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Thousands of dead fish mysteriously appeared floating along this Southern California coastal town. — Photo: Jonathan Alcorn/ZUMA
Thousands of dead fish mysteriously appeared floating along this Southern California coastal town. — Photo: Jonathan Alcorn/ZUMA
Worldcrunch

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

THAILAND ARMY DECLARES MARTIAL LAW
Thailand army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha declared martial law throughout the country this morning in an attempt to restore peace and order after months of anti-government protests and the recent dismissal of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, The Nationreports. But the army insisted that the move was not a coup, and said “people are urged not to panic, and can carry on their business as usual.” At least 10 TV stations have been closed down until further notice “to stop the spread of false information,” according to an army statement. Meanwhile, AFP reports that military presence in the streets has prompted a wave of selfies from citizens happy to pose next to army forces.

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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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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