Chief

The Russian Foreign Minister, among the country’s most recognizable figures, embodies both the corruption and confusion of the Putin regime. Not everything is what it seems — and that’s the point.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a diplomatic reception for heads of African diplomatic missions

Anna Akage

From the outside, one might have the impression that the Russian Federation is run through a highly complex and well-coordinated apparatus that ensures that any single cog in Vladimir Putin’s system is by definition both in synch with the other cogs — and utterly replaceable. The Kremlin appears to us through this lens as an impregnable citadel with long arms and peering eyes that are literally everywhere.

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And yet, this is a completely false picture — and there’s no greater proof than in looking more closely at one of Russia's most prominent figures, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

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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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