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China

China: When The State Wants To Protect You By Owning Your Privacy

Op-Ed: Some heavy skepticism, and sarcasm, by a Chinese commentator toward a new program that requires Internet cafes in Beijing to pay for a new system to allow authorities to control personal information by online users.

Internet café in Turpan, China.
Internet café in Turpan, China.
YANG Tao

BEIJING - In recent weeks, bars, cafes and hotels located in the eastern district of the capital have been required to pay -- at their own expense – 20,000 RMB ($3,105) to set up a "Network monitoring system." This fee permits them to continue providing their customers with the right to surf the Internet on the premises.

Most of these places were told by the police to install a "Safety Management System of Internet Services in Public Places', as reported by the Beijing News. The "system" would provide them with wireless networks, and allow for the government to control the information about the users. How considerate of the police!

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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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