The New York Times 2024-02-04 07:24:39

U.S. and U.K. Launch Heavy Strikes on Houthi Sites in Yemen

U.S. and U.K. Launch Heavy Strikes on Houthi Sites in Yemen

The airstrikes, meant to deter attacks on ships in the Red Sea, came one day after the United States struck at other Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria.

Eric Schmitt and

Reporting from Washington

The United States and Britain carried out large-scale military strikes on Saturday against multiple sites in Yemen controlled by Houthi militants, according to a statement from the two countries and six allies, as the Biden administration continued its reprisal campaign in the Middle East targeting Iran-backed militias.

The attacks against 36 Houthi targets at 13 sites in northern Yemen came barely 24 hours after the United States carried out a series of military strikes against Iranian forces and the militias they support at seven sites in Syria and Iraq.

American and British warplanes, as well as Navy Tomahawk cruise missiles, hit deeply buried weapons storage facilities; missile systems and launchers; air defense systems; and radars in Yemen, the statement said. Australia, Bahrain, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand provided support, which officials said included intelligence and logistics assistance.

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Fear and Ambition Propel Xi’s Nuclear Acceleration

Nineteen days after taking power as China’s leader, Xi Jinping convened the generals overseeing the country’s nuclear missiles and issued a blunt demand. China had to be ready for possible confrontation with a formidable adversary, he said, signaling that he wanted a more potent nuclear capability to counter the threat.

Their force, he told the generals, was a “pillar of our status as a great power.” They must, Mr. Xi said, advance “strategic plans for responding under the most complicated and difficult conditions to military intervention by a powerful enemy,” according to an official internal summary of his speech in December 2012 to China’s nuclear and conventional missile arm, then called the Second Artillery Corps, which was verified by The New York Times.

Publicly, Mr. Xi’s remarks on nuclear matters have been sparse and formulaic. But his comments behind closed doors, revealed in the speech, show that anxiety and ambition have driven his transformative buildup of China’s nuclear weapons arsenal in the past decade.

From those early days, Mr. Xi signaled that a robust nuclear force was needed to mark China’s ascent as a great power. He also reflected fears that China’s relatively modest nuclear weaponry could be vulnerable against the United States — the “powerful enemy” — with its ring of Asian allies.

Now, as China’s nuclear options have grown, its military strategists are looking to nuclear weapons as not only a defensive shield, but as a potential sword — to intimidate and subjugate adversaries. Even without firing a nuclear weapon, China could mobilize or brandish its missiles, bombers and submarines to warn other countries against the risks of escalating into brinkmanship.

“A powerful strategic deterrent capability can force the enemy to pull back from rash action, subduing them without going to war,” Chen Jiaqi, a researcher at China’s National Defense University, wrote in a paper in 2021. “Whoever masters more advanced technologies, and develops strategic deterrent weapons that can leave others behind it in the dust, will have a powerful voice in times of peace and hold the initiative in times of war.”

This article draws on Mr. Xi’s internal speeches and dozens of People’s Liberation Army reports and studies, many in technical journals, to trace the motivations of China’s nuclear buildup. Some have been cited in recent studies of China’s nuclear posture; many others have not been brought up before.

Mr. Xi has expanded the country’s atomic arsenal faster than any other Chinese leader, bringing his country closer to the big league of the United States and Russia. He has doubled the size of China’s arsenal to roughly 500 warheads, and at this rate, by 2035, it could have around 1,500 warheads — roughly as many as Washington and Moscow each now deploy, U.S. officials have said. (The United States and Russia each have thousands more warheads mothballed.)

China is also developing an increasingly sophisticated array of missiles, submarines, bombers and hypersonic vehicles that can deliver nuclear strikes. It has upgraded its nuclear test site in its far western Xinjiang region, clearing the way for possible new underground tests, perhaps if a superpower arms race breaks out.

A major shift in China’s nuclear power and doctrine could deeply complicate its competition with the United States. China’s expansion has already set off intense debate in Washington about how to respond, and it has cast greater doubt on the future of major arms control treaties. All while U.S.-Russian antagonism is also raising the prospect of a new era of nuclear rivalry.

Mr. Xi and President Biden have calmed rancor since last year, but finding nuclear stability may be elusive if Beijing stays outside of major arms control treaties while Washington squares off against both Beijing and Moscow.

Crucially, China’s growing nuclear options could shape the future of Taiwan — the island democracy that Beijing claims as its own territory and that relies on the United States for security backing. In the coming years, Beijing may gain confidence that it can limit the intervention of Washington and its allies in any conflict.

In deciding Taiwan’s fate, China’s “trump card” could be a “powerful strategic deterrence force” to warn that “any external intervention will not succeed and cannot possibly succeed,” Ge Tengfei, a professor at China’s National University of Defense Technology, wrote in a Communist Party journal in 2022.

Since China first tested an atomic bomb in 1964, its leaders have said that they would never be “the first to use nuclear weapons” in a war. China, they reasoned, needed only a relatively modest set of nuclear weapons to credibly threaten potential adversaries that if their country was ever attacked with nuclear arms, it could wipe out enemy cities.

“In the long run, China’s nuclear weapons are just symbolic,” said Deng Xiaoping, China’s leader, in 1983, explaining Beijing’s stance to the visiting Canadian prime minister, Pierre Trudeau. “If China spent too much energy on them, we’d weaken ourselves.”

Even as China upgraded its conventional forces starting in the 1990s, its nuclear arsenal grew incrementally. When Mr. Xi took over as leader in 2012, China had about 60 intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting the United States.

China was already increasingly challenging its neighbors in territorial disputes and saw danger in the Obama administration’s efforts to shore up U.S. power across the Asia-Pacific. In a speech in late 2012, Mr. Xi warned his commanders that the United States was “stepping up strategic containment and encirclement around us.”

Beijing worried, too, that its nuclear deterrent was weakening. Chinese military analysts warned that the People’s Liberation Army’s missiles were growing vulnerable to detection and destruction as the United States made advances in military technology and built alliances in Asia.

Official Chinese accounts of history reinforced that fear. People’s Liberation Army studies often dwell on the Korean War and crises over Taiwan in the 1950s, when American leaders hinted that they could drop atomic bombs on China. Such memories have entrenched views in Beijing that the United States is inclined to use “nuclear blackmail.”

“We must have sharp weapons to protect ourselves and killer maces that others will fear,” Mr. Xi told People’s Liberation Army armaments officers in late 2014.

Late in 2015, he took a big step in upgrading China’s nuclear force. In his green suit as chairman of China’s military, he presided over a ceremony in which the Second Artillery Corps, the custodian of China’s nuclear missiles, was reborn as the Rocket Force, elevated to a service alongside the army, navy and air force.

The Rocket Force’s mission, Mr. Xi told its commanders, included “enhancing a credible and reliable nuclear deterrent and nuclear counterstrike capability” — that is, an ability to survive an initial attack and hit back with devastating force.

China is not only on a quest for more warheads. It is also focused on concealing and shielding the warheads, and on being able to launch them more quickly and from land, sea or air. The newly elevated Rocket Force has added a powerful voice to that effort.

Researchers from the Rocket Force wrote in a study in 2017 that China should emulate the United States and seek “nuclear forces sufficient to balance the new global situation, and ensure that our country can win the initiative in future wars.”

China’s nuclear deterrent long relied heavily on units dug into tunnels deep in remote mountains. Soldiers are trained to go into hiding in tunnels for weeks or months, deprived of sunlight, regular sleep and fresh air while they try to stay undetected by enemies, according to medical studies of their grueling routine.

“If war comes,” said a Chinese state television report in 2018, “this nuclear arsenal that shuttles underground will break cover where the enemy least expects and fire off its missiles.”

The Rocket Force expanded quickly, adding at least 10 new brigades, an increase of about one-third, within a few years, according to a study published by the U.S. Air Force’s China Aerospace Studies Institute. China has also added more road- and rail-mobile missile launchers to try to outfox American satellites and other detection technology.

Chinese fears of American abilities have nonetheless remained. Even as China was rolling out road-mobile missiles, some experts from the People’s Liberation Army argued that they could be tracked by ever more sophisticated satellites.

A solution, some analysts from the Rocket Force argued in 2021, was to also build clusters of launch silos for missiles, forcing U.S. forces to try to detect which ones housed real missiles and which ones had dummies, making it “even harder to wipe them out in one blow.”

Other Chinese studies made similar arguments for silos, and Mr. Xi and his commanders seemed to heed them. The boldest move so far in his nuclear expansion has been three vast fields of 320 or so missile silos built in northern China. The silos, safely distant from U.S. conventional missiles, can hold missiles capable of hitting the United States.

The expansion, though, has hit turbulence. Last year, Mr. Xi abruptly replaced the Rocket Force’s two top commanders, an unexplained shake-up that suggests its growth has been troubled by corruption. This year, nine senior Chinese military officers were expelled from the legislature, indicating an widening investigation.

The upheaval could slow China’s nuclear weapons plans in the short term, but Mr. Xi’s long-term ambitions appear set. At a Communist Party congress in 2022, he declared that China must keep building its “strategic deterrence forces.”

And even with hundreds of new silos, Chinese military analysts find new sources of worry. Last year, Chinese rocket engineers proposed reinforcing silos to better shield missiles from precision attacks. “Only that can make sure that the our side is able to deliver a lethal counterstrike in the event of a nuclear attack,” they wrote.

Chinese leaders have said that they want peaceful unification with Taiwan, but may use force if they deem that other options are spent. If Beijing moved to seize Taiwan, the United States could intervene to defend the island, and China may calculate that its expanded nuclear arsenal could present a potent warning.

Chinese military officers have issued blustery warnings of nuclear retaliation over Taiwan before. Now, China’s threats could carry more weight.

Its expanding array of missiles, submarines and bombers could convey credible threats to not just cities in the continental United States, but to American military bases on, say, Japan or Guam. The risk of a conventional clash spiraling into nuclear confrontation could hang over decisions. Chinese military analysts have argued that Russian nuclear warnings constrained NATO countries in their response to the invasion of Ukraine.

“The ladder of escalation that they can apply now is much more nuanced,” said Bates Gill, the executive director of Asia Society Policy Institute’s Center for China Analysis. “The implicit message is not just: ‘We could nuke Los Angeles.’ Now it’s also: ‘We could wipe out Guam, and you don’t want to risk escalation if we do.’”

Beijing’s options include 200 or so DF-26 missile launchers, which can swap between conventional and nuclear warheads and hit targets across Asia. Chinese official media have described Rocket Force units practicing such swaps, and boasted during a military parade about the missile’s dual convention-nuclear role — the kind of disclosure meant to spook rivals.

In a real confrontation, Washington could face difficult decisions over whether potential targets for strikes in China may include nuclear-armed missile units, and in an extreme whether an incoming DF-26 missile may be nuclear.

