The New York Times 2024-03-23 10:25:09


Moscow Concert Hall Shooting: Live Updates: Death Toll Rises to 115 in Moscow Concert Hall Attack

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Here are the latest developments.

The death toll from an assault on a sold-out rock concert near Moscow climbed to at least 93 people on Saturday, as the Russian authorities announced arrests and new details emerged about the deadliest attack on the capital region for more than a decade.

The attack began around 8 p.m. local time on Friday, when camouflage-clad gunmen opened fire in a popular concert venue just minutes before a veteran rock band was to start playing. Social media videos verified by The New York Times showed screaming concertgoers rushing past bloodied victims sprawled on the floor. As gunshots boomed, fire erupted in the structure’s upper floors.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said Saturday that the attackers had used automatic weapons and explosives, and set the concert hall on fire with “a flammable liquid” while people were still inside.

“The number of dead will still rise,” it added in a statement.

The Kremlin said on Saturday that 11 people had been detained in connection with the attack, including four who it alleged were directly involved.

The Islamic State, through an affiliated news agency, on Friday claimed responsibility for the attack. U.S. security officials said they believed it was carried out by a branch of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Khorasan, or ISIS-K, which has been active in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

But there were some signs that Russia might try to pin blame for the attack on Ukraine, despite the claim of responsibility by the Islamic State. The F.S.B., Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, issued a statement Saturday saying that the attackers planned to escape to Ukraine “and had contacts on the Ukrainian side,” according to Russian state media. Kyiv has denied any involvement and American officials have said there is no evidence that Ukraine played a role.

Here’s what else to know:

  • Three of the dead were children, the state news agency Tass reported, citing the Ministry of Health for the Moscow region. The attack left at least 115 people injured, with 60 in serious condition, according to the Russian health minister, Mikhail Murashko. Of those injured, 107 were still hospitalized as of Saturday morning, Russia’s top emergency service said. Moscow residents lined up in the city’s clinics to donate blood for the victims, the country’s state news agencies reported.

  • U.S. officials said they had privately alerted Russia earlier this month about intelligence on potential Islamic State activity. The same intelligence prompted a March 7 security alert by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow warning American citizens of “reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts.”

  • John F. Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, told reporters in the hours after the attack that the White House had “no indication at this time that Ukraine or Ukrainians were involved.” Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to Ukraine’s presidential office, said in a video statement shortly after the attack that “Ukraine has absolutely nothing to do” with the attack.

  • The venue where the attack took place is part of a sprawling shopping and entertainment complex called Crocus City Hall, in suburban Krasnogorsk, northwest of Moscow. According to the state news agency, RIA Novosti, a blaze that broke out during the attack raged through its upper floors, sending flames and smoke billowing into the night sky and eventually causing the roof to collapse. The fire was mostly extinguished shortly before 5 a.m. Saturday, according to the regional governor, Andrey Vorobyov.

Valerie Hopkins and Aric Toler contributed reporting.

Russia’s emergency service published pictures and video from inside the concert hall showing charred seats and structural elements strewn together inside the giant hall, with firefighters working through the debris.

It’s been some 16 hours since the first news reports about the attack, but President Vladimir V. Putin still has not made any public comment. The Kremlin said that the Russian president spoke to his Belarusian counterpart, Aleksandr Lukashenko, on Saturday, and that the two allies “confirmed their readiness to cooperate in the fight against terrorism.”

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Russian authorities said that at least 145 people had been injured in the attack, along with the 93 reported killed. People lined up on Saturday outside a medical facility in Moscow to donate blood for the injured.

There are signs that Russia will try to pin blame for the attack on Ukraine, despite the claim of responsibility by the Islamic State. The F.S.B., Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, issued a statement on Saturday saying that the attackers planned to escape to Ukraine “and had contacts on the Ukrainian side,” according to Russian state media. Kyiv has denied any involvement and American officials have said there is no evidence that Ukraine played a role.

Russian investigators said law enforcement officers had detained four suspects in the Bryansk region, southwest of Moscow. The statement said that they were detained “not far from the border with Ukraine.”

The Investigative Committee, a top law enforcement body, said in a statement that the attackers had used automatic weapons and explosives, and set the venue, with the injured inside, on fire with “a flammable liquid,” poisoning the victims with its smoke.

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The death toll has risen to 93, according to a statement from Russia’s Investigative Committee. “The number of dead will still rise,” the statement said.

Of the 93 killed, only 37 have been identified so far, according to a list published by the regional healthcare authorities.

The Kremlin had issued a statement saying that 11 people had been detained in connection to the attack, including all four who directly took part in it. The head of the F.S.B., Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, reported to President Putin that law enforcement officers were looking for people who aided the attackers.

One member of Piknik, the band that had been scheduled to perform at the concert hall on Friday night, remains unaccounted for, according to Yuri Chernyshevsky, the band’s director. He told RIA Novosti, a Russian state news agency, that the other band members were not injured.

Two suspects in the attack have been detained in the Bryansk region southwest of Moscow, according to Aleksandr Khinshtein, a Russian lawmaker. In a post on the messaging app Telegram, Khinshtein said that other suspects were being chased. Russian law enforcement agencies have not released any information about the suspects.

