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Italy

Catholic Miracles And Social Media From The Heart Of Calabria

Social media platforms like Facebook have turned new attention to the Italian region's long tradition of Catholic-themed mysteries and miracles.

Praying in front of the Madonna dello Scoglio in Calabira
Praying in front of the Madonna dello Scoglio in Calabira
Maurizio Di Fazio

CATANZARO — A bare room, face masks and social distancing — it's still the year of COVID-19. On the table, a pack of hand gel is a pendant to the picture on the wall of Christ in a crown of thorns. About 60 people stand in the 100-square-meter room awaiting their turn, an LED Madonna watching over them. They are the lucky ones: Many weren't even able to come in. They line up outside, lulled by the sound of Marian songs.

We are in the suburbs of Catanzaro, in the southern Italian region of Calabria. The prayer group Holy Mary of Purification meets here every seven days. The group describes itself as "Calabrian mystic" on its website. "I founded it because Our Lady asked me to," says Caterina Bartolotta.

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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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