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Society

The Gentrification Side Effect Of A New Swiss 'Eco City'

In the small French-Swiss border town of Viry, a new "ecodistrict" is being built from scratch. With environmentally friendly homes, the town is aiming to attract a rich population from neighboring Geneva - to the detriment of locals, wh

Ecovela
Ecovela

GENEVA – In Viry, a small French town 15 kilometers from Geneva, there are cranes as far as the eye can see. The town has 3,600 inhabitants, but this number is about to double, mostly thanks to the Swiss coming from across the border.

A new city is being created from scratch here, but not just any city, an "ecodistrict". The environmentally friendly project is poised to attract a new population, almost entirely made of Swiss people or members of Geneva's international population. Left out by a county that doesn't produce enough accommodations, they have set their heart on Ecovela, a futuristic and "awesome" eco-friendly town, according to Genevan State Councilor Michèle Künzler. The councilor admits that "it saddens her to see what her neighboring country is capable of doing, when Geneva is not planning any construction of this kind."

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Geopolitics

Russia's Military Failures Are Really About Its Soldiers

No doubt, strategic errors and corruption at the highest ranks in the Kremlin are partly to blame for the Russian military's stunning difficulties in Ukraine. But the roots run deeper, where the ordinary recruits come from, how they are exploited, how they react.

Army reserve soldiers go to Red Square to attend a Pioneer Induction ceremony

Anna Akage

To the great relief of Ukraine and the great surprise of the rest of the world, the Russian army — considered until February 24, the second strongest in the world — is now eminently beatable on the battlefield against Ukrainian forces operating with vastly inferior firepower.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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After renouncing the original ambitions to take Kyiv and unseat the Ukrainian government, the focus turned to the southeastern region of Donbas, where a would-be great battle on a scale comparable to World War II Soviet victories has turned into a quagmire peppered with laughable updates by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on TikTok.

The Russians have not managed to occupy a single significant Ukrainian city, except Kherson, which they partially destroyed and now find difficult to hold. Meanwhile, Ukrainian civilians are left to suffer the bombing of cities and villages from Lviv to Odessa, with looting, torture and assorted war crimes.

The reasons for both the poor performance and atrocities are many, and include deep-seated corruption and lack of professionalism up through the highest ranks, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had never served in the army, and arrived in his position only because of his loyalty to the No. 1 man in the Kremlin.

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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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