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Of those injured in the attack, 107 were still hospitalized on Saturday morning, Russia’s top emergency service said. Many Moscow residents have lined up in the city’s clinics to donate blood for the victims, the country’s state news agencies reported.

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s foreign ministry, said the country “condemns in the strongest terms the recent terrorist attack in Moscow” and “considers it a blatant violation of all human standards.” U.S. officials have said the attack was likely staged by the branch of ISIS that is active in Afghanistan and neighboring countries and that is one of the last significant antagonists the Taliban government has fought with since taking power in 2021.

Three of those killed in the attack were children, the state-run news agency Tass reported, citing the ministry of health for the Moscow region.

Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, condemned the attack on the concert venue and said he was “shocked” to learn the news. He sent condolences to President Putin and said that China opposed “all forms of terrorism” and firmly supported Russia’s “efforts to maintain national security and stability,” according to state-run China Central Television.

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President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia issued a statement through a deputy prime minister, Tatyana Golikova, expressing wishes that all those injured in the attack recover and gratitude to the doctors treating them. He has yet to make a direct public statement.

What we know about ISIS-K, the group that claimed responsibility for the Moscow attack.

The group that claimed credit for the deadly terrorist attack in Moscow on Friday is the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan called Islamic State Khorasan Province, or ISIS-K.

ISIS-K was founded in 2015 by disaffected members of the Pakistani Taliban, who then embraced a more violent version of Islam. The group saw its ranks cut roughly in half, to about 1,500 to 2,000 fighters, by 2021 from a combination of American airstrikes and Afghan commando raids that killed many of its leaders.

The group got a dramatic second wind soon after the Taliban toppled the Afghan government that year. During the U.S. military withdrawal from the country, ISIS-K carried out a suicide bombing at the international airport in Kabul in August 2021 that killed 13 U.S. troops and as many as 170 civilians.

The attack raised ISIS-K’s international profile, positioning it as a major threat to the Taliban’s ability to govern.

Since then, the Taliban have been fighting pitched battles against ISIS-K in Afghanistan. So far, the Taliban’s security services have prevented the group from seizing territory or recruiting large numbers of former Taliban fighters bored in peacetime — among the worst-case scenarios laid out after Afghanistan’s Western-backed government collapsed.

President Biden and his top commanders have said the United States would carry out “over-the-horizon” strikes from a base in the Persian Gulf against ISIS and Qaeda insurgents who threaten the United States and its interests overseas.

Indeed, Gen. Michael E. Kurilla, the head of the military’s Central Command, told a House committee on Thursday that ISIS-K “retains the capability and the will to attack U.S. and Western interests abroad in as little as six months with little to no warning.”

ISIS is clearly seeking to project its external operations well beyond its home turf. Counterterrorism officials in Europe say that in recent months they have snuffed out several nascent ISIS-K plots to attack targets there.

In a post on its official Telegram account in January, ISIS-K said it was behind a bombing attack that killed 84 people in Kerman, Iran, during a memorial procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a revered Iranian commander who was killed in an American drone strike in 2020.

ISIS-K, which has repeatedly threatened Iran over what it says is its polytheism and apostasy, has claimed responsibility for several previous attacks there.

And now the group has claimed responsibility for the attack in Moscow.

“ISIS-K has been fixated on Russia for the past two years” and frequently criticizes President Vladimir V. Putin in its propaganda, said Colin P. Clarke, a counterterrorism analyst at the Soufan Group, a security consulting firm based in New York. “ISIS-K accuses the Kremlin of having Muslim blood in its hands, referencing Moscow’s interventions in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Syria.”

The U.S. says a branch of ISIS was responsible for the deadly attack in Moscow.

A branch of the Islamic State claimed responsibility on Friday for the attack in Moscow that killed at least 60 people and injured about 100 others, and U.S. officials confirmed the claim shortly afterward.

The United States collected intelligence in March that Islamic State-Khorasan, known as ISIS-K, the branch of the group based in Afghanistan, had been planning an attack on Moscow, according to officials. ISIS members have been active in Russia, one U.S. official said.

After a period of relative quiet, the Islamic State has been trying to increase its external attacks, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials. Most of those plots in Europe have been thwarted, prompting assessments that the group had diminished capabilities.

“ISIS-K has been fixated on Russia for the past two years,” frequently criticizing President Vladimir V. Putin in its propaganda, said Colin P. Clarke, a counterterrorism analyst at the Soufan Group, a security consulting firm based in New York. “ISIS-K accuses the Kremlin of having Muslim blood in its hands, referencing Moscow’s interventions in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Syria.”

The attack on Friday in Moscow, like a January assault in Iran claimed by the group, could prompt a reassessment of its ability to strike outside its home territory.

In addition to publicly warning on March 7 about a possible attack, U.S. officials said they had privately told Russian officials about the intelligence pointing to an impending attack. It is not clear how much information the United States gave Russian officials beyond what was in the public warning.

American intelligence agencies have a “duty to warn” potential targets of dangers when they learn of them.

