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TOPIC: berlin

In The News

Zelensky Warns Of Russian “Energy Blow”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned Europeans that Russia was preparing "a decisive energy blow" during the next few months. He also praised his troops for the advances being made with the counteroffensive launched in southern Ukraine to reclaim Russian-occupied territories. He said that two settlements in the south of the country as well as a settlement in the eastern Donetsk region had been liberated. He added that Ukrainian forces had “advanced and regained certain heights” in the Lysychansk direction.

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His comments came ahead of the European Union’s energy ministers meeting Friday to discuss urgent measures in order to deal with the soaring energy prices, including gas price caps as well as the energy market.

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"Just 106 Seconds To Berlin" - How Putin Exploits Europe's Nuclear Fears

Russian propaganda plays on the revival of the West’s fear of a nuclear attack, especially knowing how close European capitals are to Moscow's atomic warheads. But Europe must remember the lessons of the Cold War and not play into Putin's hands.

-Analysis-

BERLIN — “Take a look at this picture,” the expert on Russian state TV says excitedly. “There’s nothing they can do about it.”

On the screen is a diagram that shows how long it would take a Russian nuclear missile to reach various European capital cities from its base in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad: 106 seconds to reach Berlin, 200 to reach Paris. “Would you like to know about London? That would take 202 seconds,” the presenter says.

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This is not the first time that Russian TV has threatened the West with nuclear war. And the reaction from across Europe is clear – panic.

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Territory Gains And Losses Point To Long War

Russia says it has conquered new territory in Donbas, while Ukraine says it has retaken parts of the city of Kharkiv. The competing claims come as Vladimir Putin appears to be bracing for a long "protracted" conflict.

Some press reports come from the battlefield, some come from headquarters.

The latter was the source for the lead story in today’s The New York Times that declared “Ukraine War’s Geographic Reality: Russia Has Seized Much of the East,” based on an assertion of the Russian Defense Ministry that “its forces in eastern Ukraine had advanced to the border between Donetsk and Luhansk,” the two provinces of Donbas.

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The article continues with an important caveat: “If confirmed,” the report signals that Russia could soon gain control over the entire Donbas region, which could put Moscow in position to force Kyiv to agree to its terms at the negotiating table.

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Urban Jungles? See Wildlife Moving Into 7 Cities Around The World

Wild boars in Rome, big cats in Colombia cities, polar bears in Russian towns: a series of factors, including climate change and urbanization, is creating unlikely encounters between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom.

Wild boars jogging down the street, pumas sauntering through the neighborhood, coyotes patiently waiting for the traffic light to turn green… This isn't the stage set for a new Jumanji or Ace Ventura movie, but an increasingly common sight in residential areas around the world. In recent decades, deforestation, changing agriculture and livestock practices, global warming and the rapid expansion of urban areas into the natural habitats of animals have forced a growing number of species to adapt to life in the city.

And with no sign of urbanization slowing down, some experts suggest that we have entered into a new era where city dwellers must get used to sharing their space with four-legged neighbors.

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Germany
Sebastian Gubernator

Police Decode EncroChat: The Whatsapp For Organized Crime

Decoded data from messaging services have given the authorities in Germany a new weapon in the fight against gang crime, as shown in the latest raid in Berlin. Criminal families are feeling increasingly uneasy.

BERLIN — They arrived in the early morning. Some 500 police officers from Berlin and Brandenburg, officers from the state criminal investigation department, the riot squad and the counter-terrorism and special operations unit GSG 9. They stormed houses, apartments and a convenience store in Berlin, as well as two locations in Brandenburg. As they later announced without any fanfare, 30 search warrants were executed at 22 locations. Two men were arrested, members of the Remmo clan, an Arab gang made up of one extended family.

The raid targeted suspects accused of organized arms and drug deals, assault and tax evasion, among other crimes. The perpetrators were suspected of storing drugs in warehouses in Brandenburg, packing them into barrels and transporting them to Berlin.

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Germany

Watch: OneShot — 30 Years Ago, Fall Of The Berlin Wall

It marked the end of an epoch: on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell — and seemingly in an instant, the decades-long Cold War was over.

Built in 1961 by the German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) to keep the different sectors of Berlin separated, the wall became the singular symbol of the Cold War divide, and a concrete example of the limits and repression of the communist system.

The final chapter of the Cold War began when East Berlin's Communist Party announced that, from midnight, citizens of the GDR could cross the Iron Curtain. "Tor auf!" ("Open the gate!")

