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U.S. Debate Prep: Five Foreign Policy Gaffes To Avoid


PARIS - The third and final presidential debate is slated to cover the major foreign-policy issues of our times: the rise of China, Iran's nuclear program, Harry's crown jewels.

For the two candidates, suddenly having to shift gears to global concerns in the midst of a domestic, pocketbook-centric campaign means lots of extra homework. It also means the gaffes risk multiplying like a southern European national debt.

From past experience stateside and our own twisted imagination here in Paris, here are five potential pitfalls for the MessrsObama and Romney:

1) Prepare a good answer for the question: What is Africa?

A. a continent

B. a country

C. something Sarah Palin has "heard of"

2) You don't have to tell Americans that other languages are spoken around the world. They can understand Simon Cowell perfectly well, thank you very much. Still, on debate night, when everyone is watching, and several hundred are listening, Obama and Romney should not be tempted to sneak out a second language like they have in the past when (they thought) no one was looking.

3. Whatever you do, no matter the question... don't try to pronounce the name of this country:

4. Well Herman Cain was probably never destined for a presidency beyond the American Restaurant Association. But legend has it that Ronald Reagan himself was once asked about then French President Giscard d'Estaing... to which he responded: Where's that? But hey, we empathize with all these damn foreign names and foreign countries that keep popping up around the world. Did you know that the current French President has a Dutch name? The Belgian Prime Minister has an Italian name (and wears a bow tie)? And the new boss in Georgia has never even been to Atlanta (and has a French passport). Anyway, beware if the debate moderator asks about the conflict brewing between Burma and Myanmar, it's a trick question!

5. Iran and Iraq are both complicated countries that have now long been devoted to making life very unpleasant for Americans and American presidents. It's just a lot to keep track of. This, however, is not a solution to suggest in tonight's debate...

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Black Sea Survivor: Tale Of A Ukrainian Special Agent Thrown Overboard In Enemy Waters

This is a tale of a Ukrainian special forces operator who wound up surviving 14 hours at sea, staying afloat and dodging Russian air and sea patrols.

Black Sea Survivor: Tale Of A Ukrainian Special Agent Thrown Overboard In Enemy Waters

Looking at the Black Sea in Odessa, Ukraine.

Rustem Khalilov and Roksana Kasumova

KYIV — During a covert operation in the Black Sea, a Ukrainian special agent was thrown overboard and spent the next 14 hours alone at sea, surrounded by enemy forces.

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The agent, who uses the call-sign "Conan," agreed to speak to Ukrainska Pravda, to share the details of nearly being lost forever at sea. He also shared some background on how he arrived in the Ukrainian special forces. Having grown up in a village in a rural territory of Ukraine, Conan describes himself as "a simple guy."

He'd worked in law enforcement, personal security and had a job as a fitness trainer when Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022. That's when he signed up with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Main Directorate of Intelligence "Artan" battalion. It was nearly 18 months into his service, when Conan faced the most harrowing experience of the war. Here's his first-hand account:

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