The New York Times 2024-02-20 16:40:06


Middle East Crisis : U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution Calling for a Cease-Fire in Gaza

The U.S. said the cease-fire resolution would jeopardize efforts to broker a hostage-release deal.

The United States on Tuesday vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution put forth by Algeria that would have called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. It was the third time Washington had blocked a resolution that would have demanded an immediate end to fighting.

Humanitarian agencies, U.N. officials and other diplomats have argued that without a cease-fire, humanitarian aid at the scale that Gaza needs is not possible.

The United States said that the resolution would jeopardize Washington’s ongoing negotiation efforts with Qatar and Egypt to broker a deal that would release hostages from Gaza in exchange for a temporary humanitarian cease-fire. Those negotiations have stumbled, with neither Israel nor Hamas reaching a consensus on the terms for a deal.

“Any action the council takes right now should help not hinder these sensitive and ongoing negotiations,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “Demanding an immediate unconditional cease-fire without an agreement requiring Hamas to release the hostages will not bring endurable peace.”

Thirteen council members voted in favor. Britain abstained.

Algeria’s ambassador to the U.N., Amar Bendjama, sharply criticized the United States, telling the council that voting against the resolution “implies an endorsement of the brutal violence and collective punishment inflected upon” the Palestinians. He said “silence is not a viable option, now is the time for action and the time for truth.”

The United States has drafted a rival resolution, which is still in early stages of negotiations, that calls for a temporary humanitarian cease-fire as soon as practical, and the release of hostages. It also states that Israel’s army must not carry out an offensive in Rafah under the current conditions there. More than a million Palestinians have sought refuge in Rafah, many of them displaced multiple times.

But diplomats at the United Nations have grown frustrated with the United States, saying it has prioritized its own diplomatic negotiations at the expense of the wider Council’s efforts, undermining the ability of the U.N. body to do its job. In October, the United States vetoed a humanitarian resolution, put forth by Brazil, to deliver aid to Gaza at a time when Israel had placed the strip under a strict blockade of essential aid, saying it could undermine President Biden’s efforts with the government of Israel to win aid delivery to Gaza.

Russia and China condemned the U.S.’s veto. “It is not that the Security Council does not have an overwhelming consensus, but rather it is the exercise of the veto by the United States that has stifled the Council consensus,” said China’s ambassador, Zhang Jun, adding that while the U.S. vetoed the cease-fire, civilians were getting killed and suffering.

South Africa says Palestinians endure ‘a more extreme form of apartheid.’

South Africa said Tuesday that Israel’s policies toward Palestinians were “a more extreme form of apartheid,” invoking its own charged history of racial discrimination to add to global pressure on Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The court, the United Nations’ highest judicial body, is hearing six days of arguments over Israel’s “occupation, settlement and annexation” of Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The U.N. General Assembly asked the court to review the legality of Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories more than a year ago, before Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

In the proceedings, which began Monday, more than 50 countries were scheduled to argue before the 15-judge bench over the next week, a level of participation never before seen at the court. The court is expected to issue an advisory opinion that would be nonbinding. Israel has said it will not participate in the oral arguments, saying the questions before the court were biased.

South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Vusi Madonsela, addressed the judges on Tuesday morning, weeks after his country argued at the court that Israel was committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. In that case, the court ordered Israel, which has denied the charges, to take action to prevent genocide in Gaza, but has not yet ruled on whether one is occurring.

Mr. Madonsela, recalling South Africa’s “painful experience” of decades of apartheid and discrimination, drew parallels with what he called Israel’s colonization of Palestinian territories it seized in 1967. Citing the separate court systems, land zoning rules, roads and housing rights for Palestinians, he said Israel had put in place a “two-tier system of laws, rules and services” that benefit Jewish settlers while “denying Palestinians rights.”

Israel has long denied that it operates an apartheid system, calling such allegations a slur.

South Africans see “an even more extreme form of the apartheid that was institutionalized against Black people in my country,” Mr. Madonsela said. He said that South Africa had a special obligation to call out apartheid practices wherever they occur. He also called on Israel to dismantle the separation wall between Israel and the West Bank, which the court had ordered be removed in 2004 and still stands.

The United States is scheduled to make arguments on Wednesday.

Maps: Tracking the Attacks in Israel and GazaSee where Israel has bulldozed vast areas of Gaza, as its invasion continues to advance south.

