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EL ESPECTADOR

Pablo Escobar's Hippos Are Running Wild

The late Colombian drug lord spent some of his cash on a private zoo, which the Colombian state took over after Escobar was killed. But now, deadly hippopotami have fled the reserve.

Hippos on the lam
Hippos on the lam
Sergio Silva Numa

PUERTO TRIUNFO — A rare public good left by Pablo Escobar is the Hacienda Nápoles park. In the 1980s, it had been the all-powerful drug kingpin's private zoo, which he'd filled with valuable wildlife from around the world, including no fewer than 80 hippopotami.

But even this family-friendly piece of the Escobar legacy has an ugly side, as Colombia's Environment Ministry reports a rash of potentially dangerous hippos have escaped the premises in southern Colombia.

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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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