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food / travel

Is Europe Finally Ready To Give Rice The Respect It Deserves?

Rice has long been held in great esteem in Asia. Not so in Europe, where it is often dismissed as "food for the poor." Little by little, however, Europeans are starting to clue in to the fact that rice is far more than just filler food.

Worldwide there are some 170,000 varieties of rice (Mr. Kris)
Worldwide there are some 170,000 varieties of rice (Mr. Kris)
Clark Parkin

BERLIN -- "Have you had some rice already?" It's a polite question Thais use much the same way the English use "How do you do?" Neither is meant to be answered with anything more than a short, hopefully positive reply. In Thailand, so the reasoning goes, things can't be too bad if you've eaten a bowl of rice.

In myth, but also culturally, rice is held in great esteem in Asia – which makes sense given that worldwide there are some 170,000 varieties of the grain. What's odd, in contrast, is how little attention rice receives in Europe

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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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