“That’s going to be a really tough decision for any U.S. president — to trust that whatever advice he’s getting is not risking nuclear escalation for the sake of Taiwan,” said John K. Culver, a former C.I.A. senior analyst who studies the Chinese military. “As soon as the U.S. starts bombing mainland China, no one is going to be able to tell the U.S. president with conviction exactly where China’s line is.”

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Welcome to ‘Dalifornia,’ an Oasis for China’s Drifters and Dreamers

To find the dance circle in the bed-and-breakfast’s courtyard, drive north from the bedsheet factory converted into a crafts market, toward the vegan canteen urging diners to “walk barefoot in the soil and bathe in the sunshine.” If you see the unmanned craft beer bar where customers pay on the honor system, you’ve gone too far.

Welcome to the Chinese mountain city of Dali, also sometimes known as Dalifornia, an oasis for China’s disaffected, drifting or just plain curious.

The city’s nickname is a homage to California, and the easy-living, tree-hugging, sun-soaked stereotypes it evokes. It is also a nod to the influx of tech employees who have flocked there since the rise of remote work during the pandemic, to code amid the picturesque surroundings, nestled between snow-capped, 10,000-foot peaks in southwest China, on the shores of glistening Erhai Lake.

Map locates the city of Dali in southwest China, on the shores of Erhai Lake.

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U.S. Strikes Test Iran’s Will to Escalate

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As Iran and the United States assessed the damage done by American airstrikes in Syria and Iraq on Friday, the initiative suddenly shifted to Tehran and its pending decision whether to respond or to take the hit and de-escalate.

The expectation in Washington and among its allies is that the Iranians will choose the latter course, seeing no benefit in getting into a shooting war with a far larger power, with all the risks that implies. But it is not yet clear whether the varied proxy forces that have conducted scores of attacks on American bases and ships — and that rely on Iran for money, arms and intelligence — will conclude that their interests, too, are served by backing off.

The Houthis, an Iran-backed rebel group that controls parts of Yemen, have continued to attack ships in the Red Sea despite a series of American strikes, including one on Saturday, meant to deter them.

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After the Quake: One Turkish Family’s Struggle

Ben Hubbard and

Ben Hubbard and Safak Timur were present when four members of the Karapirli family were pulled from their collapsed apartment building in Gaziantep, Turkey. Over the past year, with the photographer Emin Ozmen, they visited the family members repeatedly and interviewed their doctors, relatives and friends to track their recovery.

Read in Turkish

Finally, 106 days after the ambulances rushed their battered bodies to the hospital, the couple were cleared to leave.

Ibrahim Karapirli hobbled back from physical therapy on crutches to protect his aching leg. His wife, Pinar, wrangled their twin toddlers, unsure how she would care for them with her one remaining arm.

The couple were still mourning their two sons who were killed when a powerful earthquake pancaked their six-story apartment building in southern Turkey before dawn last February.

Ibrahim and Pinar piled about a dozen plastic bags holding their possessions atop a wheelchair, bade the nurses goodbye and went to their car.

“God, please don’t let us end up here again,” Pinar said.

Ibrahim drove, despite a hulking plastic brace on his right leg. He was anxious to return to work and find a safe new home for his family, if it were possible for them to feel safe anywhere. As he pulled into traffic, a Turkish pop song mourning a lost love came on the stereo.

“Day after day, I have to forget about you,” the singer crooned. “Did you think our tears were over?”

For Ibrahim, 47, Pinar, 35, and their 2½-year-old twins, Elcin and Eray, the year since the Feb. 6 earthquake has been a painful quest to cobble together a new life, piece by piece, trauma by trauma.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake, followed by a second violent temblor hours later, was the broadest and most deadly in the region in hundreds of years. It ambushed people as they slept, killing more than 53,000 in Turkey and injuring many more, and toppling so many buildings that some areas have barely begun to recover.

The Turkish government has promoted its recovery efforts, focusing on the aid delivered and the new buildings rising across the quake zone. But for the Karapirlis, who live in Gaziantep, that aid has failed to address their most pressing needs.

They have worked to repair and relearn to use their bodies. They have struggled to find a home they do not fear will kill them the next time the ground shakes.

The family members have had some hopeful moments, when strangers welcomed them into a new home, when their injuries waned, and when the twins finally stopped fearing their parents. And they have found new ways to care for each other while coping with the bottomless ache of all they have lost.

That four of the six members of the Karapirli family are alive at all is in many ways miraculous.

When the earthquake struck at 4:17 a.m., Pinar screamed to wake up the couple’s older sons, Erdem, 10, and Enes, 9. Then she rushed to the hallway to hand the twins to Ibrahim. They heard an overwhelming crack as the floor fell and the ceiling crashed down.

They landed in the dark, trapped in ruins. Ibrahim was kneeling, with rubble crushing his right leg. He was still holding the twins, who were unhurt.

Pinar was buried nearby with her arms raised as if surrendering to an armed robber. She had so much debris in her mouth initially that she could not scream. Erdem was entwined with her, his feet on her legs.

They called out to each other to see who was alive. Enes did not respond. Pinar had seen a hunk of concrete fall on him, and they guessed he was dead.

It was snowing, and they talked as the cold seeped in and the hours ticked by. The twins cried, and Ibrahim guessed they were thirsty. Desperate, he considered giving them his urine, but he was pinned in such an awkward position that he could not even pee. He gave them his tears, but then worried that the salt would exacerbate their thirst. So he gave them blood from a wound on his arm.

Erdem, who attended a religious school, recited scripture and did the Muslim call to prayer to keep their spirits up. Later, he grew angry.

“Enough is enough!” he yelled. “Why aren’t you coming to save us?”

On the second day, they heard voices. Ibrahim yelled, and a rescue crew burrowed down from the roof toward the family. By the time they reached them, Erdem had fallen silent. Pinar later recalled feeling the life leave his body.

Finally, 38 hours after the collapse, the rescuers took the twins from Ibrahim and passed them hand to hand down the rubble.

Ibrahim told them to save Pinar, who some of the rescuers assumed was already dead. They dug her out, laid her on a stretcher and lowered her to the street with a crane.

Then came Ibrahim, who wanted to smoke a cigarette and say goodbye to Erdem before he left the site. But the rescuers worried about his condition and rushed him to the hospital.

“I didn’t get that last cigarette,” he said, “nor to embrace my son.”

Ten of the 21 people in their building at the time ended up dead. The boys’ bodies were recovered and buried in a nearby cemetery. Their parents were in such grave condition that neither could attend their funeral.

“It was a life going beautifully,” Ibrahim said. “Then you fall into nothingness.”

Their family had begun years before, after Ibrahim saw Pinar in a photograph on a relative’s phone. Dating her was not an option because her family was conservative, so Ibrahim’s family went to visit hers. The couple were allowed only 20 minutes alone together, but both came out feeling optimistic. They were married less than two months later and danced with their friends to a live band.

Ibrahim worked in a bank, wore his hair in a slicked-back ponytail and lived his joys and furies out loud. Pinar was a few years out of high school and spoke softly even among her friends, who considered her fiercely loyal. He was 32, she was 20.

Their first son, Erdem, was born in 2012. Enes followed the next year.

The couple stretched their finances to buy an apartment that had been seized by the bank. It had four bedrooms and a large balcony overlooking a park. They often left the windows open so the perfume of blooming hyacinths and the sounds of summer concerts could waft up from below.

The boys learned to walk, talk and ride bikes in the streets, later wearing small ponytails like their father’s.

“We loved that place,” Pinar said, “and everyone who visited loved the place too.”

Ibrahim eventually left his job at the bank, and he and Pinar opened a sweet shop. A Bouquet of Cake, they called it. Soon, they were getting 100 orders for Valentine’s Day and had 6,000 followers on Instagram, where they lured in customers with their fruit bouquets and romantic medleys of rose-shaped cakes and strawberries dipped in chocolate.

In 2020, Pinar discovered she was pregnant again. One day, she returned home from a checkup looking terrified.

“Did you miscarry?” Ibrahim asked.

“No, it’s worse,” she said. “Twins!”

They arrived in June 2021, and Pinar could not keep up with four children and the shop, so they sold the business and Ibrahim got a job as a finance manager for a municipal company that built affordable housing.

About a year later, a small earthquake shook Gaziantep. Ibrahim felt the apartment tremble, but like most people in a region known for its long history of dangerous quakes, the family hoped for the best.

“All the neighbors were telling me, ‘Ibrahim, never sell this apartment!’” he said.

When the rescuers pulled out Ibrahim, his femur was broken in at least seven places, and his lower leg was crushed. The doctors operated repeatedly, screwing a rod to his bone to hold it together. Pinar’s face was so swollen that the twins did not recognize her. After three weeks of surgeries to save her arm, the doctors decided it should be amputated.

Ibrahim consoled Pinar, who said she feared not being able to wash or feed the twins or take care of herself. Ibrahim promised to help, to bathe and dress her, and never to grow tired of her.

“I will be your arm,” he told her.

With time and repeated surgeries, they stabilized and began rehabilitation. Ibrahim wore a leg brace and did excruciating physical therapy every day for his knee and ankle. He could barely walk, so he used a wheelchair to get to the hospital’s outdoor terrace, where he smoked, thought about his sons and cried alone.

Pinar could walk, but a large wound in her armpit opened and bled if she moved her shoulder too much. Still, when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan ended in April and guests visited the family for the holiday, she was well enough to receive their gifts of sweets and flowers. She served snacks, tea and coffee as they crowded onto a couch, a cot and a wheelchair around Ibrahim’s and Pinar’s beds.

The guests included another survivor from their building who had been trapped in the rubble by her hair until a firefighter passed her a knife so she could hack herself free. She had three cracked vertebrae and was still missing a chunk of hair, but said she had been lucky compared with Ibrahim and Pinar.

A firefighter who had found Pinar in the rubble and doubted that she was alive also visited.

“I am so happy to see you like this,” he told her.

The twins, who had been staying with Ibrahim’s brother, arrived dressed up for the holiday. Eray wore a crisp white shirt and black pants with suspenders, Elcin a black velvet hoodie covered with red sequins and a Hello Kitty bow in her hair.

They had visited the hospital frequently but had avoided their parents, as if they feared them. Did they associate them with those terrifying hours in the rubble? Were they scared of their injuries? No one knew. They easily recognized their brothers in photographs, but did not know they were gone.

The adults tried to keep the mood festive, but Ibrahim’s worries pulled him into forlorn silences. When would they heal enough to leave the hospital? Where would they live? How would they go on without their sons?

