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Economy

Who Keeps Buying Up All Those Luxury Goods In Beijing Each March?

In most Chinese cities, retail sales peak between Christmas and Chinese New Year. In Beijing, however, the spike tends to occur in March – at least as far as luxury brands are concerned. Could it be the effect of a certain annual event always held this mo

A new luxury shop in Beijing...and an unidentified man (SoniaT360)
A new luxury shop in Beijing...and an unidentified man (SoniaT360)


*NEWSBITES

BEIJING - A friend of Ou Yangkun, the head of the Chinese branch of the World Luxury Association, asked the business executive to help him buy several Hermes brand belt buckles while he was in Beijing. The belt buckles in question are diamond-studded and go by the name "Starry." They retail for about $45,000 a piece. In some countries you can buy a light aircraft loaded with illegal goods for that sort of money. And yet when Mr. Yangkum tried to make the purchase, he was told by the shop that they were all sold out. The shelf was bare.

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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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