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    Cigarette smuggling in Gaza affects humanitarian aid deliveries

    Related media – Recent news In the heavily blockaded Gaza Strip, cigarettes have become a rare commodity, often selling for $25-30 each. Both U.N. and Israeli officials have reported that coordinated attacks by groups seeking to profit from these contraband cigarettes are severely hampering the transportation of essential aid into southern Gaza. Israeli authorities carefully monitor all goods entering and leaving Gaza through checkpoints under their control. Despite these efforts, cigarettes have managed to pass for weeks inside aid trucks, mainly through the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza. To evade Israeli controls, traffickers in Egypt hide cigarettes in sacks…

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    NATO unity faces challenges amid leadership uncertainty

    Related media – Recent news As President Biden and his team prepared to celebrate NATO’s 75th anniversary, starting Tuesday night in Washington, the goal was to project unity and confidence. The intention was to send a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin and other adversaries that, despite more than two years of war in Ukraine, NATO had become stronger and more resolute in its mission to deter aggression. But as 38 world leaders began arriving on Monday, that confidence seemed to be wavering. Even before the summit officially began, doubts were raised about Biden’s potential for a second term…

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    Political changes in France after early elections

    Related media – Latest news After Sunday’s snap legislative elections in France, the nation faces a deadlocked parliament and significant political uncertainty. No major political factions, left, center or right, have won an outright majority. The left-wing New Popular Front emerged as the leading group with 178 seats. President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist coalition followed with 150 seats, while Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration Rassemblement National party and its allies secured 142 seats. Contrary to expectations, the National Rally did not win a clear victory. A strategic move by centrists and leftists to form a “republican front” against the National Rally in…

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    Motorcycles and chaos in eastern Ukraine

    More news – News 24 hours Russian motorcycle soldiers have introduced a new element of chaos to the fighting in eastern Ukraine, often using motorcycles, dirt bikes, quad bikes and dune buggies to quickly traverse open and exposed spaces. Lieutenant Mykhailo Hubitsky described these assaults: “They moved quickly, scattered and swerved.” These unconventional vehicles are now so common that Ukrainian trenches often overlook scrapyards of abandoned and exploded off-road vehicles. Moscow’s forces aim to make small tactical gains, often just a few hundred meters. Despite the high risk, these motorcycle assaults help Russian forces traverse minefields while being observed by…

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    Nigel Farage Makes His Parliament Debut

    Related media – Latest news Nigel Farage, known for his support of former President Donald J. Trump, his pivotal role in Brexit and his reputation as Britain’s most notorious political provocateur, has been elected to Parliament for the first time. At the helm of the emerging Reform UK party, Farage defied expectations by securing four seats in Parliament, beating many analysts’ predictions in a system that typically disadvantages smaller parties. His party platform has focused heavily on anti-immigration policies. Farage won a decisive victory in Clacton, a declining coastal town where pre-election polls had indicated strong support for him. The…

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    The Dark Charm of Russian Nihilistic Entertainment

    More news – Latest news The leader of the Universe gang, Vova, brother of Marat, has just returned from the harrowing Soviet-Afghan war. Despite the horrors he has witnessed, he seems unfazed, and his peers show no curiosity about his experiences. This sets the tone for the series: a world so devoid of meaning that it becomes impenetrable. Director Zhora Kryzhovnikov confines the camera to the stark, rectilinear apartment blocks, never venturing beyond. While the period details are surprisingly accurate, the true essence of Kazan remains elusive. The plot oscillates between frenetic activity and inertia. The play takes place at…

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    Kim Jong-un’s new pin symbolizes his noble personality cult

    Related media – Latest news At a recent meeting with the Workers’ Party in Pyongyang, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced a promising harvest and a new defense treaty with Russia. However, what attracted the most attention was the introduction of a new accessory: breast pins with the image of Kim Jong-un, as shown in photos by state media. The Kim family, in power in North Korea since 1948, has long been revered as a godlike figure. Portraits of Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, and his father, Kim Jong Il, adorn every home and office, and citizens are…

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    French far right scores big win in first round of elections, polls say

    More news – Recent news Initial projections show the Rassemblement National party won a sweeping victory in the first round of elections for the French National Assembly, bringing the nationalist and anti-immigration party to power for the first time. Polling projections suggest the party won about 34% of the vote, far more than President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Renaissance party and its allies, who garnered around 21%. The scores do not reliably predict the number of parliamentary seats each party will secure, but the National Rally is likely to be the largest force in the lower house, though not necessarily with…

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    Palestinian fighters in the West Bank draw inspiration from Gaza’s Hamas

    More news – Latest news The narrow alleys of the West Bank refugee camps are covered with black tarps to hide Palestinian fighters from Israeli drones. Green Hamas flags and banners of “martyrs” adorn buildings damaged by Israeli raids and airstrikes aimed at curbing the rising militancy fueled by the Gaza conflict. This scene, however, is not in Gaza or a traditional Hamas stronghold but in a refugee camp in Tulkarem, a city in Israeli-occupied West Bank where the moderate Palestinian faction Fatah has long held sway. Recently, I met Muhammad Jaber, a local commander, in one of these dusty,…

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    How architecture became one of Ukraine’s essential defenses

    Related media – Latest news The Ukrainian government and army have already started major reconstruction projects. Bucha and Irpin, the devastated suburbs of Kiev, have become important construction sites. Architect Norman Foster has been hired for a new master plan for Kharkiv, whose extraordinary density of modern architecture is exposed to almost daily bombing. But this exhibition continues to focus on informal, bottom-up efforts in Ukrainian architecture. It showcases the work of architects inside and outside the country, but also some of Ukraine’s most notable artists, not to mention the ravers and DJs from Kiev’s world-leading electronic music scene, who…