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Switzerland

Abandoned Babies: Do Drop-Off Points For Unwanted Newborns Save Lives?

A pair of recent cases in Switzerland has turned new attention to the issue of "Babyklappe" – drop-off points for abandoned newborns. The country currently has just one such facility, though more could be on the way.

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Jeanette Kuster

ZURICH -- Switzerland has been stirred in recent days by the contrasting fates of two babies. In Wimmis, near the city of Bern, a newborn child was found dead last week on a junk heap. Several days later, a healthy, one-month-old baby was deposited at the Babyklappe – a place where unwanted infants can be turned in – in the hospital in Einsiedeln, canton Schwyz.

The incidents gave new wind to calls that more drop-off points like the one in Einsiedeln be created. The Einsiedeln Babyfenster (Baby Window) is in fact the only such facility in the country, even though available figures suggest more drop-off points are a good idea. The facility's homepage (www.babyfenster.ch) states that "since we opened on May 9, 2001, the number of newborn babies found dead has markedly decreased in Switzerland." According to the site, from 1996 to 2000, 11 babies were given up anonymously at birth and 64% died. From 2001 to 2005, eight babies were abandoned. Half of them died. Of the four that survived, three were brought to the Babyfenster. From 2006 to 2010, there were nine babies, 22% died; again, three of the survivors were brought to the Babyklappe.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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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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