The New York Times 2024-02-12 12:15:09

Lost Images Reveal the History of Rio’s Carnival

Rafael Cosme was at a Rio de Janeiro antique fair six years ago when he found a pile of film negatives on the ground. No one wanted them, the vendor said. They were $2.

“I carried home two bags of negatives thinking: What am I doing with my life?” he recalled.

So began Mr. Cosme’s obsession with the lost and discarded photos of his city’s past. Since that morning in 2018, he has collected more than 150,000 film photos and negatives, nearly all shot by amateurs, that tell the story of Rio de Janeiro from the 1890s to the 1980s, one flash in time at a time.

In his work, he has noticed that one theme keeps popping up more than any other.


It is Rio’s annual collective exhalation — a four-day eruption of art and music, costumes and joy — that began again on Saturday.

The celebration has come to define Rio around the world, while also becoming an influential driver of the city’s culture.

“There is no researching this city without going through Carnival,” Mr. Cosme said.

But through the photos, taken over decades by photographers whose names are lost to history, he could see how Carnival had changed with the city, and vice versa.

From 100-year-old prints with a sepia tint to 60-year-old saturated Kodachrome slides, the images revealed changing trends in society, humor, fashion, drug use and sexual liberalization.

Taken by amateurs with the cameras of their day, the photos often have a ragged beauty to them, compared with today’s digital perfection, and also a special intimacy.

“I realized there are endless stories I could tell about this city,” Mr. Cosme said about his discovery of Rio’s lost photos. “Because inside every house, inside every closet, there is a box with revelations.”

Carnival, a days-long celebration ahead of the Christian observance of Lent, arrived in Brazil with the Portuguese colonizers, and for centuries retained traditions from Europe. It was a costume party of sorts, where revelers would hide their identities to play pranks on neighbors.

By the middle of the 19th century, Brazilians began adding music, dancing and revelry in the street. By the turn of the 20th century, it was a full-fledged party.

Around that time, Rio’s rich elites began parading around the city during Carnival in open cars, according to Maria Clementina Pereira Cunha, a historian who has written books about Rio’s Carnival.

It was partly a way to show off their wealth, she said. But when suburbanites began pooling money to rent cars to parade around, too, the trend fell out of fashion with elites and died in the 1930s.

Even with its constant evolution, Carnival remained a costume party. The photos show that many people, particularly among Brazil’s poor, crafted creative outfits at home using what they could find.

“Mothers sewed and embroidered so their children would look well presented at Carnival,” Ms. Pereira Cunha said. “That’s why they wanted their photograph taken.”

Costumes also were satirical and playful, sometimes referring to pop culture and current events — references that are not always so clear today.

One of the most popular costumes was men dressing as women. They were designed to be a joke, often playing up sexist tropes, and the costumes fell out of favor over time.

Clown costumes were long popular, but over the decades they grew more sinister. People who wore them often tried to scare other revelers.

Eventually, men from Rio’s suburbs created a style called “bate bola,” or roughly “slam ball,” a costume that involved menacing clowns who slammed balls tied to ropes against the street. This type of costume, seen in the fifth image below, became renowned for frightening children and is still common today.

By the 1910s, people began carrying glass bottles of a scented ether-based liquid that provided a brief euphoric high. Later the bottles gave way to pressurized cans. They were called “lança perfume,” or “perfume throwers.”

Revelers would spray the concoction into crowds or at strangers, often to flirt, said Felipe Ferreira, a Carnival historian at the State University of Rio de Janeiro.

The government banned the sprays in 1961, but a stronger version is still used illegally today.

Look closely at these photos to see people carrying the bottles and cans.

The 20th century also brought “blocos,” or street bands, which became an integral part of Brazilian Carnival, and still are today. They are each a social club of sorts that play music on the street, with drums, horns and often matching outfits.

They frequently marched through the city, fueling impromptu parties, with different blocos offering differing styles of music, costumes and themes.

By the late 1920s, the so-called samba schools arrived. These were formal groups of samba musicians and dancers who performed increasingly elaborate shows that told stories through costumes, lyrics and dance.

They were made up of largely Black residents of poorer neighborhoods, and they focused on celebrating their Afro-Brazilian heritage.

As they became Rio’s most popular Carnival attraction, the city shut down a main avenue for the schools’ parades, adding large decorations and bleachers, as seen in the photos below. The schools, meanwhile, adopted even more extravagant costumes and floats.

Today the parade remains the centerpiece of Rio’s Carnival, held in a dedicated stadium built in 1984.

Produced by Craig Allen, Gray Beltran and Diego Ribadeneira.

Lis Moriconi contributed reporting.

What to Know About Indonesia’s Election

The numbers are staggering.

More than 100 million people are expected to vote, many for the first time. They’ll do so in booths across thousands of islands and three time zones, hammering nails into ballots to mark their choices. And within hours, if history is any guide, the world will know the outcome of the biggest race of the day: the one for Indonesia’s presidency.

Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy, will hold its general election on Wednesday. Election Day is a national holiday, and on average, about 75 percent of eligible voters have turned out. In addition to the president, voters are choosing members of Parliament and local representatives.

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An Outburst by Trump on NATO May Push Europe to Go It Alone

Long before Donald J. Trump threatened over the weekend that he was willing to let Russia “do whatever the hell they want” against NATO allies that do not contribute sufficiently to collective defense, European leaders were quietly discussing how they might prepare for a world in which America removes itself as the centerpiece of the 75-year-old alliance.

Even allowing for the usual bombast of one of his campaign rallies, where he made his declaration on Saturday, Mr. Trump may now force Europe’s debate into a far more public phase.

So far the discussion in the European media has focused on whether the former president, if returned to office, would pull the United States out of NATO.

But the larger implication of his statement is that he might invite President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to pick off a NATO nation, as a warning and a lesson to the 30 or so others about heeding Mr. Trump’s demands.

His statement stunned many in Europe, especially after three years in which President Biden, attempting to restore the confidence in the alliance lost during Mr. Trump’s four years in office, has repeatedly said that the United States would “defend every inch of NATO territory.” And while a spokesman for the White House, Andrew Bates, denounced Mr. Trump’s comments as “unhinged,” by Sunday morning they had already resonated with those who have argued that Europe cannot depend on the United States to deter Russia.

Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, which comprises Europe’s heads of government and defines their common policies, wrote that “reckless statements” like Mr. Trump’s “serve only Putin’s interest.” He wrote that they make more urgent Europe’s nascent efforts to “develop its strategic autonomy and invest in its defense.”

And in Berlin, Norbert Röttgen, a member of the German Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, wrote on the social media platform X, “Everyone should watch this video of #Trump to understand that Europe may soon have no choice but to defend itself.” He added, “Anything else would be capitulation and giving up on ourselves.”

All of this doubt is bound to dominate a meeting of NATO defense ministers on Thursday in Brussels and then the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of national security leaders, on Friday. And while Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will doubtless use the moment to celebrate the NATO solidarity that has been critical to keeping Ukraine an independent nation two years after Russia’s invasion, any statements they make will almost certainly be met with doubts about what the alliance will look like in a year’s time.

In fact, that re-evaluation has been underway for months, some European diplomats and defense officials say, though they have alluded to it only obliquely in public, if at all.

Germany’s defense minister, Boris Pistorius, has begun talking about how Germany must prepare for the possibility of decades of confrontation with Russia. The departing secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, said last week that the alliance had to prepare for a “decades-long confrontation” with Russia.

In a statement on Sunday, Mr. Stoltenberg said, “Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the U.S., and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk.” He added, echoing statements made by NATO members in 2016, “I expect that regardless of who wins the presidential election the U.S. will remain a strong and committed NATO ally.”

Denmark’s defense minister, Troels Lund Poulsen, has said that within three to five years, Russia may “test” NATO’s solidarity by attacking one of its weaker members, attempting to fracture the alliance by demonstrating that others would not come to its defense. “That was not NATO’s assessment in 2023,” he told Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper, last week, calling it “new information.”

At its core, the argument underway in Europe goes to the question of whether members of the alliance can be assured that the U.S. nuclear umbrella — the ultimate deterrent against Russian invasion — will continue to cover the 31 members of the NATO alliance.

Britain and France have their own small nuclear arsenals. If, over the next year, NATO’s European members came to doubt that the United States would remain committed to Article V of the NATO treaty, which declares that an attack on one constitutes an attack on all, it would almost inevitably revive the debate about who else in Europe needed their own nuclear weapons — starting with Germany.

During the last Cold War, that discussion was quite open, in ways that can seem shocking today. Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, declared in 1957 that tactical nuclear weapons — the kind Russia has threatened to use in Ukraine — were “no more than the further development of the artillery.” He added, “We cannot, of course, do without them.” In a 1962 meeting he added that the defense of Berlin “must be fought from the very beginning with nuclear weapons.”

For six decades the United States helped tamp down such sentiments by basing American nuclear weapons across Europe. They remain there to this day. But the value of that deterrent came under question as Mr. Trump — publicly and privately — pressed his aides to withdraw from NATO in 2018.

At the time, Mr. Trump’s national security team, including the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, and two successive national security advisers, H.R. McMaster and John R. Bolton, scrambled to keep Mr. Trump from sabotaging the cornerstone of European defense strategy. Their concern was that American influence in Europe would be undermined, and Russia emboldened.

That was, of course, all prior to the Ukraine war. Now the questions that seemed theoretical to Europeans — starting with whether Mr. Putin was prepared to attempt to retake the lands that he believed were rightly Russia’s, back to Peter the Great — seem vivid, perhaps life-threatening.

When Olaf Scholz, the current German chancellor, prepared last week to meet Mr. Biden in Washington, he wrote in The Wall Street Journal that “Russian victory in Ukraine would not only be the end of Ukraine as a free, democratic and independent state, it would also dramatically change the face of Europe.” It would “serve as a blueprint for other authoritarian leaders around the globe.”

In Washington, Mr. Scholz stressed that Germany had now become the second-largest provider of military aid to Ukraine and was part of the European decision in recent weeks to provide $54 billion over the next four years for the country’s reconstruction.

This year, Germany will finally reach the goal of spending 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense — the goal set for all NATO nations — years later than first promised. The commitments Europe has now made to Ukraine exceed Washington’s current promises, at a moment when it is unclear whether Republicans in Congress will continue to block additional support.

Mr. Trump mentioned none of this in his threatening remarks on Saturday, of course; Europe’s stepping up to the challenge, if belatedly, does not fit his campaign narrative.

But what will resonate in capitals around Europe will be the wording of what he described as an encounter with an unnamed president “of a big country.”

In Mr. Trump’s telling, the leader asked him, “Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?” And Mr. Trump recalled saying: “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay.”

The story, which was seen as implausible in many European capitals, was, 75 years into the alliance, a casting of NATO as more of a protection racket than an alliance.

And whether Mr. Trump wins in November or not, the fact that such a vision of NATO has taken hold with a significant number of Americans represents a shift that is bound to affect the view of the trans-Atlantic alliance in Europe for years to come.

Christopher F. Schuetze and Steven Erlanger contributed reporting from Berlin, and Matina Stevis-Gridneff from Brussels.

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‘Feel a Bit Like Gulliver’: Peek Inside a 100-Year-Old Royal Dolls’ House

The silver crown is set with diamonds. Rubies, sapphires, emeralds and seed pearls are peppered through the design. And the red velvet cap inside would be fit to cushion the head of a monarch.

Except that the whole thing is only an inch tall.

The jeweled miniature, a copy of Britain’s Imperial State Crown, is part of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, on display at Windsor Castle outside London, where the everyday objects, luxuries and curiosities of royal life in the early 20th century are reproduced at one-twelfth scale.

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Short on Soldiers, Ukraine Debates How to Find the Next Wave of Troops

Soldiers fight in freezing, muddy trenches bombarded by artillery, or in warrens of burned and blown-up houses in urban combat. Casualty rates are high, and dangerous missions, like storming enemy-held tree lines, abound.

As they planned for a renewal of Ukraine’s military under extreme conditions, both the country’s former top commander and his replacement have emphasized the same looming problem: a need to relieve exhausted, battered troops whose combat tours have stretched nearly two years.

