The New York Times 2024-02-25 10:49:40


The Spy War: How the C.I.A. Secretly Helps Ukraine Fight Putin

Adam Entous and

Adam Entous and Michael Schwirtz conducted more than 200 interviews in Ukraine, several other European countries and the United States to report this story.

Nestled in a dense forest, the Ukrainian military base appears abandoned and destroyed, its command center a burned-out husk, a casualty of a Russian missile barrage early in the war.

But that is above ground.

Not far away, a discreet passageway descends to a subterranean bunker where teams of Ukrainian soldiers track Russian spy satellites and eavesdrop on conversations between Russian commanders. On one screen, a red line followed the route of an explosive drone threading through Russian air defenses from a point in central Ukraine to a target in the Russian city of Rostov.

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A West Bank Settlement, Re-established, Symbolizes Hardened Israeli Views

For an Israeli settlement that has become such a resounding symbol of religious and right-wing politics in the West Bank, Homesh is not much to look at.

Three families live in tarpaulin-covered shelters full of bunk beds for some 50 young men, who study in a yeshiva that is a shabby prefab structure surrounded by abandoned toys, building materials and garbage.

They live part time here amid the ruins and rubbish of a hilltop settlement ripped down in 2005 by the Israeli army and police. It is one of four West Bank settlements dismantled when Israel pulled all of its troops and settlements out of Gaza. Israel’s intention then, pushed by Washington, was to signal that outlying settlements too hard to defend would be consolidated in any future peace deal.

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Weary but Determined, Ukrainians Vow Never to Bow to Russia

Reporting from Kharkiv, Ukraine

When Russian missiles struck the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv a couple of weeks ago, schoolchildren and their teachers installed in newly built underground classrooms did not hear a thing.

Down in the bowels of Kharkiv’s cavernous, Soviet-era subway stations, the city administration has built a line of brightly decorated classrooms, where 6- and 7-year-olds are attending primary school for the first time in their lives in this war-stricken city.

“The children were fine,” said Lyudmyla Demchenko, 47, one of the teachers. “You cannot hear the sirens down here.”

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In Latin America, a New Frontier for Women: Professional Softball in Mexico

Reporting from Mexico City and León, Mexico

In many parts of Latin America, baseball is a popular and well-established sport with men’s professional leagues in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, among others. But women wanting to play baseball’s cousin — softball — professionally had only one option: to leave. They had to go to the United States or Japan.

Until now.

In what is believed to be a first in Latin America — a region where men often have more opportunities than women, particularly in sports — a professional women’s softball league has started in Mexico. On Jan. 25, when the inaugural season began, 120 women on six teams got to call themselves professional softball players, many for the first time.

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In Russia, Knowing That Her Son Is Dead, and Waiting for Him Anyway

When Yulia Seleznyova walks around her home city in Russia, she scrutinizes everyone passing by in the hope that she will lock eyes with her son Aleksei.

She last heard from him on New Year’s Eve 2022, when he sent holiday greetings from the school in eastern Ukraine that his unit of recently mobilized soldiers was using as a headquarters

The Ukrainian military hit the school with U.S.-supplied HIMARS rockets on New Year’s Day. Russian authorities acknowledged dozens of deaths, though pro-Russian military bloggers and Ukrainian authorities estimated that the real number was in the hundreds.

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Middle East Crisis: U.S. and Britain Strike 18 Houthi Targets in Yemen

American and British warplanes hit missile systems, launchers and other targets, U.S. officials said.

The United States and Britain carried out another round of large-scale military strikes Saturday against multiple sites in Yemen controlled by Houthi militants, U.S. officials said.

The strikes were intended to degrade the Iran-backed militants’ ability to attack ships in sea lanes that are critical for global trade, a campaign they have carried out for almost four months.

American and British warplanes hit missile systems and launchers and other targets, the officials said. Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand provided support for the operation, according to a joint statement from the countries involved that was emailed to reporters by the Defense Department.

The strikes, which the statement called “necessary and proportionate,” hit 18 targets across eight locations in Yemen associated with Houthi underground weapons storage facilities, missile storage facilities, one-way attack unmanned aerial systems, air defense systems, radars and a helicopter.

“These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade, naval vessels, and the lives of innocent mariners in one of the world’s most critical waterways,” the statement said.

