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The 'License To Kill' Lobby - A French Look At The Trayvon Martin Case

Analysis: Laws like Florida’s “Stand Your Ground,” which authorizes armed self-defense, are multiplying in the United States under the influence of a lobby that drafts bills and offers them ready-made to local governments. A French visit to the “Gunshine

Florida gunman, George Zimmerman (Donkeyhotey)
Florida gunman, George Zimmerman (Donkeyhotey)
Philippe Bernard

ORLANDO George Zimmerman, the self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman who infamously shot down black high-school student Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, has plenty of critics. But he has plenty of people defending him too. "He's free? Of course he is: he was just doing his job!" says Frank Taaffe, Zimmerman's neighbor and patrol partner. Taaffe has been giving interview after interview in support of the gun-toting watchman, whose quick release by police has awoken America's old racial demons and sparked a huge protest movement.

"The teenager (Martin) was hiding something under his sweatshirt at waist height," says another resident in the gated community Zimmerman took it upon himself to patrol. "How was George supposed to guess it was a can of iced tea?"

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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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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