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Der Spiegel (The Mirror) is among the most highly respected weekly magazines in the world, known both for its investigative journalism and global coverage.
photo of Macron, Draghi and Scholz in Ukraine
Anna Akage

Good Biden, Bad Scholz, Tail-Wagging Macron: How Ukrainians Really See World Leaders

Ukrainians assess their friends, enemies and frenemies...

Which of today's world leaders provides the full support Ukraine truly needs? Who plays into Putin's hands? Who's caught in the middle, and lacks the courage to choose sides?

With an overdue visit to Kyiv Thursday by three of Europe’s top leaders, Emmanuel Macron of France, Olaf Scholz of Germany and Mario Draghi of Italy, those questions were whispered far from the photo ops. The question of the solidity of its alliances are life-and-death for Kyiv, facing a much stronger military in an existential war against Russia.

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Ukraine has so far received about 10% of the military aid it needs from Western partners to counter Russian aggression, Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar said Tuesday during a television fundraising drive.

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Angela Merkel Defends Her Handling Of Putin
In The News
Shaun Lavelle, Anna Akage and Emma Albright

Angela Merkel Defends Her Handling Of Putin

In her first interview since the end of her 16 years as German Chancellor, Merkel said she had "nothing to apologize for." Asked why she had opposed plans for NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia in 2008. “Ukraine was not the country that we know now."

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her track record in dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying she “has nothing to apologize for,” during her first public appearance since leaving office six months ago.

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In a public interview Tuesday night with Der Spiegel in Berlin, Merkel was asked about her government’s opposition of a U.S.-led plan for NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia in 2008. The Chancellor said she did not regret the decision. “Ukraine was not the country that we know now. It was a Ukraine that was very split” and “ruled by oligarchs at the time.”

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Russia-Ukraine War Begins: 24 Newspaper Front Pages

Russia-Ukraine War Begins: 24 Newspaper Front Pages

Tensions culminated this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin launching a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, a move widely opposed by world leaders that made virtually every front page around the world.

"THIS IS WAR," reads the front page ofGazeta Wyborcza. Alongside the terse, all-caps headline, the Polish daily features a photo of Olena Kurilo, a teacher from Chuguev whose blood-covered face has become one of the striking images of the beginning of the Ukraine invasion.

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A day after simultaneous attacks were launched from the south, east and north of the country, by land and by air, some press outlets chose to feature images of tanks, explosions, death and destruction that hit multiple cities across Ukraine, while others focused on the man behind the so-called "special military operation": Putin.

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Games Of The Absurd: Beijing’s Olympics Of Politics And Pandemic
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

Games Of The Absurd: Beijing’s Olympics Of Politics And Pandemic

With both fans and diplomatic dignitaries missing, it’s an Olympics that recalls politically combustible Games of the past. COVID-19, like it did for the Summer Games in Tokyo, will also help haunt the premises. The good news is that the athletes will most likely take over our attention as soon as they hit the ice and snow.


The Olympic script includes the invoking of the spirit of friendly competition as a respite from geopolitics.

Yet the global sporting event has long struggled to separate itself from the biggest social and political events of the day: from the 1936 Berlin Games during Hitler's rise to power to the Black Power salute at the 1968 Mexico City Games to the PLO killings of Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972. There were also major tit-for-tat U.S. and Soviet boycotts of the 1980 Moscow and 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games.

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A 84-year-old woman mirrors in the sideview mirror as she is driving her car in Weingarten, Germany
Laure Gautherin

With Boom In Senior Drivers, 5 New Safety Solutions Around The World

As life expectancy continues to rise, the question of road safety for older drivers has become a priority for governments and carmakers. From AI and deep-learning tech to voluntary retirement, here are some of the innovative solutions being explored to ensure older people can drive safely.

Living longer means driving older. This demographic is pushing governments around the world to look for new ways to ensure the safety of their citizens on the road by introducing specific policies targeting people over 65. Compulsory medical assessment, voluntary retirement, financial incentives, as well as tapping into technologies like AI, VR and deep-learning tech.

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Photo of a medical worker covered in green protective gear looking at a computer screen
Jeff Israely

In Praise Of Science: The Pandemic Story That Must Be Told

Two years on, even if they’ve still not given us the definitive answers to COVID-19, scientists are our best hope. But they can’t do it alone.


PARIS — Ours, they say, is the age of the storyteller, the reign of the carnival barker and stand-up comic … and the venture capitalist, of course. Still, the current hour clearly belongs to the scientist.

We know now that we should have handed the keys over to science much sooner, heeding its well-documented warnings on climate change – and the looming risk of a global contagion. The non-stop flood of information requires that we have the means to retain what matters, especially when the bad news of the hour can literally be spread by all.

Yes, even in this dark hour of new variants and vaccine doubts, to paraphrase a Louisiana carnival barker: It’s the science, stupid.