At midnight, the checkpoints were flooded. People, from both sides, grabbed sledgehammers and picks and started to dismantle the wall themselves, paving the way for Germany's reunification and our current post-Cold War epoch.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall © University of Minnesota Institute for Advanced Studies
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food / travel
Bertrand Hauger

Soviets Soldiers, Past And Present

In the background, one of Treptower Park"s massive monuments commemorating Soviet soldiers fallen during World War II. In the foreground, real-life Soviet soldiers still trooping around the USSR-occupied section of Berlin.

food / travel

Watch: OneShot — Grandparents And A Soviet Memorial

Etienne Mallard has spent a lifetime venturing far and wide. A retired high-school philosophy teacher, he has always considered himself nothing more or less than an amateur photographer — with decent equipment. He has visited a running total now of 80 countries since he first went to Austria in 1949, all the while taking more than 20,000 pictures: from views across the Iron Curtain, a still sleepy Brazil in the 1960s to his most recent tour of the Balkans.

With a little help from his grandson (and Worldcrunch's photo editor) Bertrand, for the past five years Etienne Mallard a.k.a. "Grand-Père" has been sharing his 60+ years of travels with the world. With OneShot, he adds his voice, and our editors help make the story move.

Soviet memorial, 1967 (©Étienne Mallard/My Grand-Père's World)

At the end of World War II, several monuments were built across Berlin to commemorate the Soviet soldiers fallen during the war. Visiting in the middle of the Cold War, it was a bit risky to snap this photo of his wife Claudine walking past Soviet soldiers, who controlled East Berlin at the time.

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Germany
Jagoda Marinić

The Real Invisible Threat To Democracy: Poverty

Even in economically powerful Germany, poverty threatens the social fabric. And neither the left or right has any real solutions — except to play to fears.

MUNICH — These are scenes that are not worthy of Germany, scenes that should not take place in a prosperous society. For example, this summer I sat down with my friends at a café on one of the lakes in Berlin and we ordered over-the-top ice cream dishes. When a family of four sat down next to us, the mother of the children looked nervously at the father. The father leaned forward and whispered to his wife: "It's ok, it's ok!" She shook her head. "I'll make it back, I promise!" The kids got their ice cream sundaes. It was a treat for them, but painful for their parents.

This is just one of many everyday scenes in Germany, the powerhouse of Europe that reports one economic success after another. Of course, no child actually needs an ice cream sundae to survive or a day of leisure at the lake. Is this poverty? Or are poor children those who cannot go to the lake at all, because their mother struggles as a single parent? Maybe these mothers would like to avoid such scenes in public. In developed industrial societies, poverty is predominantly female. After women, the second poorest category is the youth, the future of the country. Four and a half million children in Germany live in poverty; children who will not get the best out of this country and will not be able to give back their best. No, social mobility is not a "made in Germany" success story.

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Belarus
Jan Vollmer

Drug-Free, Imported DJs, KGB Spies: A Singular Rave Scene In Minsk

Techno scene in Belarus faces a youth tempted by emigration, pricey vinyls and the KGB lurking in the shadows. But the nights in Minsk are still something truly remarkable.

MINSK — There are two men outside the "Re:publik" Club. They were there last night too, soon after midnight. and again at about 4 a.m. If this weren't Minsk, you would be forgiven for thinking that they just want to sell their stash of ecstasy. But no one deals in front of clubs here because even simple marijuana possession could get you five years in prison. No, those two guys are mostly likely with the intelligence services. The KGB probably.

While these would-be KGB guys look on, two girls try to get into the club without their ID but do not stand a chance. No one wants trouble with the authorities here.

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North Korea
Tori Otten

North Korea, Time To Face The Music

-Analysis-

As Kim Jong-un again edges the world closer to an unthinkable nuclear showdown, the tribulations of a humble music store owner in Berlin may help explain why it's so hard to figure out what to do with North Korea.

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Germany
Mathieu Bock-Côté

A Christmas Wish For Europe: Time To Defend Our Civilization

After the Christmas market attack in Berlin, the Western world would be wrong to assume it can prevent its cultural or political dissolution by merely  repeating its prayers to the glory of diversity.

-OpEd-

PARIS — There was something atrocious and yet, at the same time, terribly ordinary about the scene. A few days before Christmas, a dozen people killed and some 50 more wounded by a truck at a Christmas market in Berlin. It felt like déjà vu after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel had driven into crowds in Nice on Bastille Day. Once again, a public celebration will chosen as a target to spread terror and trauma among ordinary citizens.

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