That morning, before the guests came, he had wheeled himself to the terrace and smoked while looking at a shopping center across the street where he used to take the boys. Each year, he said, he had bought them new outfits for the holiday. Enes, excited about the new clothes, had wanted to wear them ahead of time, when the students received their grades.

“I didn’t allow him to do it,” Ibrahim said. “And he never managed to wear them.”

As summer approached, Ibrahim’s and Pinar’s thoughts turned to life after the hospital. The question was where to live. Their own home was gone; any talk of rebuilding was highly preliminary; and they could not crowd in with Ibrahim’s brother’s family.

A man Ibrahim knew through work offered them an apartment rent-free for six months and promised to charge a reasonable rent thereafter. It was their only real option, so they took it.

The apartment was unfurnished, a painful reminder that they had also lost all of their possessions. They had no furniture, no kitchenware, no appliances, no linens, nor even much clothing — not to mention the other sundry items that fill up a home.

So on the day they left the hospital, nearly four months after the earthquake, they stuffed everything they owned in plastic bags that fit easily in the car.

“Did you think our tears were over?” the singer on the stereo repeated as they drove.

Approaching their new home, they were troubled to see how tall the building was: nine stories on top of a parking garage and a row of shops. Their apartment was on the top floor, leading them to imagine how far they would fall if it too collapsed in a quake.



They arrived to find their door decorated with streamers and balloons and the interior outfitted with furniture and housewares provided by a friend. The neighbors gave Pinar a bouquet of white flowers.

Everyone stepped inside and Pinar followed, looking at the group and smiling.

“Welcome,” she said, and broke into tears.

By then, their former building had been scraped down to the foundation, its remains dumped outside of town. In July, the surviving residents were allowed to watch as an excavator combed through the wreckage to see if they could find their stuff.

“It was like trying to dig a pit with a needle,” Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim hoped to find his collection of Zippo lighters, a copper drum, an antique radio, a sword that had belonged to his grandfather and some gold jewelry that Pinar had received from her mother. The real treasures would have been a hard drive, two computers and Ibrahim’s iPhone, all of which had held photographs of the boys.



But hours of digging yielded little: coats the boys had outgrown, a crumpled bicycle, a broken bed and Erdem’s backpack and wallet, moldy from the rain. The latter contained his transit card, which Pinar still carries in her purse.

After the earthquake, Ibrahim and Pinar felt the broad wave of generosity that swept across Turkey. But as time passed, most of the country moved on, and amid the couple’s continuing needs and medical battles, they came to feel estranged from other people.

There were those who, right after the earthquake, promised to help the couple, only to respond vaguely when Ibrahim followed up.

The couple resented friends and relatives who suggested, sometimes overtly, that they just needed to get over what happened and get on with life.



“Everybody forgot about everything,” Pinar said. “Right now, whoever tells me he understands me, he cannot.”

Ibrahim returned to work, but his salary could not cover the blow the quake had dealt to the family’s finances. He hated needing assistance.

“I always prayed to God to make me the giving hand, not the taking hand,” he said. “But now I need help.”

Their trials brought them closer as they compensated for each other’s injuries. Pinar drove Ibrahim to work with her one arm and took him food and tea when his leg was propped up. He helped her with two-handed tasks, tied her hair back, cut her fingernails.

Their emotional bond grew stronger, too, forged through shared grief.

“We have been through the same thing,” Pinar said. “We have the same pain — he as a father, I as a mother.”



She saved Ibrahim’s number in her phone as “My Companion in Suffering.”

More than two months after they left the hospital, Ibrahim was walking down the hall when his leg let out a crack so loud that his mother heard it in the living room and ran to find him moaning on the floor. He had broken his femur again, meaning yet another surgery and a second rod in his leg.

Half-conscious after the operation, he began talking about the boys, his voice getting louder as an attendant wheeled him back to his room.

“I couldn’t save you,” he cried, bringing family members and the hospital attendant to tears. “Erdem died! Enes died!”



Pinar took his hand and he opened his eyes.

“Pinar, they are gone!” he said.

Now he would be laid up for weeks — again. And the new apartment did not put them at ease, especially after they discovered cracks in the walls of the living room and their bedroom.

In the twins’ room, they kept a geography project that Erdem had done, with a volcano, a mountain, a peninsula and a sea made out of painted Styrofoam. He had left it at school before the quake, and his teacher had given it to Pinar after his death, the only thing they had made by his hands.

After a small earthquake in August frightened them, they started sleeping in a vacation bungalow owned by the municipality near a reservoir outside of town. It was a simple, one-story structure, with two rooms and basic furniture, built for tourists.



But they never really settled there, either.

Every day, Pinar and Ibrahim’s mother took care of the twins at the ninth-floor apartment and prepared a picnic dinner. When Ibrahim got off work, Pinar, with her one arm, drove the family to the bungalow, where they ate from disposable plates using plastic forks and drank from paper cups. They slept there, and in the morning, they packed the place up, only to repeat the same drill that night.

It was a bit like camping, but it felt safer than their new apartment.

“When the building shakes, there is nowhere to escape,” Ibrahim said one day at the bungalow. “Here, you can just run outside.”

Pinar struggled to close zippers and open jars. To fasten her veil on her head. The indignities of living with one arm never ceased, like the time she scraped the car in a parking garage and ran up the ramp in tears, feeling useless. Or the time her son grasped at her hand and was puzzled to find only an empty sleeve. She cried for hours after that.

But she adjusted. She got a purse she could close with one hand. The twins helped her change their diapers, holding the flaps in place as she fastened them.

She felt helpless in the kitchen, until an inspiring woman came to her aid.

Ezgi Kasisari was a Turk living in Britain. She had lost the use of her left arm to multiple sclerosis and had taken to social media to show how she was not only adapting, but living exuberantly.



“Born to be a miracle,” her Instagram bio declared.

Pinar saw a video of Ezgi cutting food with one hand on a special cutting board and messaged to ask where to get one. They chatted. The next time Ezgi came to Turkey, she brought Pinar a cutting board.

It had rubber feet and a suction cup to keep it steady, pins to hold produce and meat in place for cutting with one hand and an attachment for opening jars.

Soon after, Pinar sent a photograph of chopped carrots, greens, tomatoes and cabbage to a WhatsApp group of her friends.



“Girls, I made the salad on my own,” she wrote. “I also cooked today’s meal without getting help from anyone.”

Her friends flooded the chat with joyful emojis.

As the anniversary of the earthquake approached, Ibrahim and Pinar were still healing, slowly.

The government had stopped paying for their medical care when they left the hospital, but they got free physical therapy through Ibrahim’s work and went most days.

Pinar did exercises that tore the skin in her armpit and made it bleed. The goal was to make her shoulder strong and flexible enough to support a myoelectric arm, a prosthetic with movable fingers that she could operate with the muscles in her stump. But they were expensive, and it was not clear who would pay for it.

She also had phantom pains in her missing arm that sometimes felt like her wrist was being electrocuted.



“The part that doesn’t exist aches,” she said.

Ibrahim’s femur appeared to be healing better the second time, and he was working to regain mobility in his knee and ankle. But his injuries had left his right leg more than an inch shorter than his left, which could be fixed only with a complicated surgery that would take him off his feet for months.

He could not bear the thought and said he would wear a lift in his shoe instead — as soon as could walk without crutches.

In late December, a sharp pain erupted in his abdomen and he was hospitalized with severe gallbladder inflammation. His doctor said that its cause was unclear, but that the trauma of the earthquake could have played a role.

After yet another surgery, he and Pinar returned to the apartment on the ninth floor with the cracks in the walls because the weather had gotten too cold to sleep at the bungalow.

Their efforts to find a new home of their own had hit dead ends.

Their main asset before the quake had been their apartment. But with the building gone, all they owned was a share of the property deed for a now-empty plot of land.



The government has announced a program of grants and low-cost financing to help survivors like them rebuild. But even one year after the quake, Ibrahim, Pinar and their former neighbors have failed to get clear guidelines on what they are allowed to build. They are all also grieving, making it hard for them to agree on a plan and navigate the bureaucracy.

Ibrahim was torn. He dreamed of buying a stand-alone house that was less likely to collapse in an earthquake. But they could not afford to buy one outright and were still mourning the loss of the building where they had been so happy.

“There are memories on every stone,” Pinar said of their old neighborhood.

Recently, Pinar’s friend Fatma Kaplan took her to buy a new iron. As they drove home, Pinar told Fatma that the woman who had bought the sweet shop from her and Ibrahim had gotten in touch to say that she had found old voice messages from the boys on the business’s WhatsApp account. Did Pinar want them?



“Are you crazy?” she had replied. “Of course, I want them!”

There were more than a dozen messages, each a time capsule from a lost life.

Pinar played them out loud in the car.

There the boys were, their voices pouring out of her phone, joking, engaging in adolescent antics and saying they were soooooo hungry to persuade her to make a favorite dish.

Fatma cried so much she could not see the road. Pinar laughed with sheer joy.

“When you listen to them, you smile,” she said. “As if they are alive. As if they have just gone somewhere and will come back soon. It is not like a year has passed. It is like yesterday.”

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Wildfires Threaten 2 Chilean Cities, Destroying 1,000 Homes and Killing Dozens

Forest fires ripping through central Chile’s coastal hills since Friday have killed at least 51 people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes, with many more feared dead, according to the national government.

The wildfires are encroaching on Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, two cities that form a sprawling region that is home to more than one million people on Chile’s central coastline, about 75 miles northeast of the capital, Santiago.

Just after midday, President Gabriel Boric flew over the area in a helicopter and said his government had worked to “secure the greatest resources” in Chile’s history to fight the blazes during the country’s wildfire season, which typically hits during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer and reaches a peak in February.

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Germany Braces for Decades of Confrontation With Russia

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has begun warning Germans that they should prepare for decades of confrontation with Russia — and that they must speedily rebuild the country’s military in case Vladimir V. Putin does not plan to stop at the border with Ukraine.

Russia’s military, he has said in a series of recent interviews with German news media, is fully occupied with Ukraine. But if there is a truce, and Mr. Putin, Russia’s president, has a few years to reset, he thinks the Russian leader will consider testing NATO’s unity.

“Nobody knows how or whether this will last,” Mr. Pistorius said of the current war, arguing for a rapid buildup in the size of the German military and a restocking of its arsenal.

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Northern Ireland Has a Sinn Fein Leader. It’s a Landmark Moment.

As Michelle O’Neill walked down the marble staircase in Northern Ireland’s Parliament building on Saturday, she appeared confident and calm. She smiled briefly as applause erupted from supporters, but her otherwise serious gaze conveyed the gravity of the moment.

The political party she represents, Sinn Fein, was shaped by the decades-long, bloody struggle of Irish nationalists in the territory who dreamed of reuniting with the Republic of Ireland and undoing the 1921 partition that has kept Northern Ireland under British rule.