In a tumultuous week for Ukraine’s war effort, President Volodymyr Zelensky removed his commanding general, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, on Thursday, while aid from the country’s largest source of weapons and ammunition, the United States, hung in doubt in Congress.

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Finland Elects Alexander Stubb President as It Ushers in NATO Era

Finns elected the center-right politician Alexander Stubb as their new president on Sunday, in the first national election since the country joined NATO, filling a post that will be critical to shaping Finland’s role in the alliance at a time of increasingly fraught relations with Russia.

The election might typically have gained little notice beyond the borders of the northern European country of 5.6 million people. But Finland, the newest member of NATO, shares the longest border with Russia — some 830 miles — and its politics have taken on special interest to its European and American allies as the geopolitical order shifts.

U.S. power is being challenged by Moscow and Beijing, and Europe is grappling with its largest land war since World War II. At the same time, the American commitment to aiding Ukraine looks increasingly in doubt, and an unpredictable American presidential election looms.

Finland has a parliamentary system of government, but its presidency is not a ceremonial role. The president is responsible for foreign policy, and the winner will play a pivotal role in steering the country through a changing world.

“What kind of a NATO country Finland is going to become is an open question at the moment,” said Jenni Karimaki, a political analyst at the University of Helsinki. “The new president is going to have a lot of say on that matter.”

Finland’s decision to join NATO was a sharp break from its decades of nonalignment, and the risks and responsibilities of the country’s new place in the world had dominated the campaign over who should succeed the popular Sauli Niinisto, whose second six-year term expires next month.

Mr. Stubb, of the National Coalition Party, went into the runoff election on Sunday against Pekka Haavisto of the center-left Green League.

Mr. Stubb won with 51.6 percent of the vote, while Mr. Haavisto had 48.4 percent.

“We’re in a new situation in international policy, where rules are challenged, institutions are challenged, we have war near us, and Russia behaves aggressively,” the president-elect said after the vote was called. “But we’re also facing a new era — because we’re militarily aligned, and we’re a NATO member.”

The two candidates expressed very similar views on the issues most on the minds of voters — they have both strongly supported joining NATO and take a tough line on Russia. The differences between them are largely stylistic.

During his campaign, Mr. Stubb, a former prime minister who went to college in South Carolina, emphasized his desire to bolster trans-Atlantic relations on the campaign trail and regularly played up his hard-line stance.

“I’m as hawkish as the best of them, there’s no question about that,” he told The New York Times in an interview before the vote.

He said countering Russia had become more difficult in an era of hybrid warfare.

A section of the Balticconnector, a gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia, was damaged by a Chinese ship as it traveled between two Russian ports. Though an investigation into the episode is still underway, many security experts suspect sabotage. There also has been a surge in cyberattacks, some of which Russia has claimed responsibility for.

One issue particularly concerning to voters has been a sudden sharp increase in asylum seekers crossing into Finland over the Russian border, which many in Finland view as a signal from Russia in response to its NATO membership. Moscow had warned there would be “countermeasures” for Finland joining NATO.

“The line between war and peace has been blurred,” Mr. Stubb said.

Mr. Haavisto, who was foreign minister from 2019 to 2023, used his credentials as one of the main negotiators for Finland’s entry into NATO to show that his stance on Russia is equally tough. But the former United Nations peace negotiator shied away from more hawkish positions.

Mr. Stubb showed himself keen to push a more robust Finnish military role within NATO than Mr. Haavisto. Mr. Stubb raised the idea of permanently hosting a small number of NATO officers in the country.

He also said he would support letting the alliance transport its nuclear weapons on Finnish territory — but that possibility remains a hypothetical, as current Finnish law prohibits nuclear weapons on Finnish territory, and the president cannot legislate.

Mr. Stubb’s party, however, now holds nearly complete control on foreign policy matters for the country. In addition to the presidency, the National Coalition Party also holds the role of prime minister, foreign minister and defense minister in the government.

Voter turnout for the runoff election was around 71 percent of the electorate, and around the capital blue and white Finnish flags were hoisted on buildings to honor the day. The custom in Finland is to have coffee and cake after voting, and lots of families turned out to polling stations on Sunday with their children, who could share in the treats with their parents afterward.

Beyond their border with Russia, however, there is another concern for Finnish voters across the Atlantic: What is in store for Finland’s NATO membership should former President Donald J. Trump, an outspoken critic of the alliance who has even suggested the United States might leave it, win the presidential election in November?

“The whole decision of joining NATO banked on the idea that the U.S., the Americans, are here to stay and that U.S. commitment is long lasting,” said Matti Pesu of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. “If the U.S. decided to weaken its commitment, it would be a huge irony, and it would weaken the deterrence value of Finland’s NATO membership.”

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King Charles Appears in Public for First Time Since Cancer Announcement

King Charles III on Sunday was seen publicly for the first time since Buckingham Palace announced last week that he was being treated for cancer, strolling into a church on the royal Sandringham estate where he has his residence.

Charles, 75, waved and smiled at well-wishers who had gathered nearby to capture a glimpse of the monarch as news cameras flashed. He walked alongside his wife, Queen Camilla, before heading into the 11 a.m. service at St. Mary Magdalene Church.

Later, both the king and queen smiled and waved for the cameras as they headed back to their home at Sandringham House.

In a message released by Buckingham Palace on Saturday, King Charles thanked the public for supporting him since the news of his cancer diagnosis was announced.

“As all those who have been affected by cancer will know, such kind thoughts are the greatest comfort and encouragement,” he said.

The king added that it was “equally heartening to hear how sharing my own diagnosis has helped promote public understanding and shine a light on the work of all those organizations which support cancer patients and their families across the U.K. and wider world.”

Last month, Charles was admitted to a hospital for a routine operation to treat an enlarged prostate. But on Monday, the palace announced that during the course of that treatment, an unspecified form of cancer had been discovered. He has begun treatment for cancer and paused his public engagements during that time.

The king is currently staying at Sandringham, about 100 miles northeast of London.

The decision by the palace to disclose to the public that the king, Britain’s head of state, was being treated for cancer provided a rare candid insight into the health of a monarch.

But it has also left many questions in its wake, with little clarity on the seriousness of his illness or how long he will be receiving treatment.

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Election Shocker in Pakistan: Where the Country Goes From Here

Imran Khan’s stunning performance in Pakistan’s national election has upended most traditional political forecasts in a country where leaders who run afoul of the powerful military rarely find electoral success.

Supporters of Mr. Khan, the jailed former prime minister, are both electrified by the showing of candidates aligned with his party, who won the most seats in last week’s vote, and enraged by what they call blatant rigging and the possibility that other parties will ultimately lead the government.

Here’s what to know about the uncertainty now hanging over Pakistan’s political system.

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‘It Is Suffocating’: A Top Liberal University Is Under Attack in India

Jawaharlal Nehru University, named for India’s first prime minister, is one of the country’s premier liberal institutions, a hothouse of strong opinions and left-leaning values whose graduates populate the upper echelons of academia and government.

But to the Hindu nationalists who hold power in India, the university and others like it are dangerous dens of “anti-India” ideas. And they are working to silence them.

Masked men have stormed the J.N.U. campus and attacked students, shouting slogans associated with a far-right Hindu group. Vocal supporters of the right-wing governing party who have been installed as administrators have suspended students for participating in protests and, in December, imposed new restrictions on demonstrations. Professors have been denied promotions for questioning government policies.

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The Year of the Dragon Roars In

The Lunar New Year, the most important holiday in many Asian countries, began on Saturday. Here’s a look at celebrations around the world →

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‘This Is Where I Want to Be’

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When Ayelet Khon moved back to the Kfar Azza kibbutz with her husband two months after the brutal Hamas-led attack of Oct. 7, the first thing she did was hang a string of rainbow-colored lights up on the front patio.

At night, when darkness drenches this community, the twinkling colors are the only lights visible.

“We are going to keep these lights on and never turn them off — even if we’re out for the evening — they are lights of hope,” Ms. Khon said she told her husband, Shar Shnurman.

Eight hundred people used to live here, including families with children who scampered about in the evenings. Everyone who survived the attack was evacuated on Oct. 8. Since then, their homes have been dark. Even the streetlamps are gone, mowed down when tanks plowed through the narrow lanes as the Israeli Army arrived to defend against the attackers.

Ms. Khon, 56, and Mr. Shnurman, 62, are the only residents who have returned so far. At night, the silence is eerie, punctured episodically by the thunderous sound of bombs exploding in Gaza.

Some people may think they’re crazy, coming back here, just the two of them, Mr. Shnurman said. But to him, coming home was natural.

“We came back for the most basic reason: This is our home,” said Mr. Shnurman, a gregarious giant of a man. “This is where I want to be. It’s the most logical thing, to want to be home.”

He still thinks of this spot, a stone’s throw from Gaza, as a piece of paradise, or, as the locals who lived under the threat of missiles for years put it, “99 percent heaven, 1 percent hell.” Half of the homes were damaged in the attack, but nature has continued on its merry way. The swordlike leaves on the squat palm trees wear the bright green sheen of the desert winter, and thick bougainvillea vines that cling to houses spill purple flowers all about.

It is a communal settlement with no community. The dining hall that served hot lunch every day is closed, and the general store is shuttered. There is no mail, and there are no online deliveries. To buy groceries, you need to leave the kibbutz. Ms. Khon, an acupuncturist and massage therapist, can’t work; her client base was the kibbutz, and no one is around.

About 200,000 Israelis were evacuated after Oct. 7 from towns and farming communities like Kfar Azza that abut the Gaza Strip and were hit hard during the attack, and from villages near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where shelling by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah intensified at the same time.

The government has put displaced residents up in hotels and is footing the bill for their meals. But prolonged evacuations of this scale have never happened before in Israel, and with the war now entering its fifth month, the unspoken question on everyone’s mind is whether anyone who lived near Gaza will ever feel it is safe enough to return.

Some displaced residents from Kfar Azza said it was premature to even consider returning before the government approved resettlement in towns within 2.5 miles of the border with Gaza, where the Israeli Army has been waging a war to destroy Hamas. Mr. Shnurman and Ms. Khon did not ask for permission to return, although the army’s regional Gaza division has said that residents interested in returning have the option of doing so, according to a military spokesman.

More than 60 Kfar Azza residents were among the roughly 1,200 people in Israel who were murdered on Oct. 7, and some 18 men, women and children from the kibbutz were among the roughly 240 who were kidnapped. Hamas is still holding five hostages from the kibbutz.

“We are not going home until the hostages are back home,” said Ronit Ifergen, 49, a mother of three from Kfar Azza.

So Ms. Khon and Mr. Shnurman, who hasn’t resumed his factory job yet, spend their days participating in what has become a popular pastime in Israel: cooking for troops in the area who have heard about his barbecue and her banana bread by word of mouth.

They are never entirely alone. Kibbutz members who do their military reserve duty on-site stop in for hot goulash, and journalists and others regularly come to see the devastation with their own eyes: the charred row of houses where the young adults lived, the bullet holes in kitchen cabinets, the upended mattress under which Doron Steinbrecher was hiding when she was kidnapped.

Photographs show Ms. Steinbrecher with her long blonde hair pulled back, smiling for the camera, wearing a sparkly dress for a night on the town. She is still being held hostage in Gaza and looked gaunt and fearful in a video released on Jan. 26 by her Hamas captors.

Ms. Khon was having her morning coffee on the patio on Oct. 7 when she heard a barrage of missiles that turned the sky overhead a chalky white. The noise was so loud that Mr. Shnurman thought a helicopter had landed on their house.

They checked on their next-door neighbor, whose husband was away, and then hunkered down in their bedroom that doubles as a safe room. Twenty minutes later, the neighbor’s husband called and said he couldn’t reach her. Could they check in on her again?

“Shar went over, and when he got back, he told me, ‘They murdered Mira,’” Ms. Khon said. “I said, ‘That’s not funny.’ And he said, ‘I’m not joking.’”

The couple think the only reason they survived is because their unit and the neighbor’s unit are attached, and the terrorists must not have known there was another family in the complex.

“I realized then, we’re in a fight for our lives here,” Mr. Shnurman said. “There was a war going on outside our window. And where was the army?”

