The New York Times 2024-03-16 01:10:03

Middle East Crisis: New Hamas Cease-Fire Plan Draws Contrasting Replies From U.S. and Israel

Hamas drops demand for permanent cease-fire before a hostage-for-prisoner exchange, officials say.

Hamas is no longer demanding that Israel immediately agree to a permanent cease-fire in return for beginning a hostage and prisoner exchange, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

Hamas’s new proposal would allow the release of hostages in exchange for a phased pullback of Israeli troops from parts of the Gaza Strip as well as prisoner releases. By modifying demands for an outright end of hostilities, the new proposal could possibly restart negotiations.

The White House welcomed the new Hamas proposal and confirmed that talks would resume soon in Doha, Qatar, although without an American delegation present. “We’re cautiously optimistic that things are moving in a good direction but that doesn’t mean it’s done and we’re going to have to stick with it until the very end,” said John F. Kirby, a national security communications adviser for the White House.

The United States has been applying pressure on Hamas to resume talks and ease its demands. Various negotiating parties have been offering Gaza more promises of humanitarian aid and issuing vague threats to close down Hamas’s political office in Doha.

While publicly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was dismissive of the new proposal, other Israeli officials have reacted more positively, given that last week Hamas refused to offer terms for a hostage swap.

Negotiators, including senior Israeli intelligence officials, could arrive in Doha as early as Sunday, according to an official in the region.

While saying he did not want to negotiate from the White House podium, Mr. Kirby suggested that the Hamas proposal fit the framework that Israel, Qatar, Egypt and the United States agreed to in talks in Paris last month.

“I would say the proposal that was put forward is certainly within the bounds of — in broad brush strokes — within the bounds of the deal that we’ve been working on for several months,” he said. “But the devil’s in the details.”

Another U.S. official and the official in the region said that while gaps between the warring parties need to be closed, the new proposal was the first positive step in some time, and it was significant that Hamas was no longer demanding a permanent cease-fire.

In the first phase of an agreement, under the Hamas proposal, Israeli troops would pull back toward central Gaza, allowing some civilians to return to their homes, according to an Israeli official briefed on the proposal.

Under the Hamas proposal, Israel would have to agree to the release of more Palestinians from prison than the U.S.-backed proposal had offered.

The initial exchange of hostages would include the remaining five female hostages, in addition to 35 men who are old, sick or injured. Hamas is demanding the release of 350 Palestinian prisoners for the men. It wants 50 prisoners, including 30 sentenced to life in prison, for each of the women. The earlier American-backed proposal had said 15 prisoners convicted of serious acts of terrorism would be released for the female prisoners.

The first phase would last a few weeks. During the second phase, male prisoners would be released in return for a further cessation of hostilities. In the final stage, Hamas would return the bodies of hostages who have died and Israel would ease the blockade of Gaza, according to the Hamas proposal.

Israel has resisted any agreement to end its military campaign. American officials have been pushing to begin exchanges in return for a temporary halt in fighting as the only formula that can work.

Details of the Hamas proposal were earlier reported by Al Jazeera.

The various parties had been discussing for weeks a broader three-phase approach to the release of all hostages held by Hamas and its allies, including the bodies of deceased hostages. Israel and the United States wanted to focus negotiations on the first phase, involving releases of certain hostages for a number of Palestinian prisoners. But as part of those focused talks, Hamas had insisted that Israel commit to a permanent cease-fire after all three phases, which became a major point of contention, since Israel refuses to accede to that.

Edward Wong contributed reporting from Washington.

Witnesses say Israeli shelling killed Gazans awaiting food, but Israel blames Palestinian gunmen.

It was hours after Gazans had broken their daylong fast for the holy month of Ramadan, but with famine stalking the enclave under a near total Israeli siege, few felt full and many were already thinking about how to secure their families’ next meals.

Hundreds of people gathered Thursday night at Kuwait square, one of two main southern entrances to Gaza City, where occasional convoys come to distribute desperately needed aid. Gazans came from all over the city in the northern Gaza Strip. Some had been there for hours.

Even before the aid trucks carrying flour arrived around 9 p.m., carnage and chaos engulfed the square. Gazan health officials said 20 people were killed and more than 150 wounded when Israeli forces targeted the crowd.

The Israeli military blamed the bloodshed on Palestinian gunmen. Three witnesses described shelling at the scene, while a doctor who treated victims at a hospital said their wounds appeared to be consistent with artillery shells, not bullets from rifles — in other words, Israeli arms.

Mohammad Hamoudeh, a photographer in Gaza City who said he was in the square, acknowledged that he did not see any Israeli forces or the weapons that fired on the crowd, but he said that Israeli shells fired from a distance appeared to be responsible.

“The cannons and tank shells are what targeted the civilians,” he said.

“I escaped by a miracle, we saw death with our eyes,” he said. Referring to similar bloodshed at an aid distribution on Feb. 29, he said: “It was almost the same scenario as the Nabulsi incident. There were many martyrs. The scene was horrifying.”

Dr. Eid Sabbah, the head of nursing at the Kamal Adwan Hospital, said: “It wasn’t gunfire. It was ammunition from heavy weaponry that cause large openings, that’s obvious from the entrance and exit wounds.”

Another civilian, Ibrahim Al Najjar, 42, an unemployed taxi driver, said he arrived at the square around 8 p.m. and a large crowd had already gathered. An Israeli drone hovered overhead, he said. Soon, there was shelling and firing, he said, adding that “tens were killed and injured.” He saw many dead bodies. His cousin was also killed, he said.

Mr. Al-Najjar was injured in his right arm by shrapnel and was taken to Al Shifa hospital.

“I ran for life with others and then they hit a building next to us,” he said. “We kept running until we reached some ambulances far away.”

Ali Al Ajouri, a 16-year-old from Jabaliyah, also described shelling on the crowd. “There were some 30 people gathering in one spot and a shell shot them directly,” he said.

The Israeli military said that it had conducted a preliminary review of the incident and that “no tank fire, airstrike or gunfire was carried out toward the Gazan civilians at the aid convoy” by its forces. But in its statement, it did not say whether Israelis had fired on the area at all.

“Approximately one hour before the arrival of the convoy to the humanitarian corridor, armed Palestinians opened fire while Gazan civilians were awaiting the arrival of the aid convoy,” the military said. “As aid trucks were entering, the Palestinian gunmen continued to shoot as the crowd of Gazans began looting the trucks. Additionally, a number of Gazan civilians were run over by the trucks.”

The Israeli military said that it had facilitated the passage of the convoy of 31 humanitarian aid trucks containing food and supplies intended for distribution in northern Gaza, but did not elaborate. It was not clear who had sent the supplies, operated the trucks or provided security for them; the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, said it was not involved.

Dr. Sabbah said the wounds seen at Kamal Adwan Hospital were mostly in the chest and head. Doctors there could only stabilize victims and keep them alive, he said, but were unable to perform surgery because of the lack of medicine and medical equipment.

United Nations officials and other relief groups have warned that the Gaza Strip is nearing famine, with inadequate food delivery, and the crisis is especially severe in the north. At least 27 people, including 23 children, have died of malnutrition, dehydration and lack of baby formula, according to the health ministry.

After the bloodshed, witnesses said people collected what aid they could, including sacks of flour that had been bloodied.

Abu Bakr Bashir contributed reporting from London.

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

Severe malnutrition in young children is rising fast in Gaza, UNICEF says.

Children in the Gaza Strip are facing severe and rapidly worsening food deprivation, and an alarming number are suffering from the most life-threatening form of malnutrition, United Nations experts reported on Friday, in their most dire assessment yet of the unfolding crisis.

About one in every 20 children in shelters and health centers in northern Gaza is experiencing “severe wasting,” the most critical sign of malnutrition, defined as being dangerously thin for their height, according to UNICEF, the U.N. agency for children. The findings were based on screenings conducted by the agency and released on Friday.

Among children under 2 years old, acute malnutrition, meaning the body is deprived of essential nutrients, has become fairly common across Gaza, the screenings found, with the most severe prevalence in northern Gaza. In some areas, it found that rates of acute malnutrition had doubled since they were last recorded in January.

Even in Rafah, the densely populated area in southern Gaza with the greatest access to food, 10 percent of children under 2 are acutely malnourished, and 4 percent are severely wasting.

Before the war, UNICEF said, the rate of acute malnutrition among young children was less than 1 percent, and severe wasting was extremely rare.

Lucia Elmi, UNICEF’s special representative in the Palestinian territories, who returned from Gaza last week, said she was particularly alarmed by not only the number of children suffering from malnutrition, but how quickly their health was deteriorating. Young children cannot be adequately nourished from just water, flour and bread, she said.

“They need protein, they need vitamins, they need fresh products and they need micronutrients, and all of this has been completely missing,” Ms. Elmi said in an interview last week. “That’s why the deterioration has been so fast, so rapid and at this scale.”

Children are bearing extreme costs of the war in Gaza, both physically and mentally, children’s rights groups and experts have repeated. More than 12,000 children have been killed in the conflict, and 27 children in northern Gaza have died from malnutrition or dehydration, according to the Gazan Health Ministry.

Palestinian parents say that, in addition to the threat of bombardment, their daily struggle is to find enough food for their children. Many have said they choose to feed what little they have to their children rather than themselves.

Dominic Allen, the United Nations Population Fund representative for Palestine, who just returned from a trip to Gaza, said on Friday that conditions there were worse than he could “describe or than pictures can show or than you can imagine.” He said at a press briefing in Jerusalem that everyone he saw or spoke to was “gaunt, emaciated, hungry.”

“The situation is beyond catastrophic,” he said.

Israel has said that it does not limit the amount of aid allowed into Gaza through border crossings, and recently signaled its support for new initiatives to get aid into Gaza by land, air and sea. Humanitarian groups have criticized Israel, saying that its insistence on checking every truckload of aid — and rejecting some — is a major cause of the food shortage.

The chief executive of Save the Children, an aid group, in the United States, Janti Soeripto, said that the crisis was currently, by far, the worst in the world for children.

“Every time I speak about Gaza, I sort of think to myself that it couldn’t get any worse,” she said in an interview. “And then every week, I’m proven wrong.”

Without a cease-fire, it has been difficult for teams to safely and comprehensively assist Palestinians.

Speaking from Rafah, Rachael Cummings, Save the Children’s director of humanitarian public health in the United Kingdom, said that the lack of sanitation — including dirty or salty water and sewage on the streets — was worsening the hunger crisis there.

“If a child isn’t eating adequate food or the right composition of food — they have poor water, poor sanitation — they will get very sick, very quickly,” she said.

The first ship bringing food to Gaza arrives.

A humanitarian aid ship arrived on Friday in Gaza for the first time since the start of the war, a first step in a fledgling maritime operation to bring more aid to hungry Palestinians as aid groups say that Israel is restricting more efficient deliveries by road.

The ship, the Open Arms, towed a barge loaded with some 200 metric tons of rice, flour, lentils, and canned tuna, beef and chicken, supplied by the World Central Kitchen charity, across the Mediterranean from Cyprus. It is the first vessel authorized to deliver aid to Gaza since 2005, according to Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Union’s executive arm, who has described the operation as a pilot project for a so-called maritime corridor for supplies to the territory.

Linda Roth, a spokeswoman for World Central Kitchen, said that the Open Arms had docked at a newly built jetty on the Gaza coast and that workers were beginning to move the food onto land. It remained unclear how the food would be distributed to Palestinian civilians.

