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Switzerland

Swarovski Luxury Crystal Maker Moonlights In Road Safety Reflector Business

After four people were killed recently while crossing the street in Bern, the Swiss city looked to the Austrian luxury crystal maker's affiliate that mixes Swarovski glass beads into road surfacing to increase visibility. It's a top-end

Swarovski's glass beads will be slightly more subtle than these (Mr. T in DC)
Swarovski's glass beads will be slightly more subtle than these (Mr. T in DC)
BERN - The world-renowned Austrian firm Swarovski doesn't only produce jewelry and small crystal figures. For more than 40 years, it has made micro glass beads for street markings. In 1969 Manfred Swarovski founded M. Swarovski GmbH in Amstetten, Austria, to make the beads. Today, the group known as Swarco AG has more than 80 companies in 20 countries and employs 2,600 people.

In Bern, Switzerland, where four people have died in recent weeks as they crossed in pedestrian crossings, there has been an outcry to improve the safety of crossings – something the city had already started planning for this past summer. Crossings are now being repainted a different yellow, and next spring they will be resurfaced.

The city is planning to mix Swarovski glass beads into the surfacing. "They reflect car lights so crossings are more visible at night and when it's raining or foggy," said Stephan Meyer, who heads the road markings department at the city's depart of civil engineering.

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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.

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