The strikes were the largest salvo since the allies struck Houthi targets on Feb. 3 and came after a week in which the Houthis have launched attack drones and cruise and ballistic missiles at vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

In a statement provided to The Associated Press, the Houthis denounced “U.S.-British aggression” and said they would not be deterred. “The Yemeni Armed Forces affirm that they will confront the U.S.-British escalation with more qualitative military operations against all hostile targets in the Red and Arabian Seas in defense of our country, our people and our nation,” the statement said.

On Monday, Houthi militants fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles at a cargo ship, U.S. Central Command said in a statement. The ship, called the Sea Champion, continued on to its destination at the port of Aden in Yemen, the statement added. Central Command reported several other tit-for-tat attacks that day between U.S. forces in the area and Houthis.

On Thursday, it was more of the same. American warplanes and a ship belonging to a member of the U.S.-led coalition shot down six Houthi attack drones in the Red Sea, Central Command said in another statement. The drones were “likely targeting U.S. and coalition warships and were an imminent threat,” it added.

Later that day, the statement said, the Houthis fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles from southern Yemen into the Gulf of Aden, hitting the Islander, a Palau-flagged, Britain-owned cargo carrier. The vessel was damaged, and one person had a minor injury.

And earlier on Saturday, the naval destroyer U.S.S. Mason shot down what Central Command said was an anti-ship ballistic missile launched from Yemen into the Gulf of Aden.

The Houthis say their attacks are a protest against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, which was launched in response to attacks by Hamas in Israel on Oct. 7.

The American-led retaliatory air and naval strikes against Houthi targets began last month.

“The Houthis’ now more than 45 attacks on commercial and naval vessels since mid-November constitute a threat to the global economy, as well as regional security and stability, and demand an international response,” Saturday’s statement from the U.S.-led coalition said.

In a separate statement Saturday evening, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said that the Houthi attacks “harm Middle Eastern economies, cause environmental damage and disrupt the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen and other countries.”

The United States and several allies have repeatedly warned the Houthis of serious consequences if the salvos did not stop. But the U.S.-led strikes have so far failed to deter the Houthis. Hundreds of ships have been forced to take a lengthy detour around southern Africa, driving up costs.

Of all the Iran-backed militias that had escalated hostilities in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, the Houthis have been perhaps the most difficult to restrain. While the Houthis have continued their attacks, Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria appear to be observing a period of quietude since the United States carried out a series of strikes against Iranian forces and the militias they support in Syria and Iraq on Feb. 2.

Middle East experts say that after nearly a decade of evading airstrikes in a war with Saudi Arabia, the Houthis have become skilled at concealing their weaponry, putting some of it in urban areas and shooting missiles from the backs of vehicles before scooting off.

The police in Tel Aviv clash with antigovernment protesters and arrest 21.

The Israeli police said they arrested 21 people in Tel Aviv on Saturday night as they deployed mounted officers and water cannons in clashes with protesters calling for the ousting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the return of the hostages being held in Gaza.

Videos released by the police and antigovernment activists showed officers forcefully dispersing the protest along Kaplan Street, riding on horseback into the crowds and shoving demonstrators in what many Israelis on Sunday were describing as the most violent confrontations of their kind since the Hamas-led attacks of Oct. 7. The Israeli broadcaster Channel 12 reported that four protesters were hospitalized on Saturday night.

The police said that they had authorized a demonstration for Saturday night but that a number of protesters had illegally gathered at a main junction, blocked traffic and clashed with police officers, ignoring their instructions to clear the road.

“The Israeli police view the right to protest as a cornerstone of a democratic state and allows demonstrations so long as they take place within the framework of the law,” the police said in a statement.

But Yair Lapid, who leads Israel’s parliamentary opposition, said on social media late Saturday that the police violence against demonstrators was “dangerous and anti-democratic.”

“The right to protest is a fundamental right and it cannot be denied to the demonstrators with batons and water canons,” Mr. Lapid wrote on X.

Last year, protesters would gather regularly in Tel Aviv and elsewhere to oppose a plan by Mr. Netanyahu’s government to weaken the nation’s judiciary. Those protests stopped for a few months after the war began on Oct. 7 and the judicial overhaul was put on hold. But public displays of dissatisfaction with the government have started to pick back up in recent weeks.

Last weekend, thousands of antigovernment protesters filled Kaplan Street, opposite the headquarters of Israel’s defense establishment — the largest domestic show of anger toward Mr. Netanyahu in months.

Organizers of Saturday’s protest said tens of thousands of people turned out in Tel Aviv calling for an immediate election to drive Mr. Netanyahu from power. An enormous banner read: “You are the leader; you are guilty,” referring to Mr. Netanyahu, who has so far refused to accept any personal responsibility for the policy and intelligence failures leading up to the Oct. 7 attack.