The food on the ships is desperately needed in Gaza, where officials say around two dozen children have already died from malnutrition, and hundreds of thousands of others are “one step away from famine,” according to the United Nations. But delivering aid by sea is nowhere near as efficient as delivering it by land, and humanitarian groups have called on Israel for months to open more land crossings, ease restrictions on convoys and address their operational concerns.

“For aid delivery at scale there is no meaningful substitute to the many land routes and entry points from Israel into Gaza,” two U.N. aid officials, Sigrid Kaag and Jorge Moreira da Silva, said in a statement this week. Still, they welcomed the opening of a maritime corridor, given how much more humanitarian assistance is needed in Gaza.

Israel, which tightened an already restrictive blockade on Gaza after the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack, has said throughout the war that it is committed to allowing as much aid into Gaza as possible. It has blamed delays on U.N. staffing and logistics.

This week, under growing international pressure to allow more aid in, Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, visited northern Gaza and viewed preparations for the new maritime humanitarian route. Mr. Gallant — who ordered in October that Gaza should receive “no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel” — called aid a “central issue” in a statement the defense ministry issued about his trip.

But safely distributing food where it is needed — amid insecurity, lawlessness and roads damaged by Israeli strikes — could face many of the same hurdles as U.N. aid groups that were forced to suspend deliveries in northern Gaza last month.

José Andrés, the renowned Spanish American chef who founded the World Central Kitchen, acknowledged the challenges in an interview with The New York Times last week, but added: “It’s worth trying the impossible to feed the people of Gaza.”

The group said a second ship with 300 tons of aid was being loaded in Cyprus on Thursday, but it was not clear when it would set sail.

Gaya Gupta, Monika Pronczuk, Michael Levenson and Christina Morales contributed reporting.

Netanyahu calls Hamas’s demands ‘ludicrous’ and proceeds with plans for a ground invasion in Rafah.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday rejected the latest cease-fire deal proposed by Hamas, calling its demands “ludicrous,” and said Israel would move forward with plans for a ground offensive in Rafah, the southern Gazan city where more than half the enclave’s population is sheltering.

Still, Mr. Netanyahu signaled he was open to more talks. He announced he was dispatching an Israeli delegation back to Qatar, where mediation efforts have been taking place.

The prime minister’s response came a day after Hamas presented a counteroffer to Israel aimed at securing a cease-fire and an exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners. In a statement, Hamas said it had presented to mediators in Qatar what it called a “comprehensive vision” for a truce in the five-month war, which has devastated the Gaza Strip and has cost at least 30,000 lives there.

Hamas’s new proposal would allow the release of additional hostages in exchange for a phased pullback of Israeli troops from parts of the Gaza Strip as well as additional prisoner releases, according to people familiar with the negotiations. In a significant departure from its previous demands, Hamas is no longer calling for an immediate and permanent cease-fire in return for beginning a hostage and prisoner exchange, a U.S. official said on Friday.

The official said that while there were still gaps to close, the new proposal could possibly restart negotiations.

Within hours of receiving the proposal, though, Mr. Netanyahu’s office said that “Hamas is continuing to hold to unrealistic demands.” Then on Friday, Mr. Netanyahu released a second statement saying, “Regarding the hostages — Hamas’s demands are still ludicrous,” without elaborating.

Talks on a truce have been stalled for weeks, despite the efforts of officials from the United States, Egypt and Qatar to broker a deal.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, speaking during a visit to Vienna, confirmed that Hamas had issued a counterproposal but said that he couldn’t reveal the details.

The United States is working “intensively” with Israel, Qatar and Egypt “to bridge the remaining gaps,” he said. Israel’s decision to send a negotiating team to Qatar “reflects the sense of possibility — and urgency — to get an agreement.”

A weeklong cease-fire deal was successfully negotiated in late November, when Israel and Hamas agreed to a pause in fighting and an exchange of more than 100 hostages and 240 imprisoned Palestinians. Diplomats tried to extend the truce but it collapsed and fighting resumed in early December.

Mr. Netanyahu has come under growing international pressure to end the war and limit civilian deaths. President Biden has become more forceful in recent days in calling for Israel to ease the plight of civilians in Gaza, who are facing severe hunger and continue to die in Israeli airstrikes.

The American president has urged Mr. Netanyahu not to proceed with his plans to launch a major ground offensive in Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people are crammed into temporary shelters.

But Mr. Netanyahu has vowed to reject international pressure to refrain from a ground operation in Rafah, which Israel says is one of the last major strongholds of Hamas. On Friday, Mr. Netanyahu said he had approved plans for a military operation in Rafah and that the Israeli forces were also preparing “for the evacuation of the population.”

Michael Crowley, Ronen Bergman, Julian E. Barnes and Aaron Boxerman contributed reporting.

Biden embraces Schumer’s speech castigating Netanyahu.

President Biden on Friday praised Senator Chuck Schumer’s address lashing out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, calling it “a good speech” without explicitly endorsing any of the specific criticisms in it or its call for new elections to replace the Israeli leader.

Mr. Biden said that Mr. Schumer, a Democrat from New York and the Senate majority leader, had informed his White House staff in advance of the speech in which the senator excoriated Mr. Netanyahu’s leadership of the war against Hamas and concluded that the prime minister risked making Israel a global pariah.

“I’m not going to elaborate on the speech,” Mr. Biden said in response to a reporter’s question as he hosted the visiting Irish prime minister at the White House. “He made a good speech, and I think he expressed a serious concern shared not only by him but by many Americans.”

The president has staunchly backed Israel’s right to defend itself and respond to the Hamas terrorist attack of Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 people and has rebuffed calls from inside his own party to cut off the flow of arms or impose conditions on their use. But he has grown increasingly critical of Mr. Netanyahu’s government for its conduct of the war, which has killed more than 30,000 civilians and members of Hamas and resulted in a humanitarian crisis for most of Gaza’s two million residents.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Thursday, Mr. Schumer went further than any senior American official has gone in castigating Mr. Netanyahu. The prime minister has “lost his way by allowing his political survival to take precedence over the best interests of Israel” and “has been too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows,” Mr. Schumer said. He went on to say that he believed “a new election is the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about the future of Israel.”

The senator’s speech touched off a furor in Israel, especially coming from Mr. Schumer, a longstanding Jewish supporter of the Jewish state and ally of Mr. Biden. The fact that the White House knew about it ahead of time raised speculation about whether Mr. Schumer was in a way speaking for the president as well.

Although Mr. Biden on Friday did not repeat any of the particular assertions or recommendations made by the senator, his general embrace of it will inevitably be seen by many as a further rebuke of Mr. Netanyahu and may exacerbate the friction that has already been growing between the two leaders.

A White House spokesman said later that the president was not specifically calling for new elections. “That’s going to be up to the Israeli people to decide,” the spokesman, John F. Kirby, said.

While he echoed Mr. Biden in saying that the senator’s remarks “resonate with many Americans out there,” Mr. Kirby said: “For our part, we’re going to keep supporting Israel in their fight against Hamas, we’re going to keep urging them to reduce civilian casualties and we’re going to keep working to get a temporary cease-fire in place.”

Critics in the United States and Israel have complained that Mr. Schumer’s statements amounted to an inappropriate foreign intervention into an ally’s internal democratic politics, one that was particularly egregious coming at a time of war with Israel fighting an enemy bent on its destruction.

Mr. Biden offered his thoughts during a meeting in the Oval Office with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland, who himself has been a vocal critic of Israel’s handling of the war. Mr. Varadkar followed through on his promise to raise the matter with Mr. Biden during the annual White House get-together to mark St. Patrick’s Day.

“I want to keep talking about the situation in Gaza as well,” Mr. Varadkar told Mr. Biden. “You know my view that we need to have a cease-fire as soon as possible to get food and medicine in, to get hostages out. And we need to talk about how we can make that happen and move toward a two-state solution, which I think is the only way we’ll have lasting peace and security.”

Biden nodded. “I agree,” he said softly.

Still, Mr. Varadkar came away from his meeting understanding that whatever his own concerns about Mr. Netanyahu’s military operations, Mr. Biden had no intention of interrupting the flow of U.S. munitions and air defenses to Israel.

“The president’s very clear that the U.S. would continue to support Israel and to assist Israel to defend itself so I don’t think that’s going to change,” Mr. Varadkar told reporters outside the White House after the meeting. “But I think none of us like to see American weapons being used in the way they are. The way they’re being used in the moment is not self-defense.”

Schumer’s harsh words for Netanyahu reveal widening U.S.-Israel divisions, analysts say.

Senator Chuck Schumer’s harsh critique of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government revealed the widening gap between Israel and its most important ally, the United States, analysts said on Friday, but was unlikely to prompt Israel’s government to chart a new course.

Mr. Schumer — Democrat of New York, the majority leader and the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the United States — repeatedly slammed Mr. Netanyahu in a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday as one of the main stumbling blocks to Israeli-Palestinian peace. While not explicitly calling for Mr. Netanyahu’s ouster, Mr. Schumer said Israelis must soon be allowed the opportunity to select new leadership.

Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli diplomat, called the speech a profound moment that reflected widespread American dissatisfaction with Israel’s direction among both its allies in Congress and in the American Jewish community.

“For a Jewish senator from New York, the majority leader, a friend of Netanyahu who’s the most centrist possible Democrat and even leans hawkish on Israel, to voice criticism like this?” said Mr. Pinkas, adding, “If you’ve lost Chuck Schumer, you’ve lost America.”

Yair Lapid, the leader of Israel’s opposition, was one of the few Israeli leaders to welcome Mr. Schumer’s remarks, calling his speech “proof that Netanyahu is losing Israel’s biggest supporters in the United States one by one.”

In a statement, Mr. Lapid said that “Netanyahu is causing heavy damage to the national effort to win the war and preserve Israel’s security.”

But that was a minority viewpoint. More typical was the reaction of Benny Gantz, a center-right critic of Mr. Netanyahu who joined him in an emergency wartime government. Mr. Schumer, he said on social media on Thursday, had “erred in his remark.” Any “external intervention is not correct and not welcome,” he added.

Widely seen as a serious contender for prime minister in the next elections, Mr. Gantz regularly outpolls Mr. Netanyahu in opinion surveys. But “given everything going on in Gaza, even Israeli political leaders who oppose Netanyahu are reluctant to turn this into a political moment,” said Michael Koplow, an analyst at the Israel Policy Forum think tank.

Mr. Schumer has long been comfortably ensconced in the more conservative wing of Washington’s pro-Israel establishment. In 2015, he sharply criticized the Iran nuclear deal, which was backed by then-President Barack Obama and fiercely opposed by Mr. Netanyahu.

“The distance that Schumer traveled to give that speech is probably farther than that of any other Democratic politician, given his longstanding support for Israel,” said Aaron David Miller, a former State Department diplomat.

Mr. Schumer repeatedly emphasized in his speech that he was directing his criticism not at Israel but at Mr. Netanyahu, who even before the war in Gaza had divided Israelis with his attempt to advance a contentious plan to weaken the judiciary. The devastating Hamas-led attacks on Oct. 7 that officials said left 1,200 people dead in Israel and more than 250 others taken as hostages to Gaza shocked Israelis, spurring greater calls for Mr. Netanyahu to step down over the security failure.

Mr. Schumer’s comments on Thursday — that “a new election is the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about the future of Israel, at a time when so many Israelis have lost their confidence in the vision and direction of their government” — are borne out by opinion polls in Israel. Roughly 71 percent of Israelis support holding early elections, either immediately or at the end of the war, according to a poll published in January by the Jerusalem-based Israel Democracy Institute.

