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Anne Sophie Goninet

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U.K. Demands Release Of Two British Men Sentenced To Death
In The News

U.K. Demands Release Of Two British Men Sentenced To Death

UK has called the trial in Russian-occupied Donetsk a "sham" after the death sentences of two UK citizens and a Moroccan who were fighting in the Ukrainian army. Other breaking stories include Putin's Peter The Great comparison and a new post-McDonald's logo in Moscow.

The U.K. has demanded the release of two British men who have been sentenced to death in Russia-occupied Donetsk. Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner received the sentence from a Russian-proxy court, along with a Moroccan man, Saaudun Brahim, for fighting on the side of the Ukrainian military. Aslin and Pinner had been living in Ukraine at the time of the invasion. They surrendered in Mariupol in mid-April.

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British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss condemned the ruling: “This is a sham judgment with absolutely no legitimacy.” She promised to “do everything we can” to support the pair’s families, who have said the men need urgent legal and medical aid. Ukraine and Britain both declared that the “show trial” is in violation of the Geneva Convention.

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Photo of protests in Paris on the night of the election results
Ideas

Et Maintenant? A Fractured France And Other Tough Challenges Facing Re-Elected Macron

Despite his clear victory yesterday in the French presidential election against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron now faces immense challenges in a highly polarized country.

-OpEd-

The French have spoken — and once again in their long history, wisdom has prevailed. Emmanuel Macron’s victory is, in itself, a huge relief because this time, France was very close to tipping over and into the abyss.

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A man takes a picture of the University of Santo Tomas Main Building where the flag of Ukraine is projected in Manila, Philippines
Geopolitics

Why So Many Asian Countries Are Staying Neutral On Putin

Western countries want to isolate Russia on the world stage. But for many Asian countries, the war in Ukraine is distant geographically and economically, and represents an existential debate between dictatorships and democracies.

-Analysis-

TOKYO — Vladimir Putin could not have put it better than Zaw Min Tun, the spokesman of the junta in power in Myanmar. “Russia has taken the necessary actions to protect and strengthen its own sovereignty," Min Tun said the day after the invasion of Ukraine. "As a great power, it ensures the balance of world forces, which allows the preservation of peace.”

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The war launched against Ukraine prompted a unanimous condemnation of Russia in Western countries and triggered a coordinated and rapid implementation of very severe sanctions. But the same cannot be said for Asia.

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photo of protesters holding signs, including one of putin as hitler
Ideas

1939 v. 2022: Putin Like Hitler, The West Without A Churchill

The Russian leader's invasion is a both a pursuit of his Hitlerian obsession to rectify his nation's humiliation, and a bet that the West's decline is permanent.

Since the start of the 21st century, the pace of history has accelerated.

The 9/11 attacks marked the first sign of the United States’ vulnerability, and the financial and economic crisis that began in 2007 confirmed the fragility of the capitalist West. Encouraged by these negative signals, authoritarian regimes gained momentum: In a symbolic way for China with the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and in a concrete way, the same year, for Russia with its first successful “bluff” in Georgia. Tangled up in internal contradictions and divisions and distracted by external adventures, the Western world witnessed — almost as though in absentia — the spectacle of its decline.

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Photo of an ​anti Putin graffiti in Chernigov's subway, Ukraine
Geopolitics

Like In A Greek Tragedy, Putin Is Feeding What He Fears Most


It's not the presence of Western weapons that scares Moscow, it is the idea of freedom. And yet by threatening Ukrainians with invasion, his neighbors and rivals in the West rally around that same idea. Has the would-be strategic mastermind in the Kremlin finally painted himself into a corner? Unfortunately, that's a dangerous place.

-Analysis-

In the midst of the Cold War, French philosopher Raymond Aron posed a hypothetical question: If NATO had never existed, would the Soviet Union have invaded the countries of Western Europe? "We'll never know,” he replied, adding mischievously: “But we can't say the opposite either.”

Now let us leave the Cold War of yesterday for a hypothetical of the nearly hot war of today.

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photo of costa concordia capsized
Italy

The Costa Concordia Disaster, 10 Years Later — This Happened, January 13

The images of the Italian cruise ship, which had run aground just a few hundred meters from the Tuscany coast, captured the world's attention for a chilly winter week in 2012.

Thursday marks 10 years since the Costa Concordia luxury cruise ship deviated from its planned itinerary to get closer to the island Isola del Giglio, before hitting rocks on the seafloor in shallow water and starting to sink. Over the course of six excruciating hours, a rescue effort team worked to evacuate the 4,252 people on board. Sadly, in the end, 33 people died.

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Why The Right To Die Is Expanding Around The World
Society

Why The Right To Die Is Expanding Around The World

Euthanasia and assisted suicide laws are still the exception, but lawmakers from New Zealand to Peru to Switzerland and beyond are gradually giving more space for people to choose to get help to end their lives — sometimes with new and innovative technological methods.

