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China

What China’s Culture Ministry Really Thinks Of Lady Gaga

Commentary: The “stiffs” in the government have banned songs from an array of popular singers, though the reasons for the are anything but clear. The only thing we know is that the black list is a nice round number.

Lady Gaga at the Monster Ball 2011 (Tiggerlane)
Lady Gaga at the Monster Ball 2011 (Tiggerlane)
Wang Jun

BEIJING - Lady Gaga, the goddess of oddness, super sexy Beyonce, Taiwanese singer Lin Yu Jia, hot American band Owl City, evergreen Japanese R&B singer Ken Hirai, not to mention the Backstreet Boys who haven't been seen in awhile…this would have made up a fantastic lineup for an all-star concert in China, even the "Bird's Nest" (the National Stadium that held the 2008 Olympic) would have sold out its 100,000 seats in no time. Seeing Gaga strut and Beyonce" sway, that alone would have guaranteed three months of conversation material for China's trendy set.

Unfortunately, it's the Ministry of Culture, not famous for its imagination, that came up with such a creative list – but with a very different purpose in mind .

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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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