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The Internet stations are biodegradable cubes, with fake grass flooring and solar panels.
The Internet stations are biodegradable cubes, with fake grass flooring and solar panels.
Parawifi
Vivian Urfeig

HAVANACuba"s belated embrace of the Internet has people packing into places like the Plaza de la Revolución and the colonial fort Castillito, two of the island's just 114 public WiFi hotspots.

Overall, the number of Cubans who regularly access the Web is still relatively small. But things are changing, and quickly. The Internet revolution is just getting underway here.

So far, however, efforts to accommodate the growing number of cybernauts have been minimal. The few places that offer WiFi service are crowded and not particularly suited for typing and Web surfing.

With that in mind, a pair of graduates from Cuba's ISDI design school developed a concept for a Lego-like module where people can sit — in a friendly, comfortable and shaded place — and connect to the Internet, Vivian Urfeig reports in Clarín.

The designers, Luis Ramírez and Michel J. Aguilar, have already created a prototype and may soon get government permission to erect a trial Internet station in the capital. The concept was also chosen to represent Cuba at the London Design Biennale 2016 and bid_16, the Latin American design fair.

The Internet stations consist of easy-to-assemble biodegradable cubes, and can be larger or smaller depending on the space available. They have fake grass flooring and solar panels, allowing devices to be recharged. Segments will be designed to accommodate elderly or disabled users.

"We developed a meeting place that favors interaction and humanizes the city," says Ramírez.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine Is Turning Into A "New Israel" — Where Everyone Is A Soldier

From businessmen to farmers, Ukrainian society has been militarizing for the past six months to defend its sovereignty. In the future it may find itself like Israel, permanently armed to protect its sovereignty.

Ukrainian civilians learn how to shoot and other military skills at a shooting range in Lviv on July 30, 2022.

Guillaume Ptak

KYIV — The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point. Vladimir Putin's army has suffered its worst setback since the beginning of the invasion. The Russian army has experienced a counter-offensive that many experts consider masterful, so it must retreat and cede vast territories to its opponent.

The lightning victory that the head of the Kremlin had dreamed of never took place. The losses are considerable — Ukrainian troops on the battlefield now outnumber the Russians.

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On April 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that at the end of the conflict, Ukraine would become a "big Israel". In an interview with Ukrainian media, he said then, "In all the institutions, supermarkets, cinemas, there will be people with weapons."

The problem of national security will be the country's most important one in the next decade. An "absolutely liberal, and European" society would therefore no longer be on the agenda, according to the Ukrainian president.

Having long since swapped his suit and tie for a jacket or a khaki T-shirt during his public appearances, Zelensky has undeniably become one of the symbols of this growing militarization of Ukrainian society. However, the president claimed that Ukraine would not become an "authoritarian" regime: "An authoritarian state would lose to Russia. Ukrainians know what they are fighting for."

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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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