It took 30 hours until Israeli soldiers rescued them from their safe room, where they had no food, water or electricity. They kept their voices down while hearing the sounds of gunfire and shouting in Arabic outside. When they emerged, they saw bodies and bullet casings all over the kibbutz, and the air was filled with the stench of blood and burned homes.

Like everyone else, the couple were evacuated to a hotel north of Tel Aviv. But they didn’t know what to do with themselves there. They love cooking and feeding people, and they didn’t even have a refrigerator. So on Dec. 10, the fourth night of Hanukkah, they moved back to their snippet of paradise.

Mr. Shnurman goes for a walk every morning. “Every day I pass the houses of the dead, and every morning, I cry all over again,” he said. “And then I come home, and I know: This is the right place to be.”

Other residents cannot bear the thought of returning. “My mother visited just once, and she hugged me and burst out crying, and said, ‘I’m scared to death just being here,’” Ms Khon recalled. “For me, it was the opposite. The desire to go home was greater than the fear.”

Coming back to the kibbutz meant that life won, Mr. Shnurman said. “We beat the death that knocked on our door,” he said.

“Our strength as Jews is that after the Holocaust, we didn’t say, ‘No fair.’ We pulled ourselves up and built a country,” Ms. Khon said. “We beat Hamas by coming back here. They came and said, ‘We’ll uproot you,’ but they failed. We came back to our home. Our victory is that we’re staying here.”

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U.N. Agency in Gaza Fought Hamas Infiltration; Not Hard Enough, Israel Says

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When the United Nations launched an investigation a decade ago into whether a handful of its employees in Gaza were members of Hamas, it was not long before a senior U.N. legal officer in the territory started receiving death threats.

First there were emails, sent from anonymous accounts, according to three senior U.N. officials based in Gaza at that time.

Then came a funeral bouquet, delivered to the main U.N. compound, labeled with the legal officer’s name.

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Egypt Warily Eyes Gaza as War Builds Pressure on Its Border

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The pressure on Egypt is building.

More than half of Gaza’s population is squeezed into miserable tent cities in Rafah, a small city along Egypt’s border, left with nowhere else to go by Israel’s military campaign.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has threatened to overrun the area, and on Friday, he directed his forces to plan the evacuation of civilians from Rafah to clear the way for a new offensive against Hamas.

But it is not clear where those people could go.

Rather than opening its border to give Palestinians a refuge from the onslaught, as it has done for people fleeing other conflicts in the region, Egypt has reinforced its frontier with Gaza. It has also warned Israel that any move that would send Gazans spilling into its territory could jeopardize the decades-old Israel-Egypt peace treaty, an anchor of Middle East stability since 1979.

Israel’s next steps in the war could force such a breaking point.

The map of the Gaza Strip shows the Philadelphi Corridor, its border with Egypt, and highlights Rafah.

During past conflicts in the region, Egypt has taken in refugees from Syria, Yemen and neighboring Sudan. But in this war, it has reacted very differently to the plight of its Arab neighbors, spurred by a mix of alarm over its own security and fear that the displacement could become permanent and undermine Palestinian aspirations for statehood.

Egyptian leaders are also wary of the Islamist Hamas stoking militancy and spreading influence in their country, as Egypt has spent years trying to quash Islamists and an insurgency at home.

A Hamas-led attack on Israel on Oct. 7 set off the war in Gaza, and Mr. Netanyahu has called Rafah one of “Hamas’s last remaining strongholds.” However accurate that label, Rafah is also now the full-to-bursting shelter of last resort for about 1.4 million hungry, desperate people, according to the United Nations, most of them displaced from elsewhere in Gaza.

Egyptian officials have urged their Western counterparts to tell Israel that they see any move to force Gazans to cross into Sinai as a violation that would effectively suspend the 1979 peace treaty, according to a senior Western diplomat in Cairo. Another senior Western official, a U.S. official and an Israeli official said the message was even more direct, with Egypt threatening to suspend the treaty if the Israeli military pushed Gazans into Egypt.

The Egyptian government repeated that warning to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Wednesday, when Mr. Blinken was in Cairo to meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Israeli official said.

The U.S. official said Egypt had made clear it was prepared to militarize its border, perhaps with tanks, if Palestinians begin to be pushed into Sinai.

While Egyptians have never warmed to Israel in more than four decades of peace, their treaty has been one of the few stable constants in a turbulent region. Egypt has benefited from the security cooperation and from the generous American support — including more than $1 billion in annual aid — that it brought.

And despite the rising tensions, Egyptian and Israeli officials are still communicating with each other.

The Israeli official said that military officers from both countries, who have a long-established relationship of trust born of security cooperation around the border, are also speaking privately about Israel’s likely incursion into Rafah. In those discussions, the Egyptians asked Israel to limit the operation’s scale, this official said.

The two countries, which have jointly enforced a crippling blockade on Gaza since Hamas took control in 2007, are also discussing giving Israel a greater role in securing the narrow buffer zone that runs along the approximately nine-mile border between Egypt and Gaza, according to regional and Western officials.

But state-owned Egyptian media outlets have published anonymous denials by Egyptian officials about any agreement, signaling the Cairo government’s reluctance for its population to see any hint of cooperation with Israel. And Israel’s talk of controlling the zone has only added to strains in the relationship.

Egypt is Gaza’s only neighbor other than Israel, and since Israel invaded the territory in October, Egypt has helped about 1,700 gravely wounded Palestinians leave Gaza for treatment in Egyptian hospitals.

But Cairo categorically rejects any larger influx of Palestinian refugees onto Egyptian soil.

“There is a difference between hosting refugees and agreeing on forced displacement of a people,” Hani Labib, a pro-government commentator in Egypt, said Tuesday on an evening talk show.

The sensitivity dates back to 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes in the war surrounding Israel’s creation, never to return.

Many Palestinians and other Arabs refer to this chapter in history as the nakba, Arabic for catastrophe, and the permanent displacements of 1948 have reverberated in the Arab world’s memory as an injustice never remedied.

To many people in Egypt and across the Middle East, Israel forcing Gazans to leave their homes during this war, and perhaps flee Gaza altogether, would amount to a second nakba.

Early in the war, Israel pushed in diplomatic discussions for Gazans to move to Sinai, but Israeli officials have stopped formally advocating this since November.

Still, comments by hard-line Israeli government ministers endorsing the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza and open calls from some Israelis to rebuild Jewish settlements in the enclave have fed Arab fears that, after the war, Gazans who leave would be unable to return — further undermining hopes for a future Palestinian state.

Those worries also set Gazans apart from refugees in other crises.

Though some Gazans have said in interviews with The Times that they hope to escape to Egypt as the war has intensified, many, motivated by a bone-deep commitment to the dream of statehood, reject any suggestion of abandoning their homeland.

“Egypt is not an option for me to run to,” said Fathi Abu Snema, 45, who has been sheltering in a Rafah school for four months. “I prefer to die here.”

Egypt’s president, Mr. el-Sisi, has sworn repeatedly to reject what he calls the “liquidation of the Palestinian cause,” winning applause even from Egyptians frustrated with him on other grounds.

But perhaps more important, Cairo also dreads what Palestinian refugees in Sinai would mean for Egypt’s security. Restive, embittered refugees could launch attacks at Israel from Egyptian soil, inviting Israeli retaliation, or be recruited into the local insurgency in Sinai that Egypt has battled for years.

Egypt also fears the spread onto its territory of Hamas because of its origins as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian Islamist political organization. The Brotherhood came to power in free elections after Egypt’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising. But Mr. el-Sisi’s regime, which overthrew the Brotherhood in 2013, has vilified the group as terrorists and spent the past decade trying to eradicate it from Egypt.

In another sign of the growing pressure on Egypt, Israel wants control over the narrow buffer zone separating Gaza and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Mr. Netanyahu has said that Israel must control the zone, known as the Philadelphi Corridor, and analysts say Egypt is worried that Israel wants to seize it as a means to push Gazans into Sinai.

Israeli leaders have cited security concerns, saying Hamas smuggles weaponry through the Gaza-Egypt border zone.

But years ago, Egypt destroyed the main smuggling tunnels from its territory into Gaza, flooded them with seawater and razed the buildings that provided cover for people using the tunnels. It argues that it has done its part to sever smuggling routes.

Israeli military and intelligence officials have concluded that a significant amount of Hamas’s weaponry comes not from smuggling, but from unexploded munitions fired by Israel into Gaza and recycled by Hamas, as well as from arms stolen from Israeli bases, according to a recent Times investigation.

Sinai is such a sensitive region for Egypt that it normally bars most nonresidents from entering it, including journalists. But interviews and videos taken in recent years by the Sinai Foundation for Human Rights, a Britain-based group that monitors abuses in the area, show that the Egyptian military continued working to destroy new tunnels until at least late 2020. The material was shared with The Times.

The group interviewed five smugglers in Sinai who said smuggling between Egypt and Gaza came to a halt at least two years ago. It also spoke to an Egyptian soldier stationed at the border who said troops were ordered to shoot any moving object they spotted in the area to deter smuggling. Its staff has observed the Egyptian military using patrols, drones and bulldozers to guard against smuggling.

With its military outmatched by Israel’s and its economy mired in a deep crisis, Egypt has few options for bending Israel to its will. And its mountain of debt and desperation for foreign currency have raised questions over whether Israel’s Western allies could offer rich enough financial incentives to persuade Egypt to resettle Gazans in Sinai.

But so far, Western leaders, fearing instability in Egypt, have instead pressed Israel to refrain from displacing Gazans to Egypt.

Reporting was contributed by Patrick Kingsley, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Adam Rasgon from Jerusalem, Nada Rashwan from Cairo, and Abu Bakr Bashir from London.

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Manhattan or Pulau Rhun? In 1667, Nutmeg Made the Choice a No-Brainer.

Richard C. Paddock and

Richard C. Paddock and Muktita Suhartono, along with the photographer Nyimas Laula, spent three days on Pulau Rhun to document life on the remote island.

The isles of Manhattan and Pulau Rhun could hardly be farther apart, not just in geography, but also in culture, economy and global prominence.

Rhun, in the Banda Sea in Indonesia, has no cars or roads and only about 20 motorbikes. Most people get around by walking along its paved footpaths or up steep stairways, often toting plastic jugs of water from the numerous village wells or sometimes lugging a freshly caught tuna.

But in the 17th century, in what might now seem one of the most lopsided trades in history, the Netherlands believed it got the better part of a bargain with the British when it swapped Manhattan, then known as New Amsterdam, for this tiny speck of land.

Map locates the Maluku Islands in eastern Indonesia. It also locates Pulau Rhan, an island in the Banda Island group, which is part of the Maluku Islands.

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Discontent and Defiance on the Road to Pakistan’s Election

Christina Goldbaum and

The reporters traveled along a famed highway in Pakistan’s most heated political battleground to understand how Pakistanis are feeling before a national election on Thursday.

The highway is the most politically charged slice of a politically turbulent country. It winds 180 miles from Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, through the fertile plains of Punjab Province to Lahore, the nation’s cultural and political heart.

For centuries, it was known only as a sliver of the Grand Trunk Road, Asia’s longest and oldest thoroughfare, linking traders in Central Asia to the Indian subcontinent. But in Pakistan, this stretch of the smog-drenched highway has become the stage for major rallies and protests led by nearly every famed civilian leader the country has had.

As Pakistan heads into national elections on Thursday, the road is buzzing. Politics dominates the chatter between its vendors and rickshaw drivers, their conversations seeped in a culture of conspiracy, cults of political personality and the problems of entrenched military control.

The map highlights the Grand Trunk Road from Islamabad to Lahore in Pakistan . The towns of Gujar Khan, Jhelum, Wazirabad and Gujranwala along the road are also located.

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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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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.

“They’re all unloved bits of Camden,” said Simon Pitkeathley, the chief executive of Camden Town Unlimited, the business improvement district behind the initiative, of the areas that will one day provide the ground-level entrances to the Highline.

Strolling along the route of the planned park, which will sit some 25 feet above the streets, allows for a different view of London. Up here, the air feels fresher and the bustle below fades away as the view stretches over a patch of north London peppered with homes and office buildings.

