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In Brazil, Following Facebook Into A Freemason Lodge

The secretive Freemasons usually recruit through word-of-mouth, which is why a recent Facebook ad, seeking applicants for a São Paulo branch, is such a source of curiosity.

Members of a Freemason lodge in Brasilia
Members of a Freemason lodge in Brasilia
Chico Felitti

SÃO PAULO — "The Olympic Village like you've never seen before! Beautiful and sophisticated apartment." This is a real ad found on a social network in Brazil. So is this: "Click the link below and join the mysteries and privileges of Freemasonry."

The Facebook advertisement breaks with three centuries of tradition. Rather than recruit quietly, through word of mouth, the typically male-only organization is now seeking members through social networks. This particular advertisement, paid by a São Paulo branch of the group, targets men of all ages living in the general area.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Kharkiv Revisited: Inside Russia's New Assault On The "Hero City" Of Ukraine

The nation's second-largest city, Kharkiv was quiet for weeks after Ukrainian forces took control. But now it is again under attack as Russia pushes to capture the city that's considered the "gateway" to Ukraine. Die Welt reports from the frontline.

Damages due to Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Alfred Hackensberger

KHARKIV — "Come, I want to show you something," Denys Vezenych says, opening the door of his dental office.

The 40-year-old begins to tell the story in the waiting room: "It was April 16 when the Russian artillery shell hit. The windowpanes were broken, the walls had holes everywhere and the roof was destroyed. But I renovated everything."

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The repairs cost him several thousand euros. "You have to think positively, because life goes on," he explains with a smile. But this attitude is not so present generally in Saltivka, a neighborhood in northeastern Kharkiv. The dental practice may be like new, but the rest of this area in the northeastern Ukrainian city is completely destroyed.

The Russian army has done a great job in its three-month offensive on Ukraine's second largest metropolis. Countless flats have been burned out, the facades of houses have been shot to pieces, entire shopping centers have been bombed. Debris still lie in the streets everywhere.

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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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