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At Sunday's anti-corruption protest in Russia
At Sunday's anti-corruption protest in Russia

In the overwhelming immediacy of modern society, weekends provide us with the opportunity to slow down, take a deep breath, disconnect. Especially a sunny, early spring weekend. For some, this means catching up on reading or seeing old friends. For others (like yours truly), this past weekend was a chance for an intense session of gardening. And if you're Donald Trump and you've just had the "worst week" of your nine-week-old presidency, there was time to finally enjoy some quality time on the golf course. For the 13th time since taking office nine weeks ago.

Angela Merkel, for her part, had to wait until Sunday evening to relax, after a rather tense couple of days, following what must have been a truly unpleasant meeting with Trump last week in Washington. Political observers in Germany and beyond had their eyes focused this weekend on the elections in the southwestern state of Saarland, looking for indications on the German Chancellor's chances to win a fourth term in September. Opinion polls ahead of the vote had suggested that her CDU party might lose its leadership in the one-million strong state. The results, however, wound up handing Merkel a clear victory to the local CDU leader and oft-dubbed "Mini-Merkel", Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, over a coalition of left parties.

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Ukrainian protestors stand at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to mark Vyshyvanka Day, an International day to celebrate Ukrainian heritage and traditions

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger.

👋 Guten Tag!*

Welcome to Friday, where Russia intensifies shelling in eastern Ukraine, Biden lands in South Korea, and a Mercedes becomes the most expensive car ever sold. Meanwhile, for German daily die Welt, Cosima Lutz explores the sizzling question of the skyrocketing price of cooking oils.

[*German]

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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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