The backers of the Camden Highline project, which carries an estimated price tag of 35 million pounds, or about $44.5 million, hope it will one day become a vibrant draw for both tourists and locals, bringing much-needed foot traffic to the area, much as its New York namesake has in the Chelsea neighborhood.

Rather than any attempt to disguise the inspiration, the London line will have intentional echoes of the hugely successful one in New York.

It, too, harnesses a railway that has sat empty for decades, around 30 years in the case of the Camden line.

During a recent walking tour of the planned route, Mr. Pitkeathley pointed to a brick archway that will eventually have a sleek staircase rising through it, bringing visitors to the elevated park. Design drawings show Londoners strolling leafy walkways, past wildflower gardens and viewing platforms where they can admire the streetscapes.

The Camden Highline’s planned width varies greatly along its route, expanding more than 65 feet in some areas that used to be full station platforms, while shrinking to under 10 feet in other sections.

The project’s design team was headed by James Corner Field Operations, the lead architecture firm for the New York High Line, working with other designers as well as London-based social enterprises that helped consult residents on their vision for the park.

So while the links to the original High Line are clear — and hopes for the same success are front of mind — the design is adapted to serve the neighborhood where it sits, Mr. Pitkeathley said.

There are a number of differences, first among them an active train line running directly beside where the park will one day unfold.

Much of the surrounding area it passes through is publicly owned land filled with affordable housing, so both affluent and lower-income Londoners will benefit from proximity to the new green space, Mr. Pitkeathley said.

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.

But it will still be some time before Londoners and visitors can enjoy the park.

Planning permission was given in January 2023 for the first section, running from Camden Gardens east to Royal College Street.

Construction will not begin until late 2025, with the first section of the Highline expected to open in early 2027, he added. Two additional sections are still years away.

Fund-raising is still underway, and Mr. Pitkeathley declined to say how much was left to raise.

But when the entire project is completed, it will wend its way for three-quarters of a mile east from Camden Town, already a popular destination, to King’s Cross, a transport hub and the site of another urban regeneration project.

The plan for the Camden Highline has already been applauded by lawmakers and conservation groups, including Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London; Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition Labour Party; and the National Trust. But it is the opinions of those living locally that have been the focus of the planning team.

Lyn Walls, 57, lives in the Maiden Lane Estate, a residential complex with a mix of public and private housing, adjacent to where the easternmost section of the new park will eventually stand. For now, the only walkway that connects her home to the area directly to the west is a graffiti-riddled, badly lighted path.

The Camden Highline will eventually offer a walkable link to the neighborhoods to her west, she said. For now, Ms. Walls usually “takes the long way around” when walking there, she said, because of a secluded passageway that currently links the two areas.

“Going that way just isn’t appealing — it needs more lighting and just more people using it,” she said. The Highline, she added, “will make such a difference.”

On a recent winter afternoon, she was walking her dog with her two grandchildren and her daughter-in-law in an enclosed basketball court on the grounds of the complex. While there is a handful of green space dotting the area, Ms. Walls said the addition of the Highline would add much-needed park space.

At a cafe at the western end of the Highline’s route, Kiran Duggal, 25, and Barnaby Fishwick, 20, sipped coffee in the sun of a mild winter afternoon.

The friends, who work in a pub nearby, both said they were excited about the possibility of more green space and better walking routes.

“That will make life so much easier,” said Ms. Duggal, who lamented the lack of a good walkable route connecting the eastern and western parts of this area of London.

“Around north London, there are just so many dead sites,” Mr. Fishwick said, adding that he was eager to see the new park come to life. “I do just love a good stroll.”

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The Friar Who Became the Vatican’s Go-To Guy on A.I.

Before dawn, Paolo Benanti climbed to the bell tower of his 16th-century monastery, admired the sunrise over the ruins of the Roman forum and reflected on a world in flux.

“It was a wonderful meditation on what is going on inside,” he said, stepping onto the street in his friar robe. “And outside too.”

There is a lot is going on for Father Benanti, who, as both the Vatican’s and the Italian government’s go-to artificial intelligence ethicist, spends his days thinking about the Holy Ghost and the ghosts in the machines.

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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.

Ms. Kuroyanagi, who jokes that she wants to keep going until she turns 100, is known for her rapid-fire chatter and knack for drawing out guests on topics like dating, divorce and, now, increasingly, death. Even as she works to woo a younger generation — the Korean-Canadian actor and singer Ahn Hyo-seop, 28, appeared on the show this month — many of her guests these days speak about the ailments of aging and the demise of their industry peers.

Having survived World War II, she broke out as an early actor on Japanese television and then carved out a niche as a feel-good interviewer with a distinctive style that is still instantly recognized almost everywhere in Japan. By fashioning herself into a character, rather than simply being the person who interviewed the characters, she helped establish a genre of Japanese performers known as “tarento” — a Japanized version of the English word “talent” — who are ubiquitous on television today.

“In some ways she really is like the embodiment of TV history” in Japan, said Aaron Gerow, a professor of East Asian literature and film at Yale University.

Ms. Kuroyanagi is distinguished above all by her longevity, but she was also a trailblazing woman in an overwhelmingly male environment.

When she started as a variety show host in 1972, if she asked a question, “I was told I should just keep my mouth shut,” she recalled in a nearly two-hour interview in a hotel near the studio where she had taped three episodes earlier in the day.

“I do think Japan has changed from that era,” she said.

She has championed the deaf and is a good-will ambassador for UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. Yet critics say that despite her pioneering career, she has done little to advance women’s causes. “She is an icon for prosperous, good-old” Japan, wrote Kaori Hayashi, a professor of media studies at the University of Tokyo, in an email message.

In the interview, Ms. Kuroyanagi did not dwell on the indignities of being the sole woman in many rooms. She said that in her 30s and 40s, men in the television industry asked her on dates or proposed marriage — offers that she implied were often unwelcome — and that she treated comments that might now be considered inappropriate as jokes.

In a society that she said retained “feudalist” elements in gender relations, she advised women to bootstrap their way through their careers.

“Don’t ever say you can’t do anything because you are a woman,” she said.

Although she said she entered television because she wanted to appear in children’s programming to prepare for motherhood, she never married or had children. “With a unique job, it’s better to stay single,” she said. “It’s more comfortable.”

Her first memoir, about her childhood attending an unusual progressive elementary school in Tokyo, Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window, published in 1981, has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. Last fall, she published a sequel recounting the harsh conditions in Japan during World War II, when some days all she had to eat were 15 roasted beans, and she and her mother cowered in a dugout to shelter from air raids over Tokyo.

She said she was inspired to write the sequel in part by the images she saw coming out of Ukraine after the Russian invasion. Ms. Kuroyanagi plumbed her own memories of a wartime childhood, when her mother evacuated the family out of Tokyo to northern Japan.

“Even though I haven’t said war is bad,” she said, “I want people to understand what it was like for a child to experience the war.”

Ms. Kuroyanagi maintains a childlike quality herself. For the interview, she switched out of her signature onion hair bun, concealing her own hair under an ash-blond Shirley Temple-style curly bob wig, secured with an enormous black velvet bow.

It is all part of a nonthreatening persona she has cultivated over the decades. “She’s kind of adorable and cute,” said Kumiko Nemoto, a professor of management in the School of Business Administration at Senshu University in Tokyo, where she focuses on gender issues. “She doesn’t criticize anything or bring up anything political or say any negative things.”

That may be why, Gorbachev aside, Ms. Kuroyanagi has avoided interviews with politicians. “It’s too difficult for them to really tell the truth,” she said. “And I can’t make all of them all look good.”

Although sometimes compared to Barbara Walters, the groundbreaking American newswoman, Ms. Kuroyanagi does not push her interview subjects too hard. Producers ask guests in advance what topics they want to avoid or promote, and Ms. Kuroyanagi tends to oblige.

During the taping this week, her guest was Kankuro Nakamura VI, a sixth-generation Kabuki actor whose father and grandfather were also regular visitors on Ms. Kuroyanagi’s couch. Mr. Nakamura seemed to anticipate some questions about his family before they scrolled on to the teleprompter.

“What I put the highest priority on is that I control the situation with guests so that the audience will not think the guest is a weird or bad person,” Ms. Kuroyanagi said. “If possible I want the audience to realize, ‘Oh, this person is quite nice.’”

When Mr. Gorbachev appeared on her show in 2001, Ms. Kuroyanagi avoided politics. “It would have been a big deal for him,” she said. Instead, she asked him about his favorite poets, and he recited “The Sail,” by the 19th-century romantic poet Mikhail Lermontov. “I said I wished that if I asked such a question of any Japanese politician, it would be great if there was even one politician who could do that,” she said.

As she has grown older, she has forthrightly faced the challenges of her own generation on the sound stage at TV Asahi, the home of her show for 49 years. Before his death in 2016, for example, Ms. Kuroyanagi interviewed Rokusuke Ei, the lyricist of the song “Sukiyaki.” He appeared in a wheelchair, clearly showing symptoms of advanced Parkinson’s disease. Ms. Kuroyanagi frankly discussed his illness with him.

“Old people are definitely encouraged by her presence,” said Takahiko Kageyama, a professor of media studies at Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts in Kyoto.

With her speech noticeably slowed, Ms. Kuroyanagi said she was motivated to keep working to inspire older audiences. “To show that a person can appear on TV until I am 100 with a body that is OK and my mind still works,” she said, “if I can show that, I think that would be an interesting experiment.”

Hisako Ueno and Kiuko Notoya contributed reporting from Tokyo.

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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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Playing Soccer in $1.50 Sandals That Even Gucci Wants to Copy

The wealthy pros of Ivory Coast’s national soccer team were resting in their luxury hotel last week, preparing for a match in Africa’s biggest tournament, when Yaya Camara sprinted onto a dusty lot and began fizzing one pass after another to his friends.

Over and over, he corralled the game’s underinflated ball and then sent it away again with his favorite soccer shoes: worn plastic sandals long derided as the sneaker of the poor, but which he and his friends wear as a badge of honor.

Shiny soccer cleats like his idols’? No thanks, said Mr. Camara, a lean 18-year-old midfielder, as he wiped sweat from his brow.

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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.

The decision to allow Russia to earn a medal despite the presence of an athlete convicted of doping raised yet more questions about Russia’s influence over top sports bodies. It also highlighted the inability of global sports to enforce rules on doping and to punish athletes and countries in a timely manner.

Critics have for years accused the I.O.C. of taking a soft approach on Russia by issuing tough-sounding sanctions that still allowed Russian athletes and teams to take part in competitions like the Olympics. Others noted that Russia’s antidoping agency was itself banned when it conducted the initial investigation into Valieva’s positive test.

“It’s unimaginable that a young woman, Valieva, is thrown under the bus with a four-year sanction, but Russia is allowed to keep Olympic glory with the bronze,” Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, said. “It reeks of political favoritism, and there is lots of explaining to do, as athletes deserve answers.”

Now, rather than a neat resolution to a scandal that has already dragged on for two years, figure skating — and the Olympic movement — faces the prospect of new questions about doping and its consequences, and new appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport that could take months, or even years, to resolve.

In revising the results on Tuesday, the skating union said that it had disqualified Valieva and dismissed all the points and results she had posted in competitions that took place after she had submitted a positive sample to drug testers on Christmas Day in 2021. The most high-profile of those was the Beijing Olympics weeks later, and the team event that took place early in the Games.

Her disqualification lifted the United States into first place, Japan into second and dropped Russia to third.

But in a curious bit of math, the I.S.U. adjusted only the final points totals for each team, and did not reallocate the 20 points Valieva relinquished to the other women’s competitors. Without the two extra points it believed it should have received from improved finishes in the women’s short and long programs, Canada was left in fourth place — a single point behind Russia’s adjusted total.

Canada’s skating federation said it was “extremely disappointed” and that it would “consider all options to appeal this decision.” It cited a provision buried deep in skating’s rules that says competitors “who initially placed lower than the disqualified Competitor(s) will move up accordingly in their placement(s).”

The Russian Olympic committee, meanwhile, said it was already preparing paperwork to appeal any reallocation of the team medals. In a previous statement on Monday, it had cast doubt on the “objectivity and impartiality” of the court that had banned Valieva, and like Canada pointed to skating’s rule book to fortify its position.