Now, for the first time, a Sinn Fein politician holds Northern Ireland’s top political office, a landmark moment for the party and for the broader region as a power-sharing government is restored. The first minister role had previously always been held by a unionist politician committed to remaining part of the United Kingdom.

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Senegal’s President Calls Off a National Election. His Critics Call It a Coup.

Senegal’s president has canceled the election for his replacement three weeks before voting was set to take place, saying that a dispute between the legislative and judicial arms of government needed to be resolved first.

Speaking on Saturday afternoon from the presidential palace in Dakar, Senegal’s capital, his words live-streamed on his social media platforms, President Macky Sall said that he was repealing the decree convening the electoral body, effectively postponing elections indefinitely.

But his opponents said he was essentially carrying out a coup d’état, and accused him of treason.

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Mideast Crisis : U.S. and U.K. Launch Heavy Strikes on Houthi Sites in Yemen

The U.S. and Britain carry out strikes on 13 Houthi sites in Yemen.

The United States and Britain carried out large-scale military strikes on Saturday against multiple sites in Yemen controlled by Houthi militants, according to a statement from the two countries and six allies, as the Biden administration continued its reprisal campaign in the Middle East targeting Iran-backed militias.

The attacks against 36 Houthi targets at 13 sites in northern Yemen came barely 24 hours after the United States carried out a series of military strikes against Iranian forces and the militias they support at seven sites in Syria and Iraq.

American and British warplanes, as well as Navy Tomahawk cruise missiles, hit deeply buried weapons storage facilities; missile systems and launchers; air defense systems; and radars in Yemen, the statement said. Australia, Bahrain, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand provided support, which officials said included intelligence and logistics assistance.

“These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of innocent mariners, and are in response to a series of illegal, dangerous and destabilizing Houthi actions since previous coalition strikes,” the statement said, referring to major attacks by the United States and Britain last month.

The attacks were the second-largest salvo since the allies first struck Houthi targets on Jan. 11. They came after a week in which the Houthis had been particularly defiant, launching several attack drones and cruise and ballistic missiles at merchant vessels and U.S. Navy warships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

The American-led air and naval strikes began last month in response to dozens of Houthi drone and missile attacks against commercial shipping in the Red Sea since November. The Houthis claim their attacks are in protest of Israel’s military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

The United States and several allies had repeatedly warned the Houthis of serious consequences if the salvos did not stop. But the U.S.-led strikes have so far failed to deter the Houthis from attacking shipping lanes to and from the Suez Canal that are critical for global trade. Hundreds of ships have been forced to take a lengthy detour around southern Africa, driving up costs.

“Our military operations against the Zionist entity will continue until the aggression against Gaza stops, no matter what sacrifices it demands from us,” a senior Houthi official said in response to the latest attacks. “We will meet escalation with escalation.”

While the Biden administration maintains that it is not looking to widen the war in the region, the strikes over the past two days represent an escalation.

In scope, the strikes in Yemen were roughly the size of U.S. and British attacks on Jan. 22, but smaller than the salvos on Jan. 11, officials said.

The strikes on Saturday came after a back-and-forth exchange of more limited attacks in the previous 36 hours between the Houthis and U.S. forces in the Red Sea and nearby waters.

At about 10:30 a.m. local time on Friday, the destroyer Carney shot down a drone flying over the Gulf of Aden. Six hours later, the United States attacked four Houthi attack drones that the military’s Central Command said were about to launch and threaten merchant ships in the Red Sea. At about 9:20 p.m., U.S. forces struck cruise missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen after determining they presented a threat to vessels in the region, Central Command said in another release. And about five hours after that, early Saturday, the destroyer Laboon and FA-18 attack planes shot down seven drones flying over the Red Sea.

Then on Saturday night, before the planned strikes, the United States hit six Houthi anti-ship cruise missiles as they were being prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea, Central Command said.

So far, the Biden administration has been trying to chip away at the ability of the Houthis to menace merchant ships and military vessels without killing large numbers of Houthi fighters and commanders, which could potentially unleash even more mayhem into a widening war.

“I don’t see how these airstrikes achieve U.S. objectives or avoid further regional escalation,” said Stacey Philbrick Yadav, a Yemen specialist at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. “While they may degrade Houthi capabilities in the short term, the group’s leadership has vowed to continue its Red Sea attacks and to retaliate in response to these airstrikes.”

Saturday’s strikes came as the U.S. military had begun assessing the dozens of airstrikes it conducted Friday night that hit 85 targets at seven sites in Iraq and Syria.

The strikes were in retaliation for a drone attack on a remote outpost in Jordan last Sunday that killed three American soldiers. Washington has suggested that an Iran-linked Iraqi militia, Kataib Hezbollah, was behind that attack.

Syria and Iraq said Friday’s strikes killed at least 39 people — 23 in Syria and 16 in Iraq — a toll that the Iraqi government said included civilians.

The multiple strikes left the region on edge, though analysts said they seemed designed to avoid a confrontation with Iran by focusing on the operational capabilities of the militias.

“We do not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else,” the U.S. defense secretary, Lloyd J. Austin III, said after the Friday strikes, “but the president and I will not tolerate attacks on American forces.”

The reaction from Iranian officials to Friday’s round of strikes was condemnatory but not inflammatory. A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, said the U.S. attacks represented “another strategic mistake,” but did not speak about striking back.

Syria and Iraq denounced the U.S. strikes in their countries as violations of their sovereignty, adding that the attacks would only impede the fight against Islamic State militants.

Washington not only calibrated the attacks to avoid stoking a broader war, but had openly warned that they were coming days in advance of the strikes, said Maha Yahya, the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, Lebanon. Both sides, she added, had sought ways to attack that remained “below a threshold that would spell an all-out war.”

The stakes of this particular American bombing were high, given rising tensions across the Middle East because of the war in Gaza and related violence it has fueled elsewhere in the region.

Since the deadly Hamas-led assault on Israel on Oct. 7, and Israel’s retaliatory bombing campaign and ground invasion in Gaza, Iran-backed militias have carried out more than 160 attacks on U.S. forces in the region, as well as on commercial ships in the Red Sea.

The Houthis in Yemen have said they will not stop the attacks in the Red Sea until there is a cease-fire in Gaza. Mr. Kanaani, the Iranian foreign minister, echoed that sentiment, saying on Saturday that the “unlimited support for the U.S.” for Israel was a main driver of regional tensions.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will return to the region this week to continue negotiations on the release of Israeli hostages and a temporary cease-fire. More than 27,000 Palestinian have died in the conflict, according to Gazan health officials, and about 1,200 Israelis have been killed, Israeli officials said. More than 100 hostages kidnapped from Israel in the Oct. 7 assault remain captive in Gaza.

The three U.S. soldiers killed in Jordan were the first to die in Gaza-related military violence since the war began. The United States said it struck only targets associated with militias backed by Iran that had been involved in the attack on the base in Jordan, or in other offensives against U.S. troops.

But the United States did not attack Iran itself, despite its status as the patron and overall coordinator of these militias. Nor did it strike Hezbollah in Lebanon, the most powerful of Iran’s regional proxies, which has been battling Israeli troops along the Lebanon-Israel border throughout the war in Gaza.

That fits with the United States’ efforts to keep its own military activities separate from those of Israel, which says it is seeking to destroy Hamas.

How successful the new strikes will be in degrading the military capabilities of Iran and its proxies — or in deterring them from attacking the United States — remains an open question.

Iran created its network, with affiliates in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, to extend its influence and give it a way to strike foes without having to do so itself, analysts say. Anti-Iran hawks in the United States and the Middle East often argue that attacking the proxies without hitting Iran is a waste of time.

Ms. Yahya of the Carnegie Center said she did not expect the new U.S. strikes to drastically change the activities of Iran’s regional proxies.

“The only thing that will get them to pull back would be a clear sign from Iran telling them to pull back,” she said. “But even then, they may listen and they may not.”

That is because Iran does not directly control its proxies, who have significant latitude to make their own decisions, Ms. Yahya said.

Reporting was contributed by Raja Abdulrahim and Aaron Boxerman from Jerusalem, Max Bearak from New York, Ben Hubbard from Istanbul, Hwaida Saad from Beirut and David E. Sanger from Berlin.

Iran says the U.S. has made a ‘strategic mistake’ that will destabilize the region.

Iran on Saturday condemned the U.S. airstrikes on sites in Iraq and Syria linked to its military and militias it supports but refrained from threatening to retaliate.

The foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, said the attacks followed decades of American efforts “to resolve issues by relying on force and the military,” according to Iranian media. Mr. Amir Abdollahian made the comments at a meeting with a visiting U.N. official in Tehran.

Earlier, a spokesman for the foreign ministry, Nasser Kanaani, had called the strikes “another strategic mistake by the American government” and had predicted they would destabilize the region.

Iran’s closest regional ally, Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese militia, said in a statement that the strikes showed the United States wanted to expand the conflict rather than contain it. He added that the attacks would only make Iraq and Syria more resolved to “liberate their countries from American occupation.”

Iran finances and arms a network of militias across the region, known collectively as the Axis of Resistance, that oppose American and Israeli influence in the region.

Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group for Shia militia aligned with Iran, carried out the drone attack on a U.S. base in Jordan that killed three American soldiers, according to U.S. intelligence.

The United States has accused one of the members of the umbrella group, Kata’ib Hezbollah, of being behind the lethal drone attack in Jordan. After the United States said it would retaliate, Kata’ib Hezbollah announced last week that it was suspending attacks on American bases and asserted its decisions were independent of Iran.

On Saturday, other armed Iraqi groups took a more defiant stance. One of them, Harakat al-Nujaba, which is considered a close ally of Iran’s with advanced military capabilities, said in a statement that the “Islamic Resistance will respond with what is appropriate at the time and place we want, and this is not the end.”

After U.S. strikes on Syria and Iraq, the next move belongs to Tehran.

As Iran and the United States assessed the damage done by American airstrikes on 85 targets in Syria and Iraq on Friday, all eyes shifted to Tehran and its pending decision over whether to respond or take the hit and de-escalate.

The betting in Washington and among its allies is that the Iranians will choose the latter course, seeing no benefit in getting into a shooting war with a far larger power, with all the risks that implies. But it is not yet clear whether the varied proxy forces that have conducted scores of attacks on American bases and ships — who rely on Iran for money, arms and intelligence — will conclude that their interests, too, are served by backing off.

Less than 24 hours after the attacks in Syria and Iraq, the United States and Britain launched a new round of strikes on Saturday against Yemen, targeting multiple sites controlled by Houthi militants, officials said. The attacks were part of the Biden administration’s ongoing reprisal campaign against Iran-backed militias.