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A group of representatives of the anti-vaccine movement protesting in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Alessio Perrone

How Anti-Vaxxers Will Try To Sabotage The COVID-19 Vaccine


MILAN — Now that Pfizer and Moderna appear to have viable COVID-19 vaccines, a range of legitimate questions are being posed — cost, supply, logistics — in order to carry out what we hope would become the fastest and widest vaccination effort in history.

But three days ago on Facebook, Italian Parliament member and political provocateur Gianluigi Paragone was focused on other questions: What were the potentially ugly side effects of the vaccine? Wasn't this simply a profit play by the pharmaceutical industry?

Paragone didn't have to wait long to get answers, as many of the hundreds of comments that followed amounted to rhetorical red meat of what has become known globally as the anti-vaxxer movement. Users warned that the vaccine would change our DNA; that it was poison; that it would help install microchips in our heads.

It is telling, and ominous, how quickly such a message stuck. The anti-vaxxers have mastered the tools of social media, spreading conspiracy theories as its own kind of digital virus. Over the past five years, basic scientific facts are disputed by a growing number of our neighbors. That vaccines remain one of the most important scientific discoveries ever, largely responsible for the longer life expectancy and public health gains of the last century, is now an open question for more and more people.

Until now, anti-vaxxers have been blamed for a few pockets of outbreaks of diseases that had long been vanquished by vaccines, most notably measles. But now we may be faced with a much greater risk: that the public mistrust that has flowed from between the anti-mask and COVID-deniers dovetails with the anti-vaxxer movement — and potentially undermines the global vaccination campaign against coronavirus.

The anti-vaxxers meld in with other conspiracy theory proponents — Photo: Sachelle Babbar/ZUMA

We are still likely months away from the full-fledged implementation, but in the latest opinion polls, only about one-half of the respondents in France and Italy and 40% in Germany said that they would get the shot.

The Lancet reports on a new study by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate that blames social media companies for allowing the anti-vaccine movement to remain on their platforms. The report's authors noted that social media accounts held by so-called anti-vaxxers have increased their following by at least 7 million people since 2019, and 31 million people follow anti-vaccine groups on Facebook.

There are legitimate reasons to be cautious about the new vaccines for now — for one, they still have to get safety approval from institutions before we even weigh our options. But spreading public distrust risks jeopardizing our chances to eradicate COVID-19, which depends on a sizable part of the population getting vaccinated.

A decade into the social media age, we are reminded again that digital information is both the poison and the cure — and a vaccine against its worst effects will take years to discover.

On the beach in Italy
food / travel
Alessio Perrone

Summer Holiday Can’t Quite Escape The Virus, Or The Office

Earlier this week, as I packed my things for my first post-pandemic vacation, my eyes and mind dwelled on the object I spend more time with than any other: my laptop.

Of course many things have changed since last summer's break. Instead of flying, I'll drive from my home in the northern city of Milan to the southern island of Sicily (along with a short ferry ride). I'm also avoiding August, the most unbearably crowded month to travel in Italy. And I will be camping instead of staying in an AirBnb apartment.

And yet, what's surprising is how much will stay the same. Look around, after months of pandemic mourning and lockdowns, European countries seem to be relishing more than ever the place that tourism has in their lives — and economies. Some countries are racing to lure back masses of visitors, worried by the absence of traditionally big-spending Americans and Russians. Sicily has even promised to pay for one of every three nights in hotels, and to subsidise tours and museum visits.

The reasons why we travel haven't changed much, either. With borders reopening and the virus seemingly receding in Europe, many of us are planning vacations almost compulsively, as if they were a duty dictated by our Instagram feeds. According to the Wall Street Journal, some top destinations are already selling out for 2021.

Not particularly interested in seaside discos — which remain closed — my 2020 itinerary looks like it would any other year: drives through the island's rolling hills, Greek temples and sizzling Baroque cities, some sea, some sand, great food.

Many of us are planning vacations almost compulsively — Photo: Josi Donelli/TheNEWS2/ZUMA

Another thing that hasn't fundamentally changed is that many will have to check work emails as they travel. This has always been the case for millennials, in Italy and beyond, where the expression "work-life balance" can be met with a giggle. The most extreme case that comes to mind is from a friend of mine, whose boss wished him a great vacation, but added that as soon as he needs him to work, my friend will have to rush back to his desk immediately.

As the German historian Valentin Groebner said in an interview with Der Spiegel, perhaps the pandemic was our opportunity to rethink all this. The word "vacation" has Latin origins, meaning respite from duty and work. But "vacations have long been a consumption ritual — not a discharge from duty, but just another kind of duty," Groebner said.

Perhaps, he suggested, we should use the pandemic to reexamine what "discharge from duty" means, and ask ourselves if we really want to go back to joining the summer vacation herds.

Having finished writing this article, this opportunity seems to have already passed. I packed my laptop and took it with me.