One in six children in northern Gaza is severely malnourished, UNICEF says.

The United Nations’ children’s agency has warned that acute malnutrition has surged in Gaza, with one out of six children in the north of the territory suffering its effects amid dire shortages of food and water.

The agency, UNICEF, said in a statement on Monday that the estimate was based on data collected through nutrition screenings at shelters and health centers last month, and that the situation was “likely to be even graver today.”

Humanitarian agencies have accused Israel of restricting aid deliveries to northern Gaza, which was the first area of the enclave targeted by Israel’s military offensive and has been devastated by four months of bombardment and ground fighting. Israel has denied blocking aid deliveries.

In southern Gaza, where more than a million people from northern Gaza have fled, UNICEF said that five percent of children under the age of two are acutely malnourished.

“There is a high risk that malnutrition will continue to rise across the Gaza Strip due to the alarming lack of food, water and health and nutrition services,” it added in the statement, expressing alarm that the enclave was “poised to witness an explosion in preventable child deaths.”

Calling the surge in malnutrition “dangerous and highly preventable,” U.N. aid officials reiterated pleas for additional humanitarian aid and access for Gaza.

The war between Israel and Hamas has exacerbated an already grim situation: Even before Oct. 7, nearly 70 percent of Gazans were dependent on humanitarian assistance for food because the territory has been under Israeli and Egyptian blockade since 2007.

Israel’s military releases videos showing Bibas family members in captivity on Oct. 7.

Relatives of an Israeli mother and child who appeared to be shown in captivity in Gaza in newly released videos from the day of the Hamas-led attack said Tuesday they hoped the footage would call attention to the urgency of freeing the hostages.

The Israeli military distributed videos Monday evening that it said showed members of the Bibas family in the area of Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Oct. 7. The New York Times could not immediately verify the footage, which showed a figure being covered in a blanket while appearing to hold a redheaded child.

In a tearful news conference, Ofri Bibas-Levy, the sister of Yarden Bibas, who was taken captive along with his wife Shiri and their two red-haired children, Ariel and Kfir, said that she was desperately calling on Israeli and international leaders to bring her relatives home through a negotiated deal.

“When we saw the video, it really tore our hearts out,” Ms. Bibas-Levy said.

The fate of the Bibas family has been murky. In late November, Hamas claimed that Ms. Bibas and the children had been killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Israeli officials have not confirmed the claim.

The Bibas family was taken from Kibbutz Nir Oz, a town along Israel’s border with Gaza where more than 70 of the roughly 240 hostages were seized. Kfir, who was nine months old at the time of his capture, is the youngest hostage in Gaza. Israeli officials estimate that about 130 hostages remain in captivity, although at least 30 of those are thought to be dead.

In the videos, which the Israeli military said were taken from security cameras in Khan Younis, red hair on the back of a child’s head can be seen over the shoulder of a barefooted figure walking along a dirt path, as if the child is being carried. Surrounded by a few men, at least one of whom is armed, the figures are draped in a blue-and-white-patterned blanket and transferred into a car.

Kfir is not seen in the videos, but Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said in a news briefing that the baby was likely in a carrier on his mother’s chest, as he was when the family was captured in Israel. He did not say how the authorities had confirmed the identities.

The Israeli military could not confirm whether Ms. Bibas and her children are alive or dead, but Admiral Hagari said that based on the information available to them, “we are very concerned and worried about the condition and well-being of Shiri and the children.”

He added that “we are making every effort to obtain more information about their fate.”

The fate of the Bibas family has captivated Israel’s public, and the release of the videos made headlines in Israeli media. Yedioth Ahronoth, a popular Israeli daily, led its front page with an article titled “A Mother and Two Small Souls, Led Into the Darkness.”

“I know they became a symbol,” Ms. Bibas-Levy said, “but for us it’s our family, and we want them back.”

Prince William calls for an end to the fighting in Gaza ‘as soon as possible.’

Prince William, the heir to the British throne, on Tuesday called for an end to the fighting in Gaza as soon as possible in a rare, if measured, public statement on the bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“I remain deeply concerned about the terrible human cost of the conflict in the Middle East since the Hamas terrorist attack” on Oct. 7, the prince said in comments issued by his office. “Too many have been killed.”

He added: “I, like so many others, want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible. There is a desperate need for increased humanitarian support to Gaza. It’s critical that aid gets in and the hostages are released.”