“What Schumer said, in many ways, reflects Israeli public opinion regarding Netanyahu,” said Mr. Koplow. “He’s incredibly unpopular here, and an overwhelming majority of Israelis also want to see early elections.”

But the senator’s address is unlikely to galvanize change in Israel, observers said.

For now, Mr. Netanyahu’s government is unlikely either to set a date for new elections or to change its wartime policy. The premier is beholden to far-right coalition partners, such as Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, neither of whom appear to have much interest in heading to a vote or heeding U.S. concerns.

At the same time, most of the Israeli public — still reeling from several years of back-to-back election campaigns — remains intently focused on the military effort to eliminate Hamas in Gaza and on securing the release of the more than 100 hostages remaining there. However, while many have chosen to table partisan politics for the time being, the country continues to be sharply divided.

Those divisions “have not yet given birth to an aggressive protest movement, as we all have loved ones still in the field of battle,” said Shikma Bressler, a prominent leader of the mass movement that opposed Mr. Netanyahu’s judicial reforms.

Many of Mr. Netanyahu’s critics also back at least some of the wartime policies that have generated friction with allies abroad, such as his insistence on Israeli security control over Gaza after the war and launching a planned ground incursion into the densely packed southern city of Rafah, where more than one million Palestinians are sheltering.

Mr. Netanyahu “won’t commit to a military operation in Rafah that prioritizes protecting civilian life,” Mr. Schumer said. “He won’t engage responsibly in discussions about a ‘day after’ plan for Gaza, and a longer-term pathway to peace.”

On Friday, Mr. Netanyahu announced that he had approved the Israeli military’s plan to operate in Rafah in an attempt to root out Hamas military forces entrenched there. It was not immediately clear when the plan would be carried out.

In public, at least, members of Mr. Netanyahu’s government did not express concern over Mr. Schumer’s remarks.

Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party quickly denounced them, saying in a statement that Israel was not a “banana republic, but rather an independent democracy proud to have elected Prime Minister Netanyahu.” It added that most Israelis support “total victory over Hamas” while rejecting a “Palestinian terrorist state.”

“There are elections in the United States and Biden is fighting for the White House. Netanyahu, meanwhile, is fighting for our homeland,” said Boaz Bismuth, a Likud lawmaker, in a phone interview. “It’s sad that you, a true friend of Israel, are hurting your friends,” he added, in reference to Mr. Schumer.

Some right-wing political commentators said that rising criticism from abroad could even help Mr. Netanyahu tamp down domestic anger. Nadav Strauchler, a political strategist who previously advised Mr. Netanyahu, said that Mr. Schumer’s criticisms gave the embattled premier another way to present himself as standing up for Israel’s security against the outside world.

“If the intent was ‘Help Netanyahu,’ then it worked splendidly,” said Mr. Strauchler. “If the United States wants to exert pressure, this isn’t the way to go about it. It creates the opposite effect.”

The threat of unrest looms over Al Aqsa on the first Friday of Ramadan.

A heavy Israeli police contingent checked worshipers on Friday entering the Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, where the threat of unrest loomed over the end of the first week of Ramadan, the holiest month for Muslims and one that has taken on added significance during the war in Gaza.

Hamas, the militant group that launched the deadly Oct. 7 attack that prompted Israel to go to war in the enclave, issued a statement on Thursday urging Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Israel to go to Al Aqsa Mosque on Friday and “prevent all attempts of the occupation to desecrate it and impose its aggressive plans.”

“Let the first Friday of Ramadan be an escalation in all fields in support of Gaza, Jerusalem and Al Aqsa,” the group said, echoing earlier calls to action.

But there was no apparent unrest by Friday afternoon, and smaller crowds than on the same day in previous years, after Israel tightened restrictions on movement for Palestinians from the West Bank.

Al Aqsa is one of the holiest sites for Muslims and part of a compound that is sacred to Jews, who call it the Temple Mount. Muslim access to the mosque has long been a point of contention, and in recent years Israel has exerted tighter control over the compound, one of many restrictions endured by Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

Israel’s agency overseeing policy for the Palestinian territories said on Monday that only men over age 55, women over 50 and children under 10 would be allowed to enter Israel from the West Bank to pray at Al Aqsa on Fridays during Ramadan.

On Monday, the first day of the Muslim holy month, Israeli police officers outside the compound chased away worshipers and struck some with batons, videos showed, as many attempted to enter the complex to pray but were denied entry under a different set of age restrictions.

The Israeli police said that they were “maintaining a balance between the freedom of worship and the imperative of ensuring security.”

In its statement on Thursday, Hamas called on young Palestinians in the West Bank to “rise up and go out in roaring crowds” and confront Israeli security officers. It called on supporters of the Palestinian cause “to continue their effective mass movement and angry solidarity marches, and to escalate all forms of mobilization and support,” putting pressure on their governments to stop the war in Gaza.

The group has issued similar statements during its war with Israel. They have not drawn much response from people in the West Bank, where fear and despair have been growing as Israeli raids have killed more than 425 people there since Oct. 7, according to the Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah.

Ayman Abu Ramouz and Rami Nazzal contributed reporting.

The Palestinian Authority’s president names an insider to be prime minister.

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority appointed a longtime insider within the authority’s top ranks as prime minister on Thursday, rejecting international pressure to empower an independent prime minister who could revitalize the sclerotic authority.

Mr. Abbas, who is 88 and has long ruled by decree, named Muhammad Mustafa, a close economic adviser, to take the prime minister’s spot, signing a document charging him with putting together a new government, according to Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency. Mr. Mustafa has three weeks to do so, but can take an additional two weeks if needed, according to Palestinian law.

The document Mr. Abbas handed to Mr. Mustafa said the priorities of the government should include leading efforts to provide humanitarian aid to people in Gaza, reconstructing what has been destroyed during the war between Israel and Hamas, and putting forth plans and mechanisms to reunite Palestinian governing structures in the West Bank and the coastal enclave.

It also called for “continuing the reform process.”

Much of the Palestinian public sees the Palestinian Authority as tainted by corruption, mismanagement and cooperation with Israel.

As president, Mr. Abbas remains firmly in charge of the government. With no functional parliament, Mr. Abbas has long ruled by decree, and he exerts wide influence over the judiciary and prosecution system. There has been no presidential election in the Palestinian territories since 2005, and no legislative election since 2006.

In late February, Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh tendered the resignation of his cabinet, citing the need for a new government that “takes into account the emerging reality in the Gaza Strip.” Mr. Shtayyeh’s government has continued in a caretaker capacity.

Hamas led a deadly assault from Gaza into Israel on Oct. 7, and Israel has answered with intense bombardment and an invasion, vowing to break the group’s grip on the enclave. But those events have raised difficult questions about how a postwar Gaza will be governed and rebuilt.

The Palestinian Authority has limited governing powers on the West Bank. It lost control of Gaza to Hamas in a 2007 power struggle.

The United States has been calling for overhauling the widely unpopular Palestinian Authority in recent months, hoping it could eventually assume the reins of governance in Gaza after the war. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, however, has rejected any such role for the authority.

While the Biden administration did not tell Mr. Abbas whom to appoint as prime minister, it conveyed that it hoped for an independent figure who was acceptable to ordinary Palestinians, the international community and Israel, according to Western diplomats, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak with the media.

A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Adrienne Watson, said in a statement that the Biden administration welcomed the appointment and urged “the formation of a reform cabinet as soon as possible.”

In the Palestinian Authority, the prime minister is supposed to oversee the work of ministries, but Mr. Abbas often intervenes in decision-making, according to analysts.

Nasser al-Qudwa, a former foreign minister whose name was floated as a possible prime minister, said before the announcement of Mr. Abbas’s choice that appointing Mr. Mustafa would represent “no real change.”

“It would be replacing one employee named Mohammed with another employee named Muhammad, while Abbas continues to hold all the cards. What’s the change?” said Mr. Qudwa, a fierce opponent of Mr. Abbas, who is also known as Abu Mazen. “Abu Mazen wants to keep the status quo. He wants to keep all of the power in his hands.”

In addition to serving as Mr. Abbas’s adviser, Mr. Mustafa, an economist educated at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., has been the chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund, whose board is appointed by the president of the authority. He has previously been the authority’s economy minister and deputy prime minister.

For weeks, Mr. Abbas has signaled his desire to appoint Mr. Mustafa. In January, he sent Mr. Mustafa to the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in Davos, where heads of state and foreign ministers gather to discuss global affairs.

At the conference, Mr. Mustafa said he thought the Palestinian Authority could improve its governance. “We don’t want to give any excuses for anyone,” he said in a wide-ranging discussion with Borge Brende, the forum’s president. “The Palestinian Authority can do better in terms of building better institutions.”

In his new position, Mr. Mustafa will likely face enormous challenges, which may include trying to reconstruct the devastated Gaza Strip and improving the credibility of the government.

Some analysts, however, said judgment on a new government should be reserved until the public learns the identities of its ministers, and how much authority and independence they can wield.

“We shouldn’t rush to say it will fail,” said Ibrahim Dalalsha, the director of the Horizon Center for Political Studies and Media Outreach, a political analysis group based in Ramallah, West Bank. “We need to wait and see how it will perform.”

Another Gaza aid convoy ends in violence, with at least 20 killed.

For at least the second time in just over two weeks, a convoy bringing aid to hunger-stricken northern Gaza ended in bloodshed late Thursday when Palestinians were killed and wounded in an attack surrounding the trucks, according to Gazan health officials and the Israeli military, which offered divergent accounts of what happened.

The Gaza Health Ministry said that at least 20 people had been killed and more than 150 injured, and it accused Israeli forces of carrying out a “targeted” attack against “a gathering of civilians waiting for humanitarian aid” near the Kuwait traffic circle in Gaza City.

The Israeli military denied the allegation in a statement on Friday, blaming Palestinian gunmen and saying that an “intensive preliminary review” had determined “that no tank fire, airstrike or gunfire was carried out toward the Gazan civilians at the aid convoy.” It did not say whether Israeli forces had opened fire at all.

The descriptions of chaos and violence, and the conflicting accounts for what caused it, resembled those that emerged after bloodshed in late February, when more than 100 people were killed or injured amid Israeli fire around a convoy in Gaza City. The Israeli military has said that most of the people died in a stampede and that some were run over by the trucks. Israel, which has been under growing pressure to allow more aid into the territory, had organized that convoy to northern Gaza, where the United Nations has warned that hundreds of thousands of people are facing starvation.

It was not clear immediately on Friday who had sent the latest supplies, driven the trucks or provided security for them. The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said it was not involved. The Israeli military said it had “facilitated the passage” of the 31 trucks but did not elaborate on that.

Three witnesses described shelling at the scene, and a doctor who treated victims at a hospital said their wounds appeared to be consistent with artillery shells, not bullets from rifles, suggesting the use of Israeli arms.

One of the witnesses, Mohammad Hamoudeh, a photographer in Gaza City, said that he did not see any Israeli forces or the weapons that fired on the crowd. But he said that heavy Israeli fire from a distance appeared to be responsible for the casualties.

“The cannons and tank shells are what targeted the civilians,” he said.

“I escaped by a miracle; we saw death with our eyes,” he said. Referring to the earlier convoy disaster, he said: “It was almost the same scenario as the Nabulsi incident. There were many martyrs. The scene was horrifying.”

Even after the bloodshed, people collected what aid they could, he said, including sacks of flour that had been bloodied.

Ali Al Ajouri, a 16-year-old from Jabaliya, also described shelling on the crowd. “There were some 30 people gathering in one spot, and a shell shot them directly,” he said.