The United States had warned Iran of a possible attack ahead of twin bombings in January that killed scores and wounded hundreds of others at a memorial service for Iran’s former top general, Qassim Suleimani, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike four years before.

Western intelligence agencies had collected intelligence about possible planning by ISIS-K to bomb the service. As in Russia, ISIS-K claimed responsibility for that attack.

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U.S. Embassy warned earlier in March about a possible attack.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a security alert on March 7, warning that its personnel were “monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts.” The statement warned Americans that an attack could take place in the next 48 hours.

The warning was related to the attack on Friday, according to people briefed on the matter. But it was not related to possible Ukrainian sabotage, American officials said, adding that the State Department would not have used the word “extremists” to warn about actions ordered from Kyiv.

Pro-Kremlin voices immediately seized on the U.S. Embassy’s warning to paint America as trying to scare Russians.

America officials are worried that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia could seek to falsely blame Ukraine for the attack, putting pressure on Western governments to identify who they think may be responsible. Mr. Putin frequently twists events, even tragic ones, to fit his public narrative. And he has been quick to accuse Ukraine of acts of terrorism to justify his invasion of the country.

U.S. officials said Mr. Putin could do that again after Friday’s attack, seeking to use the loss of life to undermine support for Ukraine both domestically and around the world.

On March 19, the Russian leader called the U.S. Embassy statement “obvious blackmail” made with “the intention to intimidate and destabilize our society.” But he had yet to comment directly on the attack Friday.

John Kirby, a spokesman for President Biden’s National Security Council, told reporters on Friday that the White House had “no indication at this time that Ukraine or Ukrainians were involved.” He added: “We’re taking a look at it. But I would disabuse you at this early hour of any connection to Ukraine.”

“Our thoughts obviously are going to be with the victims of this terrible, terrible shooting attack,” he also said.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said however, according to Reuters, “On what basis do officials in Washington draw any conclusions in the midst of a tragedy about someone’s innocence?” She added that if Washington had information, it should be shared.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to Ukraine’s presidential office, said in a video statement that “Ukraine has absolutely nothing to do” with the attack.

Aishvarya Kavi contributed reporting.

Modi’s Party Doesn’t Control All of India. But He’s Working on It.

It is the final frontier for India’s most powerful leader in decades.

Narendra Modi, over his 10 years as prime minister, has made it his mission to turn a complex and diverse country of 1.4 billion people into something approaching a monolith dominated by his sweeping Hindu nationalist vision.

The news media, the national legislature, civil society, sometimes even the courts — all have largely been bent to his will. But one critical group of holdouts remains: some of India’s richest states, the engine of its rapid growth.

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Catherine’s Cancer Diagnosis Puts U.K. Royals on Even More Uncertain Terrain

Catherine, Princess of Wales, has been diagnosed with cancer and has begun chemotherapy, she announced on Friday, putting a grim coda on months of rumors about her condition and plunging Britain’s royal family into deep uncertainty as two of its most senior figures grapple with grave health concerns.

Her diagnosis follows that of King Charles III, who announced his own cancer diagnosis and treatment in early February. Like the king, Catherine, 42, did not specify what type of cancer she had, nor what her prognosis was.

Speaking in a prerecorded video released on Friday evening, Catherine said, “It has been an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family” as she described having major abdominal surgery in January and then learning through subsequent tests that she had a form of cancer.

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U.S. Call for Gaza Cease-Fire Runs Into Russia-China Veto at U.N.

A U.S. bid to have the U.N. Security Council call for “an immediate and sustained cease-fire” in the Gaza Strip failed on Friday, after Russia and China vetoed the American resolution that included some of Washington’s strongest language since the start of the war.

The resolution reflected the Biden administration’s growing frustration both with the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza and Israel’s conduct in a war that has killed about 30,000 people and reduced much of the enclave to ruins. The administration has been pressuring Israel not to attack the southern Gazan city of Rafah, where more than a million civilians have sought refuge, and to enable more aid to enter the territory.

But international frictions, including over Washington’s previous use of its veto power in the Security Council and its refusal to call for a permanent cease-fire, doomed the resolution. Eleven members voted in favor of the resolution, but Russia and China — permanent members — voted against it, as did Algeria. Guyana abstained.

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Venezuelan Opposition Names New Candidate in Show of Unity

Venezuela’s embattled opposition announced on Friday that it was naming a new candidate to face off against President Nicolas Maduro this summer, giving renewed hope to the country’s push toward democracy.

The country’s highest court in January barred the previous candidate, the former lawmaker María Corina Machado, from running, leading many Venezuelans to question how free and fair the election would be. The decision raised questions over whether Ms. Machado’s party, Come Venezuela, would try to insist on her candidacy or coalesce around another candidate.

On Friday. leaders of several opposition parties announced that Corina Yoris, a philosophy professor, would run instead in the elections on July 28, a move that analysts saw as a surprising show of unity.

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Insooni Breaks Racial Barrier to Become Beloved Singer in South Korea

When she took the stage to perform at Carnegie Hall in front of 107 Korean War veterans, the singer Kim Insoon was thinking of her father, an American soldier stationed in South Korea during the postwar decades whom she had never met or even seen.