By tradition, the British royal family keeps itself out of politics, and its members usually avoid intervening in contentious issues.

Prince William’s comments came ahead of a meeting in London on Tuesday with the Red Cross, where he was to be updated on humanitarian efforts to support people affected by the conflict. Later this month, he is expected to visit a synagogue to join a discussion with members of the Holocaust Educational Trust, which campaigns against hatred and antisemitism.

The prince’s statement added, “Sometimes it is only when faced with the sheer scale of human suffering that the importance of permanent peace is brought home,” and that “even in the darkest hour we must not succumb to the counsel of despair.”

It concluded: “I continue to cling to the hope that a brighter future can be found and I refuse to give up on that.”

A legal fight ensues after some Israelis donate money to settlers hit with U.S. sanctions.

Within weeks of President Biden imposing financial sanctions on Israelis accused of violent assaults in the occupied West Bank, crowdfunding campaigns on behalf of two of the men had collected the equivalent of more than $170,000.

Far-right Israelis pledged the funds in a show of support for the settlers, whose efforts to exert Israeli control over lands in the West Bank have often involved maintaining illegal outposts and assaulting and intimidating Palestinians. But the donations have become the focus of a legal battle after an Israeli credit card company balked at transferring the funds.

Cal, the credit card company processing the donations for Yinon Levi, one of the settlers hit with sanctions, refused to send the money designated for Mr. Levi and stated that it would reimburse those who had donated, according to the nonprofit group that set up the crowdfunding campaign. The group appealed to an Israeli court, arguing that the donations were intended for Mr. Levi’s family, including his three children, and should not be affected by the U.S. restrictions.

Last week, a court in Tel Aviv issued a temporary injunction while it hears arguments in the matter.

The sanctions that the Biden administration announced on Feb. 1 barred four Israelis from the U.S. financial system, and some Israeli banks have enacted restrictions on the men in order to not run afoul of the American measures.

Mr. Levi, whom the U.S. State Department accused of leading settler groups in attacks on Palestinian and Bedouin civilians, told ABC News that he had been unable to access his money in Israel and would struggle to pay workers on his farm. David Chai Chasdai, who the State Department said had led a deadly riot in the Palestinian town of Huwara, told an Israeli television channel that he couldn’t pay his phone bills or his children’s kindergarten fees.

On Feb. 6, a campaign in support of Mr. Levi — who last week was also hit with sanctions by Britain — appeared on the Israeli crowdfunding platform Givechack featuring a photo of him, his wife Sapir Levi and their three children. The campaign portrayed the family as victims of harassment by the Israeli left and emphasized its financial plight since Mr. Levi’s accounts were frozen.

Within 10 days the campaign had raised over 517,000 Israeli shekels ($141,000). Then the nonprofit group that organized it took it down. Reut Gez, the director of the nonprofit, the Mount Hebron Fund, said in an interview that Cal, the Israeli credit card company, “asked us to take down the campaign, and are withholding the funds.” The group filed a lawsuit to get the company to release the money either to it or to a trustee that would manage the funds for the family.

The Mount Hebron Fund was founded in 2015 by the Mount Hebron Regional Council, a state-funded local authority in the West Bank, and is managed by council members and their relatives, according to the Democratic Bloc, a group that monitors the Israeli far right. Ms. Gez said that all the donations for the Levi family had come from Israel.

The campaign to support Mr. Chasdai has raised 114,000 shekels, roughly $31,000, through a separate crowdfunding platform. Those funds have been collected by the nonprofit Shlom Asiraich, which aids Israeli Jewish extremists imprisoned for serious crimes, including murder, largely against Palestinians.

The crowdfunding efforts show that even though most Israelis, according to opinion surveys, oppose settler violence, there is sympathy on the far right for those facing financial penalties. But the sweeping nature of the U.S. sanctions means that financial institutions would be reluctant to participate in efforts to direct money to Mr. Levi or others, experts said.

“The language of the order suggests that anyone who enables or provides funds to sanctioned persons is implicated and risks repercussions themselves,” said Eliav Lieblich, a law professor at Tel Aviv University. “No one wants to mess with the U.S. Treasury.”

Gazan tailors used to make wedding dresses. Now they’re sewing diapers.

Inside a factory that used to sell wedding gowns, tailors in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza, make diapers out of Covid-19 protective gear. The diapers are a great help to parents who are struggling to keep their babies dry and offer some relief to Gazans short of necessities after months of war.