Dr. Eid Sabbah, the head of nursing at the Kamal Adwan Hospital, said: “It wasn’t gunfire. It was ammunition from heavy weaponry that cause large openings; that’s obvious from the entrance and exit wounds.”

Dr. Sabbah said the patients who were treated at the hospital had mostly chest and head wounds. Doctors there could only stabilize them and keep them alive, he said, and were unable to perform surgery because of the lack of medicine and medical tools.

Ibrahim Al Najjar, 42, an unemployed taxi driver, said he was in the area around 8 p.m. when a large crowd had gathered. Soon, there was shelling and shooting, he said. He said that his cousin was killed and that he was injured in his right arm by shrapnel.

“I ran for my life with others, and then they hit a building next to us,” he said. “We kept running until we reached some ambulances far away.”

The Israeli military said it was not responsible for the attack. “Approximately one hour before the arrival of the convoy to the humanitarian corridor, armed Palestinians opened fire while Gazan civilians were awaiting the arrival of the aid convoy,” the military said. “As aid trucks were entering, the Palestinian gunmen continued to shoot as the crowd of Gazans began looting the trucks. Additionally, a number of Gazan civilians were run over by the trucks.”

The killing at the convoy came as Israel has been facing intense international pressure to allow more aid into Gaza, where aid workers have warned of calamitous hunger, spreading diseases and widespread lawlessness. People have become so desperate for food that some have resorted to eating leaves and animal feed. At least 27 people, including 23 children, have died of malnutrition, dehydration and lack of baby formula, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Aid groups have called on Israel to open more border crossings directly into northern Gaza, where food shortages are most extreme, and to ease restrictions on convoys.

Aid groups have said stopping the war is ultimately the only way to help ease the privation in Gaza. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Friday rejected the latest cease-fire and hostage-release deal proposed by Hamas, calling its demands “ludicrous,” and said Israel would move forward with plans for a ground offensive in the southern city of Rafah, where more than half the enclave’s population is sheltering.

The prospect of an invasion there has caused widespread alarm, including from the Biden administration, which has said it will oppose such an incursion without a credible plan to relocate civilians out of harm’s way.

As Israel has tightened a restrictive blockade on Gaza, several countries, including the United States, have dropped food from military planes into the territory. On Friday, a ship carrying food arrived off Gaza for the first time since the Hamas-led attack on Israel on Oct. 7. The shipment was part of a fledgling effort to ferry more aid into the territory via a maritime route.

The ship, which left Cyprus on Tuesday, was carrying more than 200 tons of food supplied by World Central Kitchen, a charity founded by the celebrity chef José Andrés.

Linda Roth, a spokeswoman for World Central Kitchen, said that the ship, the Open Arms, had docked at a newly built jetty on the Gaza coast and that workers were beginning to offload the flour, lentils, canned tuna and other food from a barge.

It remained unclear how the food would be distributed to civilians, but officials hope the operation will show that more aid ships can follow. World Central Kitchen said a second ship with 300 tons of aid was being loaded in Cyprus on Thursday, but it was not clear when the ship would set sail.

Even if the operation is successful, aid groups say, delivering aid by sea is nowhere near as efficient as delivering it by land, describing trucks as the only way to send enough food into Gaza to alleviate the suffering there.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Friday that the Israeli military had a responsibility to facilitate the movement of humanitarian into Gaza “safely, regularly and at the scale required.”

“There is no alternative to the large-scale delivery of aid by land,” the office said.

Reporting was contributed by Abu Bakr Bashir, Gaya Gupta and Michael Levenson.

As Putin Pitches His Vision, Voters Avert Their Gaze From the War

Vladimir V. Putin’s vision of Russia — successful, innovative and borderless — is on display at one of Moscow’s biggest tourist attractions, a Stalin-era exhibition center that currently houses a sleek showcase called Russia 2024. The exhibition promotes what the Kremlin portrays as Russia’s achievements in the past two decades, roughly the period Mr. Putin has been in power, and his promises for the future after he secures another six-year term in rubber-stamp elections this weekend.

The exhibition is in many ways a microcosm of a country whose people largely — at least in public — avert their gaze from the big and bloody war in Ukraine that Mr. Putin started more than two years ago.

The centerpiece is a grand hall housing pavilions featuring all the Russian regions, including five illegally annexed from Ukraine. Visitors to one pavilion are greeted by two LED screens displaying tulip fields that portray the region of Belgorod, which borders Ukraine, as calm and peaceful.

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An American Who Has Helped Clear 815,000 Bombs From Vietnam

On a visit to the former battlefield of Khe Sanh, scene of one of the bloodiest standoffs of the Vietnam War, the only people Chuck Searcy encountered on the broad, barren field were two young boys who led him to an unexploded rocket lying by a ditch.

One of the youngsters reached out to give the bomb a kick until Mr. Searcy cried out, “No, Stop!”

“It was my first encounter with unexploded ordnance,” Mr. Searcy said of that moment in 1992. “I had no idea that I would be dedicating my life to removing them.”

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Shabab Gunmen Penetrate Heavy Security to Besiege Hotel in Somalia

Five assailants with the terrorist group Al Shabab stormed a hotel in a highly fortified area close to Somalia’s presidential palace on Thursday night, engaging security forces for about 12 hours in sustained fighting that left three people dead and injured 27 — including members of parliament — before the militants were finally killed, according to Somali officials.

The attack underscored Al Shabab’s enduring capacity to stage attacks on a high-profile target in the capital, despite an aggressive counteroffensive by the Somali government, backed by the U.S. military.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud promised to eliminate the group by fighting it militarily, ideologically and financially, when he came to power in mid-2022.

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Senegal’s Leading Opposition Politicians Freed From Jail Just Before Election

Two opposition party politicians were released from jail in Senegal on Thursday night, just 10 days before a nationwide election in which one of them is running for president.

Hundreds of supporters celebrated in the streets of Dakar after Ousmane Sonko, Senegal’s foremost opposition leader, was freed along with Bassirou Diomaye Faye, his party’s candidate in the election on March 24.

“You never gave up even when we were absent. You kept on fighting.” Mr. Faye told supporters in Dakar on Thursday evening. “Today we are ready to join you in the same fight.”

The release is the latest in a series of unexpected moves by the incumbent president, Macky Sall, who cited allegations of corruption when he announced last month that he was canceling the election. Facing a backlash, he reversed course and set the election for Sunday, March 24 — just nine days before his term ends.

After years of hinting that he might run again, Mr. Sall finally confirmed last July that he would step down after his two terms were up.

Senegal, a coastal West African nation of 17 million people, is seen as a bastion of democracy relative to some of its West African neighbors, which are ruled by military juntas following a spate of coups in recent years.

Mr. Sonko was ineligible to run in the upcoming election because he was convicted last June of corrupting a minor and sentenced to two years in prison. Mr. Faye was running from jail, where he was awaiting trial on defamation charges and contempt of court, after he accused magistrates of persecuting Mr. Sonko to serve Mr. Sall’s interests in a social media post last year.

Campaigning has started for the election. Mr. Sall’s chosen successor, the former prime minister Amadou Ba, has held rallies that have been poorly attended and have garnered little attention.

Alioune Tine, an expert on human rights in West Africa, said that the imprisonment of Mr. Sonko and Mr. Faye had increased their cachet, especially for Mr. Faye, who was a little-known figure before he was named Mr. Sonko’s replacement for the election.

“When you throw leaders in jail, you turn them into heroes,” said Mr. Tine, the founder of the AfrikaJom Center, a research organization in Dakar.

As Mr. Sonko and Mr. Faye paraded in Dakar’s downtown on Thursday evening, it was Mr. Sonko’s name that supporters chanted. But Mr. Sonko kept a low profile while Mr. Faye addressed the crowds with a microphone, standing in a car, a scarf in the colors of the Senegalese flag around his neck.

“Sonko will play a central role in the campaign, but the key challenge for him will be not to overshadow Faye too much, so Faye can win,” Mr. Tine added.

Mr. Sonko seemed intent on staying in the background on Friday. Briefing reporters, Mr. Sonko said that the government had spoken to him about postponing the election again so that he could run. But, Mr. Sonko said, he was happy for Mr. Faye to be the candidate.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the party,” he said. “Diomaye Faye has never made a decision without asking me.”

Nineteen candidates in all are on the ballot for the election in Senegal, one of the few countries in the region that has never endured military rule. In recent years, however, Mr. Sall’s government repeatedly cut off access to the internet and forbade demonstrations as Mr. Sonko rose to fame.

Dozens of protesters have been killed during anti-government riots, many by live ammunition that human rights groups said was fired by the country’s security forces.

Mr. Sonko is a charismatic yet divisive figure who was tried on charges of raping an employee of a massage parlor. He was acquitted of rape but sentenced last year to two years in prison for “corruption of youth” because the employee was under 21.

Mr. Sall signed an amnesty law earlier this month that eventually led to the release of Mr. Faye and Mr. Sonko. But Mr. Sonko’s role in both the upcoming election and the country’s political future remains unclear.

A former tax inspector and currently the mayor of the southern town of Ziguinchor, Mr. Sonko has vowed to rid Senegal of corruption, appealing to young Senegalese voters — though he has not made clear how he plans to execute his promises of sweeping change.

“Sonko is the person Senegal needs,” said Serge Goudiaby Atepa, a well-known Senegalese architect and the head of Senegal’s main lobby of business leaders.

Mr. Atepa also praised Mr. Sall for releasing Mr. Sonko, who for years was his main political foe. “The crowds we saw on the streets last night prove that it was the right thing to do,” he said.

Russian Missile Strikes Kill at Least 20 in Odesa, Ukraine Says

A Russian missile attack on Odesa killed at least 20 people and injured 73 others, Ukrainian authorities said on Friday, the latest in a series of deadly air assaults on the southern Ukrainian port city.

Ukraine’s state emergency services said a first missile hit several houses late in the morning, prompting rescuers to rush to the scene. A second missile then landed on the same site, causing many fatalities, including at least one paramedic and a rescue worker. The reports could not be independently verified.

Oleh Kiper, the governor of the Odesa region, posted photos on social media showing rescue workers evacuating one of their colleagues on a stretcher and trying to put out a fire near a destroyed building. A photo released by the Odesa City Council showed what appeared to be a rescuer lying on the grass, his lifeless body covered by a foil blanket.

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‘Welcome to Hell’: U.N. Panel Says Russian War Crimes Are Widespread

Two years after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, United Nations investigators say they have uncovered new evidence of systematic and widespread torture of Ukrainian prisoners held by Russian security forces.

A United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Friday detailed a range of what it described as Russian war crimes, including summary executions, sexual violence and forced transfer of Ukrainian children into Russia. The commission paid special attention to “horrific” treatment of Ukrainian prisoners by Russian security services at detention centers in Russia and occupied Ukraine.

The commission will deliver a report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva next week, detailing accounts of torture from four locations in Russia and seven in occupied Ukraine, strengthening previous findings that the use of torture had become widespread and systematic.

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Macron and Scholz Meet, Looking to Patch Up Differences on Ukraine

Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Emmanuel Macron of France met in Berlin on Friday looking to smooth over their differences on how to support Ukraine in its war with Russia and allay concerns that the Franco-German “engine of Europe” is sputtering.

The meetings ended in smiles, but offered little in the way of substance on the matters over which Berlin and Paris have been at odds.

At a news conference, Mr. Scholz announced new measures that built on recent meetings, such as a pledge to speed up purchases of arms for Ukraine, including tapping the world market — a slight shift from France’s earlier insistence on only buying European weapons.