In the aftermath of the strikes against Iranian forces and the militias they support, American officials insisted there was no back-channel discussion with Tehran, no quiet agreement that the United States would avoid high-value targets like missile sites, drone-launching facilities, ammunition stores and command-and-control complexes, in response to an attack last Sunday that took the lives of American soldiers.

“There’s been no communications with Iran since the attack that killed our three soldiers in Jordan,” John F. Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told reporters in a call on Friday night after the retaliatory strikes were completed.

But even without direct conversation, there has been plenty of signaling, in both directions.

President Biden is engaged in a military, diplomatic and election-year gamble that he can first restore some semblance of deterrence in the region, then help orchestrate a pause or cease-fire in Gaza to allow for hostage exchanges with Israel, and then, in the biggest challenge of all, try to reshape the dynamics of the region.

But it is all happening in an area of the world that he hoped, just five months ago, could be kept on the back burner while he focused on competition with China and the war in Ukraine, and in the midst of a campaign where his opponents, led by former President Donald J. Trump, will declare almost any move a sign of weakness.

For their part, the Iranians have been broadcasting in public that they want to lower the temperature — on the attacks, even on their quickly advancing nuclear program — even if their ultimate objective, to drive the United States out of the region once and for all, remains unchanged.

Their first response to the military strikes was notably mild.

“The attack last night on Syria and Iraq is an adventurous action and another strategic mistake by the American government which will have no result other than increasing tensions and destabilizing the region,” Nasser Kanaani, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, said on Saturday.

Until Friday night, every military action by the United States has been soaked in calibration and caution, the hallmark of Mr. Biden’s approach. The deaths of the American soldiers forced his hand, though, administration officials said.

He had to make clear that the United States would seek to dismantle many of the capabilities of the groups that call themselves the “Axis of Resistance,” a reference to the one concept that unites a fractious, often undisciplined group of militias — opposition to Israel, and to its chief backer, the United States.

And the strikes, Mr. Biden’s advisers quickly concluded, had to aim at facilities used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

But the president made the decision to strike largely at facilities and command centers, without aiming to decapitate its leadership or threatening Iran’s regime directly.

There was no serious consideration of striking inside Iran, one senior administration official said after the first round of strikes was complete. And the telegraphing of the move gave Iranians and their proxies time to evacuate senior commanders and other personnel from their bases, and disperse them in safe houses.

To Mr. Biden’s critics, this is too much calibration, too much caution.

“The overriding intellectual construct of Biden foreign policy is avoidance of escalation,” said Kori Schake, a former Republican defense official in the Bush administration who directs foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

“They are not wrong to be worried about escalation,” she said. “But they don’t take into account that it encourages our adversaries. We often seem more worried about fighting wars we can win, and that encourages them to manipulate our fear.”

U.S. strikes on sites tied to Iranian-backed militias send a message but do limited damage.

The dozens of airstrikes carried out by the United States in Syria and Iraq largely corresponded with the goals of direct American military engagement in the Middle East in recent years: Send a message to enemies while limiting damage and avoiding getting pulled into a wider war.

U.S. officials said the strikes were launched in retaliation for an attack on a military base in Jordan that killed three American service members.

But the United States appeared not only to calibrate the attacks to avoid stoking a broader war, but had warned that they were coming days in advance, giving the militias being targeted and their Iranian advisers time to move.

“There is no desire on the part of the U.S. or Iran to escalate into an all-out conflict,” said Maha Yahya, the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. Instead, she said, both sides had sought ways to attack that remained “below a threshold that would spell an all-out war.”

The stakes of this particular bombing were high, given heightened tensions across the Middle East because of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and related violence it has sparked elsewhere.

Since the deadly Hamas-led assault on Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel’s retaliatory bombing campaign and ground invasion in Gaza, militias have carried out more than 160 attacks on U.S. forces in the region and on commercial ships in the Red Sea.

The United States said it struck only targets associated with militias backed by Iran that had been involved in the attack on the base in Jordan or other offensives against U.S. troops.

But the United States did not attack Iran itself, despite its status as the patron and overall coordinator of these militias. Nor did it strike Hezbollah in Lebanon, the most powerful of Iran’s regional proxies, which has been battling Israeli troops along the Lebanon-Israel border throughout the war in Gaza.

That fits with the United States’ efforts to keep its own military activities separate from those of Israel, which says it is seeking to destroy Hamas.

How successful the new strikes will be in degrading the military capabilities of Iran and its militia or in deterring them from attacking the United States remains an open question.

Iran created its network, with affiliates in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, to extend its influence and give it a way to strike foes without having to do so itself, analysts say.

Anti-Iran hawks in the United States and the Middle East often argue that attacking the proxies without hitting Iran is a waste of time.

Ms. Yahya said she did not expect the new U.S. strikes to drastically change the activities of Iran’s regional proxies.

“The only thing that will get them to pull back would be a clear sign from Iran telling them to pull back,” she said. “But even then, they may listen and they may not.”

That is because Iran does not directly control its proxies, who have significant latitude to make their own decisions, she said.

Israel has been bombing Iranian-backed groups in Syria regularly for years, without stopping their efforts to develop a presence in the country nor cutting off the flow of arms to Hezbollah.

In 2020, the United States assassinated Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s top security and intelligence commander, who was a key figure in expanding Iran’s regional militia network and its members’ military capabilities.

Four years later, the militias he fostered are still active, attacking ships in the Red Sea, targeting U.S. forces in Iraq and fighting with Israel along its border with Lebanon.

House G.O.P. plans a vote on aid for Israel as the Senate tries to close a broader deal.

Speaker Mike Johnson pledged Saturday that the House would hold a vote next week on legislation to speed $17.6 billion in security assistance to Israel with no strings attached, a move likely to complicate Senate leaders’ efforts to rally support for a broader package with border security measures and aid to Ukraine.

Mr. Johnson’s announcement to members of his conference came as senators were scrambling to finalize and vote on a bipartisan national security bill that has taken months to negotiate. The move could further erode G.O.P. support for the emerging compromise, which was already flagging under criticism from party leaders like Mr. Johnson and former President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, has said that the Senate package would be dead on arrival in the House, arguing that its border security measures are not stringent enough to clamp down on a recent surge of immigration. He said the House would instead focus its efforts on the impeachment of Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary — a vote on which is now expected to take place next week.

In a letter to his members Saturday, he said the House would also prioritize its own approach to helping Israel’s war effort against Hamas, regardless of what — if any — related legislation the Senate might produce.

“Their leadership is aware that by failing to include the House in their negotiations, they have eliminated the ability for swift consideration of any legislation,” Mr. Johnson wrote, adding that “the House will have to work its will on these issues and our priorities will need to be addressed.”

Senate negotiators have been working on a sweeping national security funding bill to address Republican demands that any legislation sending military aid to Ukraine also significantly improve security at the southern border with Mexico. The emerging legislation, which includes measures making it more difficult to claim asylum and increasing both detentions and deportations, would also send more military aid to Ukraine and Israel, dedicate humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza and fund efforts to counter Chinese threats to the Indo-Pacific region.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, announced this week that the Senate would vote no later than Wednesday on whether to take up the bill, the text of which negotiators are expected to publicize no later than Sunday.

But the measure is already facing stiff headwinds from Senate Republicans who think the border enforcement provisions ought to be tougher, as well as those loath to take a politically challenging vote for a bill that is all but assured to die at the G.O.P.-led House’s door.

Several Republicans in the Senate and the House have clamored for a split approach that would address Israel’s war effort separately from Ukraine and the border. Late last year, the Democratic-led Senate rejected a G.O.P. attempt to force a vote on an earlier Israel aid bill that was backed by the House. Democrats objected to the way that the House G.O.P. bill sought to pay for the funds, by making cuts to the Internal Revenue Service.

In his letter Saturday, Mr. Johnson acknowledged that history.

“Democrats made clear that their primary objection to the original House bill was with its offsets,” he wrote, adding that with the new Israel package, “the Senate will no longer have excuses, however misguided, against swift passage of this critical support for our ally.”

The new bill, which was unveiled by House appropriators, is larger than the House’s previous Israel measure, which totaled $14.3 billion. President Biden had sought that amount for Israel as part of a larger request he made in October for supplemental funds to address various global crises, including Ukraine.

But it does not include any funding for humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, which many Democrats have insisted must accompany any military aid for Israel. Several left-wing Democrats are also pressing for conditions to be attached to whatever military assistance Congress approves for Israel, to guarantee U.S.-supplied weapons are used in keeping with international law and that aid shipments to Palestinian civilians are not hindered.

The $17.6 billion House measure would direct $4 billion to replenishing Israel’s missile defense systems known as Iron Dome and David’s Sling, as well as $1.2 billion to counter short-range rocket and mortar attacks. An additional $8.9 billion would go toward supplying Israel with weapons and related services, helping it produce its own and replenishing defense stock the United States has already provided; while $3.5 billion would go toward supporting U.S. military operations, embassy security and efforts to evacuate American citizens in the region.

Syria and Iraq are angered by U.S. strikes, warning they could deepen regional turmoil.

Syria and Iraq condemned U.S. strikes on Iran-backed militias in their countries, saying such attacks only impede the fight against Islamic State terrorists and threaten to drag the region even deeper into instability.

The U.S. strikes overnight hit 85 targets at seven sites in the two countries in retaliation for a drone attack on a remote outpost in Jordan on Sunday that killed three American soldiers. Washington has suggested that an Iran-linked Iraqi militia was behind that attack.

The Biden administration warned these strikes would not be the last.

“These strikes constitute a violation of Iraqi sovereignty, an undermining of the efforts of the Iraqi government,” Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, a spokesman for Iraq’s military, said late Friday. He called the U.S. attacks “unacceptable” and “a threat that will drag Iraq and the region into unforeseen consequences.”

The Iraqi government said that 16 people, including civilians, had been killed and 25 wounded, and warned that it would summon the U.S. envoy in Baghdad to protest the strikes.

The Syrian defense ministry called the attacks a “blatant air aggression,” according to state media. The strikes targeted 26 sites connected with the Iran-backed militias including bases and grain silos, killing at least 18 members of Iran-backed groups, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group with researchers in Syria.

The Syrian foreign ministry condemned what it called U.S. “aggression” and said that it would weaken Syrian efforts to combat terrorism.

The defense ministry said that the areas targeted were places where Syria’s military was fighting the Islamic State terrorist group, which continues to maintain an underground presence and carry out attacks inside Syria. The United States has hundreds of troops in other parts of Syria focused on fighting the remnants of Islamic State.

U.S. officials said they were confident the strikes had hit “exactly what they meant to hit.”

The targets were all linked to specific attacks against U.S. troops in the region, officials said, describing them as command and control operations, intelligence centers, weapons facilities and bunkers used by the Quds Force — the overseas arm of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards — and affiliated militias. The Quds Force oversees Iran’s proxies around the Middle East.

