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Emergency workers during an emergency response drill to simulate the aftermath of a dirty bomb explosion outside Madrid.

Emergency workers during an emergency response drill to simulate the aftermath of a dirty bomb explosion outside Madrid.

REUTERS/Andrea Comas

Information wars in Ukraine

The Russian and Ukrainian governments are working hard to persuade the world that the other side is planning to commit an atrocity. The Kremlin has claimed more than once in recent days that Ukrainian forces intend to set off a so-called “dirty bomb” as part of a plan to bolster Western support for Kyiv and add pressure on Moscow by blaming Russia for the attack. Ukrainian and Western officials warn that Russia has invented this story to hide its own plans to use banned weapons and that Russian forces are planning a radioactive “terrorist act” with material stolen from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant it continues to occupy. This is a reminder of two things. First, both sides know that information remains a powerful weapon of war. Second, international monitors are badly needed on the ground inside the war zone to separate fact from fiction. Russia’s credibility with Western governments is now close to zero, but nothing can be taken at face value during the active phase of a war.


Petro takes on Big Oil in Colombia

On the campaign trail, Colombia’s recently elected leftist President Gustavo Petro was perfectly clear about his intention to wean the country off of oil and coal exports. Now, just two months into his term, he’s taking steps to make good on that, setting up a big fight with the Colombian extractives industry. Petro wants oil and coal companies — which account for nearly 10% of Colombia’s GDP and half of exports — to foot almost half the bill for a massive new tax hike meant to fund expansive social spending plans. Critics worry that the move will stifle investment in the sector, but supporters say that’s precisely the point — to move beyond fossil fuels. The fight with the industry comes as Petro’s approval rating is suffering. It has fallen 10 points — to 46% — since he took office in August, and the peso is one of the world’s worst-performing currencies this year. See our recent interview with Petro here.
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Live digital event | Time for nature: Turning biodiversity risk into opportunity | Wed, Dec 14 | 8 am EST

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