The announcement last month that a “suicide capsule” device would be commercialized in Switzerland, not surprisingly, caused quite a stir. The machine called Sarcophagus, or “Sarco” for short, consists of a 3D-printed pod mounted on a stand, which releases nitrogen and gradually reduces the oxygen level from 21% to 1%, causing the person inside to lose consciousness without pain or a sense of panic, and then die of hypoxia and hypocapnia (oxygen and carbon dioxide deprivation).

While active euthanasia is illegal in Switzerland, assisted suicide is allowed under certain conditions and under the supervision of a physician, who has first to review the patient’s capacity for discernment — a condition that Sarco aims to eliminate. “We want to remove any kind of psychiatric review from the process and allow the individual to control the method themselves,” Australian doctor Philip Nitschke, the machine’s creator, told news platform SwissInfo. Some argue that this is against the country’s medical ethical rules while others expressed concerns about safety.

But Nitschke says he found the solution: an online AI-based test, which will give a code to the patient to use the device if he passes.

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2022: Year Of The Wake-Up Call
Ideas

2022: Year Of The Wake-Up Call

The signs for 2022 may appear grim right now, but at least we know what we're facing. Will we make the right decisions?

-Analysis-

PARIS — Since it's customary to do so at this time of year, let's try to make predictions for the next twelve months. On paper, 2022 should be a very difficult year. But by knowing that and anticipating it, we can prevent it from being so.

It is quite easy to forecast a worst-case scenario: a pandemic that evades vaccines, a collapse of financial markets, hotbeds of conflicts on the borders of Europe, large countries like Ethiopia falling apart.

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Discarded Christmas trees in north London
Green

Grinch Or Green? It’s Time To Stop Buying Christmas Trees!

Each year, millions of trees are sacrificed for the sake of Christmas — an ecological disaster and a denial of what trees represent for humanity. There are, however, some green alternatives to buying (and killing) your own private tree each year.

-OpEd-

PARIS — In the street, on the sidewalks, the corpses pile up in the cold, stacked one above the other — victims of mutilation. Passers-by glance at them carelessly, sometimes fiddling with their broken limbs. The executioners stand guard around their victims, kicking them back into a pile.

The execution is recent: the bodies still wear their natural colors. But soon the last drops of life will recede. They will start to turn pale and decompose, leaving scorched flakes around them. A foul odor will take hold of the city.

This vision of horror is the Christmas spectacle, with its six million trees in France alone that are cut, sold, decorated for a few days and then discarded. In order to grasp the full extent of this massacre, we must first admit that trees are not simple pieces of wood, but individuals in their own right, who are leading unique lives.

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Head office skyscraper of the French multinational Saint Gobain
Economy

COVID Economics: Signs That Switch To Remote Work May Not Stick

We’re nearly two years into a global pandemic that has seemingly changed everything in our economy from how we shop to where we eat. COVID-19 indeed may transform our economic lives entirely – except how we work.

PARIS — We’re not done with this story yet.

In France, the number of new COVID-19 patients has jumped by 50% in a week, hospitals are once again under increasing pressure, and the government still needs its special council that is responsible for crisis public health decisions. Around the world, the new Omicron variant, first detected a month ago, could prove to be more contagious, though, it is not yet known whether the variant is more dangerous or resistant to the vaccines that billions of people have received.

We've now been living with this unprecedented pandemic for almost two years. It can no longer be said to be a footnote or a strange blip in time, as we might have believed during the first lockdowns of spring 2020. The more time passes, the more COVID-19 is profoundly changing our lives.

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Migrants on a dinghy on the English Channel
Migrant Lives

English Channel To The Mediterranean: Borders That Kill

The deaths of 27 migrants off the French coast of Calais is one more tragedy on a long list in the European Union. After the initial shock, however, we tend to forget, get used to it and in the end, become indifferent.

-Analysis-

PARIS — The wreckage of a small boat that led to 27 people to die in the English Channel is added to the list of endless death along Europe’s borders.

Unfortunately, there is nothing fundamentally new about this tragedy. Since 1993, at least 50,000 people have died trying to cross the external borders of the European Union, mainly in the Mediterranean Sea. Since 1999, more than 300 people have died off the northern French coast of Calais while trying to cross the border into the UK, which has been "externalized" on French soil by the 2004 Le Touquet Treaty. The years 2000 and 2010 were marked by reports of casualties at the borders, some horrifying like the two successive shipwrecks on April 12 and 19, 2015 that left thousands dead.

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New Variant, Same Story? The Vicious Circle Of Our COVID World
Coronavirus

New Variant, Same Story? The Vicious Circle Of Our COVID World

As we learn yet another Greek letter through the new COVID-19 Omicron variant, around the world the new wave is starting to sound very familiar.

It’s been another 72-hour global moment.

It came in the days after the news first broke last Friday that B.1.1.529, named Omicron, had been identified by scientists in South Africa and assessed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “variant of concern.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has supplied a series of these collective worldwide “moments:” from the first wave of lockdowns to the discovery that the vaccines were effective to the Delta variant’s new wave of infections.

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