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Homes Are Us: The World According To Ikea

In seven decades, Ikea has spread to 41 countries, shaping the globe's domestic habits. But looking closer at the Swedish standard also shows national cultural differences holding strong.

On July 28, the Swedish brand celebrated its 70th birthday
On July 28, the Swedish brand celebrated its 70th birthday
Laure Belot

What is the most printed publication after the Bible and Mao’s Little Red Book? The IKEA catalogue. That's right. About 3.9 billion Bibles have been printed since 1815, more than 900 million copies of President Mao Zedong’s Quotation are circulating in China and elsewhere. Beginning August 19, 220 million catalogues of the Swedish furniture retailer will be dropped in mailboxes all across the world.

Roughly speaking, one billion people will have within reach images of these perfectly "lived-in" homes, filled with just-boisterous-enough children, that classy-without-letting-it-show look.

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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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