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Schumer’s Critique of Netanyahu Reveals a Growing Gap, Analysts Say

Schumer’s Critique of Netanyahu Reveals a Growing Gap, Analysts Say

Many Israelis support the Senate majority leader’s call for early elections, but even Netanyahu’s rivals were reluctant to seize on the criticism while the country is focused on the war in Gaza.

Reporting from Jerusalem

Senator Chuck Schumer’s harsh critique of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government revealed the widening gap between Israel and its most important ally, the United States, analysts said on Friday, but was unlikely to prompt Israel’s government to chart a new course.

Mr. Schumer — Democrat of New York, the majority leader and the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the United States — repeatedly slammed Mr. Netanyahu in a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday as one of the main stumbling blocks to Israeli-Palestinian peace. While not explicitly calling for Mr. Netanyahu’s ouster, Mr. Schumer said Israelis must soon be allowed the opportunity to select new leadership.

Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli diplomat, called the speech a profound moment that reflected widespread American dissatisfaction with Israel’s direction among both its allies in Congress and in the American Jewish community.

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Data Dump Exposes the Fuzzy Lines Between Money and Politics in India

Politics in India is an expensive business, and sometimes lucrative, too. In this year’s election, parties are expected to spend more than $14 billion — as much as in the United States. But there has been little in the way of transparency for the huge sums sloshing around.

On Thursday night, a rare and chaotic beam of light shot through the darkness. By order of India’s Supreme Court, the government-owned State Bank of India handed reams of data to the election commission, showing who had directed cash to the country’s political parties through a mechanism known as electoral bonds.

Reading between the lines of the spreadsheets full of names poses questions about the intersection of government and business in India. Construction companies, gambling impresarios, pharmaceutical bosses and many more corporate entities and individuals had forked over $1.7 billion in bonds since 2019. Many ended up winning government contracts. Most had faced trouble with the federal police.

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A Potentially Hazardous Cat Puts a Japanese City on Alert

The first signs of an intruder at the metal-plating factory were footprints, ocher-tinged and varying in number of toes. A review of security footage confirmed the security breach, and the authorities quickly issued a public alert.

Be on the lookout, the citizens of Fukuyama, Japan, were warned, for a cat with “abnormalities.”

For the past week, the city has been on watch for the potentially hazardous cat that appears to have fallen into a tank of toxic chemicals at the factory, Nomura Plating Corporation, and then escaped, darting across a darkened factory yard and into the city at large.

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New Palestinian Prime Minister Offers Little Hope for Change

The appointment on Thursday of Muhammad Mustafa as the new prime minister of the Palestinian Authority was supposed to be a nod to international demands for a more technocratic and less corrupt administration.

But Mr. Mustafa, 69, who was appointed by Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the authority, seems destined to fall short of producing the “revitalized Palestinian Authority” that President Biden has called for, several analysts said in interviews Thursday. A senior adviser to the president, Mr. Mustafa represents neither a break with the past nor a threat to the power wielded by Mr. Abbas, who at 88 is widely unpopular among Palestinians, particularly since the outbreak of the war in Gaza.

“There won’t be any actual change,” said Nasser al-Qudwa, a former foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority who fell out with Mr. Abbas. “The situation will remain just as it has been. The decision maker won’t change.”

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Russia’s 2024 Presidential Vote: What to Know

  • Why does this vote matter?

  • Does Putin face any serious challengers?

  • Will the Kremlin manipulate the results?

  • Can Russians protest?

  • Can Putin remain president for life?

  • When will the results be known?

  • Where can I find more information?

The presidential vote in Russia, which began Friday and lasts through Sunday, features the trappings of a horse race but is more of a predetermined, Soviet-style referendum.

President Vladimir V. Putin, 71, will undoubtedly win a fifth term, with none of the three other candidates who are permitted on the ballot presenting a real challenge. The main opposition figure who worked to spoil the vote, Aleksei A. Navalny, a harsh critic of Mr. Putin and the Ukraine war, died in an Arctic prison last month.

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Slovakia Presidential Election 2024: What You Need to Know

  • Why does this election matter?

  • Who is running for president?

  • Who is expected to win?

  • When will we learn the result?

  • Where can I find more information?

The Slovak presidency is a largely ceremonial post but can play an important role when, as has been the case for the last five months, the president and prime minister represent opposing political camps.

The outgoing president, Zuzana Caputova, an outspoken liberal, has used her limited powers and the bully pulpit to resist the agenda of Prime Minister Robert Fico, a pugnacious veteran politician who returned to power in October after years in the political wilderness. He resigned in disgrace as prime minister in 2018 amid a swirl of corruption accusations after the murder of an investigative journalist who had been looking into government graft.

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Snakes in the Grass — and Under the Piano, by the Pool and in the Prison

Natasha Frost spent two days trailing snake catchers on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.

The phone rings. It’s the local prison. There’s a snake in a cell. Within a few hours, snakes have also been spotted at a school, beneath a piano stored in a private garage and near a lagoon-like swimming pool at a retirement home. Customers want them gone.

Business has never been so good for Stuart McKenzie, who runs a snake-catching service in the Sunshine Coast, a verdant enclave along miles of pristine beach in the vast Australian state of Queensland. On the busiest days, he can receive more than 35 calls about troublesome snakes.

Queensland is home to the largest number of snake species in Australia — about 120. Of those, two-thirds are venomous and a handful are deadly. Throughout Australia, fatalities from snake bites remain extremely rare — about two a year — and in Queensland, the reptiles are simply a part of life.

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A Boring Capital for a Young Democracy. Just the Way Residents Like It.

Reporting from Belmopan, Belize

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Mention Belmopan, Belize’s capital that sits deep in the country’s interior, and many Belizeans will belittle the city as a bastion of pencil-pushing bureaucrats that’s not just dull, but also devoid of nightlife.

“I was warned, ‘Belmopan is for the newlyweds or the nearly deads,’” said Raquel Rodriguez, 45, owner of an art school, about the reactions when she moved to Belmopan from coastal, bustling Belize City.

Not exactly known as an Eden for young urbanites, Belmopan figures among the smallest capital cities anywhere in the Americas. It has only about 25,000 residents and a cluster of hurricane-proof, heavy-on-the-concrete, Maya-inspired Brutalist buildings.

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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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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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‘Decolonizing’ Ukrainian Art, One Name-and-Shame Post at a Time

Hiding for days in the basement of a kindergarten in Bucha, the Kyiv suburb that became synonymous with Russian war crimes, Oksana Semenik had time to think.

Outside, Russian troops were rampaging through the town, killing civilians who ventured into the streets. Knowing she might not make it out, Ms. Semenik, an art historian, mulled over the Ukrainian artworks she had long wanted to write about — and which were now in danger of disappearing.

That time spent holed up in Bucha was during the early days of Russia’s full-scale invasion, but even then, two years ago, she had already seen reports of destroyed museums. Precious folk paintings by her favorite artist, Maria Primachenko, had gone up in flames. Moscow, she realized, was waging a war on Ukrainian culture.

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Murder and Magic Realism: A Rising Literary Star Mines China’s Rust Belt

For a long time during Shuang Xuetao’s early teenage years, he wondered what hidden disaster had befallen his family.

His parents, proud workers at a tractor factory in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang, stopped going to work, and the family moved into an empty factory storage room to save money on rent.

But they rarely talked about what had happened, and Mr. Shuang worried that some special shame had struck his family alone.

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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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Canadian Skaters Demand Bronze Medals in Olympics Dispute

Nearly a month after international figure skating’s governing body revised the results of a marquee competition at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, stripping Russia of the gold medal and giving the United States team a long-delayed victory, a new fight about the outcome erupted on Monday.

Eight members of the Canadian squad that competed in the team competition in Beijing have filed a case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport demanding that they be awarded bronze medals in the team event. The court announced the filing but revealed no details.

The Canadians, whose case was joined by their country’s skating federation and national Olympic committee, are expected to argue that figure skating’s global governing body erred when it revised the results of the competition in January after a Russian skater who had taken part, the teenage prodigy Kamila Valieva, was given a four-year ban for doping.

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

Reporting from Mexico City and León, Mexico

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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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Why the Cost of Success in English Soccer’s Lower Leagues Keeps Going Up

Geoff Thompson knows there are plenty of people who want to buy what he has to sell. The phone calls and emails over the last few weeks have left no doubt. And really, that is no surprise. Few industries are quite as appealing or as prestigious as English soccer, and Mr. Thompson has a piece of it.

It is, admittedly, a comparatively small piece: South Shields F.C., the team he has owned for almost a decade, operates in English soccer’s sixth tier, several levels below, and a number of worlds away, from the dazzling light and international allure of the Premier League. But while his team might be small, Mr. Thompson is of the view that it is, at least, as perfectly poised for profitability as any minor-league English soccer club could hope to be.

South Shields has earned four promotions to higher leagues in his nine years as chairman. The team owns its stadium. Mr. Thompson has spent considerable sums of money modernizing the bathrooms, the club shop and the private boxes. There is a thriving youth academy and an active charitable foundation. “We have done most of the hard yards,” Mr. Thompson said.

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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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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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‘Es un estilo de vida’: las mujeres dejan su huella en el ejército ucraniano

Durante dos semanas, Nicole Tung pasó tiempo con mujeres que servían en el ejército ucraniano en el este del país.

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En el frente, a las afueras de Bajmut, Ucrania, una comandante de 32 años de un pelotón de artillería del país se balanceaba de un lado a otro en el asiento del copiloto de un Lada destartalado, mientras otro soldado conducía el auto a través de un denso bosque, derribando a veces árboles jóvenes. Cuando llegaron a su destino, un pequeño pueblo situado a poco menos de 3 kilómetros del frente ruso, solo quedaban casas destruidas, con los tejados destrozados visibles a la luz de la luna.

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

La comandante, una mujer soldado cuyo nombre en clave es Witch, solía ser una abogada que, junto a dos de sus hermanos y su madre, se enlistó en el ejército al día siguiente de la invasión rusa en febrero de 2022. Su primera experiencia en combate fue en las afueras de Kiev ese año y gran parte de lo que ha aprendido sobre sistemas de armas desde entonces ha sido de manera autodidacta y sobre la marcha.

Desde principios de 2023, Witch ha estado con su pelotón en la Brigada 241 en la zona alrededor de Bajmut, supervisando todos los sistemas de artillería. Está decidida a seguir en el ejército aunque termine la guerra. “La gente que quiere unirse a las fuerzas armadas debe entender que es un estilo de vida”, dijo.

A medida que Ucrania lucha contra los feroces ataques rusos y sus pérdidas aumentan, el número de mujeres que se unen a las fuerzas armadas ha incrementado y cada vez son más las que se presentan como voluntarias para desempeñar funciones de combate. El ejército ucraniano también ha emprendido una labor concertada para reclutar a más mujeres y así llenar sus filas.

En este momento, alrededor de 65.000 mujeres prestan servicio en las fuerzas armadas ucranianas, lo que representa un aumento del 30 por ciento desde el comienzo de la guerra. Unas 45.000 son militares y el resto ocupan puestos civiles, según el Ministerio de Defensa. Un poco más de 4000 están en puestos de combate.

A diferencia de lo que ocurre con los hombres ucranianos, no existe un servicio militar obligatorio para las mujeres; sin embargo, las que estudian medicina o farmacéutica deben registrarse para prestar servicio militar.

