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food / travel

Seeking New Labor Protection For All The World's Ship Workers

Fair trade doesn’t always mean fair transport, as international shipping leaves a whole category of workers unprotected.

Ukrainian mariners receive a global container ship at Yuzhny Port
Ukrainian mariners receive a global container ship at Yuzhny Port
Alastair Bland

SAN FRANCISCO — The world's mariners are protected by what may be the only minimum wage established across an entire global industry. Now, labor advocates are mobilizing to increase their pay and make consumers more aware of working conditions on the ships that move the goods they use every day.

More than 1.6 million seafarers work on international merchant ships around the world, according to the International Chamber of Shipping. Together, these laborers – mostly men from the Philippines, China, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine – handle about 90% of global trade and also play a role in preventing marine pollution. But they're a largely invisible workforce.

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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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