Iran’s interior minister denied that Revolutionary Guards sites were hit in an interview with Al Manar, a Lebanese broadcaster linked to the Iran-backed Lebanese militant and political group Hezbollah.

John F. Kirby, a U.S. National Security Council spokesman, said the Iraqi government had been notified ahead of the strikes, which the Iraqi government called a “false claim.”

The United States had telegraphed for nearly a week before the strikes that it intended to retaliate.

But the Syrian Observatory reported that there was confusion among Iran-backed militias in Syria about what might be targeted. Leaders of the groups went to Damascus and Homs provinces and told others affiliated with them to remain in their homes, the Observatory reported.

In the days after President Biden said he had decided on a U.S. response to the Jordan attack, Mr. Kirby said it was very possible that the United States would carry out “a tiered approach” over a period of time rather than a single action.

Falih Hassan, Hwaida Saad and Victoria Kim contributed reporting.

Hamas signals that wide gaps remain on reaching a cease-fire agreement.

Even as hopes have risen about the possibility of reaching a hostage release deal and cease-fire in the nearly four-month war between Israel and Hamas, substantial gaps between the two sides remain, a Hamas official has said.

A proposal hammered out in Paris last week “is being studied by the movement’s leadership and other resistance factions,” Osama Hamdan, a leader in Hamas’s political wing in Lebanon, told the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International on Friday. “But we cannot say that we have reached a conclusion.”

In the negotiating room, Israel was still insisting that “the military operation in Gaza would continue” after the cease-fire, Mr. Hamdan said, which contradicted Hamas’s condition for a permanent truce. Another key sticking point was an Israeli demand for a buffer zone inside Gaza, he added.

Israeli leaders have said they will not compromise on their goal of toppling Hamas’s rule in Gaza and told the Israeli public to expect months more of fighting. Israeli troops have been destroying buildings to clear out what they have described as a security zone inside Gaza, in an attempt to prevent another surprise attack similar to the Hamas-led assault on Oct. 7 that prompted the war, Israeli officials have said.

Israel and Hamas do not recognize one another and negotiate via mediators, primarily Qatar and Egypt. On Sunday, Israeli, Egyptian and American intelligence chiefs met with the Qatari premier in Paris, working out a framework for a potential cease-fire agreement, which was passed on to Hamas.

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas’s political bureau, spoke on Friday with leaders of two other Palestinian armed groups — Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — about the potential deal, his office said in a statement.

In the statement, Mr. Haniyeh emphasized to his counterparts that the talks were aimed at “totally ending the aggression and the withdrawal of the occupation army outside of Gaza.”

As part of any cease-fire agreement, Hamas has demanded that Israel release the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli jails in exchange for the over 100 Israeli hostages held captive in Gaza. Mr. Hamdan said that would include Palestinians serving life sentences for killing Israelis, including Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five consecutive life terms in an Israeli prison for killings committed during the second intifada in the early 2000s.

“Our demand is for the liberation of all Palestinian prisoners, especially because we have enough imprisoned Israeli soldiers in our possession to enable us to do so,” Mr. Hamdan said, later mentioning Mr. Barghouti by name.

Many Palestinians revere Mr. Barghouti as a courageous resistance figure untainted by the accusations of corruption and rights abuses that dog the current Palestinian leadership. Israeli officials view him as a terrorist responsible for deadly attacks.

In a Tuesday speech at a military academy in the occupied West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel appeared to rule out a mass Palestinian prisoner release, further raising doubts on the ability of both sides to reach a deal.

“We will not withdraw the Israel Defense Forces from the Gaza Strip and we will not release thousands of terrorists. None of this will happen,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “What will happen? Total victory!”

Gaza war protesters direct their ire at Blinken.

Protesters angry over Israel’s assault on Gaza have become a regular presence outside the home of Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in Northern Virginia, with some camping out for days in roadside tents. Palestinian flags and handmade signs express their fury at a diplomat who has become the face of President Biden’s policy toward the conflict.

“Bloody Blinken lives here,” read one this week. “Caution: War Criminal Inside,” read another. Passing cars drove over the words “Secretary of genocide” scrawled along the road in pastel chalk colors.

And when Mr. Blinken’s official motorcade pulled out of his driveway one day in early January, protesters splashed fake blood on the armored black Suburban in which he was riding.

Organizers of the protests have even given their effort a name, “Occupy Blinken,” and said in a statement that their encampment had held more than 100 people. (On Thursday afternoon, perhaps two dozen were visible, along with numerous police officers and vehicles.) They have “braved cold temperatures, winds and rain, 24 hours a day, to plead with Blinken” to support an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, the statement said.

Who were the three soldiers killed in the drone attack that prompted U.S. retaliatory strikes?

Three U.S. soldiers who were killed on Sunday in a drone attack on a military outpost in Jordan had been serving on a team trained to deploy at short notice to build roads, landing fields and protective earthen berms for U.S. forces.

The soldiers, two of them women in their early 20s who had become friends, were assigned to the 718th Engineer Company, based at Fort Moore, Ga. Their remains were returned to the United States on Friday, in a solemn ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware attended by a silent President Biden.

The Pentagon has identified the three as Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Ga.; Sgt. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Ga.; and Sgt. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Ga. They died when the drone struck container units that served as their living quarters, according to the Pentagon.

Here are a few details of the three.

Sgt. William Jerome Rivers

Sergeant Rivers grew up in Willingboro, N.J., northwest of Philadelphia. He enlisted in the Army Reserve in 2011 as an internal electrician. In 2018, he spent eight months deployed in Iraq. In 2023, he joined the 718th Engineering Company at Fort Moore, Ga.

He arrived at Tower 22, a logistics supply base in Jordan, near the Syrian border, last October. His work there involved maintaining the base’s electrical systems, repairing short circuits and faulty equipment.

He won a string of medals for participating in 12 years of U.S. military campaigns. Mr. Rivers’s wife, Darlene Lewis Rivers, declined an interview request, saying she had just seen her husband’s body.

Sgt. Kennedy Ladon Sanders

Sergeant Sanders volunteered for the Army Reserves in 2019, and deployed from Fort Moore to Tower 22 in Jordan last October. There she worked on road maintenance, driving heavy machinery to spread asphalt and grade roads.

She was from Waycross, a town in the southeastern part of Georgia where the median household income is half the national average. She lettered in three sports in high school and tried but did not finish college. She then worked at a series of low-paying jobs, and enlisted after speaking to a friend who had joined the Marines.

She was proud of her service, and visited schools to talk to students in Waycross in uniform.

While deployed, she would shop online for rare pairs of Nike Dunks and have them delivered home. Her mother, Oneida Oliver-Sanders, would unbox the sneakers for her on FaceTime.

She enjoyed listening to hip-hop with Sgt. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, a friend she met in basic training. Two days after the attack, both were posthumously promoted to the sergeant rank.

Sgt. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett

Sergeant Moffett always wanted an Army career, modeled after her mother’s. She participated in R.O.T.C. through high school, and enlisted in the Army immediately after graduating, her mother, Francine Moffett, told an Atlanta TV news station, WXIA.

Like Sergeant Sanders, Sergeant Moffett worked at the outpost in Jordan operating heavy equipment. She drove bulldozers and backhoes around the small base built along a sandy berm known as Tower 22.

Francine Moffett last spoke to her daughter the night before the drone attack, checking that she had received a care package sent from home with the strawberry shortcake and sunflower seeds that the Sergeant Moffett had requested, according to the WXIA report.

The package also contained a real estate book. Sergeant Moffett aimed to become a real estate agent, but only after completing one more Army tour.

“She wanted to become a sergeant,” Mrs. Moffett said.

How closely does Iran control the militias it backs? It depends.

Iran projects its military power through dozens of armed groups across the Middle East, but how much does it control their actions?

That question has taken on new urgency as the United States considers its next steps after an attack by an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia on an American base in northwest Jordan. The attack on Sunday killed three soldiers and injured dozens of others.

Iranian-backed groups have varying histories and relationships with Tehran, but all share Iran’s desire for the U.S. military to leave the region, and for Israel’s power to be reduced. Iranian rhetoric, echoed by its allied groups, often goes further, calling for the elimination of the Israeli state.

Like Iran, most of the allied groups follow the Shiite branch of Islam. The exception is Hamas, whose members are predominantly Sunni Muslims.

Iran has provided weapons, training, financing and other support to the groups, particularly to those in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, according to evidence obtained through weapons seizures, after-action forensics, foreign asset tracing and intelligence gathering. Some training is outsourced to Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to U.S. and international experts.

More recently, Iran has also been enabling the militias to obtain some weapons parts on their own, and to manufacture or retrofit some weapons themselves, according to officials in the Middle East and the U.S. In addition, most of the groups, like Hamas, have their own extensive money-making enterprises, which include both legal activities like construction and illegal ventures like kidnapping and drug smuggling.

Despite its support for the militias, Iran does not necessarily control where and when they attack Western and Israeli targets, according to many Middle Eastern and European experts, as well as U.S. intelligence officials. It does influence the groups and at least in some cases seems able to halt strikes.

After Iraq-based militants struck a U.S. base in Jordan on Sunday, the group the Pentagon suggested was responsible, Kata’ib Hezbollah, whose leadership and troops are close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, announced it was temporarily standing down at the behest of Iran and the Iraqi government.

Each militia, however, also has its own agenda, depending on its home country.

The Houthi movement, for example, had battlefield success in Yemen’s civil war and controls part of the country. But now, unable to feed their people or create jobs, they are showing strength and prowess to their domestic audience by taking on major powers, attacking shipping headed to and from the Suez Canal, and drawing retaliatory strikes by the United States and its allies.

That has allowed the Houthis to claim the mantle of solidarity with Palestinians, and also aligns the group with Iran’s goal of poking at Israel and its chief ally, the United States.

By contrast, Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has the longest-standing ties to Iran, is part of the Lebanese government. Its decisions about when and how much to attack Israel take into account the risks of Israeli reprisals on Lebanese civilians. A 2020 U.S. Department of State report estimated that Iran’s support for Hezbollah was $700 million annually at that time.

Weapons provided to the groups run the gamut from light arms to rockets, ballistic and cruise missiles — and an array of increasingly sophisticated drones, said Michael Knights of the Washington Institute, who has tracked the proxies for many years.

Iran has been providing smaller direct cash subsidies to its proxies in recent years, in part, experts say, because it is financially squeezed by U.S. and international sanctions.

In addition to direct aid, some of the groups have received in-kind funding like oil, which can be sold or, as in the case of the Houthis, thousands of AK-47s that can also be put on the market, according to a November report from the United Nations.

