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LA STAMPA

Italy’s Soccer Players, Government Tangle Over New Tax

Italy recently approved a new “solidarity tax” for high income earners. The country’s soccer players don’t want to cough up the cash. Impatient, the government fired back by calling the players “a caste of spoiled people.”

Italy's soccer players are national heroes, and tend to be well paid
Italy's soccer players are national heroes, and tend to be well paid
Guglielmo Buccheri

ROME -- Italian soccer players have taken the field for an unusual match – not against one of their classic European rivals, but against a new "solidarity tax."

The tax, approved recently by the Italian government, will charge an extra 5% on annual incomes of over 90,000 euros. Italians earning more than 150,000 euros – a category that includes many of the country's professional soccer players – will have to pay a 10% tax.

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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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