The Wizard of Oz

NEED TO KNOW The Wizard of Oz RUSSIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/db8acf88-8b4f-4b1c-bf9a-1e71d4eee94b.png"] More than 100,000 Russian troops have died since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, according to American estimates that Agence France-Presse cited. The same experts estimated that Ukraine likely has suffered a similar number of losses. Ukraine...

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A Game of Chicken

NEED TO KNOW A Game of Chicken RUSSIA/ UKRAINE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/2aaf5c8d-a4e6-42cf-9dd9-f761d6bfed83.png"] As Russian forces retreated from Kherson and Ukrainian forces poured into the strategic southern Ukrainian city, one could be forgiven for wondering if the world was seeing the beginning of the end of the war. Six weeks ago,...

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When War Is On The Ballot

NEED TO KNOW When War Is On The Ballot UKRAINE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/0108d265-986a-4f2e-735e-e3dde06919f5.png"] Western arms and financial support have been vital to Ukraine’s successes on the battlefield against Russia. But Western politicians who are unenthusiastic about supporting Ukraine are arguably gaining power around the world. The prospect of international support for...

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The Empire Strikes Back

NEED TO KNOW The Empire Strikes Back UNITED KINGDOM [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/db250264-45f9-48fa-be6e-ab4d2ef0d6a5.png"] Until 1947, the UK lorded over the Indian subcontinent, stealing its wealth and subjugating its people as the oh-so-superior colonial master. No one even a decade ago would have ever thought that a man whose ancestors were part of...

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Beaten, Not Broken

NEED TO KNOW Beaten, Not Broken UKRAINE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/0108d265-986a-4f2e-735e-e3dde06919f5.png"] Mercenaries from the Russian military contracting firm the Wagner Group held their ground around the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut last week. They kept attacking even as Ukrainians pushed back other Russian forces. As Forbes wrote, the Wagner fighters’ arguably...

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A Furry Election

NEED TO KNOW A Furry Election DENMARK [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/19f78c1e-e0c6-49d6-b264-eb1779028db9.png"] In November 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic was still raging, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen faced an agonizing decision. Covid-19 had been detected in some of the 17 million minks in the Nordic country’s massive fur industry. As Bloomberg reported,...

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Heroes and Villains

NEED TO KNOW Heroes and Villains NORWAY [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/65102137-137a-414d-a10e-0cd0d00c7aa4.png"] Norwegian authorities recently detained a Russian carrying two drones, photos and videos as he tried to return home via the far northern border, CBS News reported. The arrest followed sightings of drones flying off the Norwegian coast near oil and...

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Soft Upper Lip

NEED TO KNOW Soft Upper Lip UNITED KINGDOM [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/db250264-45f9-48fa-be6e-ab4d2ef0d6a5.png"] On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Liz Truss declared that she was not a quitter. The next day, she quit. And four days later, a new prime minister was announced. Truss is leaving after only 45 days in office, the shortest tenure...

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The Boogeyman

NEED TO KNOW The Boogeyman SLOVENIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/91af5831-13d6-a440-6055-3beb55c4774a.png"] In April, Slovenian voters tapped Robert Golob, leader of the Freedom Movement party, to replace as prime minister right-wing populist Janez Jansa, a longtime figure in Slovenian politics and an ally of Hungary’s illiberal nationalist Prime Minister, Viktor Orban. But Jansa remains...

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With Friends Like These

NEED TO KNOW With Friends Like These RUSSIA/ CAUCASUS [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/462de142-36fd-4c9d-12d5-2bb0dcbcfea0.png"] Armenians have a unique perspective on Russian power. On the farthest-most edge of Europe, the former Soviet republic in the Caucasus hosts a Russian army base and belongs to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance...

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Redefining the Mainstream

NEED TO KNOW Redefining the Mainstream EUROPEAN UNION [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/597ff6f5-aa2a-4913-81c8-7a38f364a41b.png"] A decade ago, right-wing populism in Europe was still viewed as an outlier, a political philosophy that might take root in Eastern Europe or Russia because of their histories, but not wealthy Western European powers where the free market...

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Great Russia

NEED TO KNOW Great Russia RUSSIA/ UKRAINE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/2aaf5c8d-a4e6-42cf-9dd9-f761d6bfed83.png"] When Ukrainian forces recently retook the city of Lyman from Russian occupiers, resident Elena Kharkovska was surprised to learn that Russian President Vladimir Putin had considered her to be one of his constituents for one day. Lacking electricity or communications...

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The Alpine Tremors

NEED TO KNOW The Alpine Tremors AUSTRIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/f03ece7b-c1d7-408a-bbc9-9e81273af469.png"] The president of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, recently suffered a concussion after falling while hiking in the Alps. As the Daily Beast reported, the 78-year-old Van der Bellen was briefly out of commission, a situation that likely made some...

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The Bear’s Market

NEED TO KNOW The Bear’s Market RUSSIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/db8acf88-8b4f-4b1c-bf9a-1e71d4eee94b.png"] Global economic growth will reach only three percent this year due to the lingering effects of Covid-19 and the economic ructions of the Russo-Ukraine War – think higher energy, food prices and other goods. Next year, for the same reasons,...

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Splitting the Chimera

NEED TO KNOW Splitting the Chimera BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/3eb41941-dc99-4c07-a44c-b49cace98355.png"] The leader of Republika Srpska, an enclave of ethnic Serbs seeking to break off from Bosnia and Herzegovina and become an independent state or unify with neighboring Serbia, recently met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. As...

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The Dangers of Desperation

NEED TO KNOW The Dangers of Desperation RUSSIA/ UKRAINE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/2aaf5c8d-a4e6-42cf-9dd9-f761d6bfed83.png"] The once-vaunted, now-demoralized Russian military could be on the brink of collapse – a retired British Air Marshal put the odds at 35 percent in a recent interview with Sky News. By now, seven months after the invasion of...

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Democracy by Fiat

NEED TO KNOW Democracy by Fiat SWITZERLAND [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/2b943183-27c5-4545-a4cd-06237a4dff08.png"] Much has been written about the benefits and dangers of democracy. Some in Europe and the Americas fear that their democracy is under threat. Others say that is nonsense. Chinese leaders, meanwhile, view the US as a decadent democracy while...

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A New, Cloudy Day

NEED TO KNOW A New, Cloudy Day UNITED KINGDOM [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/db250264-45f9-48fa-be6e-ab4d2ef0d6a5.png"] On Monday, hundreds of thousands of Britons lined up and millions more tuned in to say farewell to their queen. It was a spectacle full of pageantry befitting the reverence reserved for this beloved monarch who died this...

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Apple from the Tree

NEED TO KNOW Apple from the Tree ITALY [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/13ef7d88-e231-4aaa-9970-c3480223c0d5.png"] Over the years, liberal elites throughout Europe have fretted about the premiership of Silvio Berlusconi, the now 85-year-old media tycoon and conservative politician who has led Italy a few times since the 1990s and recently made a bid for...

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Humiliating Goliath

NEED TO KNOW Humiliating Goliath RUSSIA/ UKRAINE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/a702de3c-ba67-009a-ec81-bb85364aae07.png"] In the first few weeks of September, Ukrainian forces retook more than 2,300 square miles of territory that Russia had occupied. In what the BBC called “a potential breakthrough in the war,” Ukraine had control over cities in the northeastern...

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