Lula recalls Brazil’s ambassador to Israel, escalating a dispute over his war critiques.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil recalled his ambassador to Israel on Monday, as tensions escalated between the countries over the Brazilian leader’s sharp remarks against Israel’s war on Hamas.

Mr. Lula summoned the ambassador, Frederico Meyer, back to Brazil “for consultations,” according to a statement from the country’s foreign ministry.

Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, reprimanded Mr. Meyer on Monday about comments in which Mr. Lula compared Israel’s actions in the war to the Holocaust.

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people has no parallel in other historical moments,” Mr. Lula told reporters during the 37th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, on Sunday. But, he then added, “it did exist when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

Also on Monday, Mr. Katz said Mr. Lula was not welcome in the country until he takes back his remarks.

Citing “the seriousness” of statements made by Israeli officials, Brazil’s foreign minister, Mauro Vieira, also summoned the Israeli ambassador for a meeting in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, according to the statement.

Mr. Lula’s recall of his envoy does not represent a permanent rupture in diplomatic relations, as Brazil’s Embassy in Israel will remain open. But the discord does highlight a growing rift between Israel and countries that have been reluctant to align themselves in support of its military action in Gaza, most notably South Africa and Brazil.

An attempt in the Israeli Parliament to expel an opposition lawmaker falls short.

A far-left Israeli lawmaker, Ofer Cassif, has narrowly avoided being expelled from Parliament after he backed efforts to charge Israel with genocide at the International Court of Justice.

Of Israel’s 120 lawmakers, 85 voted to expel Mr. Cassif — just short of the 90 required to oust a member of the Knesset, as the Parliament is known in Hebrew. Eleven lawmakers voted against the motion, and the remaining did not vote.

Right-wing lawmakers began proceedings against Mr. Cassif, a Jewish member of Hadash, a predominantly Arab political alliance, after he signed an online petition in January that accused Israel of taking “systematic and thorough steps to wipe out the population of Gaza.”

Oded Forer, a right-wing opposition lawmaker, called Mr. Cassif’s efforts “treasonous,” accusing him of endangering Israel’s security and of backing Hamas’s attacks on Israel. Mr. Forer then led efforts to expel Mr. Cassif through a law enacted in 2016 — and never previously enforced — that allows for the impeachment of lawmakers who back “armed struggle” against Israel.

Mr. Cassif was suspended from Parliament in October for 45 days after criticizing the government’s conduct of the war.

Though he survived permanent expulsion on Monday, supporters had said the effort to oust him had already highlighted the shrinking space for dissent in wartime Israel.

“The attempt to oust him is simply political persecution,” Haaretz, the main left-leaning newspaper in Israel, said in an editorial published the day before the vote. The editorial also called the effort “an antidemocratic act meant to serve as a precedent for ousting all of the Knesset’s Arab lawmakers.”

Several prominent Arab Israeli politicians were detained by the police for several hours in November as they prepared to hold a rally to protest Israel’s campaign in Gaza.

Johnatan Reiss and Gabby Sobelman contributed reporting.

Strongmen Find New Ways to Abuse Interpol, Despite Years of Fixes

For years, strongmen and autocrats had a novel weapon in their hunt for political enemies. They used Interpol, the world’s largest police organization, to reach across borders and grab them — even in democracies.

An award-winning Venezuelan journalist was detained in Peru. An Egyptian asylum seeker was stopped in Australia. And Russia has tried repeatedly to secure the arrest of William F. Browder, a London-based human rights campaigner.

In response, Interpol has toughened oversight of its arrest alerts, known as red notices, making it harder than ever to misuse them. But as Interpol adapted, so did strongmen. They have turned to the agency’s lesser-known systems to pursue dissidents, a New York Times investigation has found.

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Wife, Protector and Now Political Heir: Yulia Navalnaya Rallies Russians

It was August 2020, and Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of Russia’s most famous opposition leader, was striding through the battered, gloomy hallways of a provincial Russian hospital, looking for the room where her husband lay in a coma.

Aleksei A. Navalny had collapsed after being given what German medical investigators would later declare was a near-fatal dose of the nerve agent Novichok, and his wife, blocked by menacing policemen from moving around the hospital, turned to a cellphone camera held by one of his aides.

“We demand the immediate release of Aleksei, because right now in this hospital there are more police and government agents than doctors,” she said calmly in a riveting moment later included in an Oscar-winning documentary, “Navalny.”