One Yemeni political analyst, Hisham al-Omeisy, speaking of the Houthis, said: “They’re very well backed by the Iranians, but they’re not puppets on a string. They’re not Iran’s stooges.”

Much the same could be said of other groups.

Iran itself sends different messages about the militias to different audiences, said Mohammed al-Sulami, who runs Rasanah, an Iran-focused research organization based in Saudi Arabia, which has long sparred with Iran for regional influence.

When speaking to domestic and Middle Eastern audiences, Iran tends to portray what it calls the “Axis of Resistance” as being under its leadership and control, and part of its regional strategy. But when addressing Western audiences, Iran often contends that while the groups share similar views, the Islamic Republic is not directing them, Mr. al-Sulami said.

“Iran is very smart in using this gray zone to maneuver,” he said.

Vivian Nereim contributed reporting from Saudi Arabia,

What are U.S. troops doing in the Middle East?

When a drone attack killed three U.S. soldiers at a base in Jordan on Jan. 28, many Americans were left wondering why, years after the U.S. ended its combat mission in Iraq, are the country’s soldiers still in the region?

Where are U.S. forces in the region?

Roughly 40,000 American troops are stationed across the Middle East, mostly in countries with close ties to the United States. There are far fewer in the region now compared with when the United States was trying to oust the Islamic State from Iraq, or during the preceding years of war.

There were more than 160,000 American troops in Iraq alone in 2007, during the war that followed the U.S. invasion. Now there are only about 2,500 U.S. troops there, stationed at installations like Al Asad Air Base in Iraq’s western desert, to support Iraq’s military.

There are currently about 900 U.S. troops stationed in Syria, where they support Kurdish forces and work to enforce U.S. sanctions against Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based group backed by Iran.

Some of those troops are deployed at the Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria, which is served by a border outpost in Jordan, Tower 22. About 350 Army and Air Force personnel are stationed at Tower 22, the site where the three American soldiers were killed in the drone strike.

Most of the U.S. military presence in the Middle East is in countries with longstanding relationships with Washington. At an air base in Azraq, Jordan, the United States has about 2,000 troops, as well as Special Operations forces and military trainers. There are about 13,500 U.S. forces based in Kuwait, and thousands more in countries including Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and Qatar, which helped build an air base used by U.S. Central Command.

Why are so many troops there?

Before the war in Gaza began, the U.S. military presence in the Middle East had been shrinking. In the aftermath of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Biden administration had turned to focus elsewhere, like supporting Ukraine against Russia and potential threats from China.

But American troops have remained in the region in part, U.S. officials say, to project U.S. power — such as deterring Iran from direct war with an American ally, Israel — and to prevent a resurgence of groups like the Islamic State, which emerged from the insurgency and civil war of post-invasion Iraq.

By 2015, the Islamic State controlled several cities in Iraq and Syria, including Mosul and Raqqa, as well as a large chunk of territory along the border between the two countries. A military coalition led by the United States, including forces in Syria and Iraq, defeated it. But although the U.S. military declared its combat mission over in 2021, troops remained to help Iraq battle the group’s remnants, and experts warn that regional instability could provide an opportunity for it to grow again.

Are U.S. forces in the region in danger?

Since the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, there have been more than 160 attacks by militias backed by Iran against U.S. forces in Syria, Iraq and Jordan, according to the Pentagon.

The attack on the Tower 22 outpost was the first one known to be lethal, but dozens of service members have been injured. Those include 34 who were wounded at the Jordan base when the drone crashed into the base’s living quarters, and 19 U.S. soldiers who suffered traumatic brain injuries in October attacks in Iraq on Al Asad Air Base and Al Tanf.

President Biden has retaliated with attacks on Iran-aligned militants, hitting groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. But top American and Iranian officials have also sought to avoid triggering a direct war, even as they have blamed the other side for stoking regional conflict.

“While we are not seeking war, we are also neither afraid nor running away from war,” Gen. Hossein Salami, the commander in chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, said on Wednesday.

The 8 Days That Roiled the U.N.’s Top Agency in Gaza

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When a senior U.S. diplomat called the Israeli military last week to request further details about Israeli allegations against a United Nations agency in Gaza, military leaders were so surprised that they ordered an internal inquiry about how the information had reached the ears of foreign officials.

The allegations were grave: 12 employees of the organization, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, were accused of joining Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel or its aftermath.

The claims reinforced Israel’s decades-old narrative about UNRWA: that it is biased against Israel and influenced by Hamas and other armed groups, charges that the agency strongly rejects.

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Gaza Rescuers Go Missing on Mission to Save Girl Trapped in a Car

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The post by the Palestine Red Crescent was a haunting plea, hoping to learn the fate of three people not heard from for five days.

“Where is Hind? Where are Ahmed and Yousef? We need to know,” it said.

Two of the group’s rescuers were dispatched on Monday to find 6-year-old Hind Rajab, believed to be trapped in a vehicle in northern Gaza with a number of dead family members.

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They Run the World’s Biggest Sports, and They Don’t Want to Leave

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The new president of European soccer’s governing body settled into a chair in his glass-walled office in Switzerland, glanced out at the sweeping views of Lake Geneva and insisted he would not be there long enough to get comfortable.

It was 2017, soccer was still emerging from its greatest scandal and Aleksander Ceferin, only a few months into his presidency, was unequivocal that he was already on the clock. The sport, he said, could no longer accept leaders who grew so comfortable with the trappings of power and luxury that they worked the system to remain in their jobs. He would not be like them, he promised.

The three-year term to which he had been elected, finishing out the one vacated by his disgraced predecessor, “is already one term for me,” he said. If he was fortunate enough to earn the two more full four-year terms allowed by the rules, fine. But that would be it. Mr. Ceferin had no interest in being a president for life.

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Turkey’s Central Bank Chief Steps Down Amid Long Inflation Battle

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey appointed a new central bank governor early Saturday, hours after the abrupt resignation of his previous appointee, who said she was stepping down because of “a major reputation assassination campaign.”

The departing central bank chief, Hafize Gaye Erkan, was the fifth in five years, and the first woman to hold the post. The bank’s deputy governor, Fatih Karahan, was swiftly promoted to take her place.

The surprise change-up came about eight months into a shift in Turkey’s economic program aimed at taming a yearslong cost-of-living crisis that has been painful for many Turks. Annual inflation as of last month was about 65 percent.

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For New Moms in Seoul, 3 Weeks of Pampering and Sleep at a Joriwon

Four mothers sat quietly in the nursing room around midnight, breastfeeding their newborn babies. As one mother nodded off, her eyelids heavy after giving birth less than two weeks earlier, a nurse came in and whisked her baby away. The exhausted new mom returned to her private room to sleep.

Sleep is just one of the luxuries provided by South Korea’s postpartum care centers.

The country may have the world’s lowest birthrate, but it is also home to perhaps some of its best postpartum care. At centers like St. Park, a small, boutique postpartum center, or joriwon, in Seoul, new moms are pampered for a few weeks after giving birth and treated to hotel-like accommodations.

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London’s Highline Will Echo Its New York Inspiration, With Local Notes

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The derelict rail bridge stretches across a busy north London street, green foliage peeking out of the gaps between the beams overhead, where bright blue paint flakes from rusting steel.

Farther east, the railway’s grand Victorian-era arches span a small slice of park wedged between two streets, where tents belonging to homeless people, a discarded mattress and broken bottles are scattered about.

While the elevated train line and some of the areas it cuts through may look neglected now, if all goes according to plan, it will become the site of the Camden Highline, a planned public park that aims to turn this disused stretch of the city into a thriving green space.

Map locates the proposed Camden Highline in Camden Town in north central London. It also locates the town of King’s Cross, east of Camden Town.

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An Italian Town Full of the Elderly Wants to Feel Young Again

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As the traveling brass band ended San Giovanni Lipioni’s annual holiday concert with a rendition of Wham’s “Last Christmas,” the gray-haired villagers seated in the old church of the central Italian hill town gazed dotingly at the few young children clapping to the music.

“Today there is a little movement,” Cesarina Falasco, 73, said from the back pew. “It’s lovely. It’s different.”

San Giovanni Lipioni used to be known — if at all — for the discovery in its countryside of a third-century B.C. Samnite bronze head, a rare Waldensian Evangelical community and an ancient annual pageant with pagan roots that venerates a circular cane garlanded in wild cyclamen flowers. (“It represents the female genital organ,” said a tourism official, Mattia Rossi.)

Map locates the the town of San Giovanni Lipioni in the Abruzzo region of Italy, as well as the town of San Salvo, also in Abruzzo. It also locates the region of Molise, south of Abruzzo, and the cities of Bologna, and Ribordone in northern Italy.

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New Utopian Enclave? Or a Testament to Inequality?

Simon Romero and

Reporting from Guatemala City

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Try going for a stroll in much of Guatemala City: It is a pedestrian’s nightmare.

Motorcycles speed down crowded sidewalks. Rifle-grasping guards squint at each passerby, sizing up potential assailants. Smoke-belching buses barrel through stop signs.

But tucked within the chaotic capital’s crazy-quilt sprawl, there is a dreamlike haven where none of that exists.

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‘Frozen Garlic!’ Taiwan Likes Its Democracy Loud and Proud

Chris Buckley and

Chris Buckley and Amy Chang Chien visited rallies in several cities and counties in Taiwan and interviewed dozens of voters, politicians and performers. It was fun.


Huang Chen-yu strode onto an outdoor stage in a southern Taiwanese county, whooping and hollering as she roused the crowd of 20,000 into a joyous frenzy — to welcome a succession of politicians in matching jackets.

Taiwan is in the final days of its presidential election contest, and the big campaign rallies, with M.C.s like Ms. Huang, are boisterous, flashy spectacles — as if a variety show and a disco crashed into a candidate’s town hall meeting.

At the high point of the rally, the Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential candidate, Lai Ching-te, was introduced to the crowd in Chiayi, a county in southern Taiwan. Ms. Huang roared in Taiwanese, “Frozen garlic!”

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Cleaning Latrines by Hand: ‘How Could Any Human Do That?’

When he came to fully realize exactly what his parents and older brother did for a living, and what it likely meant for his own future, Bezwada Wilson says he was so angry he contemplated suicide.

His family members, and his broader community, were manual scavengers, tasked with cleaning by hand human excrement from dry latrines at a government-run gold mine in southern India.

While his parents had tried hard to hide from their youngest child the nature of their work as long as they could — telling Mr. Bezwada they were sweepers — as a student Mr. Bezwada knew his classmates viewed him with cruel condescension. He just didn’t know the reason.

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A Child of Another War Who Makes Music for Ukrainians

When the owner of an underground club in Kyiv reached out to Western musicians to play in Ukraine, long before the war, there were not so many takers.

But an American from Boston, Mirza Ramic, accepted the invitation, spawning a lasting friendship with the club’s owner, Taras Khimchak.