“You are my fathers,” she told the soldiers in the audience before singing “Father,” one of her Korean-language hits.

“To me, the United States has always been my father’s country,” Ms. Kim said in a recent interview, recalling that 2010 performance. “It was also the first place where I wanted to show how successful I had become — without him and in spite of him.”

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Collecting the Dead Russia Left Behind

Tyler Hicks and Marc Santora traveled with civilian body collectors and the Ukrainian military to several hot spots along the front to report this story.

Oleksii Yukov spends many of his nights dodging drones, navigating minefields and hoping not to be targeted by Russian artillery as he races to collect the remains of fallen soldiers from the battlefield.

In just three shattered tree lines around the ruined village of Klishchiivka outside Bakhmut, where Ukrainian and Russian forces have fought seesaw battles for well over a year, he collected 300 bodies. They were almost all Russian, he said, left behind in a maelstrom of violence where the struggle to stay alive often outweighs concern for the dead.

Mr. Yusov has been collecting bodies from the bloody fields and battered villages of eastern Ukraine for a decade. He is now the head of a group of civilian volunteers called Platsdarm, and has witnessed more death than he would care to remember.

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Russian Attack Leaves Over a Million in Ukraine Without Electricity

A large-scale Russian missile and drone attack damaged power plants and caused blackouts for more than a million Ukrainians on Friday morning, in what Ukrainian officials said was one of the war’s largest assaults on energy infrastructure.

At least five people were killed in the assault, and 26 others were injured, according to the Ukrainian national police.

The strikes came as ​the Kremlin escalated its rhetoric over the conflict, saying that Russia was “in a state of war” in Ukraine — and moving beyond the euphemism “special military operation” — because of the West’s heavy involvement on the Ukrainian side.

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Catherine, Princess of Wales, Reveals She Has Cancer

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Reporting from London

Here’s the latest on the Princess of Wales’s cancer news.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, has been diagnosed with cancer and has begun chemotherapy, she announced in a video message on Friday, in which she described the past two months as “incredibly tough for our entire family.”

Her diagnosis follows that of King Charles III, who announced his own cancer diagnosis and treatment in early February. It comes after a period of intense uncertainty about the health of Catherine, who underwent abdominal surgery in January and largely disappeared from public view as she tried to recuperate.

Like the king, Catherine, 42, did not specify what kind of cancer she had but asked the public and news media to respect her desire for privacy.

“We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment,” said Catherine, who is the wife of Prince William and a future queen.

“This of course came as a huge shock,” Catherine said, “and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family. As you can imagine, this has taken time.”

Catherine’s announcement is a grim coda to a period of increasingly wild rumors about her health and well-being. But it plunges the British royal family into a period of even deeper uncertainty, with both the 75-year-old monarch and his daughter-in-law, the wife of his eldest son and heir and the mother of Prince George, the second in line to throne, facing grave health problems.

In her statement, Catherine said that at the time her surgery was performed, doctors believed that her condition was noncancerous. The surgery was successful, she said, but in further tests, the doctor found evidence of cancer. They recommended a course of chemotherapy, which she said she had recently begun.

“It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment,” Catherine said in the video. “But, most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be OK.”

Catherine’s announcement eerily echoed that of Charles’s. Buckingham Palace said that the king’s cancer was detected after a procedure for an enlarged prostate. While the palace has said he does not have prostate cancer, it has not specified what kind of cancer it is, nor his prognosis.

Until Catherine’s video on Friday, Kensington Palace, where William and Catherine have their offices, had released even fewer details about her condition, an information vacuum that led to a raft of rumors and conspiracy theories on social media.

In the video, which Kensington Palace said was recorded by BBC Studios in Windsor on Wednesday, Catherine is sitting on a bench outside, with daffodils and trees in blossom behind her.

Her hands clasped on her lap, she begins by thanking the public for their messages of support and understanding while she was recovering from surgery, before announcing her diagnosis.

“In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London, and, at the time, it was thought that my condition was noncancerous. The surgery was successful,” she said. “However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present. My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy, and I am now in the early stages of that treatment.”

Catherine’s statement emphasized the importance of her three children and their well-being as a key factor in the timing of the announcement. “As I have said to them,” she said, “I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits. Having William by my side is a great source of comfort and reassurance, too.”

The children’s school has now closed for the Easter holidays. A Kensington Palace official said Catherine and William had wanted to share the information when they felt it was right for them as a family.

Catherine ended her video statement with a message for other people affected by a cancer diagnosis. “At this time, I am also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer,” she said. “For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone.”

Doctors recognize familiar pattern in the princess’s statement.

Although it is not known what type of cancer Princess Catherine has, oncologists say that what she described in her public statement that was released on Friday — discovering a cancer during another procedure, in this case a “major abdominal surgery” — is all too common.

“Unfortunately, so much of the cancer we diagnose is unexpected,” said Dr. Elena Ratner, a gynecologic oncologist at Yale Cancer Center who has diagnosed many patients with ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and cancers of the lining of the uterus.

