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Sao Paulo protests on May 15, 2014, against the cost of hosting the football World Cup.
Sao Paulo protests on May 15, 2014, against the cost of hosting the football World Cup.
Chantal Rayes

Kneeling on the sidewalk, Guilherme and his friends are busy preparing their banner ahead of a protest march against the World Cup, which starts in São Paulo on Thursday. In the nation of soccer, people have grown increasingly disenchanted and the Copa is growing more unpopular by the day. Only 48% of Brazilians support the event’s organization. Six years ago, it was 79%.

Guilherme is angry. He says, outraged: “We have huge social problems, but there’s still money to hold a World Cup.” And it’s a lot of money, with more than $11 billion of public money spent on the event, including $3.6 billion on stadiums.

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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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