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LA STAMPA

Assad At Ease, An Exclusive Face-To-Face In A Surreal Damascus

Monica Maggioni, head of Italy's Rai news service, recounts her meeting this week with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad inside his private Damascus villa: "He looks nothing like the defeated leaders of this era."

Assad At Ease, An Exclusive Face-To-Face In A Surreal Damascus
Monica Maggioni*

DAMASCUS — He's the most controversial man in the world, the most talked about president. He was supposed to get bombed by the Americans, until the operation was called off at the last minute. He's also the No. 1 target for ISIS, other regime opponents and several neighboring countries.

In spite of all that, and after four years of war, he still lives in a bourgeois neighborhood of Damascus. No bunker or underground hideout: The 50-year-old Bashar al-Assad spends part of his day here in the center of town, amidst nondescript, mostly gray buildings, tidy apartments and balconies with long lines of laundry out to dry. His villa is just a tad bigger than those next door.

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Society

The Ideal Age To Marry? Reflections Of A 20-Something Indian Woman

India is raising the minimum age for women to marry. What does that mean on the individual level (with your parents whispering in your ear)?

A couple holding hands after marriage

Priyamvada Rana

-Essay-

NEW DELHI — A few days ago, I got a call from my parents, who wanted to talk about the "ideal age to marry." This came after news about India raising the minimum age for women to marry to 21, to match the age for men. It's a laudable move, sure, but I even wonder if 21-year-olds will be able to fathom the expectations, responsibilities and limitations that come with such a socially-constrained institution.

I am not ready at 26, and won’t be even at 30.

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