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Pope Benedict XVI's personal secretary is now also head of the papal household
Pope Benedict XVI's personal secretary is now also head of the papal household
Paul Badde

VATICAN CITY - The last few days before he was ordained archbishop at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, "Don Giorgio" Gänswein was without his iPhone or PC, and also well away from the landlines and fax machines and the Vatican’s old-fashioned pneumatic and courier mail systems that are still so much a part of his daily life.

The Pope’s private secretary was unavailable, off inside the labyrinth that is the Vatican preparing spiritually for the most spectacular step in his life so far. His thoughts may have turned to the Carthusians, the Church’s most radical monastic order that as a young man he had considered joining, and with some wonder to the turns his life has taken – a path that has him living in a sun-splashed "appartamento" overlooking St. Peter’s Square instead of the hermit’s cell in a charterhouse, and communicating extensively in any number of different languages as opposed to a life lived largely in imposed silence.

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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.

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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