Without speculating on Catherine’s procedure, Dr. Ratner described situations in which women will go in for surgery for endometriosis, a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found elsewhere in the abdomen. Often, Dr. Ratner says, the assumption is that the endometriosis has appeared on an ovary and caused a benign ovarian cyst. But one to two weeks later, when the supposedly benign tissue has been studied, pathologists report that they found cancer.

In the statement, Princess Catherine said she was is getting “a course of preventive chemotherapy.”

That, too, is common. In medical settings, it is usually called adjuvant chemotherapy.

Dr. Eric Winer, director of the Yale Cancer Center, said that with adjuvant chemotherapy, “the hope is that this will prevent further problems” and avoid a recurrence of the cancer.

It also means that “you removed everything” that was visible with surgery, said Dr. Michael Birrer, director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “You can’t see the cancer,” he added, because microscopic cancer cells may be left behind. The chemotherapy is a way to attack microscopic disease, he explained.

Other parts of Catherine’s statement also hit home for Dr. Ratner, particularly her concern for her family.

“William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family,” Catherine said, and “It has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte, and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be OK.”

Those are sentiments that Dr. Ratner hears on a regular basis and reveal, she says, “how hard it is for women to be diagnosed with cancer.”

“I see this day in and day out,” she said. “Women always say, ‘Will I be there for my kids? What will happen with my kids?’

“They don’t say, ‘What will happen to me?’”

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Another heavy blow for the British royal family.

For the royal family, the news of a cancer diagnosis for Catherine, Princess of Wales, was another heavy blow, sidelining one of its most visible figures at a time when its ranks were already depleted.

In addition to King Charles III, who has canceled public appearances to undergo his own cancer treatment, the family has been adjusting to the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, who died in 2022; the departure of Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan; and the exile of Prince Andrew, disgraced by his association with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Harry and Meghan issued a statement saying they wished “health and healing for Kate and the family, and hope they are able to do so privately and in peace.”

Since Harry and Meghan, who are known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, withdrew from royal duties in 2020 and left Britain for Southern California, Harry has been estranged from his father, Charles, and his brother, Prince William. He visited his father briefly after Buckingham Palace announced the king’s cancer diagnosis in February.

The palace said on Friday that Charles was “so proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did.” Noting that the king had visited her when they were both being treated in a London hospital, the palace said Charles “has remained in the closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law throughout the past weeks.”

Buckingham Palace said only last month that King Charles has cancer.

King Charles III was diagnosed with cancer in early February and suspended his public engagements to undergo treatment, casting a shadow over a busy reign that began around 18 months ago after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The announcement, made by Buckingham Palace, came after the 75-year-old sovereign was discharged from a London hospital, following a procedure to treat an enlarged prostate.

The palace did not disclose what form of cancer Charles has, but a palace official said it was not prostate cancer. Doctors detected the cancer during that procedure, and the king began treatment on Monday.

News of Charles’ diagnosis ever since has reverberated through Britain, which, after seven decades of Elizabeth’s reign, has begun to get comfortable with her son. Charles waited longer to ascend the throne than anyone in the history of the British monarchy, and he was a familiar figure, with a personal life relentlessly dissected by the British media by the time he became the sovereign.

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The mood is somber at a British outpost in New York.

The mood was somber Friday afternoon in the section of Manhattan’s West Village that some people call Little Britain after Catherine, Princess of Wales, announced that she was being treated for cancer.

At Myers of Keswick, a shop on Hudson Street that sells British goods like Hobnobs biscuits, Wilkin & Sons marmalade and steak and ale pie, Jennifer Myers-Pulidore, the owner, said she had watched the announcement live while fielding alarmed texts from her father, Peter Myers. He opened the store 39 years ago and is now retired and living back in Keswick, England.

“I feel for her,” said Ms. Myers-Pulidore, 45, who was born in New York and grew up spending summers in Keswick. With three children of her own, she said she could relate to the princess’s desire to address the matter with her family before discussing it publicly.

“I understand wanting to protect the children,” Ms. Myers-Pulidore said. “I can’t imagine living in the limelight as they do.”

She said she had not kept up with the recent wave of speculation online about why Catherine had not been seen much in public since undergoing abdominal surgery earlier this year. Ms. Myers-Pulidore had nothing good to say about those who had spread wild rumors.

“It’s awful. It’s sort of pathetic that she couldn’t even have time in private,” she said. “It almost makes me think she had no other option but to come clean.”

For Ms. Myers-Pulidore, the news stirred painful memories of Princess Diana, a previous Princess of Wales to whom the store owner considers Catherine a spiritual heir.

“She, in England, is loved,” Ms. Myers-Pulidore said of Catherine. “People think of her as the people’s princess.”

After Diana’s death; the death of Queen Elizabeth II; King Charles’s cancer diagnosis; and estrangement between William, Prince of Wales, and his brother, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, Ms. Myers-Pulidore said she worried about the British royal family’s future.

“I hope they will make it,” she said.

Outside the shop, Richard Barnett winced while discussing the news.

“It’s all very sad,” said Mr. Barnett, a London native who has lived in New York for 35 years. He added that he hoped Catherine’s treatment would be successful and that her recovery would be swift and comfortable.

