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Bar Refaeli On Beauty, Tomboys And A Diplomatic Incident With France's First Lady

Some call her the anti-Kate Moss: Bar Refaeli, the Israeli-born supermodel, is natural in her own skin. Lately she has taken up the drums, and begun thinking about motherhood. But for the moment, boys, she’s free as a bird. Just ask Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

Bar Refaeli on the runway (zipckr)
Bar Refaeli on the runway (zipckr)
Francesco Rigatelli

MILAN – Despite all the glossy perfection from photographs in the world's top fashion magazines, supermodel Bar Refaeli is beautiful in person the way a woman doctor or archaeologist or marine biologist are beautiful. A real beauty, in short, with looks and movements and a full awareness of her surroundings. Meeting her after the recording of the Italian television show Chiambretti last weekend, where she was billed as "the most beautiful model in the world," Refaeli strikes you with her spontaneity as much as the statuesque aesthetic. And as a native of Israel, there is inevitably more to talk about than just fashion runways and the jet-set.

What do you think about Israel? What do you like about your country?
Since I grew up there, it is my favorite place. I think people often do not see the essence of Israel, but it is a place full of history, playfulness and good weather.

You didn't fulfill your compulsory military service, which caused some controversy in your country. Do you think this obligation is out-dated?
Unfortunately, it is still necessary. I wanted to do it, but I got married and according to the law, it was no longer required -- then I got divorced. In any case, military service is not important in itself, but because of what it teaches you.

January 27 was Holocaust Remembrance Day: what does it mean for an Israeli?
My grandparents experienced the tragedy of the Holocaust, and I think it is very important that we all learn from history and remember those we lost and those who survived.

Where do you live now?
In London. I travel a lot and so it's a convenient place to be.

It seems that naturalness is your main trait: you are a top model, but you look like a normal girl, the anti-Kate Moss. Are you aware of it?
My mother taught me to be myself, so some people will like me, and others won't. Sometimes it's actually fun having someone hate you. If I weren't myself, I wouldn't be able to enjoy the success for being something I'm not.

Is there anything that makes you feel different from other women?
Everyone is different. Not just me. My name means wild child, and I feel a little bit of tomboy.

When was the last time you were on holiday?
Over Christmas, I was in Brazil and Uruguay. Punta del Este is a truly magical place.

Do you like Italy?
I love the food, the people and the fact that every city has a different atmosphere. I'm sorry for the way everyone is judging the Italians for what happened on that (Concordia) cruise ship. I am an Israeli, and so I know that it's better for people not to be judged by nationality.

What is the secret to reaching the status of "supermodel" and not simply a model?
It's a combination of luck and hard work.

Any plans for changes in your career?
I think I'll always work in the fashion field. I just launched my own brand, and in 2012 there is a lot of traveling ahead of me. But I hope to become a mother soon.

Are you involved with anyone?
No, I am completely free.

You are not used to speak of your ex-boyfriend, Leonardo DiCaprio. Why?
And ... I won't here either.

Have you seen "J. Edgar," the film where he is the protagonist?
Not yet, but I will soon.

You also dated the son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and it seems that Carla Bruni-Sarkozy got jealous for one too many looks at her husband.
I'm not expecting anymore invitations to the Elysée (presidential palace).

Are you planning on doing some movie?
Actually a TV show in Israel, but we haven't started shooting yet.

Who are your favorite actors?
Daniel Day Lewis, Sean Penn and Meryl Streep.

Some say you are the most beautiful woman in the world.
I'm flattered. The best is when someone knows me and tells me I'm also a nice person. There's no higher compliment than that.

What is your standard of beauty?
My mother. She taught me that I can be beautiful, but if I'm not also kind I will never have any success.

One thing you would like to learn to do?
I would like to study Spanish or French. And I would like to become good at playing the drums! I just started: I told you I'm a tomboy!

Read the original article in Italian

Photo - zipckr

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

When Did Putin "Turn" Evil? That's Exactly The Wrong Question

Look back over the past two decades, and you'll see Vladimir Putin has always been the man revealed by the Ukraine invasion, an evil and sinister dictator. The Russian leader just managed to mask it, especially because so many chose to see him as a typically corrupt and greedy strongman who could be bribed or reasoned with.

Putin arrives for a ceremony to accept credentials from 24 foreign ambassadors at the Grand Kremlin Palace on Sept. 20.

Sergiy Gromenko*

-OpEd-

KYIV — The world knows that Vladimir Putin has power, money and mistresses. So why, ask some, wasn't that enough for him? Why did he have to go start another war?

At its heart, this is the wrong question to ask. For Putin, military expansion is not an adrenaline rush to feed into his existing life of luxury. On the contrary, the shedding of blood for the sake of holding power is his modus operandi, while the fruits of greed and corruption like the Putin Palace in Gelendzhik are more like a welcome bonus.

In the last year, we have kept hearing rhetorical questions like “why did Putin start this war at all, didn't he have enough of his own land?” or “he already has Gelendzhik to enjoy, why fight?” This line of thinking has resurfaced after missile strikes on Ukrainian power grids and dams, which was regarded by many as a simple demonstration of terrorism. Such acts are a manifestation of weakness, some ask, so is Putin ready to show himself weak?

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

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However, you will not arrive at the correct answer if the questions themselves are asked incorrectly. For decades, analysts in Russia, Ukraine, and the West have been under an illusion about the nature of the Russian president's personal dictatorship.

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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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