The protests against Mr. Netanyahu and the government have been largely kept separate from the campaign for the release of the more than 100 hostages who remain in Gaza after being captured by Hamas and other groups on Oct. 7. The families of the hostages and their supporters regularly gather on Saturday nights for their own rally in a square several blocks away from Kaplan Street.

On Saturday night, several of the hostages’ families marched with torches from the square to Kaplan Street to join the antigovernment protest. Some were caught up in the clashes.

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Biden’s reversal on Israeli settlements, days before the Michigan primary, shows the political bind he’s in.

The Biden administration’s decree that the United States will once again consider new Jewish settlements on the West Bank to be “inconsistent with international law” highlighted a political bind President Biden finds himself in just days before the Democratic primary on Tuesday in Michigan, where a large Arab American population is urging voters to register their anger by voting “uncommitted.”

Mr. Biden’s recent moves to press the Israeli government toward cease-fire negotiations have angered ardent supporters of the Jewish state. Yet they have come nowhere close to placating Israel’s fiercest critics on the political left and in the Arab American community.

Shortly after the deadly Hamas terrorist attacks of Oct. 7, Arab Americans and progressive voters who support Palestinian statehood were largely standing back, as even Jewish Republicans were praising Mr. Biden’s pro-Israel response.

Those same Jewish Republicans are now castigating the president over Friday’s policy change, which erased a Trump-era position that the settlements were legal.

The American secretary of state announced the new policy after Israel’s finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, said on Thursday that, in direct response to a deadly terrorist attack this week, thousands of new residences would be added to some existing settlements.

The Republican Jewish Coalition, which had expressed approval of what it called the president’s “tremendous support” for Israel after Oct. 7, called the administration’s reversal on settlements “yet another lowlight to its campaign of undermining Israel.”

“The communities at issue, located west of the West Bank security barrier, are not preventing peace,” the group’s chief executive officer, Matt Brooks, said. “Palestinian terrorism is.”

The group ticked off other policies the administration has implemented to rein in Israel’s pro-settler policies, including sanctions against West Bank settlers who commit acts of violence and pressuring the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to recognize a Palestinian state.

But those steps are far short of what progressive voters who sympathize with the Palestinian cause and many Arab Americans are demanding: an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza war and a halt to American military aid to Israel. Those calls are only getting louder as Mr. Netanyahu shows no sign of relenting.

“It’s a welcome reset,” said Waleed Shahid, a Democratic consultant who is pressing for a policy shift on the Gaza war. “But it continues to beg the question of why Biden is providing billions in weapons funding to a government conducting activities it deems illegal.”

Yousef Munayyer, an analyst at the Arab Center in Washington, said that Mr. Biden’s “sanctions on settler violence and the declaration that settlements are illegal would be inadequate at any time in recent years, given how deep Israel’s apartheid has become entrenched.” But with the administration’s support for Israel’s war in Gaza as a backdrop, Mr. Munayyer added, “This is like showing up to a five-alarm fire with a cup of water while giving fuel to the arsonist.”

Atrocities Mount in Sudan as War Spirals, U.N. Says

Bombs that struck houses, markets and bus stations across Sudan, often killing dozens of civilians at once. Ethnic rampages, accompanied by rape and looting, that killed thousands in the western region of Darfur.

And a video clip, verified by United Nations officials, that shows Sudanese soldiers parading through the streets of a major city, triumphantly brandishing the decapitated heads of students who were killed on the basis of their ethnicity.

The horrors of Sudan’s spiraling civil war are laid out in graphic detail in a new United Nations report that draws on satellite imagery, photos, videos and interviews with over 300 victims and witnesses, to present the stark human toll from 10 months of fighting.

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Fire in Valencia, Spain, Leaves Residents Homeless After Panicked Escapes

Vladimir Likhvan fled Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, hoping to find safety in Europe, only to watch helplessly as his new home was destroyed in the fire that raged Thursday through a high-rise apartment complex in Valencia, Spain, killing at least 10 people.

Mr. Likhvan, 37, his sister, Victoria Tudovshi, 42, and her 13-year-old daughter lived in rented accommodation on the 10th floor of the tallest of the two buildings that was destroyed by Thursday’s fire. They had recently arrived in Spain after a year living with relatives in Lithuania.