“Wish her the best,” he said. “And peace and quiet.”

Asked whether he had followed the recent gossip and speculation about Catherine that Ms. Myers-Pulidore had condemned, Mr. Barnett nodded.

“It’s good she stopped the rumors,” he said.

Outside Tea & Sympathy, a British restaurant a few blocks away on Greenwich Avenue, Dave Heenan shook his head when asked about the news.

“It’s awful. I’m devastated — the whole royal family, they’re cursed!” said Mr. Heenan, 81, who moved to New York from Newcastle, England, in 1963. He said that, like other British people, he had come to love Catherine and was excited about her future.

“She’s the one member of the royal family who could really carry that crown,” he said.

One positive thing he could say was that he had been able to share his feelings with fellow English men and women: “It brings English people together.”

Iain Anderson, Tea & Sympathy’s manager, said he had become concerned about Catherine recently as she stayed out of the public eye and rumors about her flew. He said that to him, the announcement on Friday felt forced.

“Maybe they had to say something because of the public pressure,” Mr. Anderson, who is originally from Gloucestershire, England, said. “If they had to open up about this and they didn’t want to, that’s unfortunate.”

Like Ms. Myers-Pulidore, he said he had a grim feeling of déjà vu.

“We’ve had all this before with Lady Diana,” he said

.

Michael West, a Briton living in Manhattan, said he was reminded of Queen Elizabeth II’s death two years ago as well as King Charles’s cancer diagnosis.

“It just seems as though trouble comes in threes,” he said as he passed the British Consulate on Second Avenue. “And it just seems as though, for that family at the moment, that perhaps trouble comes in tens.”

Mr. West is originally from a village called Higham, famous as the place where Charles Dickens died. He said that although Catherine had not been born into royalty, she had fit well into her role as a Windsor.

“Among my family and friends, people were happy with them,” he said of the family, adding, “They do their job with grace.”

Sean Piccoli contributed reporting.

The reaction of Londoners is full of concern.

As news filtered out about the princess of Wales’s cancer diagnosis in London on Friday, just as the sun was setting on a mild spring evening, many expressed their shock and concern for a well-liked member of the British royal family, who is destined to one day be queen.

Kensington Palace had urged the public to respect the privacy of Catherine as she recovered from a major abdominal surgery in January, but as the days drew into weeks, the rumor mill swirled — with conspiracy theories growing deeper and wilder — about what had been keeping such a prominent member of the royal family out of view.

On Friday evening, many lamented the scrutiny she had faced and what the family had been forced to endure at such a terrible time.

“She is still just a human,” said Aaron Viera, 33, and a lifelong Lononder. “It’s just really sad that she has to go through this.”

Alongside co-workers sharing a drink outside the Goat Tavern, just steps from Kensington Palace where Catherine and her family had lived, Mr. Viera denounced the social media speculation.

Much of that frenzy has been driven by an American “obsession” with the royals, interjected another friend, Maryann, 35, who declined to give her last name. At the end of the day, she’s a mother of three, another woman, Jessi, pointed out, and she worried about toll chemotherapy would take on Catherine. So many in the country know the struggles of cancer personally, and they agreed that Catherine’s candor about her illness unfortunately would be easy for many to relate to.

Catherine, 42, the wife of William, Prince of Wales, is the second member of the British royal family to be diagnosed with cancer in recent weeks after Buckingham Palace announced in February that her father-in-law, King Charles III, also was being treated for cancer.

On Friday evening, the overwhelming sentiment seemed to be of concern for the well-being of the princess of Wales.

“God, she’s had cancer, has she?” one woman said to her friend, engrossed in a news article on her phone while getting off a bus in the northwest of the city. “Terrible, she’s only 40-something, isn’t she?”

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Read Catherine’s full statement.

A transcript of the video message given by Catherine, princess of Wales:

I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you, personally, for all the wonderful messages of support and for your understanding whilst I have been recovering from surgery.

It has been an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family, but I’ve had a fantastic medical team who have taken great care of me, for which I am so grateful.

In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was noncancerous. The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present. My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment.

This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family.

As you can imagine, this has taken time. It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment. But, most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be OK.

As I have said to them; I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits.

Having William by my side is a great source of comfort and reassurance too. As is the love, support and kindness that has been shown by so many of you. It means so much to us both.

We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment. My work has always brought me a deep sense of joy and I look forward to being back when I am able, but for now I must focus on making a full recovery.

At this time, I am also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer. For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone.

A timeline of the royal family’s tumultuous year.

  1. Henry Nicholls/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  2. Oli Scarff/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  3. Hollie Adams/Reuters
  4. Chris Jackson/Getty Images
  5. Tolga Akmen/EPA, via Shutterstock
  6. Odd Andersen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  7. Carl Recine/Reuters

Since King Charles III and Catherine, the Princess of Wales, each went to hospitals for health matters in recent months, public attention has been riveted on the royal family. The extended absence of Kate from the public eye, especially, propelled a wave of rumors over her whereabouts, fueled further by an edited photo released by the palace.

Here is a quick timeline of key moments.

Jan. 17, 2024

Kate undergoes surgery.