According to those rules, Russia said, “the results of team competitions at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games do not depend on the outcome of the consideration of the individual case of Kamila Valieva, and the awards won by our team in Beijing cannot be legally subject to review.”

Tuesday’s announcement also stripped Valieva of any results she achieved in the period in which she was ineligible, including not only the team event but also her fourth-place finish in the singles event in Beijing and her victory in the 2022 European championships.

Her four-year ban will end in December 2025, just in time to allow her to compete in the next Olympics, in February 2026 in Italy.

A Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, on Monday ridiculed Valieva’s ban as a “politicized decision.” On Tuesday, he broadened his criticisms, suggesting that any result that took the gold away from Russia was unacceptable.

“We don’t agree with these decisions, neither by the court nor by the federation,” he said. “We don’t accept them.”

He added: “Upon their return from China, from the Olympics, these athletes were honored as Olympic champions. We are convinced that for us they will always remain Olympic champions. No matter what decisions were made in this regard, even unfair ones.”

The I.S.U., the skating governing body, said Tuesday that it would coordinate with the International Olympic Committee on the next steps in implementing its decision — essentially the long-delayed awarding of the medals from the team competition to the athletes who earned them.

The medals themselves remain in limbo. Unclear at the time about who had actually won what, the I.O.C. took the unprecedented step of retaining possession of the team golds, silvers and bronzes that were to be awarded in Beijing. It was the first time in Olympic history that medals were not awarded in a completed event.

United States Olympic officials said Tuesday that they would press to have its team’s gold medals awarded regardless of what is happening with Russia or Canada, or any appeals. “There’s no reason for any delay,” said Sarah Hirshland, the chief executive of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. “We are focused on getting those medals to Team USA.”

Ms. Hirshland said the U.S. skaters had hoped to receive their medals at the Paris Olympics this summer. “That would be a dream scenario,” said the ice dancer Madison Chock, a member of the American team in Beijing.

Ivan Nechepurenko and Juliet Macur contributed reporting.

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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.

Depardieu, 75, has denied any wrongdoing, and he has not been convicted in connection with any of the accusations against him.

On Monday, the Paris prosecutor’s office said that Darras’s suit was dropped in late December because the statute of limitations had run out on the alleged assault, an outcome that was widely expected — including by the actress herself. She told Agence France-Presse in December that she still “wanted to respond to the defense that plays down our allegations by saying they’re ‘just’ witness accounts.”

In France, adult victims of sexual assault have six years after an alleged crime to file a lawsuit.

Another lawsuit, filed in Spain by Ruth Baza, a Spanish journalist who has accused Depardieu of kissing and groping her without her consent when she was in Paris in 1995, could face a similar fate.

Depardieu has been charged with rape and sexual assault in a case involving Charlotte Arnould, a French actress who says he sexually assaulted her in Paris in 2018, when she was 22. That investigation is continuing, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.

While allegations of Depardieu’s sexual misconduct had been growing for years, criticism of the actor resurfaced recently after the France 2 documentary.

Darras was one of 13 women — actresses, makeup artists and production staff — who in April had told Mediapart, an investigative news website, that Depardieu had made inappropriate sexual comments or gestures during film shoots over the years.

In the France 2 documentary, and in interviews with Mediapart and other outlets, Darras said that in 2007, on the set of “Disco,” Depardieu had groped her repeatedly in between takes, touching her hips and buttocks, and had propositioned her, even after she refused.

Darras, who was 26 at the time, had said that no one on set had reacted to the groping because Depardieu was treated like a “king,” and that she had been afraid to speak out because she was just starting her career and was worried about being blacklisted.

In a news conference this month, Macron — who had condemned what he called a “manhunt” against Depardieu — said he had “no regrets about defending the presumption of innocence for a public figure.”

But, he added: “If I have one regret, at that moment, it’s that I didn’t say enough about the importance of the voice of women who are victims of this violence, and how essential this fight is for me.”

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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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Bolsonaro y sus aliados planearon un golpe de Estado, según la policía de Brasil

Jair Bolsonaro, expresidente de Brasil, supervisó una amplia conspiración para aferrarse al poder al margen de los resultados de las elecciones de 2022, incluida editar personalmente una orden propuesta para arrestar a un juez del Supremo Tribunal Federal, según nuevas acusaciones de la policía federal brasileña reveladas el jueves.

Bolsonaro y decenas de altos asesores, ministros y líderes militares trabajaron juntos para socavar la confianza de los brasileños en las elecciones y preparar el escenario para un posible golpe, aseguró la policía federal.

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

Sus esfuerzos incluyeron la difusión de desinformación sobre el fraude electoral, la redacción de argumentos legales para nuevas elecciones, el reclutamiento de personal militar para apoyar un golpe, la vigilancia de los jueces y alentar y guiar a los manifestantes que finalmente asaltaron edificios del gobierno, dijo la policía.

Las escandalosas acusaciones se hicieron en una orden judicial de 134 páginas que autorizó una amplia operación policial federal el jueves que apuntaba a Bolsonaro y alrededor de una veintena de sus aliados políticos, entre ellos el exministro de Defensa, el exasesor de Seguridad Nacional, el exministro de Justicia y el excomandante general de la Marina de Brasil.

La operación incluyó órdenes de registro y la detención de cuatro personas, entre ellas dos oficiales del ejército y dos de los exasesores principales de Bolsonaro.

Al expresidente se le ordenó entregar su pasaporte, permanecer en el país y no tener contacto con ninguna otra persona investigada.

Bolsonaro dijo el jueves que era la víctima inocente de una operación motivada políticamente.

“Salí del gobierno hace más de un año y sigo sufriendo una persecución implacable”, declaró el expresidente al diario brasileño Folha de São Paulo. “Olvídense de mí. Ya hay otro gobernando el país”.

Durante más de un año antes de las elecciones brasileñas de 2022, Bolsonaro sembró abiertamente dudas sobre la seguridad de los sistemas electorales de su país y advirtió que, si perdía, sería por culpa de un fraude.

Cuando, de hecho, perdió frente al presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Bolsonaro se negó a reconocer de manera inequívoca su derrota y sus partidarios organizaron protestas que duraron meses y culminaron con un disturbio en enero de 2023 en el Congreso, el Supremo Tribunal Federal y las oficinas de la presidencia de Brasil.

Bolsonaro ya ha sido declarado inelegible para presentarse a las elecciones hasta 2030 por sus intentos de socavar los sistemas de votación de Brasil. Ahora podría ser arrestado y procesado penalmente.

Lula dijo en una entrevista en la radio el jueves que esperaba que la investigación sobre Bolsonaro fuera justa e imparcial. “Lo que quiero es que Bolsonaro tenga la presunción de inocencia, que yo no tuve”, dijo.

Lula cumplió 580 días en prisión por cargos de corrupción que fueron anulados después de que el Supremo Tribunal Federal de Brasil dictaminara que el juez de sus casos había sido parcial.

Las acusaciones reveladas el jueves muestran cómo el expresidente y sus aliados intentaron subvertir la joven democracia brasileña, incluyendo detalles alarmantes para un país que fue gobernado por una dictadura militar de 1964 a 1985.

En un momento de noviembre de 2022, después de que Bolsonaro perdiera las elecciones pero siguiera siendo presidente, Filipe Martins, uno de sus principales asesores, le llevó un borrador de un documento legal en el que se afirmaba que el Supremo Tribunal Federal de Brasil había interferido ilegalmente en los asuntos del poder ejecutivo, según la policía federal. El documento ordenaba el arresto de dos jueces del Supremo Tribunal y del presidente del Senado y convocaba nuevas elecciones, según la policía.

Bolsonaro ordenó cambios en el documento para que solo se detuviera a uno de los jueces del Supremo Tribunal Federal, señaló la policía. Una vez que el documento fue actualizado, Bolsonaro convocó a los principales líderes militares a la residencia presidencial para presentarles el documento y presionar por un golpe de Estado, dijo la policía. El resultado de esa reunión no estaba claro.

El juez del Supremo Tribunal Federal que habría sido arrestado con esa orden era Alexandre de Moraes, el mismo juez que ha supervisado las investigaciones sobre Bolsonaro y sus aliados durante años, lo que lo convirtió en uno de los archienemigos del expresidente.

De Moraes emitió la orden judicial que autorizaba los arrestos y las acciones policiales el jueves. La orden reveló que la policía federal también descubrió pruebas de que dos de los asesores de Bolsonaro habían vigilado los viajes de De Moraes en caso de que el gobierno intentara arrestarlo.

En la orden judicial desvelada el jueves, De Moraes dijo que la precisión de los asesores a la hora de conocer su agenda daba a entender que podrían haber estado utilizando tecnología para vigilarlo.

La policía federal ha acusado por separado al hijo de Bolsonaro y al exjefe de la agencia de inteligencia de Brasil de usar un software espía israelí, entre otras herramientas, para vigilar a los enemigos políticos del expresidente, incluido De Moraes.

La orden judicial revelada el jueves también detalla una reunión en julio de 2022, tres meses antes de las elecciones, en la que Bolsonaro ordenó a altos funcionarios del gobierno y líderes militares que difundieran denuncias de fraude electoral, a pesar de la falta de pruebas. “De aquí para adelante, quiero que todos los ministros digan lo que voy a decir aquí”, dijo Bolsonaro en la reunión, según una grabación obtenida por la policía.

Las transcripciones de la grabación que aparecen en los documentos judiciales revelan que el expresidente parecía creer, o al menos seguía propagando, varias teorías conspirativas que afirmaban que sus rivales estaban amañando las elecciones.

Afirmó falsamente que los sistemas electrónicos de votación habían sido precargados con los resultados y que los jueces electorales habían recibido decenas de millones de dólares en sobornos.

“No tengo pruebas. Pero algo extraño está pasando”, dijo Bolsonaro, según la policía. “Perder una elección no es ningún problema. Lo que no podemos es perder la democracia en unas elecciones amañadas”.

En otro momento, pidió a sus ministros y líderes militares que firmaran una carta pública diciendo que no se podía confiar en el sistema electoral de Brasil. (Dicha carta nunca se hizo pública).

Sin embargo, varios ministros del gobierno y líderes militares presentes en la reunión coincidieron con la opinión de Bolsonaro sobre el sistema electoral.

Anderson Torres, exministro de Justicia de Bolsonaro, instó a los presentes a actuar, afirmando que enfrentarían consecuencias si Lula se convertía en presidente. “Quiero que todo el mundo piense en lo que puede hacer de antemano porque todo el mundo saldrá perjudicado”, dijo, según la policía.

Paulo Sérgio Nogueira, exministro de Defensa de Bolsonaro y comandante del ejército, dijo que veía a los funcionarios electorales de Brasil como “el enemigo” y que los líderes militares se reunían semanalmente para garantizar elecciones limpias.

“Que tengamos éxito en reelegirlo”, le dijo a Bolsonaro, según la policía. “Ese es todo nuestro deseo”.

Pero también hubo señales internas de duda entre los aliados de Bolsonaro. Dos días después de la primera ronda de las elecciones de Brasil, que llevó a Bolsonaro y a Lula a una segunda vuelta, un oficial del ejército envió un mensaje de texto al asesor personal de Bolsonaro, Mauro Cid, diciendo que esperaba que el equipo de Bolsonaro “sepan lo que están haciendo”.

“Yo también”, respondió Cid, quien fue instrumental en la planificación de un golpe, según la policía. “Si no, voy preso”.

Cid fue detenido poco después de la elección de Lula y acusado de ayudar a falsificar los registros de vacunas de Bolsonaro. Firmó un acuerdo para cooperar con las autoridades.

El oficial del ejército preguntó entonces si el equipo de Bolsonaro había encontrado pruebas de fraude electoral.

“Nada”, respondió Cid, según la policía. “Ningún indicio de fraude”.

Paulo Motoryn colaboró con reportería desde Brasilia.

Jack Nicas es el jefe de la corresponsalía en Brasil, que abarca Brasil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay. Anteriormente reportó de tecnología desde San Francisco y, antes de integrarse al Times en 2018, trabajó siete años en The Wall Street Journal. Más de Jack Nicas

Lo que revelan los videos de soldados israelíes: burlas y destrucción

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Un soldado israelí levanta el pulgar ante la cámara mientras maneja una excavadora por una calle de Beit Lahia, en el norte de Gaza, empujando un auto maltrecho hacia un edificio medio derruido.

