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Germany

Yes, Mermaiding Is A Thing

Splashed ever more across popular culture, mermaids are now something very real for enchanted girls and women who can don tails and dive in. Some are better at it than others.

Mermaiding in Bavaria
Mermaiding in Bavaria
Julia Friese

BERLIN — So, mermaiding. Women and girls dream of replacing the lower halves of their bodies with mermaid tails — fairytale fish scales. Legs bound together, feet in the monofin, swimming instead of walking. As soon as they plunge below the glittering turquoise surface of the water, the speakers blare the likes of Katy Perry — "You. Make. Me. Feel. Like I'm Living A. Teenage. Dream" — Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift.

Their songs emerge from a blue cockle shell, an underwater loudspeaker that 34-year-old Sabine Schönborn — a mermaid of the Botticelli Venus type, flowers in her hair, bra made of mussel shells — has had installed on the floor of the pool in Berlin-Kreuzberg.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The "Corrosion" Strategy: How Ukraine Targets Russian Networks And Morale

Russia continues to shrink its ambitions in Donbas, as Ukraine doubles down on its strategy of guerilla attacks, interrupting supply and communication contacts and ultimately undermines the morale of the enemy.

Ukrainian soldiers sitting atop a tank in Donbas on May 22

Clemens Wergin

For years to come, military experts will be studying how Ukraine managed to push back a far stronger enemy and grind Russia’s major offensive in the east of the country to a halt.

Some military strategists are already trying to find a term to sum up the Ukrainians’ success. Australian military expert and retired army major general Mick Ryan credited Kyiv's stunning showing to "the adoption of a simple military strategy: corrosion. The Ukrainian approach has embraced the corrosion of the Russian physical, moral, and intellectual capacity to fight and win in Ukraine.”

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Ryan argues that while the Ukrainians have used the firepower they possess to halt the Russian advance, while aggressively targeting their enemy’s greatest shortcoming. “They have attacked the weakest physical support systems of an army in the field – communications networks, logistic supply routes, rear areas, artillery and senior commanders in their command posts,” Ryan wrote.

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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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