Like the two dozen or so other Ukrainian families also living in the building at the time of the fire, the siblings had started to build a new life in Spain, away from the dangers and destruction of war. But on Saturday, they and many of their neighbors were left with no worldly possessions save the clothes on their backs; they were homeless, shopping for toothbrushes and other basic necessities.

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Hard Lessons Make for Hard Choices 2 Years Into the War in Ukraine

Two years after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States has the capacity to keep Kyiv supplied with the weapons, technology and intelligence to fend off a takeover by Moscow. But Washington is now perceived around Europe to have lost its will.

The Europeans, in contrast, have the will — they just committed another $54 billion to reconstruct the country — but when it comes to repelling Russia’s revived offensive, they do not have the capacity.

That is the essence of the conundrum facing Ukraine and the NATO allies on the dismal second anniversary of the war. It is a stunning reversal. Only a year ago, many here predicted that Ukraine’s counteroffensive, bolstered by European tanks and missiles and American artillery and air defenses, could push the Russians back to where they were on Feb. 24, 2022.

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For Car Thieves, Toronto Is a ‘Candy Store,’ and Drivers Are Fed Up

Vjosa Isai drove around Toronto in a Volkswagen Passat with 290,000 miles on it, a vehicle not coveted by car thieves, to report this article.

Whenever Dennis Wilson wants to take a drive in his new SUV, he has to set aside an extra 15 minutes. That’s about how long it takes to remove the car’s steering wheel club, undo four tire locks and lower a yellow bollard before backing out of his driveway.

His Honda CR-V is also fitted with two alarm systems, a vehicle tracking device and, for good measure, four Apple AirTags. Its remote-access key fob rests in a Faraday bag, to jam illicit unlocking signals.

As a final touch, he mounted two motion-sensitive floodlights on his house and aimed them at the driveway in his modest neighborhood in Toronto.

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Ukraine Marks 2nd Anniversary of Russian Invasion, Determined Despite Setbacks

In solemn ceremonies and small vigils, state visits, stirring speeches and statements of solidarity, Ukraine and its allies marked the dawn of the third year of Russia’s unprovoked invasion with a single message: Believe.

“When thousands of columns of Russian invaders moved from all directions into Ukraine, when thousands of rockets and bombs fell on our land, no one in the world believed that we would stand,” said Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky, Ukraine’s newly named top military commander. “No one believed, but Ukraine did!”

On the 731st day of the war, Ukrainian soldiers once again find themselves outmanned and outgunned, fighting for their nation’s survival while also trying to convince a skeptical world that they can withstand the relentless onslaught, even as they suffer losses on the battlefield and are challenged up and down the front line by Russian forces.

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Sanitation Crisis in Gaza Spreads Disease

In a sprawling tent encampment in Gaza, the Israeli bombs fall close enough to hear and feel. But daily life is also a struggle against hunger, cold and a growing sanitation crisis.

A lack of sufficient toilets and clean water, as well as open sewage, are problems that displaced Palestinians have struggled with since the early days of Israel’s assault on Gaza.

For two months after Salwa al-Masri, 75, and her family fled to the city of Rafah, at the southernmost tip of Gaza, to escape Israel’s military offensive, she said she would walk 200 yards to reach the nearest bathroom. If she was lucky, younger women in line would let her jump ahead. Other times, she might wait up to an hour to use a dirty toilet shared with thousands of other people.

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Aleksei Navalny’s Body Was Returned to His Mother, Allies Say

The Russian authorities have transferred the body of the opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny to his mother, his spokeswoman said on Saturday, ending a grim battle for custody of his remains, but it is unclear whether he will get a funeral that the public can attend.

“Aleksei’s body has been handed over to his mother,” Mr. Navalny’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, said in a statement posted on social media. “The funeral is yet to come. We don’t know whether the authorities will interfere with carrying it out in the way the family wants and as Aleksei deserves.”

Mr. Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, on Saturday was still in the northern city of Salekhard, near the Arctic prison where Mr. Navalny was reported to have died on Feb. 16, Ms. Yarmysh said. She added that the opposition leader’s team would release information about the funeral “as it becomes available.”

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Where Hostage Families and Supporters Gather, for Solace and Protest

A week after Hamas-led terrorists stormed his kibbutz and kidnapped his wife and three young children, Avihai Brodutch planted himself on the sidewalk in front of army headquarters in Tel Aviv holding a sign scrawled with the words “My family’s in Gaza,” and said he would not budge until they were brought home.

Passers-by stopped to commiserate with him and to try to lift his spirits. They brought him coffee, platters of food and changes of clothing, and welcomed him to their homes to wash up and get some sleep.