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‘Beginning of the End’ as Assange Case Returns to Court

Since 2019, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been held in a high security prison in southeast London while his lawyers fight a U.S. extradition order. Now, that particular battle may be nearing its end.

On Tuesday, Mr. Assange’s case returned to a British court for a two-day hearing that will determine whether he has exhausted his right to appeal within the U.K. and whether he could be one step closer to being sent to the United States.

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Can the Olympics Rejuvenate One of France’s Poorest Corners?

Parisians are already grumbling about the crowds for this summer’s Olympics. They envision sweaty tourists jamming the subway cars, making the hell of commuting even more, well, hellish. They are planning their summer escapes; at worst a “télétravail” schedule to work from home.

But not Ivan Buyukocakm. Glancing out at a corner known for drug dealing near his family’s kebab shop in the low-income district just north of Paris, he sees the upcoming Olympics as heralding something totally different: opportunity.

“They are redoing the streets and refurbishing buildings,” said Mr. Buyukocakm, as a woman in a thin coat dragged a grocery trolley toward a dilapidated housing project. “This area is going to be improved. Life could get better.”


The map locates Seine-Saint-Denis, a suburb northeast of Paris.

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Yulia Navalnaya’s Account Is Briefly Suspended by X

The social media platform X temporarily suspended on Tuesday an account created by Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Aleksei A. Navalny, and then restored it, saying it had been mistakenly flagged by its automated security protocols.

Ms. Navalnaya opened the account on Monday to announce that she would continue her husband’s work advocating for a free, peaceful and democratic Russia in the wake of her husband’s death in a remote Arctic prison. More than 90,000 users followed the account in its first 24 hours.

But on Tuesday, the account and its activity suddenly disappeared, replaced by the words “Account suspended” and a note that X — the social media company formerly known as Twitter — “suspends accounts which violate the X Rules.”

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South Korean Doctors Walk Out, Protesting Plan to Increase Their Ranks

Hundreds of interns and residents at major South Korean hospitals walked off the job on Tuesday, disrupting an essential service to protest the government’s plan to address a shortage of doctors by admitting more students to medical school.

While South Korea takes pride in its affordable health care system, it has among the fewest physicians per capita in the developed world. Its rapidly aging population underscores the acute need for more doctors, according to the government, especially in rural parts of the country and in areas like emergency medicine.

The protesters, who are doctors in training and crucial for keeping hospitals running, say the shortage of doctors is not industrywide but confined to particular specialties, like emergency care. They say the government is ignoring the issues that have made working in those areas unappealing: harsh working conditions and low wages for interns and residents.

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Russia Arrests U.S. Citizen, Accusing Her of Treason by Aiding Ukraine

Russia’s main security agency said on Tuesday that it had arrested a dual citizen of Russia and the United States on accusations of committing state treason by raising funds for Ukraine.

The Federal Security Service, known as the F.S.B., identified the detainee as a 33-year-old woman who lives in Los Angeles. It said in a statement that she had raised money for a Ukrainian organization that bought weapons and other equipment for Ukraine’s military.

Perviy Otdel, a group of Russian lawyers who specialize in cases involving accusations of treason and other politically charged allegations, said that the woman had been accused of treason for sending just over $50 to Razom for Ukraine, a New York-based nonprofit organization that sends assistance to the country.

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4 Ways Autocrats Have Used Interpol to Harass Faraway Enemies

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Interpol is the world’s largest police organization. It serves as a powerful bulletin board that governments and law enforcement agencies use to team up to pursue fugitives across the globe. At its best, it helps track down killers and terrorists.

But it is also a novel weapon for strongmen and autocrats in the hunt for political enemies, giving them the power to reach across borders and grab their targets — even in democracies.

Here are some of the ways countries can exploit Interpol:

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Inside Aleksei Navalny’s Final Months, in His Own Words

Confined to cold, concrete cells and often alone with his books, Aleksei A. Navalny sought solace in letters. To one acquaintance, he wrote in July that no one could understand Russian prison life “without having been here,” adding in his deadpan humor: “But there’s no need to be here.”

“If they’re told to feed you caviar tomorrow, they’ll feed you caviar,” Mr. Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, wrote to the same acquaintance, Ilia Krasilshchik, in August. “If they’re told to strangle you in your cell, they’ll strangle you.”