“I kept coming back,” Mr. Ramic, 40, said in an interview at the club, Mezzanine, where he was preparing for a performance during a recent tour of Ukraine.

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A Woman Who Shows Age Is No Barrier to Talk Show Stardom

Pushing a walker through a television studio in central Tokyo earlier this week, Tetsuko Kuroyanagi slowly climbed three steps onto a sound stage with the help of an assistant who settled her into a creamy beige Empire armchair.

A stylist removed the custom-made sturdy boots on her feet and slipped on a pair of high-heeled mules. A makeup artist brushed her cheeks and touched up her blazing red lipstick. A hairdresser tamed a few stray wisps from her trademark onion-shaped hairstyle as another assistant ran a lint roller over her embroidered black jacket. With that, Ms. Kuroyanagi, 90, was ready to record the 12,193rd episode of her show.

As one of Japan’s best-known entertainers for seven decades, Ms. Kuroyanagi has interviewed guests on her talk show, “Tetsuko’s Room,” since 1976, earning a Guinness World Record last fall for most episodes hosted by the same presenter. Generations of Japanese celebrities across film, television, music, theater and sports have visited Ms. Kuroyanagi’s couch, along with American stars like Meryl Streep and Lady Gaga; Prince Philip of England; and Mikhail Gorbachev, the former leader of the Soviet Union. Ms. Kuroyanagi said Gorbachev remains one of her all-time favorite guests.

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They Thought They Knew Death, but That Didn’t Prepare Them for Oct. 7

At 76, David Weissenstern has collected the remains of the dead for most of his adult life. But after the Oct. 7 attacks, in which Hamas-led fighters killed about 1,200 people along Israel’s border with Gaza, he can no longer stand the smell of grilled meat. The odor, he says, reminds him too much of burned human flesh.

His son Duby Weissenstern, 48, has lost track of time after working successive days and nights to recover those killed on Oct. 7. He now marks time in relation to that date.

And his son-in-law Israel Ganot, 32, now gags at the smell of food that has turned rotten. He was in the second wave of recovery workers who reached bodies that had been trapped under rubble for weeks.

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The Year in People: Our 12 Favorite Saturday Profiles of 2023

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A teenager jailed in Egypt, determined to bear witness to the abuses he suffered during years of detention. A proponent of peace in Colombia, shadowed by death threats. A father in India, fighting his own patriarchal impulses to give his two daughters a better life.

With reports from six continents and 34 countries, the Saturday Profile in 2023 revealed people making a difference, mostly under the radar. Every week, our correspondents often sought out not the famous nor the powerful, but the unheralded with stories worth hearing.

A Muslim cleric in Ukraine, now a medic on the front lines of the war. An anticorruption whistle-blower in Bangkok, with (he’d be the first to admit) a disreputable past. A scientist and hair salon owner in Paris, dedicated to styling curly hair.

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Russian Skaters Stripped of Olympic Gold, Setting Up New Fight for Medals

International skating’s governing body on Tuesday sought to put an end to a two-year-old controversy by revising the disputed results of a marquee figure skating competition at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. But in stripping Russia of its victory in the team event, awarding the gold medal to the United States and denying Canada the bronze it had been expecting, the sport may have only set the stage for yet another protracted legal fight.

The revised finishes were announced by the skating body, the International Skating Union, one day after the teenage Russian star Kamila Valieva was banned for four years for doping. Disqualifying Valieva, a 15-year-old prodigy who had led Russia to an apparent victory, had the most immediate effect on the Olympic team standings: elevating the U.S. to gold and Japan to silver, while, surprisingly, dropping Russia just enough that it could still claim the bronze.

Within hours, Russia’s Olympic committee, already furious about Valieva’s ban, announced that it would appeal any outcome that denied it the team gold. Canadian officials quickly threatened to appeal the ruling as well. That left skating officials and the International Olympic Committee, which had chosen not to award medals in the team event until Valieva’s doping case was resolved, wondering how they could at last arrange a “dignified Olympic medal ceremony” for an ugly dispute that appeared nowhere near its end.

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FIFA Convictions Are Imperiled by Questions of U.S. Overreach

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Nearly a decade after police officers marched world soccer officials out of a luxury hotel in Zurich at dawn, revealing a corruption scandal that shook the world’s most popular sport, the case is at risk of falling apart.

The dramatic turnabout comes over questions of whether American prosecutors overreached by applying U.S. law to a group of people, many of them foreign nationals, who defrauded foreign organizations as they carried out bribery schemes across the world.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year limited a law that was key to the case. Then in September, a federal judge, citing that, threw out the convictions of two defendants linked to soccer corruption. Now, several former soccer officials, including some who paid millions of dollars in penalties and served time in prison, are arguing that the bribery schemes for which they were convicted are no longer considered a crime in the United States.

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Depardieu Sexual Assault Suit Dropped Over Statute of Limitations

A sexual assault lawsuit filed against Gérard Depardieu by a French actress has been dropped because it was past the statute of limitations, prosecutors in Paris said on Monday, but the French actor is still under investigation in a separate case.

In the lawsuit that was dropped, the actress Hélène Darras had accused Depardieu of groping her on the set of “Disco,” a comedy released in 2008. Her suit had been filed in September but was made public only last month, shortly before she appeared in a France 2 television documentary alongside three other women who also accused Depardieu of inappropriate comments or sexual misconduct.

The documentary, which showed Depardieu making crude sexual and sexist comments during a 2018 trip to North Korea, set off a fierce debate in France that prompted President Emmanuel Macron and dozens of actors, directors and other celebrities to defend Depardieu, splitting the French movie industry.

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An Olympic Dream Falters Amid Track’s Shifting Rules

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Maximila Imali, a top Kenyan sprinter, did not lose her eligibility to compete in the Paris Olympics because she cheated. She did not fail a doping test. She broke no rules.

Instead, she is set to miss this year’s Summer Games because she was born with a rare genetic variant that results in naturally elevated levels of testosterone. And last March, track and field’s global governing body ruled that Ms. Imali’s biology gave her an unfair advantage in all events against other women, effectively barring her from international competition.

As a result, Ms. Imali, 27, finds her Olympic dream in peril and her career and her livelihood in limbo.

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Luis Rubiales, Ex-Chief of Spanish Soccer, to Face Trial Over World Cup Kiss

Luis Rubiales, Spain’s onetime soccer chief, is due to be tried over his nonconsensual kiss of a star player during the Women’s World Cup medal ceremony last summer after a judge recommended on Thursday that he face a court’s judgment in a high-profile case that has upended the sport in Spain.

The judge also recommended that Mr. Rubiales and three officials with the Royal Spanish Football Federation, soccer’s governing body in the country — including Jorge Vilda, who was fired as the women’s team coach in the wake of the incident — be tried on charges of coercion for exerting pressure on the player, Jennifer Hermoso, to show support for Mr. Rubiales in the immediate aftermath of the kiss.

The judge concluded that the kiss by Mr. Rubiales, after the Women’s World Cup final in Sydney, Australia, “was nonconsensual and was a unilateral and surprise act.” The judge also found that even if the kiss was more celebratory than sexual in nature, Mr. Rubiales’s behavior was within the bounds of the “intimacy of sexual relations” and he should be held to account.

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Elecciones en El Salvador: se proyecta un triunfo demoledor de Bukele

Reportando desde Soyapango, El Salvador

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El gobierno de El Salvador ha encarcelado a miles de personas inocentes, suspendido libertades civiles cruciales de manera indefinida e inundado las calles de soldados. Ahora, el presidente detrás de todo esto, Nayib Bukele, está siendo acusado de violar la Constitución al buscar la reelección.

E incluso su compañero de fórmula para la vicepresidencia admite que su objetivo es estar “eliminando” lo que él considera la democracia rota del pasado.

El Times  Una selección semanal de historias en español que no encontrarás en ningún otro sitio, con eñes y acentos.

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La primera dama y el bolso Dior: una crisis política sacude Corea del Sur

El Times  Una selección semanal de historias en español que no encontrarás en ningún otro sitio, con eñes y acentos.

El presidente estaba enfrentando una economía en desaceleración, una mortífera avalancha humana y amenazas nucleares de un vecino beligerante. Luego se presentó un escándalo mucho más personal: las imágenes de una cámara oculta que mostraban a su esposa aceptando como regalo un bolso Dior de 2200 dólares.

Se ha convertido, rápidamente, en una de las mayores crisis políticas para el presidente Yoon Suk Yeol de Corea del Sur, quien se ha destacado en la política exterior al alinear su país más estrechamente con Estados Unidos y Japón, pero se ha visto empantanado con controversias en casa. Y muchas de ellas involucran a la primera dama, Kim Keon Hee.

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La censura china busca acallar a las voces que critican sus políticas económicas

Daisuke Wakabayashi y

Reportando desde Seúl

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La principal agencia de inteligencia de China emitió el mes pasado una ominosa advertencia sobre una amenaza creciente para la seguridad nacional del país: los chinos que critican la economía.

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En una serie de publicaciones en su cuenta oficial de WeChat, el Ministerio de Seguridad del Estado pidió a los ciudadanos que comprendieran la visión económica del presidente Xi Jinping y no se dejaran influir por quienes buscan “denigrar la economía de China” mediante “falsas narrativas”. Las autoridades del ministerio dijeron que, para combatir ese riesgo, los organismos de seguridad se centrarán en “reforzar la propaganda económica y la orientación de la opinión pública”.

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Surgen detalles sobre personal de la ONU acusado de ayudar a Hamás en un ataque

A uno se le acusa de secuestrar a una mujer. Otro habría repartido munición. Un tercero fue descrito como participante en la masacre de un kibutz en la que murieron 97 personas. Y se dice que todos eran empleados de la agencia de ayuda de Naciones Unidas que escolariza, alberga y alimenta a cientos de miles de palestinos en la Franja de Gaza.

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Las denuncias figuran en un expediente proporcionado al gobierno de Estados Unidos en el que se detallan las acusaciones de Israel contra una decena de empleados del Organismo de Obras Públicas y Socorro de las Naciones Unidas que, según afirma, desempeñaron un papel en los atentados de Hamás contra Israel del 7 de octubre o durante sus repercusiones.

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El abrumador trabajo de verificar datos en Medio Oriente

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En las frenéticas primeras horas del 7 de octubre, entre el llanto de las sirenas y noticias de tiroteos a lo largo de la frontera sur de Israel, Achiya Schatz se apresuró con su niño pequeño y su esposa, que estaba embarazada, a resguardarse en un refugio antibombas cerca de Tel Aviv.

No se quedó mucho tiempo.

El Times  Una selección semanal de historias en español que no encontrarás en ningún otro sitio, con eñes y acentos.

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