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Switzerland

Nestlé Honcho To Europeans: Your Vacation Obsession Is Killing The Continent

Essay: Nestlé board chairman Peter Brabeck used an exchange during the recent World Economic Forum in Davos to take a dig at Europeans who aren't as devoted to work as he is. Of course, some also don't pull in seven-figure salaries.

Peter Brabeck at the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Peter Brabeck at the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Simon Koch

ZURICH -- Peter Brabeck sure doesn't hold back on the subject of the euro crisis. Perfectly groomed, impeccably tanned, the former CEO and current board chairman of Nestlé expressed his view in an unofficial exchange during the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland: "The problem with Europe's competitiveness would be solved if people worked a little more."

One month before the vote in Switzerland on a popular referendum calling for six weeks' annual vacation for everyone, it looks as if those in business circles who oppose the initiative have found a prominent ally. Though he went out of his way in Davos to single out Swiss conscientiousness at the workplace, Brabeck's point summed up in a nutshell is this: live for your work and, when possible, do overtime - and anybody who doesn't get that is a loser.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The "Corrosion" Strategy: How Ukraine Targets Russian Networks And Morale

Russia continues to shrink its ambitions in Donbas, as Ukraine doubles down on its strategy of guerilla attacks, interrupting supply and communication contacts and ultimately undermines the morale of the enemy.

Ukrainian soldiers sitting atop a tank in Donbas on May 22

Clemens Wergin

For years to come, military experts will be studying how Ukraine managed to push back a far stronger enemy and grind Russia’s major offensive in the east of the country to a halt.

Some military strategists are already trying to find a term to sum up the Ukrainians’ success. Australian military expert and retired army major general Mick Ryan credited Kyiv's stunning showing to "the adoption of a simple military strategy: corrosion. The Ukrainian approach has embraced the corrosion of the Russian physical, moral, and intellectual capacity to fight and win in Ukraine.”

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Ryan argues that while the Ukrainians have used the firepower they possess to halt the Russian advance, while aggressively targeting their enemy’s greatest shortcoming. “They have attacked the weakest physical support systems of an army in the field – communications networks, logistic supply routes, rear areas, artillery and senior commanders in their command posts,” Ryan wrote.

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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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