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People form a human chain to raise awareness for discrimination against LGBTQI+ in Brussels, Belgium, on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia —
People form a human chain to raise awareness for discrimination against LGBTQI+ in Brussels, Belgium, on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia —

Welcome to Monday, where Gaza shelling intensifies, Bill Gates is under fire for a relationship with staffer and the Titanic is spotted in China. We also ask why Italy lags behind others in Europe in protecting LGBTQ from violence.

• Israeli air strikes hit Gaza as calls for ceasefire intensify: Israel conducted dozens of air strikes on Gaza early Monday, as Hamas intensified the rounds of rockets aimed at Israeli cities. International calls for a ceasefire have mounted as clashes enter a second week and the death toll on the Palestinian side multiplies, with 198 people killed, including at least 58 children and 34 women.

• Indian cyclone kills 12 and forces thousands to evacuate: Cyclone Tauktae has killed at least 12 people in Indian coastal states and left 150,000 people to evacuate their homes, in the Indian state of Gujarat.

• China lands spacecraft on Mars: China has successfully landed an uncrewed spacecraft on Mars on Saturday, making China the second nation after the United States to land on the Red Planet.

• 30 sentenced to death over anti-police clashes in DRC: After a one-day trial, 30 people were sentenced to death in the Democratic Republic of Congo for their participation in anti-police violence marking the end of Ramadan that left a policeman dead on Thursday.

• Surprise results in vote to pick Chile's new Constitution council: Chile's center-right ruling coalition did not secure a critical one-third of seats in the body that will draft the country's new constitution. Voters mostly picked independents among the 155 citizens to rewrite the nation's constitution, to replace the document written under the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

• Allegations against Bill Gates about past relationship with staffer: Microsoft Corp. board members pushed founder Bill Gates to step down from its board as they were investigating the billionaire's prior sexual relationship with a female staffer that was considered inappropriate, reveals the Wall Street Journal. This report as well as a New York Times article that cited questionable behavior toward female staffers come after the announcement that Gates and his wife Melinda French Gates were seeking a divorce.

• Titanic tourist park to open in China: A 260-meter-long Titanic replica will open as a Chinese theme park at the end of the year, six years after the construction began — longer than the construction of the original Titanic.

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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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