Fronts and Faults

NEED TO KNOW Fronts and Faults MOLDOVA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/a19755da-0385-95db-b607-df0d274fdb27.png"] A few months ago, photos surfaced of Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko standing next to a map depicting battles that had occurred in Ukraine, battles that had yet to occur in Ukraine and, curiously, another former Soviet republic: Moldova. Specifically, reported the...

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Proximity Politics

[announcement] NEED TO KNOW Proximity Politics LITHUANIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/e7852ed7-2760-4e7e-a300-0fc715ec1ca8.png"] Few countries have supported Ukraine’s fight against Russia more than Lithuania, a former Soviet republic on the Baltic Sea bordering Russia whose leaders have made eminently clear that they will live free of Moscow’s influence or die. For example, earlier this year,...

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Wish You Weren’t Here

NEED TO KNOW Wish You Weren’t Here EUROPE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/f9c83d42-7d43-4e2f-a6d6-f7bf04744b7d.png"] International tourism is arguably the fundamental building block of globalization. Visiting a foreign country, meeting different folks, soaking in the sites, and experiencing a new culture, are for most people the first steps in understanding the world beyond their...

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Staying in the Ring

[announcement] NEED TO KNOW Staying in the Ring UKRAINE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/16e65182-4bbd-d2e9-5056-d970ee1ccd24.png"] More than two years after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to invade his western neighbor, Ukrainian forces are showing signs of breaking. In recent months, the Russians have reclaimed territory that Ukraine had seized back. Putin has been striking...

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Silent Treatment

NEED TO KNOW Silent Treatment KOSOVO [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/0999f062-2356-43ad-b3b8-f915c7878425.png"] Responding to a request from Serbia for a boycott, only around 1 percent of the ethnic Serb voters in the towns of Leposavic, Zubin Potok, Svecan, and North Mitrovica in the tiny Balkan country of Kosovo turned out last week to...

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Goodbye, Utopia

NEED TO KNOW Goodbye, Utopia DENMARK [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/19f78c1e-e0c6-49d6-b264-eb1779028db9.png"] In 1971, hippies began squatting on an abandoned naval base in Copenhagen, Denmark, creating a community called Freetown Christiania. Denizens of the 84-acre commune flouted drug laws, refused to pay their electricity bills, and regarded themselves as bohemians living alternative lifestyles. They...

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Finding a Foothold

NEED TO KNOW Finding a Foothold NORTH MACEDONIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/25d11fad-43db-4a14-978b-f58e4707a26b.png"] A symbol of international solidarity, University Hall, recently burned down in the North Macedonian capital of Skopje. The hall was built after a major earthquake in 1963 using donations from 35 countries, Euronews explained. The incident was ironic given how...

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Gangland Elections

NEED TO KNOW Gangland Elections CROATIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/51841b29-ea16-4792-be7e-e5a9b7adc01d.png"] Zoran Milanović caused a stir last month when he announced his candidacy for Croatia’s parliament as a member of the Social Democratic Party – with the goal of becoming prime minister. The problem was that Milanović was the president of Croatia when...

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The Return

[announcement] NEED TO KNOW The Return SPAIN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/9867eeee-5129-4a23-af3d-b9c85aeb55a9.png"] A plan to forgive Catalan separatists in Spain might have seemed like a political masterstroke when it was first conceived, but the future for Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his minority government in Madrid is still far from certain. The exiled...

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Up for Grabs

[announcement] NEED TO KNOW Up for Grabs SLOVAKIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/def5a447-d17d-4b18-8656-a0934b7c83eb.png"] Thousands of Slovaks took to the streets of their capital of Bratislava recently to protest the pro-Russian stance of Prime Minister Robert Fico and his Smer-SD political party. As Reuters reported, Fico has been critical of European military aid to...

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Vladimir the Determined

[announcement] NEED TO KNOW Vladimir the Determined RUSSIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/db8acf88-8b4f-4b1c-bf9a-1e71d4eee94b.png"] Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of the late Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, is urging Russians to protest when their country holds its presidential election from March 15 to 17. In a video rebroadcast on the BBC, Navalnaya called for voters to...

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Being There

NEED TO KNOW Being There EUROPEAN UNION [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/597ff6f5-aa2a-4913-81c8-7a38f364a41b.png"] Saxon State Minister for Economic Affairs, Labor, and Transport Martin Dulig recently said that Germany’s new immigration law would attract skilled Indian immigrants who would help Germany plug its labor shortages. As the Hindu reported, Saxony currently needs four million...

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The Masterful Player

NEED TO KNOW The Masterful Player ITALY [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/13ef7d88-e231-4aaa-9970-c3480223c0d5.png"] Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has been confronting twin crises. The first is low economic growth. The second involves the nearly 160,000 migrants arriving in the country’s Mediterranean waters last year, a 50 percent increase over 2022. Meanwhile, she has...

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Stinky Politics

[announcement] NEED TO KNOW Stinky Politics PORTUGAL [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/e9920e0b-df86-4240-9933-aed7de687bff.png"] In November, investigators searched the official residence of Portugal’s Socialist Prime Minister António Costa, as well as the environment and infrastructure ministries, looking for evidence of corruption, explained the Guardian. The prime minister then stepped down. Now, these corruption scandals might tip the...

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The Language of Families

NEED TO KNOW The Language of Families IRELAND [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/7cea72cc-1559-4005-a6ad-f3350418bc77.png"] Irish voters will cast ballots in a nationwide referendum on March 8 – International Women’s Day – to determine how their country’s constitution depicts families and motherhood. Advocates are seeking to alter the constitution in the largely Catholic, Western European...

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Family Feud

NEED TO KNOW Family Feud HUNGARY [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/f77307e3-d12d-4a63-bcb5-407e519df6dc.png"] Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whom the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs and others have described as illiberal because of his predilection for authoritarianism and admiration for Russia and China, has long portrayed himself as a defender of traditional family values. That...

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Forced Predictability

[announcement] NEED TO KNOW Forced Predictability BELARUS [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/3dffa11e-ac63-436f-a4ed-735a6dabc4a6.png"] Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko recently claimed that his security forces had captured Ukrainian and Belarusian “saboteurs” in a counterterrorism operation on the country’s border with Ukraine. Other than saying these so-called enemies were transferring explosives to use in Belarus and Russia,...

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Running Out the Clock

NEED TO KNOW Running Out the Clock UKRAINE/ RUSSIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/1fcd4036-786d-9ce0-309a-14f74105b898.png"] Near the front line in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, Ukrainian soldiers detail how two years of fighting their giant neighbor, Russia, is wearing them down, as they cope with losses, fatigue and shortages. Titushko, 39, explained to the Guardian...

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Seeding Fury

[announcement] NEED TO KNOW Seeding Fury EUROPEAN UNION [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/597ff6f5-aa2a-4913-81c8-7a38f364a41b.png"] In Italy, a sign on the front of a tractor flying the Italian tricolor in Turin in early February read, “Agriculture is dying!” as Euractiv wrote. To the north, in Germany, around 30,000 farmers and 5,000 tractors descended on Berlin,...

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An Election of One

NEED TO KNOW An Election of One AZERBAIJAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/00e51a13-ac1f-4599-999d-e15e3ad08ea2.png"] President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan recently ordered a snap presidential vote. He was slated to run for reelection next year. Now, for a variety of reasons that highlight the tensions and risks in the former Soviet region in the...

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