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Starving Syria, David Bowie Dies, Extraditing El Chapo

UN TO RELIEVE STARVING SYRIAN CITY

The United Nations is expected to send an aid convoy to the Syrian town of Madaya, where at least 23 people have recently starved to death. About 42,000 people in Madaya have had little to no access to food for the past two weeks, after government forces sealed off access to the city, demanding that opposition groups lay down their weapons, according to Al Jazeera. The rebel-held town outside Damascus has been under siege by government forces and their Hezbollah allies since July 2015, and emergency food supplies that were set to arrive Sunday were delayed, the BBC reports. Residents have reportedly resorted to eating grass and insects to survive. The UN, along with other aid groups such as Doctors Without Borders, are set to send convoys to two other Syrian cities, Kefraya and Foua, located in the north and besieged by rebel groups. According to the UN, about 400,000 people in 15 Syrian locations have no access to the life-saving aid they urgently need.

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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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