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DIE WELT(Germany),PNAS(USA)

Worldcrunch

PISA - Take a guess how many types of medication you have in your medicine chest. Fifty? A few hundred?

Medication is a banality in our day – but things looked very different 2000 years ago when there were no pharmaceutical giants and mass production facilities. Hippocrates had to pick his own herbs and mix his own salves and tinctures. Needless to say that only a few privileged patients were at the receiving end of such work-intensive services.

So even for just those reasons the discovery of some researchers from Pisa and Florence is a sensation, reports Die Welt.

From the depths of the sea off the coast of Tuscany, Italy, out of the wreck of a sunken ship, they have brought up a tin pillbox containing ancient medication – six pills, over 2000 years old. That’s how old the wreck of the trading ship "Relitto del Pozzino" is.

The ancient pillbox will doubtlessly turn out to be one of the most valuable items found in the shipwreck. By analyzing the contents of the tablets, the team working with Erika Ribechini of the University of Pisa is hoping to find new information about ancient healing arts and potential new approaches for modern healing methods.

In Proceedings, the journal of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Ribechini reveals what is in the pills. The main component is still used today: zinc, which has disinfecting properties and is used in the treatment of wounds. She believes the tablets were not meant to be swallowed but rubbed on the eyelids to combat eye disease. “The composition and the form of the tablets seem to indicate that they were used for ophthalmic purposes: the Latin name collyrium (eyewash) comes from the Greek name κoλλυ´ρα, which means “small round loaves,” writes Ribechini.

Who knows – maybe one day this ancient medication will make its way in a modern version into our medicine chests. Assuming there’s still room.

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Geopolitics

Minsk Never More: Lessons For The West About Negotiating With Putin

The longer the war in Ukraine continues, the louder calls will grow for a ceasefire . Stockholm-based analysts explain how the West can reach a viable deal on this: primarily by avoiding strategic mistakes from last time following the annexation of Crimea.

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Hugo von Essen, Andreas Umland

-Analysis-

Each new day the Russian assault on Ukraine continues, the wider and deeper is the global impact. And so with each day, there is more and more talk of a ceasefire. But just how and under what conditions such an agreement might be reached are wide open questions.

What is already clear, however, is that a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine must not repeat mistakes made since the open conflict between the two countries began more than eight years ago.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Contrary to widespread opinion, the so-called Minsk ceasefire agreements of 2014-2015 were not meant as a definitive solution. And as we now know, they would not offer a path to peace. Instead, the accord negotiated in the Belarusian capital would indeed become part of the problem, as it fueled the aggressive Russian strategies that led to the escalation in 2022.

In early September 2014, the Ukrainian army suffered a crushing defeat at Ilovaisk against unmarked regular Russian ground forces. Fearing further losses, Kyiv agreed to negotiations with Moscow.

The Minsk Protocol (“Minsk I”) – followed shortly thereafter by a clarifying memorandum – baldly served Russian interests. For example, it envisaged a “decentralization” – i.e. Balkanization – of Ukraine. An uneasy truce came about; but the conflict was in no way resolved.

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