A little more than three weeks after Kate made a public appearance on Christmas Day, Kensington Palace announced that she had been admitted to the London Clinic to have abdominal surgery. Officials gave few details about her health but said the surgery was successful, and that her condition was “not cancerous.”

Hours later, Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles III would be treated for an enlarged prostate.

Jan. 29, 2024

Kate is released from the hospital.

Almost two weeks later, Kate returned home to Windsor, just outside London. Kensington Palace officials said that she would convalesce at home for two to three months and would not resume her public duties until after Easter, at the end of March.

Feb. 5, 2024

King Charles is diagnosed with cancer.

Buckingham Palace officials announced in early February, just days after Charles had undergone treatment for an enlarged prostate, that the king had been diagnosed with cancer.

The palace did not share what form of cancer Charles has, but a palace official said it was not prostate cancer. Doctors had discovered the cancer during the earlier procedure.

March 4, 2024

Kate is spotted for the first time in months.

The public’s appetite for information about Kate’s whereabouts and recovery reached a fever pitch in the first week of March. And around that time, TMZ published a grainy paparazzi shot of Kate riding in a car driven by her mother.

Despite the photograph circulating on the internet, British newspapers and broadcasters did not republish it, citing Kate’s request for privacy during her convalescence — though they did report on the sighting.

March 10, 2024

Kate and children appear in Mother’s Day photograph.

To mark Mother’s Day in Britain, Kensington Palace released an official photograph of a smiling Kate surrounded by her three children, George, Charlotte and Louis. The palace did not give many details about the picture except that it was taken by William last week in Windsor, where the family lives in Adelaide Cottage, on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

While the picture was meant to highlight a happy family on the holiday and quell rumors, it became a subject of intense scrutiny after The Associated Press, and several other photo agencies, issued a “kill order,” asking its clients to remove it from all platforms over concerns that it had been manipulated. The New York Times, which had initially used the picture in a story, also removed it.

March 11, 2024

Kate apologizes for the altered photo.

On Monday, Kate took the blame and apologized for the Mother’s Day photo.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” she said on social media. “I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused.”

Kate is known as a photography enthusiast, and the palace often distributes her photos of the family. Palace officials stressed that Kate made minor adjustments for what was intended to be an informal family picture that was taken by William.

March 18, 2024

Another royal photo is flagged.

Getty Images placed an editorial advisory on a second royal family photo, this time an image of Queen Elizabeth II, flanked by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The photo — taken by Kate at Balmoral Castle in Scotland in August 2022 and released in 2023 on what would have been the queen’s 97th birthday — had been “digitally enhanced” before it was released by the palace, the photo agency said.

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Speculation had swirled since the Princess of Wales apologized for an edited image a week ago.


Catherine, the Princess of Wales, apologized last week for doctoring a photo of her with her three children, which was recalled by several news agencies after they determined the image had been manipulated.

The decision to recall the photo reignited a storm of speculation about Catherine, who had not been seen in public since Christmas Day and had abdominal surgery in January. In her statement, the 42-year-old princess chalked up the alteration to a photographer’s innocent desire to retouch the image.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” Catherine wrote in a post on social media. “I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused.”

The photo, which marked Mother’s Day in Britain, depicted a smiling Catherine surrounded by her children, George, Charlotte and Louis.

Kensington Palace said that William had taken the photo last week in Windsor, where the family lives in Adelaide Cottage, on the grounds of Windsor Castle. But Catherine is known as a keen photographer, and the palace often distributes her photos of the family.

Hours after Kensington Palace released the photo, The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse issued advisories urging news organizations to remove the image.

The A.P. said that after a post-publication inspection of the photograph, its editors determined that the image “shows an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand.” The source of the photo, it said “had manipulated the image in a way that does not meet A.P.’s photo standards.”

The details of the photo show a range of visual inconsistencies suggesting it was doctored. In several areas of the image, details like a sleeve or a zipper don’t line up, or have artificial patterns.

A palace official said Catherine made minor adjustments in what was meant to be an informal picture of the family together for Mother’s Day. The official reiterated that William had taken the photo, though Catherine edited it.

Samora Bennett-Gager, an expert in photo retouching, identified several other questionable elements, including the edges of her daughter Charlotte’s legs, which he said were unnaturally soft, suggesting the background had been manipulated. Catherine’s hand on the waist of her son, Louis, is blurry, which he said could indicate the image was taken from a separate frame of the shoot.

The photograph appeared on newspaper front pages and websites around the world, including the website of The New York Times. The Times removed the photo from an article about it on Sunday evening.

Adam Dean contributed reporting.

Democracy Teetering in African Countries Once Ruled by France

In Senegal, the president tried to cancel an election. In Niger, a military coup d’état toppled an elected president, who eight months later is still imprisoned in the presidential palace. In Chad, the leading opposition politician was killed in a shootout with security forces. And in Tunisia, once the only democratic success story of the Arab Spring rebellions, the president is steering the state toward increasing autocracy.

Democracy is in trouble in former French colonies in Africa. And the two ways it is being subverted — by the elected officials entrusted with upholding it, or by coup plotters overthrowing governments — are manifestations of the same malaise, according to some experts.

