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China

When Humans Are Forced To Replace The Bees They Killed

Since insecticides have killed most bees in China's Sichuan province, local farmers are forced to fertilize the flowers themselves. But the "bee-men" may now be a dying breed.

A woman picks fruits for pollination in China's Zhejiang Province, in April 2014.
A woman picks fruits for pollination in China's Zhejiang Province, in April 2014.
Harold Thibault

NANXIN — It is the height of pollination season in the orchards of China's southwestern Sichuan province. Perched on the apple trees' branches, farmers of the Nanxin village twist and turn to reach the flowers that are the furthest away. Doing what bees do anywhere else in the world requires a certain degree of agility.

Zhen Xiuqiong, 56, has been climbing her and her neighbors' trees at the arrival of every spring for the past 20 years. Branches sometimes break, but Xiuqiong says she is never scared. To her, it's all a matter of getting used to it.

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Geopolitics

NATO Entry For Sweden And Finland? Erdogan May Not Be Bluffing

When the two Nordic countries confirmed their intention to join NATO this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his plans to block the application. Accusing Sweden and Finland of' "harboring" some of his worst enemies may not allow room for him to climb down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO

Meike Eijsberg

-Analysis-

LONDON — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO, it took most of the West's top diplomatic experts by surprise — with the focus squarely on how Russia would react to having two new NATO members in the neighborhood. (So far, that's been a surprise too)

But now Western oversight on Turkey's stance has morphed into a belief in some quarters that Erdogan is just bluffing, trying to get concessions from the negotiations over such a key geopolitical issue.

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To be clear, any prospective NATO member requires the consent of all 30 member states and their parliaments. So Erdogan does indeed have a card to play, which is amplified by the sense of urgency: NATO, Sweden and Finland are keen to complete the accession process with the war in Ukraine raging and the prospect of strengthening the military alliance's position around the Baltic Sea.

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