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New York is again testing the limits of its status as "the city that never sleeps." A week after marking the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks at Ground Zero, an explosion a bit farther uptown Saturday injured 29 people. And now, even as the investigation continues into that attack in the Chelsea neighborhood, New Yorkers must brace for the arrival of world leaders for the United Nations General Assembly. It is an enormous municipal security challenge even in the best of times.


The main focus this year at the UN gathering will be the causes and effects of the ongoing crisis of refugees and migrants. Leaders from Europe have been faced with these issues ever more clearly in recent months, and the connections — real and perceived — to the ongoing wave of terror attacks cannot be ignored.


But after a wave of attacks in France, Belgium and Germany over the past year, the past two days have reminded us that the U.S. is also a potential target. Early on Monday, officials named a suspect for the Saturday night attack in New York as 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami. Meanwhile, the Islamic terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for a stabbing attack in Minnesota that left eight injured at a mall on Saturday night as well. Police meanwhile found and disabled several explosive devices in a backpack at a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey, early Monday morning.


Were these attacks coordinated like that deadly night of Nov. 13 in Paris or the morning of March 22 in Brussels? Or are they disconnected like a spree of violence this summer in Germany? Last Sunday, during the 9/11 commemoration, President Obama explained what connects that singular day in September to the array of threats today: "Terrorists often attempt attacks on a smaller, but still deadly, scale." One week later, the only good news about the President's prescience is that this latest rash of terrorism on U.S. soil hasn't yet killed anyone.

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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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