Estas mujeres ocupan un número cada vez mayor de puestos en el ejército: médicos de combate en unidades de asalto; artilleras superiores; francotiradoras; comandantes de unidades de tanques y brigadas de artillería y al menos una copiloto en un equipo de evacuación médica que sueña con convertirse en la primera piloto de helicópteros de combate de Ucrania. Decenas de ellas han sido heridas en combate, algunas han muerto o han sido capturadas.

A lo largo del frente de batalla, operan bajo el mismo manto de miedo y penurias que los soldados varones. En el húmedo fuerte donde Witch y uno de sus equipos de morteros pasaban la mayor parte del día, esperaban casi a oscuras en el sótano. Encender las luces significaría que la cuadrilla no podría ajustar la vista a la oscuridad con rapidez si tuviesen que salir a abrir fuego.

Más al norte, una comandante con el nombre en clave Tesla, antes cantante folclórica ucraniana, estaba sentada encorvada en un taburete en la casa vacía que servía de cuartel general de la Brigada Mecanizada 32. Las fuerzas rusas de la región de Kúpiansk lanzaban descargas de artillería sobre las líneas ucranianas.

Tesla enviaba mensajes de texto y notas de voz a los soldados de su unidad mientras hablaba con el segundo al mando sobre el plan de batalla. Llevaba los pantalones arremangados, lo que dejaba ver unos calcetines naranja neón con caricaturas de aguacates.

Trataba de redirigir el fuego ruso sobre otro batallón hacia la posición de sus propios soldados, para que la otra unidad pudiera evacuar a un camarada gravemente herido. “Tres torniquetes en tres extremidades”, llegó la información en un mensaje de voz, dijo Tesla.

“Envíen uno más”, ordenó Tesla con un mensaje de voz, dando la orden a sus soldados de disparar de nuevo. “Cuando terminen, infórmenme”.

Hasta 2018, las mujeres tenían prohibido ocupar puestos de combate en el ejército ucraniano, aunque algunas hacían caso omiso de las normas. Las restricciones se han moderado desde la invasión rusa. El reclutamiento de miles de mujeres más en el ejército se ha visto como un paso en buena dirección del país, cuyas candidaturas para unirse a la OTAN y la Unión Europea aún están en revisión.

El inconveniente es que el ejército no ha sido capaz de adaptarse con la suficiente rapidez para darles cabida. Las soldados afirman que sigue habiendo una gran escasez de uniformes y botas para mujeres, chalecos antibalas correctamente ajustados y productos de higiene femenina. Esto las obliga a adquirir muchos artículos por su cuenta.

Por ello, organizaciones como Veteranka y Zemliachky han contribuido a subsanar esta brecha mediante la recaudación de fondos para proporcionar artículos adaptados a las mujeres.

Pero los problemas van más allá, hacia cuestiones de desigualdad y discriminación por razón de género.

Muchas mujeres que prestan servicio en funciones de combate afirmaron que los soldados varones y sus superiores directos en gran medida no discriminan por razón de género, aunque siguen existiendo insinuaciones sexuales y comentarios inapropiados.

En cambio, son los mandos superiores, a menudo remanentes de la era soviética, quienes subestiman a las mujeres en el ejército, en especial en funciones de combate. En algunos casos, las mujeres optan por alistarse en brigadas de nueva creación con mandos más jóvenes y dinámicos.

“No quise unirme a una brigada creada hace muchos años porque sabía que no me harían caso como joven oficial y como mujer”, afirmó Tesla.

En una ocasión, un comandante de brigada estaba tan indignado con una mujer al mando de una tropa de artillería que la atacó de manera directa. “Te arrastrarás de rodillas hasta mí y suplicarás para irte cuando te des cuenta de que el trabajo es demasiado difícil y no te permitiré abandonar tu puesto”, recordó que le dijo, solicitando el anonimato para hablar con franqueza sobre un tema delicado.

También han surgido denuncias de acoso sexual. Según algunas mujeres, no ha habido canales oficiales para denunciar el acoso excepto los comandantes de batallón, que luego tienen que decidir si dan curso a la denuncia. En algunos casos, según las soldados, los testigos pueden negarse a declarar por miedo a las repercusiones.

Las soldados afirman que estos impedimentos, así como la posibilidad de perjudicar sus carreras militares, disuaden a las mujeres de denunciar el acoso.

Diana Davitian, vocera del Ministerio de Defensa, dijo que el 1 de enero el ejército puso en marcha una línea directa donde los soldados pueden denunciar el acoso sexual. Las denuncias se investigarán, dijo, y se tomarán medidas si las acusaciones resultan ser ciertas.

El ministerio también declaró que planeaba crear una unidad aparte dedicada a garantizar la igualdad de género y ofrecer programas educativos, incluido uno centrado en la lucha contra la violencia sexual relacionada con la guerra.

De vuelta al sótano, Witch recibió una llamada del puesto de mando: era hora de disparar. El equipo se apresuró a salir a un patio semicubierto situado a pocos metros, donde había un cañón de mortero preparado.

Se hizo el silencio mientras Kuzya, de 20 años, artillera principal del pelotón de morteros, observaba por la mirilla y leía las coordenadas en su teléfono. “¡Fuego!”, gritó alguien. Se dispararon varias ráfagas más antes de que el equipo volviera al sótano, a la espera de un posible regreso de los rusos.

Apenas unos meses antes, el novio de Kuzya murió en combate. Ella y Witch, quien tiene un hijo de 7 años al que vio pocas veces el año pasado, parecían encontrar consuelo en su mutua compañía. Las dos mujeres entrenaban en el mismo club de judo de Kiev, la capital, y al día siguiente de la invasión fueron juntas a la oficina de registro para enlistarse.

Para muchas mujeres, la guerra y el deseo de estar en combate es algo para lo que se han preparado durante años. Foxy, de 24 años, una exbarista convertida en artillera y médica, se ofreció como voluntaria para hacer redes de camuflaje después de la escuela durante toda su adolescencia, antes de trabajar con veteranos heridos. El año pasado, se enlistó en el ejército tras semanas de entrenamiento.

Su comandante anterior le dio dos opciones: “Eres mujer. Puedes trabajar con documentos o cocinar ‘borsch’”, recordó Foxy. “No tuve otra opción que hacerme cargo del papeleo hasta que me cambié de batallón”.

Entonces, pasó a formar parte de un equipo de morteros en algunos de los combates más intensos del frente en Bajmut, donde su equipo la trató como a una igual. “Aunque al principio me enfrenté a cierto grado de sexismo”, dijo, “siento que no necesito demostrar nada ni convencer a nadie de lo que puedo hacer”.

Evelina Riabenko colaboró con la reportería.

Por qué cambió todo en Haití: las bandas criminales se unieron

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Incluso cuando las bandas delictivas aterrorizaban a Haití, secuestraban civiles en masa y mataban a discreción, el primer ministro del país se aferró al poder durante años.

Luego, en cuestión de días, todo cambió.

En medio de una agitación política inédita desde el asesinato del presidente del país en 2021, el primer ministro de Haití, Ariel Henry, aceptó renunciar. Ahora, los países vecinos se apresuran a crear un consejo de transición para dirigir el país y trazar el camino hacia las elecciones, que antes parecían una posibilidad lejana.

Según los expertos, este momento es distinto debido a que las pandillas se unieron, obligando al líder del país a renunciar al poder.

“El primer ministro Ariel no dimitió por política, ni por las manifestaciones callejeras masivas en su contra a lo largo de los años, sino por la violencia que han ejercido las bandas”, dijo Judes Jonathas, un consultor haitiano que ha trabajado durante años en el suministro de ayuda humanitaria. “Ahora, la situación ha cambiado totalmente, porque ahora las bandas trabajan juntas”.

No está claro cuán sólida es la alianza, ni si va a durar. Lo que es evidente es que las bandas delictivas están tratando de capitalizar su control de Puerto Príncipe, la capital, para convertirse en una fuerza política legítima en las negociaciones en las que están mediando gobiernos extranjeros, entre ellos Estados Unidos, Francia y países del Caribe.

A principios de marzo, Henry viajó a Nairobi a fin de ultimar un acuerdo para el despliegue en Haití de una fuerza de seguridad dirigida por Kenia. Los grupos delictivos aprovecharon la ausencia de Henry, que es muy impopular. En pocos días, las pandillas cerraron el aeropuerto, saquearon puertos marítimos, atacaron una decena de comisarías de policía y liberaron a unos 4600 presos.

Exigieron la renuncia de Henry, amenazando con agravar la violencia si se negaba. Según los analistas, desde que aceptó dimitir, las pandillas parecen centrarse principalmente en obtener inmunidad penal y evitar ir a la cárcel.

“Su mayor objetivo es la amnistía”, afirmó Jonathas.

El aliado político más destacado de los delincuentes es Guy Philippe, antiguo comandante de policía y líder golpista que cumplió seis años en una prisión federal estadounidense por lavado de dinero procedente del narcotráfico antes de ser deportado a Haití a finales del año pasado. Philippe ha liderado las presiones para que Henry dimita.

Ahora pide abiertamente que se otorgue amnistía a las bandas.

“Tenemos que decirles: ‘Dejen las armas o van a tener que enfrentarse a graves consecuencias’”, dijo Philippe a The New York Times en una entrevista en enero, refiriéndose a las pandillas. “Si dejan las armas, van a tener una segunda oportunidad. Tendrán una especie de amnistía”.

Philippe no forma parte del consejo de transición designado para dirigir Haití. Pero está utilizando sus conexiones con el partido político Pitit Desalin para llevar esas demandas a la mesa de negociaciones en Jamaica, donde funcionarios caribeños e internacionales se reúnen para forjar una solución a la crisis en Haití, según tres personas familiarizadas con las discusiones.

Lo más probable es que la decisión de los líderes de las bandas de unirse estuviera motivada por el deseo de consolidar su poder después de que Henry firmó el acuerdo con Kenia para llevar 1000 agentes de policía a Puerto Príncipe, según William O’Neill, experto de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas en derechos humanos en Haití.

Muchos miembros de pandillas en Haití son adolescentes, dijo, que buscan que se les pague pero que probablemente tienen poco interés en entrar en una guerra con una fuerza policial bien armada.

Las bandas respetan “el miedo y la fuerza”, dijo O’Neill. “Temen a una fuerza más fuerte que ellos”.

Aunque muchos dudan de que la fuerza keniana aporte una estabilidad duradera, su llegada representaría el mayor desafío al control territorial de las pandillas en años.

“Las bandas llevan años oyendo hablar de esta fuerza dirigida por Kenia”, dijo Louis-Henri Mars, director ejecutivo de Lakou Lapè, una organización que trabaja con pandillas haitianas. “Entonces vieron que por fin llegaba, así que lanzaron un ataque preventivo”.

La violencia desatada por las bandas cerró gran parte de la capital e impidió que Henry pudiera regresar a su país.

Este fue el punto de inflexión: Estados Unidos y los líderes caribeños consideraron que la situación de Haití era “insostenible”. Las autoridades estadounidenses llegaron a la conclusión de que Henry ya no era un socio viable y redoblaron sus llamados para que avanzara rápidamente hacia una transición de poder, según afirmaron funcionarios implicados en las negociaciones políticas.

Desde entonces, los líderes de las pandillas han estado hablando con periodistas, celebrando conferencias de prensa, prometiendo la paz y exigiendo un asiento en la mesa.

Jimmy Chérizier, un poderoso líder de la banda también conocido como Barbecue, se ha convertido en uno de los rostros más conocidos de la nueva alianza de bandas, conocida como Living Together.