“He dejado de contar cuántos barrios he borrado”, reza el pie de foto del video publicado en su TikTok personal, acompañado de un himno militarista.

Desde la invasión israelí en octubre, los soldados han publicado videos en las redes sociales desde Gaza, ofreciendo una mirada inusual y no autorizada de las operaciones sobre el terreno. Algunos han sido vistos por pequeños círculos de personas; otros han llegado a decenas de miles.

The New York Times examinó cientos de estos videos. Algunos muestran aspectos anodinos de la vida de un soldado: sus comidas, cómo pasa el rato o los momentos en los que envía mensajes a sus seres queridos en casa.

Otros muestran a soldados que han destrozado tiendas locales y aulas escolares, también los han captado haciendo comentarios despectivos sobre los palestinos o cuando arrasaban lo que parecen ser zonas civiles y pedían la construcción de asentamientos israelíes en Gaza, una idea incendiaria que promueven algunos políticos israelíes de extrema derecha.

Algunas de las publicaciones de los soldados infringen las normas de las Fuerzas de Defensa de Israel (FDI), las cuales restringen el uso de las redes sociales por parte de su personal, y que específicamente prohíben compartir contenido que pueda “afectar la imagen de las FDI y su percepción ante la opinión pública” o que muestren comportamientos que “atenten contra la dignidad humana”.

Mediante un comunicado, el ejército israelí condenó los videos filmados por soldados que aparecen en este artículo.

“La conducta de las fuerzas que aparecen en las imágenes es deplorable y no cumple con las órdenes del ejército”, señaló la institución en una declaración escrita. Y añadió que se estaban examinando las “circunstancias”.

Sin embargo, siguen apareciendo en internet nuevos videos como estos que recuerdan las muchas maneras en las que las redes sociales están cambiando la guerra. En Rusia y Ucrania, los soldados ahora comparten videos directamente desde el campo de batalla, publican con frecuencia imágenes de combate y a veces incluso ofrecen una perspectiva en primera persona desde cámaras montadas en cascos. También se han publicado videos que muestran torturas y ejecuciones.

Ahora que la guerra de Israel en Gaza está sometida a un intenso escrutinio, muchos de los videos de los soldados grabados en Gaza han avivado las críticas. Uno de ellos se proyectó y otros cinco se citaron como pruebas en el caso que Sudáfrica presentó ante la Corte Internacional de Justicia para acusar a Israel de genocidio, algo que Israel ha negado de manera categórica.

El Times rastreó más de 50 videos hasta las unidades israelíes de ingeniería de combate militar, que muestran el uso de topadoras, excavadoras y explosivos para destruir lo que parecen ser casas, escuelas y otros edificios civiles.

Los expertos en derechos humanos han expresado su preocupación por la magnitud de este tipo de destrucción en zonas bajo control militar israelí, señalando que los estándares internacionales de guerra requieren una clara necesidad militar de destruir propiedad civil.

Los videos de este artículo se han verificado determinando las fechas y lugares donde fueron grabados, o confirmando que los soldados que aparecen en ellos y sus unidades estaban en Gaza en el momento en que se subieron las imágenes.

Ninguno de los soldados que grabaron y publicaron los videos respondió cuando se les pidieron comentarios.

Más de 27.000 palestinos han muerto en Gaza desde que comenzaron los bombardeos y la invasión israelíes del enclave, según las autoridades sanitarias de Gaza. La ofensiva israelí se produjo tras los ataques dirigidos por Hamás contra Israel el 7 de octubre, que mataron a casi 1200 personas, según funcionarios israelíes.

Tras su invasión terrestre a fines de octubre, el ejército israelí estableció bases a lo largo de la costa norte de Gaza. La zona, que los soldados bautizaron como Nova Beach, en referencia al festival de música en el que murieron 364 personas a manos de Hamás y sus aliados el 7 de octubre, es el telón de fondo de muchos de los videos de las redes sociales analizados por el Times.

Antes de la guerra, la zona estaba compuesta por viviendas de familias gazatíes, propiedades vacacionales, invernaderos y campos de cultivo. Una casa dañada en Gaza, en lo que ahora es una base costera israelí, es el escenario de un video publicado en noviembre por un reservista que también es DJ.

El video iba acompañado de una versión paródica de la canción israelí This Was My Home, que apareció en una escena cómica israelí y se ha difundido en internet en los últimos meses entre los usuarios israelíes de las redes sociales para burlarse de los palestinos.

“Esta era mi casa, sin electricidad, sin gas”, dice la canción, mientras un soldado se acomoda entre los escombros de la casa dañada antes de asomarse a la ventana y señalar la escena de destrucción exterior. La casa fue destruida a finales de diciembre, según muestran las imágenes por satélite.

“Es desgarrador, inhumano”, declaró al Times Basel al-Sourani, abogado internacional especializado en derechos humanos del Centro Palestino de Derechos Humanos, organización sin ánimo de lucro con sede en la ciudad de Gaza, “y simplemente demuestra que, en esencia, los israelíes quieren a los palestinos fuera de su hogar, la Franja de Gaza”.

Usando otro meme popular, el mismo soldado también publicó un video a mediados de noviembre al son de un remix llamado Shtayim, Shalosh, Sha-ger, (Dos, tres, lanzamiento). En el video, ampliamente compartido, los soldados bailan frente a la cámara y, cuando se oye la palabra “lanzamiento”, el video pasa a una toma de un edificio siendo detonado.

Poco después de que el Times preguntó a TikTok por los videos que aparecen en este artículo, los videos fueron retirados de la plataforma. Un representante de TikTok aseguró que los clips infringían las directrices de la empresa, incluyendo sus políticas sobre incitación al odio y comportamiento.

Meta, propietaria de Facebook e Instagram, no respondió a la solicitud para hacer comentarios.

Algunas de las cuentas más activas revisadas por el Times pertenecían a soldados de unidades del Cuerpo de Ingeniería de Combate del ejército israelí, que utiliza maquinaria pesada, incluyendo excavadoras, con el fin de despejar caminos para las fuerzas militares, descubrir y destruir túneles, y arrasar estructuras. El Times documentó hace poco demoliciones controladas realizadas por unidades de ingeniería en toda Gaza.

En un video filmado en las afueras de Jan Yunis, en el sur de Gaza, a principios de enero, se puede ver a soldados de ingeniería de combate que fuman pipas de narguile antes de que unas explosiones derriben edificios residenciales en el fondo. Acto seguido, levantan copas para brindar.

​​En algunos de los videos de los ingenieros de combate, los soldados israelíes se burlan de los palestinos mientras destruyen estructuras y propiedades. En otros, que han sido muy compartidos en las redes sociales, los soldados dedican la destrucción de edificios a las víctimas de los ataques del 7 de octubre y a sus familiares. En un video de TikTok, los soldados dedican la demolición de un edificio a Eyal Golan, un cantante israelí que ha pedido la destrucción total de Gaza. Sudáfrica citó este video como prueba de lo que llamó “discurso genocida de los soldados” en su caso contra Israel ante la Corte Internacional de Justicia.

Mientras la topadora se dirige hacia los muros restantes de una casa parcialmente destruida en Jan Yunis, los soldados gritan: “Eyal Golan, nuestro hermano querido, te queremos”. Y añaden: “Esta casa es para ti”.

El 12 de diciembre, un soldado de ingeniería de combate compartió una fotografía en su cuenta de TikTok con tres excavadoras blindadas y un entorno destruido cerca de la base israelí en la costa norte de Gaza.

“Este es el resultado de mucho trabajo… todo el lugar estaba cubierto de vegetación y casas hasta que llegamos allí”, reza el pie de foto.

Casi a 1,6 kilómetros al sur de la costa, se puede ver una destrucción similar en imágenes por satélite captadas a finales de diciembre, que muestran que al menos 63 edificios, incluyendo viviendas, fueron demolidos en un radio de 400 metros de la base. En ese momento, la zona se encontraba a poco más de 2 kilómetros de la frontera del territorio controlado por Israel, según los mapas publicados por el Instituto para el Estudio de la Guerra.

Los escombros visibles coinciden con los métodos de limpieza utilizados por las unidades de ingeniería de combate que se ven en videos filmados en otros lugares de Gaza y analizados por el Times. Israel ha utilizado excavadoras para despejar grandes extensiones de tierra y propiedades en toda Gaza desde finales de octubre.

El Times envió al ejército israelí las coordenadas de cada una de las 63 estructuras y solicitó comentarios sobre la necesidad militar de destruirlas. En una respuesta por escrito, el ejército declaró que Israel “estaba librando actualmente una guerra compleja” y que “hay dificultades para rastrear casos concretos con una coordenada específica en este momento”.

Cuatro expertos jurídicos revisaron los videos de las redes sociales y las imágenes de satélite cercanas a la base y afirmaron que las imágenes podrían utilizarse para demostrar una destrucción ilegal, una violación de los Convenios de Ginebra.

John Quigley, profesor emérito de derecho en la Universidad Estatal de Ohio especializado en legislación internacional de los derechos humanos, señaló en un correo electrónico que “el alcance de la destrucción de edificios residenciales en Gaza sugiere que las FDI están aplicando un estándar para la protección de la propiedad privada que no cumple con las normas internacionales para la guerra”.

En respuesta a las preguntas sobre el derribo de viviendas civiles por parte de los soldados, un portavoz militar israelí, Nir Dinar, dijo que los militares actúan por “necesidad operativa” y siguen las leyes de la guerra. “Las casas que están siendo derribadas son edificaciones que implican una amenaza para las fuerzas que operan, o son un objetivo militar de algún tipo”, comentó al Times por teléfono. “Hay una buena razón para la eliminación de cada objetivo”.

Israel también está llevando a cabo demoliciones controladas a lo largo de los casi 58 kilómetros de frontera terrestre de Gaza con el fin de crear una “zona de contención”. Expertos jurídicos han cuestionado la legalidad de estas demoliciones y señalan que es poco probable que todos los edificios destruidos supusieran una amenaza militar inmediata.

Riley Mellen y Neil Collier colaboraron a este reportaje desde Nueva York, Johnatan Reiss y Patrick Kingsley desde Jerusalén y Mohammed Almajdalawi desde Gaza. Alexander Cardia colaboró con la producción.

Aric Toler es reportero del equipo de Investigaciones Visuales del Times, donde utiliza técnicas emergentes de descubrimiento para analizar información de código abierto. Más de Aric Toler

Sarah Kerr es reportera y productora de la unidad de video del Times y cubre historias y noticias de última hora nacionales e internacionales. Más de Sarah Kerr

Chevaz Clarke es editora de imágenes en directo en The New York Times y trabaja en estrecha colaboración con el equipo de la sección Live en la cobertura visual y se centra en la narración en video. Más de Chevaz Clarke

Ecuador adopta el ‘noboísmo’ como respuesta a la violencia

Annie Correal y Federico Rios reportaron desde Guayaquil, Ecuador.

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Luego de que el mes pasado el presidente de Ecuador declarara la guerra a las bandas criminales, soldados con rifles de asalto han inundado las calles de Guayaquil, una ciudad de la costa Pacífico que ha estado en el epicentro de la espiral de violencia del país, un fenómeno que ya lleva algunos años.

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De los buses y los autos hacen bajar a los hombres, en busca de drogas, armas y tatuajes de pandillas. Patrullan las calles para hacer cumplir un toque de queda nocturno. La ciudad está ansiosa, sus hombres y jóvenes son posibles objetivos de soldados y oficiales de policía que tienen la orden de derribar a las poderosas bandas que se han aliado con los carteles internacionales para convertir a Ecuador en un centro del comercio mundial de drogas.

No obstante, cuando los soldados pasan, mucha gente aplaude o les muestra el dedo pulgar en señal de aprobación. “La mano dura la aplaudimos, la celebramos”, dijo Aquiles Alvarez, alcalde de Guayaquil. “Ha ayudado a tener paz en las calles”.