Many details about his last months — as well as the circumstances of his death, which the Russian authorities announced on Friday — remain unknown; even the whereabouts of his body are unclear.

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Shaken by Grisly Killings of Women, Activists in Africa Demand Change

A wave of gruesome killings of women across several African countries in recent weeks has prompted outrage and indignation, triggered a wave of protests and precipitated calls for governments to take decisive action against gender-based violence.

Kenyans were shocked when 31 women were killed in January after they were beaten, strangled or beheaded, activists and police said. In Somalia, a pregnant woman died this month after her husband allegedly set her on fire. In the West African nation of Cameroon, a powerful businessman was arrested in January on accusations, which he has denied, of brutalizing dozens of women.

The upsurge in killings is part of a broader pattern that got worse during economic hard times and pandemic lockdowns, human rights activists say. An estimated 20,000 gender-related killings of women were recorded in Africa in 2022, the highest rate in the world, according to the U.N. Experts believe the true figures are likely higher.

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U.N. Held a Conference on Afghanistan. Taliban Officials Boycotted It.

DOHA, Qatar — Taliban officials sent a defiant message to Western nations, donors and Afghan women’s groups this week, refusing to attend a conference hosted by the United Nations to discuss humanitarian crises facing Afghanistan and cooperation on human rights issues.

The two-day conference, which began on Sunday, was the second of its kind. It was held to try to chart a course forward for international engagement with the country. But the Taliban administration took issue with the inclusion of some groups at the meeting. Attended by special envoys from 25 countries and regional organizations, the conference is aimed at increasing international engagement with Afghanistan and developing a more coordinated response to the problems afflicting the war-torn nation.

The Taliban administration, the de facto rulers of Afghanistan since 2021, had been invited to the conference but at the last minute the group said it would not attend. In a statement, the Taliban’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it should be the sole official representative of Afghanistan for talks with the international community and only then could engage in frank discussions. Inclusion of others would hinder progress, the statement added.

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Ursula von der Leyen Seeks Second Term as Top E.U. Official

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“Who do I call if I want to call Europe?”

The answer to the famous question — attributed to Henry Kissinger, but probably apocryphal — has been easier to answer over the past four years than ever before: You call Ursula von der Leyen.

President of the European Commission since 2019, Ms. von der Leyen has emerged as the face of Europe’s response to major crises, and on Monday she announced that she would seek a second five-year term.

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The Wife of Haiti’s Assassinated President Is Accused in His Killing

A Haitian judge has indicted 51 people for their roles in the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, including his wife, Martine Moïse, who is accused of being an accomplice, despite being seriously wounded in the attack.

A 122-page copy of the indictment by Judge Walther Voltaire that was provided to The New York Times does not accuse her of planning the killing nor does it offer any direct evidence of her involvement.

Instead, it says that she and other accomplices gave statements that were contradicted by other witnesses, suggesting that they were complicit in the killing. The indictment also cites one of the main defendants in the case in custody in Haiti, who claimed that Mrs. Moïse was plotting with others to take over the presidency.

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An English City Gave Soccer to the World. Now It Wants Credit.

As far as the man in the food truck is concerned, the patch of land he occupies in Sheffield, England, is about as humdrum as they come. To him, the spot — in the drab parking lot of a sprawling home improvement superstore, its facade plastered in lurid orange — is not exactly a place where history comes alive.

John Wilson, an academic at the University of Sheffield’s management school, looks at the same site and can barely contain his excitement. This, he said, is one of the places where the world’s most popular sport was born. He does not see a parking lot. He can see the history: the verdant grass, the sweating players, the cheering crowds.

His passion is sincere, absolute and shared by a small band of amateur historians and volunteer detectives devoted to restoring Sheffield — best known for steel, coal and as the setting for the film “The Full Monty” — to its rightful place as the undisputed birthplace of codified, organized, recognizable soccer.


Map locates Sheffield, Manchester and London in England. It also shows where Wembley Stadium is in northwest London.

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How John Travolta Became the Star of Carnival

Jack Nicas and Dado Galdieri reported this article among the giant puppets of the Carnival celebrations in Olinda, Brazil

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It was near the start of one of Brazil’s most famous Carnival celebrations, in the northern seaside city of Olinda, and the town plaza was jammed with thousands of revelers. They were all awaiting their idol.

Just before 9 p.m., the doors to a dance hall swung open, a brass band pushed into the crowd and the star everyone had been waiting for stepped out: a 12-foot puppet of John Travolta.