La G-9, la banda de Chérizier, un exagente de policía conocido por su crueldad, controla el centro de Puerto Príncipe y ha sido acusada de atacar barrios aliados con partidos políticos de la oposición, saquear casas, violar mujeres y matar gente al azar.

Sin embargo, en sus conferencias de prensa, Chérizier ha pedido disculpas por la violencia y ha culpado a los sistemas económico y político de Haití de la miseria y la desigualdad del país. Philippe se ha hecho eco de este pensamiento.

“Esas chicas jóvenes, esos chicos jóvenes, no tienen otra oportunidad: morir de hambre o tomar las armas”, dijo Philippe al Times. “Eligieron tomar las armas”.

Maria Abi-Habib es corresponsal de investigación con sede en Ciudad de México y cubre América Latina. Anteriormente ha reportado desde Afganistán, todo Medio Oriente e India, donde cubrió el sur de Asia. Más de Maria Abi-Habib

Natalie Kitroeff es la jefa de la corresponsalía del Times para México, Centroamérica y el Caribe. Más de Natalie Kitroeff

Frances Robles es una reportera de investigación que cubre Estados Unidos y América Latina. Es periodista desde hace más de 30 años. Más de Frances Robles

Los objetivos contradictorios de Brasil: ser potencia ecológica y petrolera

Desde la ventana de su oficina, el director de la petrolera estatal de Brasil observaba el paisaje abarrotado de Río de Janeiro. Del otro lado de los desgastados rascacielos de la ciudad, la estatua del Cristo Redentor también fijaba su mirada en él. Un grupo de halcones revoloteaba en círculos sobre un enorme montón de basura. Unas columnas de humo se desprendían de una hoguera en una favela situada en una colina.

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

Su empresa, Petrobras, planea un aumento tan acelerado en la producción petrolera que Brasil podría convertirse en el tercer mayor productor del mundo para 2030, una transformación que, en su opinión, podría contribuir a reducir la pobreza evidente frente a sus ojos. Su país tiene este plan a pesar de que se ha posicionado como uno de los líderes en el combate contra el cambio climático, un fenómeno que, por supuesto, se debe principalmente a la quema de petróleo y otros combustibles fósiles.

Petrobras ya extrae casi la misma cantidad de petróleo crudo al año que ExxonMobil, según Rystad Energy, una firma de investigación de mercados. En los próximos años, de acuerdo con las proyecciones, rebasará a las petroleras nacionales de China, Rusia y Kuwait, con lo que solo las de Arabia Saudita e Irán extraerán más que Petrobras para 2030.

Se trata de un dilema colosal para el presidente brasileño, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, mejor conocido como Lula, quien se ha forjado una imagen como el líder mundial más notable en temas ambientales. Según el consenso general, Lula se ha convencido en años recientes de que el cambio climático es un factor importante que genera pobreza y desigualdad, situaciones que ha prometido erradicar a lo largo de su carrera política de varias décadas.

Desde que fue electo en 2022, Lula ha logrado reducir drásticamente la desforestación en la Amazonía y ha liderado un desarrollo considerable de las energías renovables. Pero también dirigirá el auge petrolero de Petrobras y un periodo de crecientes importaciones de gas, con lo que podría lograr que Brasil satisfaga su creciente ambición de tener vuelos más baratos, dietas más sustanciosas y hogares con aire acondicionado.

Por más contradictorio que parezca, es lo justo, señaló Jean Paul Prates, director ejecutivo de Petrobras, desde las relucientes oficinas centrales de su empresa que le ofrecen una vista panorámica.

“No renunciaremos a esa prerrogativa”, afirmó, “porque otros no están haciendo ningún sacrificio”.

Este es un argumento que preocupa a quienes encabezan proyectos globales con el objetivo de reducir la dependencia de combustibles fósiles. Los países industrializados como Estados Unidos, que se convirtieron en superpotencias económicas gracias a actividades que emitían cantidades gigantescas de gases de efecto invernadero, todavía son los mayores productores per cápita y consumidores de combustibles fósiles.

Y si ellos no paran, ¿por qué debería hacerlo Brasil?

La principal asesora de Lula en temas de cambio climático, Ana Toni, que cuenta con una larga trayectoria al frente de distintas organizaciones sin fines de lucro, indicó que, en el caso ideal, Petrobras debería reducir su producción de petróleo e invertir mucho más en opciones renovables, lo que, de hecho, la transformaría en un nuevo tipo de empresa. Sin embargo, concordó con Prates y subrayó que, en tanto no se consiga que todo el mundo colabore para lograr la misma meta y los países más ricos lideren esas acciones, los países en desarrollo se seguirán oponiendo a hacer sacrificios.

Durante años, esa tensión ha dominado las negociaciones en el tema del cambio climático y volverá a ser uno de los temas centrales en la cumbre de noviembre de este año patrocinada por las Naciones Unidas en Azerbaiyán. En esa reunión, los negociadores de casi todas las naciones del mundo esperan abordar el espinoso tema de qué podrían hacer los países más ricos para hacerles llegar más dinero a los países más pobres y así ayudarlos a adoptar fuentes de energía más limpias y adaptarse a los efectos del cambio climático.

Después de Azerbaiyán, el próximo anfitrión de la cumbre del clima de las Naciones Unidas será Brasil. Esa cumbre se celebrará en Belém, una ciudad que colinda con la Amazonía, cerca de un lugar donde Petrobras propuso realizar exploraciones petroleras. Pero en una de las contadas instancias en las que el gobierno de Brasil le ha puesto límites a la industria petrolera, la idea fue bloqueada. Prates comentó que Petrobras está apelando la decisión.

Entre tanto, Petrobras planea invertir más de 7000 millones de dólares en los siguientes cinco años para explorar posibles sitios de perforación marítimos en otros tramos costeros de Brasil con el fin de aumentar su producción, que ya va en ascenso.

Según las proyecciones internas de Petrobras, al igual que las de muchas otras empresas petroleras y de gas, la demanda de sus productos se mantendrá firme a niveles altos. Por lo tanto, la empresa opera con base en un conjunto de hipótesis muy distinto al de la Agencia Internacional de Energía y otras que insisten en que la demanda de petróleo ya alcanzó su punto más alto o está a punto de hacerlo.

Eso deja a países como Brasil en una especie de área gris en la que se hace todo, aseveró Mercedes Bustamante, profesora y ecóloga de la Universidad de Brasilia e integrante del grupo independiente de científicos llamado Climate Crisis Advisory Group.

Brasil trabaja para desarrollar tanto las energías renovables como los combustibles fósiles. Este año se incorporó como observador a la OPEP, la organización petrolera global, con todo y que el año próximo planea ser anfitrión de las negociaciones globales para el clima de las Naciones Unidas. Para 2030, la nación será la quinta mayor productora de petróleo del mundo, según los datos de Rystad.

Esta dinámica también se refleja en los bosques, señaló Bustamante. Se restringió la conversión a tierra agrícola en la Amazonía, pero al mismo tiempo va en aumento en el Cerrado, una amplia sabana que cubre la mayor parte del centro de Brasil.

“Tener ambas cosas forma parte del ADN de las políticas de Brasil”, explicó Oliver Stuenkel, profesor de la Escuela de Relaciones Internacionales de la Fundación Getulio Vargas en Sao Paulo. “Vamos a ser una superpotencia ecológica, claro, pero no vamos a aceptar riesgos innecesarios. Eso implica que debemos prepararnos para un mundo en el que el petróleo desempeñe un papel importante por mucho tiempo y la transición tarde más de lo esperado”.

Prates indicó que habla con Lula cada dos semanas y ha tratado de convencerlo de que una transición hacia la eliminación de los combustibles fósiles debe ser “juiciosamente lenta”.

“Es decir, no debe ser lenta porque no queramos hacer la transición, sino porque necesitamos actuar en correspondencia con las expectativas del mercado del petróleo, el gas y sus derivados”, añadió. “Petrobras aprovechará hasta la última gota de petróleo, justo como Arabia Saudita o los Emiratos harán lo mismo”.

Max Bearak es un reportero del Times que escribe sobre políticas climáticas y energéticas globales y nuevos enfoques para reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero. Más de Max Bearak

El ascenso de las escuelas superestrictas en Inglaterra

Cuando el profesor empezó su cuenta regresiva, los alumnos descruzaron los brazos, agacharon la cabeza y completaron el ejercicio en un instante.

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

“Tres. Dos. Uno”, enunció el maestro. Las plumas de todo el salón se posaron y todas las miradas se dirigieron de vuelta al profesor. De acuerdo con una política llamada “Slant” (la sigla en inglés para sentarse, inclinarse hacia adelante, plantear y responder preguntas, asentir con la cabeza y poner atención al orador), los estudiantes, de 11 y 12 años de edad, no tenían permitido apartar su mirada.

Cuando sonó una campana digital (los relojes tradicionales “no son suficientemente precisos”, según la directora) los alumnos caminaron rápido y en silencio hacia la cafetería en una sola fila. Ahí, gritaron un poema —“Ozymandias”, de Percy Bysshe Shelley— al unísono, luego comieron durante 13 minutos mientras debatían el tema obligatorio para el almuerzo del día: cómo sobrevivir a un caracol asesino superinteligente.

En la década transcurrida desde que la Michaela Community School abrió sus puertas en Londres, la escuela secundaria de financiamiento público, pero gestionada de manera independiente, se ha posicionado como líder de un movimiento que está convencido de que los niños de contextos desfavorecidos necesitan una disciplina estricta, aprendizaje memorístico y ambientes controlados para tener éxito.

“¿Cómo pueden alcanzar el éxito los niños que vienen de condiciones pobres? Pues, tienen que trabajar más duro”, señaló la directora, Katharine Birbalsingh, quien tiene una figura de cartón de Russell Crowe en la película Gladiador en su oficina con la frase: “Mantener la línea”. En sus perfiles de redes sociales, se autodenomina: “La directora más estricta del Reino Unido”.

“Lo que se necesita es mantenerlos a raya”, agregó. “Los niños anhelan la disciplina”.

Aunque algunos críticos se refieren al modelo de Birbalsingh como opresivo, su escuela tiene la tasa más alta de progreso académico en Inglaterra, según un parámetro del gobierno que mide el avance de los pupilos entre los 11 y 16 años de edad, y su método se está volviendo cada vez más popular.

En un número cada vez mayor de escuelas, los días están marcados por rutinas estrictas y castigos por infracciones leves, como olvidar un estuche de lápices o tener el uniforme desarreglado. Los pasillos son silenciosos porque los alumnos tienen prohibido hablar con sus compañeros.

Quienes abogan por las políticas sin excepciones en las escuelas, como Michael Gove, un influyente secretario de Estado que antes fungió de ministro de Educación, argumentan que los métodos progresistas enfocados en los niños que se popularizaron en la década de 1970 causaron una crisis conductual, mermaron el aprendizaje y obstaculizaron la movilidad social.

Su perspectiva está vinculada a una ideología política conservadora que enfatiza la determinación individual, y no los elementos estructurales, como lo que encauza la vida de las personas. En el Reino Unido, los políticos del Partido Conservador gobernante, que lleva 14 años en el poder, apoyan esta corriente educativa, que se basa en las técnicas de las escuelas subvencionadas de Estados Unidos y de educadores que se volvieron prominentes a finales de los años 2000.

Tom Bennett, consejero del gobierno en materia de conducta escolar, declaró que los ministros de Educación partidarios habían contribuido a este “impulso”.

“Muchas escuelas están haciendo esto ahora”, afirmó Bennett. “Y consiguen resultados fantásticos”.