A principios de enero, Guayaquil fue azotada por una ola de violencia que podría ser un punto decisivo en la prolongada crisis de seguridad del país: las bandas atacaron la ciudad luego de que las autoridades tomaron medidas para recuperar las cárceles ecuatorianas, que estaban en su mayoría bajo el control de los grupos delictivos.

Hubo secuestro de policías, detonación de explosivos y, en un episodio emitido en vivo, una decena de hombres armados tomaron una televisora importante.

El presidente de Ecuador, Daniel Noboa, declaró la existencia de un conflicto armado interno, una medida extraordinaria para cuando el Estado es atacado por un grupo armado. Desplegó tropas contra las bandas que han tomado gran parte de Ecuador en su lucha por controlar las rutas de tráfico de cocaína y han transformado uno de los países más pacíficos de Sudamérica en uno de los más mortíferos.

El alto mando militar de Ecuador advirtió que todo integrante de un grupo delictivo se había convertido en un “objetivo militar”.

La agresiva respuesta de Noboa ha reducido la violencia y brindado un sentido precario de seguridad a lugares como Guayaquil, una ciudad de 2,7 millones de habitantes y puerto clave para el narcotráfico, impulsando la aprobación del gobierno a 76 por ciento en una encuesta reciente.

También ha alarmado a algunos activistas de los derechos humanos.

“Esto no es algo nuevo, innovador”, dijo Fernando Bastias, del Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos de Guayaquil. “Y más bien lo que está incrementando son casos de graves violaciones a derechos humanos”.

El enfoque de Ecuador ha suscitado comparaciones con El Salvador, en donde su joven líder, Nayib Bukele, en buena medida ha desmantelado las sanguinarias pandillas, lo que le ayudó a conseguir una arrolladora victoria de reelección y elogios por toda América Latina. Pero los críticos aseguran que también ha pisoteado los derechos humanos y el Estado de derecho al ordenar detenciones masivas en las que personas inocentes han sido capturadas.

“Ecuador es un caso importante porque es casi un segundo laboratorio para las políticas de Bukele”, dijo Gustavo Flores-Macías, profesor de gobierno y políticas públicas en la Universidad de Cornell que se especializa en América Latina. “La gente está tan desesperada que se compra la necesidad de estas políticas de mano dura para bajar la delincuencia”.

Dichas políticas pueden ser efectivas, pero, agregó, “el costo en libertades civiles es alto”.

Al igual que Bukele, Noboa, de 36 años, desea construir megaprisiones, y sus publicaciones en las redes sociales muestran música animada con imágenes de prisioneros esposados y desnudos hasta la cintura. Lo llama “The Noboa Way”.

No obstante, las diferencias son importantes, a decir de Christopher Sabatini, un investigador sénior para América Latina en Chatham House, un grupo de investigación en Londres. Si bien Bukele desdeña la democracia, Noboa “ha presentado a su gobierno como una democracia asediada”, dijo Sabatini.

Noboa también enfrenta un tipo distinto de adversario, dijo Will Freeman, del Council on Foreign Relations.

“El Salvador nunca fue importante para el narcotráfico”, dijo. “Sencillamente es demasiado pequeño”. Ecuador, en contraste, ahora es clave para el comercio mundial de la cocaína, dijo, con vínculos entre los cárteles mexicanos y Europa. Como consecuencia, sus bandas criminales disponen de millones de dólares para armarse y combatir a las autoridades.

Las autoridades de Ecuador han llevado a cabo más de 6000 detenciones después de que el presidente declaró la guerra a las bandas.

En Guayaquil, efectivos militares y agentes de policía destruyen sistemas de cámaras instalados por las bandas para vigilar barrios enteros, invaden zonas que solían estar fuera del alcance de la policía y derriban puertas para descubrir depósitos de armas y explosivos.

Las medidas han tenido algunos resultados.

De diciembre a enero, la cantidad de homicidios en Guayaquil cayó en un 33 por ciento, de 187 a 125. Fuera de la morgue municipal, Cheyla Jurado, una vendedora ambulante de 27 años que vende jugo y pan dulce a las personas que esperan para recuperar los cuerpos, dijo que era evidente que la cantidad de gente había bajado.

“Ahora son accidentes de tránsito, ahogados”, dijo.

En el mayor hospital de la ciudad, la cantidad de pacientes que llegaban con heridas de bala y otras lesiones relacionadas con la violencia ha caído de cinco al día a incluso una cada tres días, dijo Rodolfo Zevallos, médico de urgencias.

El alivio temporal de las matanzas —si bien en sus primeras fases— ha hecho que muchos animen al presidente.

“Nos sentamos afuera de noche”, dijo Janet Cisneros, quien vende comidas preparadas en la zona Suburbio de Guayaquil. “Antes no, estábamos completamente encerrados”.

Noboa, heredero de una fortuna del banano, fue electo en noviembre para concluir el mandato de su predecesor, que terminó prematuramente cuando disolvió la Asamblea Nacional y convocó a nuevas elecciones.

En enero, al estallar la violencia, cambió sus trajes y sonrisa tímida por un mohín, corte al ras y una casaca negra de cuero al anunciar que Ecuador ya no recibiría órdenes de “grupos narcoterroristas”.

El mensaje severo iba dirigido a los ecuatorianos, que volverán a votar en elecciones presidenciales el próximo año, dijo Flores-Macías, el politólogo experto, pero también para granjearse el apoyo de líderes internacionales, en especial del presidente Joe Biden. “Lo que vemos con Noboa es que claramente necesita el apoyo, la asesoría, financiamiento y ayuda de Estados Unidos”.

Hasta el momento, el gobierno de Biden ha brindado a Ecuador equipamiento y capacitación con alrededor de 93 millones de dólares en asistencia militar y humanitaria.

Las autoridades de Ecuador han dicho que el ejército es clave para recuperar los barrios de las bandas que se han convertido en la autoridad fáctica y reclutan a niños de hasta 12 años para mover drogas, secuestrar y matar.

El despacho de Noboa no respondió a las solicitudes de comentarios.

En Guayaquil, la policía cubre los murales que muestran a líderes delictivos y los soldados hacen redadas callejeras en las que sermonean a los jóvenes que son sorprendidos con pequeñas bolsas de marihuana sobre los peligros de las drogas o la vida criminal.

Pero en las redes sociales han circulado videos que muestran a las autoridades empleando tácticas más severas: hombres y chicos agrupados en las calles que reciben golpes en la cabeza o son obligados a besarse entre ellos. En un video muy compartido se ve a un adolescente obligado a restregarse un tatuaje del cuerpo hasta que le sangra el pecho.

En las prisiones a las que el ejército fue enviado para desmantelar el control de las bandas, se llevan a cabo abusos similares, según defensores de las familias de los reclusos.

“A los presos los tienes flagelados peor que a Jesucristo”, dijo Fernanda Lindao, cuyo hijo está cumpliendo condena por hurto en la penitenciaría del Litoral de Guayaquil. “Para los PPL”, dijo refiriéndose por sus siglas a las personas privadas de la libertad, “no hay derechos humanos”.

No obstante, los videos de las detenciones son inmensamente populares y muchos ecuatorianos reconocen a los soldados y al presidente.

“La gente aplaude todo lo que pasa”, dijo Alvarez, el alcalde de Guayaquil, “y no lo aplaude por ser mala persona sino porque está cansada de toda la violencia que ha vivido”.

Para explicar su respaldo a las tácticas de Noboa muchos describen lo mal que estuvo la situación.

“Aquí mataban, aquí dejaban cuerpos botados”, dijo Rosa Elena Guachicho, quien vive en Durán, una zona de Guayaquil sin agua potable ni calles pavimentadas. “Hace un mes encontraron uno en una funda, hecho pedazos”.

Dolores Garacoia dijo que las bandas se habían adueñado de Durán. Los taxistas se negaban a entrar, por miedo de que los robaran o secuestraran, dijo. Ni la policía se sentía segura.

A los dueños de pequeños negocios, como Garacoia, los extorsionaban las bandas. Contó que cerró la tienda que tuvo durante años luego de que la llamaran para pedirle un pago de miles de dólares conocido como vacuna.

“Tuve que cerrar y bajar el letrero, de una”, dijo.

De la misma manera que los guayaquileños se han adaptado la violencia —quedándose en casa, comprando pitbulls— la apariencia exterior de la ciudad también ha cambiado. Las casas se han convertido en jaulas cerradas, rodeadas de barrotes que se alzan dos y tres pisos.

Ángel Chávez, de 14 años, estaba sentado detrás de las barras de metal de un centro comunitario en Monte Sinaí, parte del distrito más peligroso de Guayaquil, en donde se registraron más de 500 homicidios el año pasado.

La llegada de los militares le causaba sentimientos encontrados.

“Eso me parece bien para ver si por fin se acaba esto que estamos sufriendo”, dijo.

Pero añadió que le inquietaba la forma en que los soldados trataban a algunos adolescentes en los videos. “No me gusta cuando los maltratan”, dijo.

No obstante, para muchos en Guayaquil, el miedo es que el ejército se retire.

Cisneros, la cocinera que al fin puede servir comidas afuera dijo: “Que no se vayan, por favor”.

Thalíe Ponce colaboró con la reportería.

Annie Correal reporta desde Estados Unidos y América Latina para el Times. Más de Annie Correal

Sebastián Piñera, expresidente de Chile, muere en un accidente de helicóptero

Sebastián Piñera, un expresidente de Chile que ayudó a fortalecer la joven democracia del país después de convertirse en su primer líder conservador tras la dictadura militar, murió en un accidente de helicóptero el martes, informó el gobierno. Tenía 74 años.

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

El helicóptero, que transportaba a cuatro personas, se estrelló en el lago Ranco localizado en la región Los Ríos, en el sur de Chile, cerca de las 3:30 p. m. del martes, poco después de despegar, según informó el gobierno. Tres personas sobrevivieron y nadaron hasta la costa, y la Armada de Chile recuperó el cuerpo de Piñera. No está claro quién piloteaba la aeronave, pero Piñera era conocido por pilotear su propio helicóptero.

Piñera era un empresario multimillonario e inversionista que fungió como presidente de Chile en dos periodos, de 2010 a 2014 y de 2018 a 2022.

Piñera, de tendencia conservadora, implementó políticas favorables al empresariado que ayudaron a impulsar el crecimiento y, según sus propias palabras, convirtieron al país de 19 millones de habitantes en un “verdadero oasis” en América Latina.

Pero también enfrentó protestas masivas de chilenos que aseguraban que su gobierno no atendía a los pobres —Chile es uno de los países con mayor desigualdad económica del mundo— y dejó el cargo en ambas ocasiones con bajos niveles de aprobación.

“El presidente Piñera contribuyó, desde su visión, a construir grandes acuerdos por el bien de la patria”, dijo Gabriel Boric, presidente de Chile, en un discurso televisado. “Fue un demócrata desde la primera hora y buscó genuinamente lo que él creía que era lo mejor para el país”. Boric anunció tres días de duelo nacional.

Tal vez su principal legado haya sido ayudar al movimiento conservador chileno a ganar el poder por primera vez después del fin de la cruel dictadura militar del general Augusto Pinochet en 1990.

Tras dos décadas de gobiernos de izquierda después del fin de la dictadura, sus primeras elecciones, en 2010, mostraron que la democracia de Chile gozaba de solidez y salud, dijo Robert Funk, profesor de ciencia política de la Universidad de Chile.

“Eso lo hizo prácticamente solo”, dijo Funk. “Impulsó a los partidos de la derecha a participar y a aceptar las reglas del juego en un momento en que no estaban tan convencidos”.

A Piñera le sobreviven su esposa, Cecilia Morel, con quien se casó en 1973, y sus cuatro hijos.

A principios de la década de 1980, Piñera hizo su primera fortuna introduciendo las tarjetas de crédito en Chile durante la dictadura. Luego utilizó esos fondos para invertir en una amplia gama de empresas, entre ellas inmobiliarias, bancarias, energéticas y mineras. Fue propietario de una cadena de televisión, de importantes acciones de una aerolínea y de un club de fútbol profesional.

Luego utilizó su riqueza para entrar en política, primero como senador y más tarde como presidente.

Piñera dirigió Chile en algunos de sus momentos más difíciles de los últimos tiempos. Semanas después de su elección en 2010, un fuerte terremoto y un tsunami causaron la muerte de 525 personas y 1,5 millones de desplazados.

