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Coronavirus

​​Lord Of The Rings, A Guide​​ For Mending Relationships Damaged By COVID

The pandemic has changed our lives permanently and paranoid fantasies have taken root. But a remedy for the crisis of trust we're facing might be found in an unlikely place — in J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings.

Photo of people dressed as Nazgûls drinking with a couple in a pub

People dressed as Nazgûls in a pub

Wolfgang Schmidbauer*

First, there was 2020, the year of the virus. Then 2021, the year of vaccinations. But what will 2022 be? My first thought was “the year of exhaustion.” The second idea — which I like better — was “the year of repairing.”

In our efforts to save lives and keep everyone safe, much has been broken. That was inevitable.

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 83: Finland And Sweden In NATO? It Just Got Complicated

Turkey's Erdogan puts up a veto, while Orban's Hungary plays it coy. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin throws a curveball.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Shaun Lavelle, Irene Caselli, and Emma Albright

Following Finland’s and Sweden’s historic decisions to apply for NATO membership, major questions are emerging as to how quickly — if at all — they will become actual members of the military alliance.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, a longstanding NATO member, surprised some observers by coming out strongly against Nordic countries joining.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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"Neither of these countries have a clear, open attitude towards terrorist organisations. How can we trust them?" Erdogan said on Monday. Turkey has accused Nordic countries, particularly Sweden, of harboring extremist Kurdish groups as well as supporters of U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen, a longstanding Erdogan nemesis whom Turkey blames for the 2016 coup attempt.

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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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