Confetti sprayed, the band began playing a catchy tune and the crowd sang along: “John Travolta is really cool. Throwing a great party. And in Olinda, the best carnival.” (It rhymes in Portuguese.)

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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.

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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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Architect Embraces Indigenous Worldview in Australian Designs

Jefa Greenaway will never forget the first time he heard his father’s voice. It was in 2017, when he was watching a documentary about Indigenous Australians’ fight to be recognized in the country’s Constitution.

“It was poignant, surreal,” Mr. Greenaway recalled. “In one word: emotional.”

In the film, his father, Bert Groves, an Indigenous man and a civil rights activist born in 1907, recounts how he was prevented from pursuing an education because of the size of his skull, a victim of phrenology, the pseudoscience that lingered in Australia into the 20th century.

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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 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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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Depardieu Sexual Assault Suit Dropped Over Statute of Limitations

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

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

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

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An Olympic Dream Falters Amid Track’s Shifting Rules

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

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

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

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La salud de Navalny se vio perjudicada por las condiciones carcelarias

Alexéi Navalny se presentaba a sí mismo como invencible, utilizando constantemente su característico humor para dar a entender que el presidente Vladimir Putin no podría doblegarlo, por terribles que fueran sus condiciones en prisión.

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Pero detrás de esa cara valiente, la realidad era evidente. Desde su encarcelamiento a principios de 2021, Navalny, la figura más formidable de la oposición rusa, y sus colaboradores indicaron constantemente que sus condiciones eran tan sombrías que lo estaban matando a cámara lenta.

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La disputa territorial entre Belice y Guatemala sigue siendo una preocupación en la región

Simón Romero y Alejandro Cegarra pasaron varios días en Belice, viajando en barco hasta el río Sarstoon y atravesando el país en auto para hablar con la gente sobre el conflicto con Guatemala.

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El barco se abrió paso entre los manglares, un enmarañado laberinto de ramas cubiertas de espinas que cobijaban jaguares y ruidosos monos aulladores. Las señales de nuestros GPS señalaban que estábamos en Belice, el país centroamericano de habla inglesa donde piratas británicos se instalaron hace siglos.

Pero algunos miembros del ejército guatemalteco, vestidos con camuflaje y boinas, nos vieron. Se acercaron en su propia embarcación, empuñaron fusiles y acercaron los dedos índices a los gatillos.

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Alexéi Navalny, crítico de Putin, muere en prisión, según las autoridades rusas

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Alexéi Navalny, activista anticorrupción que durante más de una década lideró la oposición política en la Rusia del presidente Vladimir Putin, murió el viernes en una prisión en el círculo polar ártico, informaron las autoridades rusas.

Su muerte fue anunciada por el Servicio Penitenciario Federal de Rusia, que declaró que Navalny, de 47 años, perdió el conocimiento el viernes luego de dar un paseo en la prisión a la que fue trasladado a finales del año pasado. La última vez que se le vio fue el jueves, cuando compareció en una audiencia judicial por videoconferencia; sonreía tras los barrotes de una celda y hacía bromas.

[El video a continuación muestra imágenes del medio de comunicación ruso SOTA en donde aparece Alexéi Navalny riendo y haciendo bromas entre rejas durante su última comparecencia ante el tribunal a través de una conexión de video].

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Ucrania afirma que Rusia utilizó por primera vez un nuevo misil hipersónico

Ucrania dijo tener pruebas de que Rusia utilizó por primera vez un nuevo misil de crucero hipersónico en un ataque la semana pasada, algo que, de confirmarse, podría plantear otro nuevo desafío a las ya abrumadas defensas aéreas del país.

Un análisis preliminar de fragmentos de misil realizado por el Instituto de Investigación Científica y Peritaje Forense de Kiev, organismo dirigido por el gobierno, concluyó que se había utilizado un misil 3M22 Zircón en un ataque llevado a cabo el 7 de febrero contra ciudades de toda Ucrania. Según el instituto, en los escombros se encontraron marcas típicas del misil.

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Rusia oculta su número de bajas. Estas son las pistas que tenemos

El verdadero número de bajas en Rusia por su invasión a Ucrania es un secreto a voces. El Kremlin mantiene una política de silencio y muchos rusos no hablan públicamente por miedo a las repercusiones.

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Pero se cree que el número de rusos heridos en combate es abrumador.

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