“They were so kind, and they just couldn’t do enough,” said Mr. Brodutch, 42, an agronomist who grew pineapples on Kibbutz Kfar Azza before the attacks on Oct. 7. “It was Israel at its finest,” he said. “There was a feeling of a common destiny.”

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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’

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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Can Gabriel Attal Win Over France?

Gabriel Attal, 34, is a new kind of French prime minister, more inclined to Diet Coke than a good Burgundy, at home with social media and revelations about his personal life, a natural communicator who reels off one-liners like “France rhymes with power” to assert his “authority,” a favorite word.

Since taking office in early January, the boyish-looking Mr. Attal has waded into the countryside, far from his familiar haunts in the chic quarters of Paris, muddied his dress shoes, propped his notes on a choreographed bale of hay, and calmed protesting farmers through adroit negotiation leavened by multiple concessions.

He has told rail workers threatening a strike that “working is a duty,” not an everyday French admonition. He has shown off his new dog on Instagram and explained that he called the high-energy Chow Chow “Volta” after the inventor of the electric battery. He has told the National Assembly that he is the living proof of a changing France as “a prime minister who assumes his homosexuality.”

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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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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

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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

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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Incendio en Valencia: hay al menos 9 muertos

Un día después de que un incendio arrasara un complejo de viviendas de gran altura en la ciudad española de Valencia, que derivó en la muerte de al menos 9 personas, los investigadores policiales intentaban determinar por qué las llamas se habían extendido por los dos edificios en menos de una hora.

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Las primeras sospechas recayeron en los materiales de construcción, pero era difícil determinarlo, ya que las dos estructuras permanecían tan calientes que los bomberos no pudieron entrar en los edificios sino hasta alrededor del mediodía del viernes, horas después de haber llegado al lugar durante la noche anterior.

Luis Sendra, decano del Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de la Comunidad Valenciana, dijo que los investigadores tendrían que esperar a que las estructuras se enfriaran para poder precisar si el revestimiento exterior podría haber contribuido a avivar el fuego. Afirmó que los huecos entre el aislamiento y el revestimiento podrían haber facilitado la propagación de las llamas.

“Es pronto para saber la causa exacta”, dijo Sendra. “Pero por la rapidez con que se extendió, podría haber mucha similitud con Grenfell en Londres”.

Setenta y dos personas murieron en el incendio de Grenfell, que consumió un edificio de apartamentos de gran altura en el oeste de Londres en 2017. Se habían utilizado materiales inflamables en el revestimiento de ese edificio, lo que aceleró la propagación del fuego.

En una rueda de prensa celebrada el viernes por la mañana, Carlos Mazón, presidente de la Comunidad Valenciana, anunció un periodo de luto de tres días y afirmó que siete bomberos habían resultado heridos en el incendio.

El gobierno de la comunidad autónoma había anunciado a primera hora del viernes que 10 personas habían fallecido en el incendio, pero de acuerdo con información que apareció en los medios de comunicación españoles más tarde ese mismo día, citando fuentes policiales, se afirmaba que el número de muertes se había revisado y eran nueve, y una persona desaparecida.

En unas imágenes dramáticas que circularon en los medios de comunicación españoles se veía a un bombero saltando desde el séptimo piso a una colchoneta de seguridad en el suelo. Dos residentes también fueron rescatados de un balcón tras quedar atrapados por el fuego; mientras los bomberos contenían las llamas con mangueras, los residentes trepaban de balcón en balcón para llegar a una plataforma de rescate elevada por un camión de bomberos.

El complejo residencial de Valencia, la tercera ciudad más grande de España, estaba formado por un edificio de 14 plantas y otro más bajo, y tenía un total de 138 viviendas, según Sendra.

Un equipo de 15 agentes forenses de la policía nacional está llevando a cabo una investigación sobre el incendio. Tampoco estaba claro el origen del incendio.

Aún no se sabía con claridad qué materiales se utilizaron en el exterior de los edificios. Sendra declaró a los medios de comunicación que el uso de aluminio en las fachadas de los edificios estaba permitido por la normativa de construcción española, pero que el uso de poliuretano como aislante no lo estaba.

Tampoco quedaba claro si se había utilizado poliuretano. Sin embargo, Esther Puchades, vicepresidenta del Colegio Oficial de Ingenieros Técnicos Industriales de Valencia, afirmó en un comunicado que “todos los indicios apuntaban al poliuretano como el causante de la voracidad de las llamas y el color del humo”.

