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Economy

The Ancient Art Of Debt Relief, A Brief History

Owing, it would seem, is a part of the human experience, and not just in modern times ... and so is debt forgiveness.

Debt is as old as history
Debt is as old as history
Jean-Marc Vittori

-Essay-

Debt is as old as history. When humans began to invent writing and thus emerge from prehistory, some 5,000 years ago, they quickly used it to keep track of loans, with their outstanding amounts, their rules and ... their cancellations. The oldest known legal text in the world, the Code of Hammurabi, engraved nearly 4,000 years ago and still visible in the Louvre Museum, states that "the creditor may not take barley from the debtor's house without his consent."

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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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