Ese mismo año, Piñera utilizó todos los recursos de su presidencia para comprometerse con el rescate de 33 mineros atrapados a casi 800 metros bajo tierra. El elaborado plan de su gobierno —perforar un estrecho agujero y descender una cápsula hecha a medida— tuvo éxito, y Piñera celebró con los mineros su liberación tras pasar 68 días bajo tierra.

En su segundo mandato, Piñera supervisó la ampliamente elogiada respuesta de su gobierno a la pandemia porque consiguió una gran cantidad de vacunas de China e inició un eficiente programa de vacunación.

Su gobierno también se enfrentó a protestas masivas en 2019 que comenzaron por un pequeño aumento en las tarifas del metro, pero finalmente se convirtieron en quejas generalizadas sobre la desigualdad del país.

Piñera desplegó a los militares para sofocar las protestas, y los enfrentamientos posteriores entre la policía y los manifestantes dejaron más de 30 civiles muertos y otros 460 ciegos o con graves traumatismos oculares por las balas de goma.

Finalmente, Piñera accedió a la petición de celebrar un referéndum nacional para derogar la Constitución chilena, que tiene sus raíces en la dictadura. Los chilenos votaron abrumadoramente a favor de redactar una nueva carta magna, pero en diciembre pasado, tras cuatro años y dos plebiscitos constitucionales fallidos, la nación optó por vivir, de momento, con el texto actual.

Funk dijo que Piñera fue un gestor eficiente y hábil que en general supervisó una amplia mejora de la calidad de vida de los chilenos, pero también falló a menudo como político y comunicador, sobre todo al momento de comprender los problemas de los más pobres.

“Gobernaba a través de una hoja de cálculo de Excel”, dijo Funk. “Decía que vamos bien en esta casilla, y en esta otra. Pero su fracaso consistía en que no tenía un sentido de la política, de la frustración de las personas, de cómo sus gobiernos podían molestar a la gente”.

Piñera también se enfrentó a escándalos. En la década de 1980, pasó un breve periodo en la clandestinidad cuando las autoridades trataron de detenerlo en el marco de una investigación por fraude en un banco que ayudó a dirigir. Nunca fue condenado.

Cuando hizo la transición del mundo de los negocios a la política, fue criticado por los conflictos de intereses entre sus inversiones y sus cargos públicos.

Como presidente, se vio obligado a gestionar sus activos mediante fideicomisos ciegos. Sin embargo, más tarde se reveló que había trasladado gran parte de su riqueza a paraísos fiscales en Luxemburgo y las Islas Vírgenes Británicas, dijo Sergio Jara, autor de un libro sobre los líderes empresariales chilenos en el que incluyó a Piñera.

“Fue un inversionista voraz y diverso, con acciones minoritarias en más de cien empresas”, dijo Jara. “Esto le permitió ser una de las primeras fortunas de Chile”.

John Bartlett colaboró con reportería desde Valdivia, Chile.

Jack Nicas es el jefe de la corresponsalía en Brasil, que abarca Brasil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay. Anteriormente reportó de tecnología desde San Francisco y, antes de integrarse al Times en 2018, trabajó siete años en The Wall Street Journal. Más de Jack Nicas

El rey Carlos es diagnosticado con cáncer. Hay preocupación y pocos detalles

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

El rey Carlos III ha sido diagnosticado con un tipo de cáncer y suspenderá sus compromisos públicos para someterse al tratamiento médico, lo que ensombrece un ajetreado reinado que comenzó hace menos de 18 meses tras la muerte de su madre, la reina Isabel II.

El anuncio, hecho por el Palacio de Buckingham el lunes por la noche, se produjo una semana después de que el monarca, de 75 años, fuera dado de alta de un hospital londinense, tras una intervención para tratar un agrandamiento de la próstata.

El palacio no reveló qué tipo de cáncer padece Carlos, pero un funcionario del palacio dijo que no era cáncer de próstata. Los médicos lo detectaron durante la intervención y el rey comenzó el tratamiento el lunes.

La noticia del diagnóstico de Carlos resonó en todo el Reino Unido, el cual, tras siete décadas de reinado de Isabel, ha empezado a sentirse cómodo con su hijo. Carlos esperó más tiempo para ascender al trono que nadie en la historia de la monarquía británica, y ya era una figura conocida: su vida personal fue diseccionada de forma implacable por los medios británicos en el momento en que se convirtió en soberano.

Sin embargo, como rey, Carlos se ha convertido en un veterano estadista seguro de sí mismo, y le ha impreso un sello sutil pero inconfundible a la monarquía. Ha realizado numerosos viajes y se ha pronunciado sobre temas como el cambio climático, los cuales han sido importantes para él desde hace mucho tiempo.

La preocupación por Carlos se mezcló con la esperanza de que pueda recuperarse rápidamente. Pero a falta de detalles sobre su estado, inevitablemente hubo especulaciones mientras los observadores reales analizaban el anuncio de cuatro párrafos del palacio.

“Durante el reciente procedimiento hospitalario del rey por el agrandamiento benigno de la próstata, se notó otro problema digno de preocupación”, declaró el palacio. “Las pruebas diagnósticas subsiguientes han identificado un tipo de cáncer. Su Majestad ha comenzado hoy un calendario de tratamientos regulares, durante el cual los médicos le han aconsejado posponer los deberes públicos”.

Funcionarios del palacio afirmaron que el rey seguirá desempeñando otras funciones, entre ellas su reunión semanal con el primer ministro, así como la montaña diaria de papeleo que completa como jefe de Estado. Los funcionarios dijeron que no había planes para nombrar consejeros de Estado que actuaran en su lugar, una medida que podría indicar que el soberano era incapaz de cumplir con sus obligaciones debido a la enfermedad.

El palacio dijo que Carlos “permanece completamente optimista acerca de su tratamiento” y que esperaba con interés la reanudación de los compromisos públicos. Regresó de su residencia campestre, Sandringham, a Londres para comenzar el tratamiento como paciente externo, dijeron funcionarios del palacio.

Carlos, que ascendió al trono en septiembre de 2022, ha gozado por lo general de buena salud. De niño sufrió de amigdalitis recurrente, pero de adulto practicó deportes vigorosos como el senderismo, el polo y el esquí.

La revelación por parte del rey de la intervención de la próstata, y ahora de su diagnóstico de cáncer, es inusual en la familia real, cuyos miembros suelen decir poco sobre su salud. Tras la muerte de la reina a los 96 años, el palacio emitió su certificado de defunción, en el que figuraba su causa de muerte simplemente como “vejez.

Aun así, los funcionarios de palacio dejaron claro el lunes que no publicarían actualizaciones periódicas sobre el estado del rey y pidieron a los periodistas que no intentaran ponerse en contacto con las personas implicadas en su tratamiento.

El palacio declaró en su comunicado que el rey había decidido compartir su diagnóstico “para evitar especulaciones y con la esperanza de que pueda ayudar a la comprensión pública para todos aquellos en todo el mundo que están afectados por el cáncer”.

El hijo menor del rey, el príncipe Enrique, ha estado en contacto con su padre y tiene planeado viajar al Reino Unido para visitarlo, según la BBC. Enrique ha estado en gran medida alejado de la familia real desde que él y su esposa, Meghan, anunciaron que se retiraban de sus funciones oficiales y se mudaron a California.

Funcionarios del palacio dijeron que la reina Camila seguirá llevando a cabo un cronograma completo de compromisos oficiales durante el tratamiento de su marido. Ella fue una visitante frecuente durante su hospitalización por el tratamiento de la próstata en la Clínica de Londres, un hospital privado de élite en el vecindario de Marylebone de la ciudad.

La enfermedad de Carlos es el colofón de un periodo de noticias preocupantes relacionadas con la salud de la familia real. Catalina, esposa del príncipe Guillermo, estuvo hospitalizada casi dos semanas tras someterse a una cirugía abdominal. Fue dada de alta la semana pasada, pero el palacio de Kensington ha dado pocos detalles sobre su recuperación, que se espera que dure hasta después de las vacaciones de Pascua.

Sarah Ferguson, duquesa de York y exesposa del hermano menor del rey, el príncipe Andrés, declaró recientemente que le habían diagnosticado un melanoma, un tipo grave de cáncer de piel. Fue su segundo diagnóstico de cáncer en un año. Ferguson, de 64 años, había hablado públicamente sobre su decisión de someterse a una mastectomía y cirugía reconstructiva el año pasado, tras el diagnóstico de un cáncer de mama en el verano.

La noticia de la enfermedad del rey suscitó una avalancha de buenos deseos por parte de líderes británicos y mundiales, así como de otras personalidades públicas.

“Le deseo a Su Majestad una completa y rápida recuperación”, publicó el primer ministro Rishi Sunak en las redes sociales. “No me cabe duda de que recuperará toda su fuerza en poco tiempo y sé que todo el país le deseará lo mejor”.

El presidente Joe Biden, de viaje en Las Vegas, dijo a los periodistas: “Estoy preocupado por él. Acabo de enterarme de su diagnóstico”. Biden, que fue recibido en el castillo de Windsor por el rey el pasado mes de julio, dijo que esperaba hablar pronto con Carlos.

Michelle O’Neill, la líder nacionalista irlandesa que acaba de ser nombrada ministra principal de Irlanda del Norte, escribió en X: “Siento mucho enterarme de la enfermedad del rey Carlos y quiero desearle lo mejor para su tratamiento y una completa y rápida recuperación”.

Los observadores de la realeza se mostraron reacios a especular sobre cómo afectaría la enfermedad del rey a la corona, dada la escasez de información sobre su estado. Algunos señalaron con esperanza la optimista caracterización del estado de ánimo de Carlos por parte del palacio.

“Si el rey enferma de gravedad, entonces habrá cuestiones constitucionales que responder”, dijo Ed Owens, historiador de la realeza que publicó recientemente un libro, After Elizabeth: Can the Monarchy Save Itself? (“Después de Isabel: ¿Puede salvarse a sí misma la monarquía?”).

“Del mismo modo, un periodo prolongado fuera de la atención pública exigirá que el resto de la familia real —ya sobrecargada de trabajo— haga más”.

Owens afirmó que la edad del rey hacía inevitable la preocupación por su salud, y añadió: “Son momentos como éste los que ponen de manifiesto las cualidades muy humanas, y potencialmente frágiles, de la Constitución del Reino Unido”.

En su breve estancia en el trono, Carlos ha sido a la vez una figura de continuidad y de cambio: ha llevado una vida muy parecida a la que ha tenido durante décadas, pero ha adoptado un papel más comprometido políticamente que el que nunca tuvo su madre.

El año pasado, recibió en el castillo de Windsor a la presidenta de la Comisión Europea, Ursula von der Leyen, tras la firma de un acuerdo comercial sobre Irlanda del Norte con Sunak. El momento en que se realizó esta actividad suscitó críticas, ya que parecía darle un visto bueno real al acuerdo, en lo que algunos consideraron una intervención indebida del monarca en la política.

El rey realizó con gran éxito dos visitas de Estado a Europa: se dirigió al Parlamento alemán con un servicial empleo del idioma alemán y atrajo a multitudes entusiasmadas durante un paseo con el presidente de Francia, Emmanuel Macron.

En diciembre, Carlos pronunció un discurso en la ceremonia inaugural de la cumbre climática de Naciones Unidas en Dubái, en el que enumeró una letanía de desastres naturales relacionados con el clima que habían azotado al mundo en el último año: incendios forestales en Canadá; inundaciones en India, Pakistán y Bangladés; ciclones en el Pacífico; y una sequía en África Oriental.

“Estamos llevando el mundo natural fuera de normas y límites equilibrados, y a un peligroso territorio inexplorado”, afirmó. “Nuestra elección ahora es más cruda y oscura: ¿Hasta qué punto estamos dispuestos a hacer de nuestro mundo un lugar peligroso?”.

Mark Landler es el jefe de la corresponsalía en Londres del Times. Cubre el Reino Unido así como la política exterior estadounidense en Europa, Asia y Medio Oriente. Es periodista desde hace más de tres décadas. Más de Mark Landler