Desde que Rowland Speller se convirtió en director de The Abbey School en el sur de Inglaterra, ha reprimido la mala conducta e implementado rutinas formularias, inspiradas en los métodos de la secundaria Michaela. Speller sostiene que un ambiente regulado es reconfortante para los alumnos que tienen una vida inestable en casa.

Si a un estudiante le va bien, los demás aplauden dos veces luego de que un maestro o maestra dice: “Dos aplausos a la cuenta de dos: uno, dos”.

“Podemos celebrar a muchos niños muy rápido”, indicó Speller.

En noviembre, Mouhssin Ismail, otro líder escolar que fundó una escuela de alto rendimiento en una zona desfavorecida de Londres, publicó una foto en redes sociales que mostraba pasillos escolares con estudiantes que caminaban en filas. “Se puede oír hasta una mosca volar cuando los alumnos se forman en silencio en la escuela”, escribió.

Los comentarios detonaron una reacción negativa, pues algunos críticos compararon las fotografías con una película de ciencia ficción distópica.

Birbalsingh argumenta que los niños ricos pueden darse el lujo de perder el tiempo en la escuela porque “sus padres los llevan a museos y a galerías de arte”, comentó, mientras que, para los niños de contextos más pobres, “la única manera de aprender sobre la historia de Roma es en la escuela”. Aceptar la más mínima conducta indebida o adaptar las expectativas a las circunstancias de los estudiantes, dijo, “se traduce en una movilidad social nula para estos niños”.

En su escuela, muchos estudiantes expresaron gratitud cuando se les preguntó sobre sus experiencias, incluso elogiaron los castigos que recibieron, y repitieron con gusto los mantras de la escuela sobre la mejora personal. El lema de la escuela es: “Trabaja duro y sé amable”.

Leon, de 13 años, relató que, al principio, no quería ir a la escuela, “pero ahora agradezco haber ido porque, si no, no sería tan inteligente como soy ahora”.

Sin embargo, algunos docentes han expresado preocupación acerca del método más amplio de cero tolerancia, señalando que controlar la conducta de los estudiantes tan minuciosamente quizá genera excelentes resultados académicos, pero no fomenta la autonomía ni el pensamiento crítico. También afirman que los castigos draconianos por infracciones menores pueden causar estragos psicológicos.

“Es como si hubieran leído 1984 y lo hubieran interpretado como un manual a seguir en lugar de una sátira”, dijo Phil Beadle, galardonado profesor de secundaria y autor británico.

Según Beadle, el tiempo libre y el debate son igual de importantes para el desarrollo infantil que los resultados académicos favorables. Le preocupa que un “ambiente parecido a un culto que exija una sumisión total” pueda privar a los niños de su infancia.

Los promotores del modelo estricto y algunos padres de familia dicen que a los niños con necesidades educativas especiales les va muy bien en los ambientes estrictos y predecibles, pero otros vieron que sus hijos con dificultades de aprendizaje tuvieron problemas en estas escuelas.

Sarah Dalton mandó a su hijo de 12 años con dislexia a una escuela estricta y obtuvo excelentes resultados académicos. Pero su miedo a ser castigado por pequeños errores le creó un estrés insoportable, por lo que empezó a mostrar señales de depresión.

“Tenía miedo de ser castigado”, narró la madre. “Su salud mental empezó a deteriorarse”.

Cuando lo cambió a una escuela más relajada, su hijo comenzó a sanar, afirmó Dalton.

En Inglaterra, los datos del gobierno del año pasado mostraron que decenas de escuelas superestrictas suspendían a alumnos en una proporción mucho más alta que el promedio nacional. (La secundaria Michaela no era una de ellas).

Lucie Lakin, la directora de la Carr Manor Community School en Leeds —que no sigue el modelo de cero tolerancia— contó que se dio cuenta de que este método se estaba difundiendo más cuando un mayor número de estudiantes se inscribió en su escuela tras ser expulsados. Su escuela obtiene altos puntajes académicos, pero ella señaló que ese no es el único objetivo de una educación.

“¿Estamos hablando de que los resultados de la escuela sean exitosos o de tratar de formar adultos exitosos?”, preguntó Lakin. “Debemos elegir ese camino”.

Emma Bubola es periodista del Times y trabaja en Londres, desde donde cubre noticias en toda Europa y alrededor del mundo. Más de Emma Bubola

Aparecen en EE. UU. nuevos sitios de noticias falsas vinculados a Rusia

En las últimas semanas han surgido, en medio de la crisis del periodismo estadounidense, una serie de sitios web cuyos nombres sugieren un énfasis en las noticias cercanas: D. C. Weekly, New York News Daily, Chicago Chronicle y, una publicación hermana más reciente, Miami Chronicle.

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

En realidad, no son organizaciones de noticias locales. Son creaciones rusas, según investigadores y funcionarios gubernamentales, diseñadas para imitar a las organizaciones de noticias reales con el fin de difundir la propaganda del Kremlin intercalándola en una mezcla a veces extraña de historias sobre delincuencia, política y cultura.

Aunque Rusia lleva mucho tiempo buscando maneras de influir en el discurso público de Estados Unidos, estas recientes organizaciones de noticias falsas —al menos cinco, hasta ahora— representan un salto tecnológico en sus intentos de encontrar nuevas plataformas para embaucar a lectores estadounidenses desprevenidos. Según los investigadores y las autoridades, estos sitios podrían ser los cimientos de una red en línea preparada para difundir desinformación antes de las elecciones presidenciales estadounidenses de noviembre.

Patrick Warren, codirector del Centro Forense de Medios de la Universidad de Clemson que ha revelado las actividades furtivas de desinformación rusa, afirmó que los avances en inteligencia artificial y otras herramientas digitales “han facilitado aún más esta tarea y han hecho que los contenidos sean aún más específicos”.

El sitio web del Miami Chronicle apareció por primera vez el 26 de febrero. Su eslogan afirma falsamente haber ofrecido “las noticias de Florida desde 1937”.

Entre algunas noticias verdaderas, el sitio publicó la semana pasada una nota sobre una “grabación de audio filtrada” de Victoria Nuland, subsecretaria de Estado para asuntos políticos de Estados Unidos, en la que habla de un cambio en el apoyo estadounidense a la asediada oposición rusa tras la muerte del disidente ruso Alexéi Navalny. La grabación es una burda falsificación, según funcionarios de gobierno que solo aceptaron hablar de manera anónima para poder comentar temas de inteligencia.

La campaña, según expertos y funcionarios, parece implicar a restos del imperio mediático controlado en su momento por Yevgeny Prigozhin, un antiguo socio del presidente ruso, Vladimir Putin, cuya fábrica de troles, la Agencia de Investigación de Internet, interfirió en las elecciones presidenciales de 2016 entre Donald Trump y Hillary Clinton.

Prigozhin murió en un accidente aéreo a las afueras de Moscú en agosto tras liderar un breve levantamiento militar contra el ejército ruso, pero la continuidad de sus operaciones subraya la importancia que el Kremlin otorga a sus batallas informativas en todo el mundo. No está claro quién ha tomado el timón de esa operación.

“Putin sería un completo idiota si dejara que la red se desmoronara”, señaló Darren Linvill, socio de Warren en la Universidad de Clemson. “Necesita la red Prigozhin más que nunca”.

Los investigadores de Clemson revelaron las conexiones rusas detrás del sitio web D. C. Weekly en un informe en diciembre. Tras su revelación, empezaron a aparecer narrativas rusas en otro sitio que se había creado en octubre, Clear Story News. Desde entonces, han aparecido nuevos medios.

Los sitios web del Chicago Chronicle y del New York News Daily, cuyo nombre evoca claramente al famoso tabloide de la ciudad Daily News, se crearon el 18 de enero, según la Corporación de Internet para la Asignación de Nombres y Números, que supervisa los dominios.

Todos los medios utilizan el mismo software de WordPress para crear sus sitios y, por lo tanto, tienen diseños similares.

Los logotipos y nombres de los medios evocan una época pasada del periodismo estadounidense, en un intento por crear una apariencia de autenticidad. Un periódico real llamado The Chicago Chronicle funcionó de 1895 a 1907, antes de desaparecer por una razón muy familiar para los periódicos de la actualidad: no fue rentable.

Además, se actualizan periódicamente con las principales noticias de última hora, creando a primera vista la impresión de actualidad. Un artículo sobre la decisión de la Corte Suprema acerca de la elegibilidad de Trump para permanecer en la papeleta de las primarias en Colorado apareció en el sitio del Miami Chronicle pocas horas después de la decisión.

En otros aspectos, los sitios web están mal construidos, incluso incompletos en algunas secciones. Por ejemplo, la sección “Acerca de” del Miami Chronicle está llena de “Lorem ipsum”, el texto en latín que se utiliza como relleno estándar. Algunas imágenes del sitio tienen nombres de archivo del ruso original. (Ninguno de los sitios publica información de contacto que funcione).

El objetivo no es engañar a un lector perspicaz para que profundice en el sitio web y mucho menos que se suscriba, explicó Linvill. El objetivo es dar un aura de credibilidad a las publicaciones en las redes sociales que difunden la desinformación.

La labor sigue un patrón que el Kremlin ha utilizado antes: blanquear afirmaciones que aparecen primero en línea a través de organizaciones de noticias menores. Esas informaciones se difunden de nuevo en internet y aparecen en otras organizaciones de noticias, incluidas las agencias de noticias estatales y las cadenas de televisión rusas.

“La página solo está ahí con el fin de parecer lo suficientemente realista como para engañar a un lector ocasional haciéndole creer que está leyendo un artículo genuino, de marca estadounidense”, aseguró Linvill.

Según el estudio de Clemson, D. C. Weekly publicó varias narrativas del Kremlin a partir de agosto. Una de ellas incluía la falsa afirmación de que la esposa del presidente de Ucrania, Volodímir Zelenski, había comprado joyas con un valor de más de 1,1 millones de dólares en la tienda Cartier de Nueva York durante su visita a las Naciones Unidas en septiembre.

El sitio afirma contar con una plantilla de 17 periodistas, pero parecen ser personajes inventados. La biografía de la autora de esa nota, llamada Jessica Devlin, utilizó como imagen de perfil una fotografía de Judy Batalion, autora de un libro exitoso sobre mujeres judías que lucharon contra los nazis. Batalion dijo que nunca había oído hablar del sitio ni de la autora hasta que los verificadores de hechos se pusieron en contacto con ella.

Otros artículos que aparecen en los sitios parecen haber sido tomados de organizaciones de noticias reales, como Reuters y Fox News, o de agencias de noticias en inglés de medios de comunicación estatales rusos, como RT. Algunas historias han incluido por descuido instrucciones o respuestas de uno de los chatbots de OpenAI, según escribieron Linvill y Warren en el estudio.

Los artículos suelen recibir cientos de publicaciones en diversas plataformas, como X, antes conocida como Twitter; Facebook, y Telegram, así como Reddit, Gab y Truth Social, aunque es difícil medir el alcance exacto. En conjunto, en teoría podrían llegar a miles de lectores, incluso millones.

“Esto es sin duda un preludio del tipo de interferencia que veremos en el ciclo electoral”, concluyó Linvill. “Es barato, muy selectivo y obviamente eficaz”.

Jeanne Noonan DelMundo colaboró con este reportaje.

Steven Lee Myers cubre temas de desinformación para The New York Times. Ha trabajado en Washington, Moscú, Bagdad y Pekín, donde contribuyó a los artículos que ganaron el Premio Pulitzer por servicio público en 2021. También es autor de The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin. Más de Steven Lee Myers

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