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India

India's New Private Cities: A Ghetto For The Growing Middle Class?

On the outskirts of Delhi, Gurgaon is archetypal of the new middle class ghettos sprouting all over the country: a disorganized gated community of luxury condos, shopping malls and golf courses, but that's missing basic infrastructure and public

Julien Bouissou

GURGAON – Is the city of Gurgaon, the symbol of emerging India, about to sink deep into sewage? In 30 years, the population of this satellite town near Delhi went from a few thousands inhabitants to over 1.5 million. Air-conditioned shopping malls and residential complexes are attracting more and more people who are looking to escape the congested Indian capital.

But in the subterranean of Gurgaon, a catastrophe is about to happen. With over 30,000 illegal wells, the ground-water level is decreasing at an alarming pace, by about one meter each year. Water tables are also contaminated by the infiltration of untreated wastewater stagnating in hidden sight. "The city is drowning in its excreta," claims a report published in April by the Delhi-based Center for Science and Environment (CSE), whose experts fear an outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera.

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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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