Un comunicado del colegio señaló que algunos de los materiales de la fachada de los edificios contenían plástico que se incendió con rapidez, pero añadía: “No podemos asegurar que sea un material en concreto hasta que no acabe la investigación”.

Pep Benlloch, presidente de la asociación de vecinos de la zona, dijo en una entrevista en la cadena de televisión Antena 3 que en el complejo vivían muchos extranjeros, entre ellos ucranianos, pero que, en un principio, había estado vacío durante mucho tiempo debido a los precios prohibitivos por el auge de la construcción.

La policía y el ayuntamiento señalaron que no podían confirmar inmediatamente cuántas de las viviendas estaban habitadas en el momento del incendio. El complejo se construyó durante el auge inmobiliario de mediados de la década de 2000, según Sendra.

Un residente de 67 años que solo dio su nombre de pila, Pep, dijo el viernes a los medios de comunicación españoles que había salido de su vivienda con su esposa poco después de que se declarara el incendio.

“Cogí la cartera, el móvil, y logré salir del infierno”, dijo el hombre, hablando fuera del hotel donde ha sido alojado temporalmente.

Jorge, quien vive en el barrio de Campanar, dijo que había salido a dar un paseo cuando vio el incendio y se unió a un pequeño grupo de personas que contemplaba con horror cómo el edificio era consumido por las llamas.

Inmediatamente empezó a grabar; hizo un video del edificio en llamas, con el sonido de gritos de fondo, que publicó en las redes sociales

“Olía a plástico quemado”, dijo Jorge, quien solo dio su nombre de pila, en una entrevista.

El ayuntamiento de Valencia señaló en un comunicado que se había instalado una locación de asistencia en un edificio cercano para ofrecer apoyo práctico y psicológico a los residentes sobrevivientes.

El presidente del gobierno de España, Pedro Sánchez, visitó el viernes el lugar del incendio, agradeció a los trabajadores de emergencia y ofreció “trasladar nuestra solidaridad, nuestro cariño y nuestra empatía” a las familias afectadas por el fuego.

“La prioridad ahora”, dijo, “es la búsqueda de víctimas”.


Emily Schmallcolaboró con reportería.

EE. UU. indagó acusaciones de vínculos del narco con aliados del presidente de México

Funcionarios de la ley estadounidenses indagaron durante años afirmaciones de que aliados del presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, se habían reunido con cárteles del narcotráfico y recibido millones de dólares luego de que asumió el cargo, según consta en registros de EE. UU. y de acuerdo con tres personas con conocimiento del tema.

La indagatoria, de la que hasta ahora no se había informado, descubrió información que señalaba posibles vínculos entre operadores poderosos de los cárteles y funcionarios y asesores mexicanos cercanos a López Obrador cuando ya gobernaba el país.

Pero Estados Unidos nunca abrió una investigación formal a López Obrador y los funcionarios que estaban haciendo la indagatoria al final la archivaron. Concluyeron que había poca disposición en el gobierno estadounidense para rastrear acusaciones que pudieran implicar al líder de uno de los principales aliados del país, dijeron las tres personas con conocimiento del caso, quienes no tenían autorización de ofrecer declaraciones públicamente.

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EE. UU. defiende a Israel ante la Corte Internacional de Justicia

El miércoles, un día después de vetar los llamados a un alto al fuego inmediato en Gaza, Estados Unidos defendió la ocupación israelí de Cisjordania y Jerusalén Oriente, ocurrida a lo largo de décadas, argumentando ante el más alto tribunal de las Naciones Unidas que Israel se enfrentaba a “necesidades muy reales en materia de seguridad”.

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

La más reciente defensa estadounidense de Israel en la escena internacional se produjo en la Corte Internacional de Justicia de La Haya, donde Richard Visek, asesor jurídico en funciones del Departamento de Estado de EE. UU., instó a un panel de 15 jueces a no exigir la retirada inmediata de Israel de los territorios palestinos ocupados.

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¿Quién controla las prisiones de Latinoamérica? ¿El hampa o los guardias?

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

El ejército de Ecuador fue enviado a recuperar el control de las prisiones el mes pasado, luego de que dos cabecillas importantes se fugaron y bandas criminales organizaron con rapidez una serie de disturbios que paralizaron el país.

La semana pasada, dos reclusos en Brasil con conexiones a una pandilla importante se convirtieron en los primeros en escapar de una de las cinco prisiones de máxima seguridad del país, según las autoridades.

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4 Ways Autocrats Have Used Interpol to Harass Faraway Enemies

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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