After they won independence from France in the 1960s, nascent states modeled their constitutions on France’s, concentrating power in presidents’ hands. And France maintained a web of business and political ties with its former colonies — a system known as Françafrique — often propping up corrupt governments. These are among the reasons analysts cite for the democratic crisis in these countries.

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The A.I. Boom Makes Millions for an Unlikely Industry Player: Anguilla

Artificial intelligence’s integration into everyday life has stirred up doubts and unsettling questions for many about humanity’s path forward. But in Anguilla, a tiny Caribbean island to the east of Puerto Rico, the A.I. boom has made the country a fortune.

The British territory collects a fee from every registration for internet addresses that end in “.ai,” which happens to be the domain name assigned to the island, like “.fr” for France and “.jp” for Japan. With companies wanting internet addresses that communicate they are at the forefront of the A.I. boom — like Elon Musk’s X.ai website for his artificial intelligence company — Anguilla has recently received a huge influx in requests for domain names.

For each domain registration, Anguilla’s government gets anywhere from $140 to thousands of dollars from website names sold at auctions, according government data. Last year, Anguilla’s government made about $32 million from those fees. That amounted to more than 10 percent of gross domestic product for the territory of almost 16,000 people and 35 square miles.

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Uganda’s Leader Names Son to Top Post, Fueling Talk of a Succession Plan

Uganda’s president, who has been in office for nearly four decades, has appointed his son as the head of the country’s military, fueling long-held suspicions in the East African nation that the leader is preparing his son to one day succeed him.

The president, Yoweri Museveni, said late Thursday that he had named his son, Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, 49, as the nation’s top army commander. General Kainerugaba had been serving as a senior adviser to his father, and had been participating in large rallies across the country to help position himself as heir apparent — even as experts say that Mr. Museveni, who is 79, is unlikely to relinquish power during his lifetime.

General Kainerugaba had burst into the global limelight in recent years for his erratic, late-night tweets. At least one of the general’s closest confidants was also named to a top cabinet position.

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‘Strike Madness’ Hits Germany While Its Economy Stumbles

For those striking at the gates of the SRW scrap metal plant, just outside Germany’s eastern city of Leipzig, time can be counted not just in days — 136 so far — but in the thousands of card games played, the liters of coffee imbibed and the armfuls of firewood burned.

Or it can be measured by the length of Jonny Bohne’s beard. He vows not to shave until he returns to the job he has held for two decades. Wearing his red union baseball cap and tending the blaze inside an oil drum, Mr. Bohne, 56, looks like a scruffy Santa Claus.

The dozens of workers at the SRW recycling center say their strike has become the longest in postwar German history — a dubious honor in a nation with a history of harmonious labor relations. (The previous record, 114 days, was held by shipyard workers in the northern city of Kiel who struck in the 1950s.)

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Norman Miller, German Refugee Who Helped Arrest a Top Nazi, Dies at 99

Norman Miller was visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1999 with his sons, Steven and Michael, when they stopped at an exhibit that described the top Nazi leaders who had carried out the extermination of six million Jews. When he pointed to a picture of Arthur Seyss-Inquart, a high-level but not widely known Nazi, he made a stunning admission.

“I told you I arrested him, didn’t I?” Norman Miller said.

“We were incredulous,” Steven Miller recalled in an interview. “We turned to him and said, ‘What?’”

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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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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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‘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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‘Get Ready to Scream’: How to Be a Baseball Fan in South Korea

In the United States, many Major League Baseball games feature long periods of calm, punctuated by cheering when there’s action on the field or the stadium organ plays a catchy tune.

But in South Korea, a baseball game is a sustained sensory overload. Each player has a fight song, and cheering squads — including drummers and dancers who stand on platforms near the dugouts facing the spectators — ensure that there is near-constant chanting. Imagine being at a ballpark where every player, even a rookie, gets the star treatment.

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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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El nuevo objetivo de un cártel del narcotráfico de México: personas mayores y sus tiempos compartidos

Al principio, el cártel comenzó con el tráfico de drogas. Luego pasó a aguacates, bienes raíces y constructoras. Ahora, una organización criminal mexicana conocida por su crueldad está haciendo la transición hacia adultos mayores y sus tiempos compartidos.

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

La operación es relativamente sencilla. Personas que trabajan para el cártel que se hacen pasar por representantes de ventas llaman a los dueños de las propiedades de tiempo compartido, ofreciéndoles comprar sus inversiones por sumas generosas de dinero. Luego exigen pagos por adelantado para cualquier cosa, desde la publicación de anuncios hasta el pago de supuestas multas gubernamentales. Los falsos representantes convencen a sus víctimas de que les transfieran grandes cantidades de dinero a México —en ocasiones hasta cientos de miles de dólares— y luego desaparecen.

Esta estafa ha hecho que el Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación gane cientos de millones de dólares en la última década, según funcionarios estadounidenses que no estaban autorizados para hablar públicamente sobre este tema, a través de decenas de centros de llamadas en México que buscan sin descanso a propietarios estadounidenses y canadienses de tiempos compartidos. Incluso sobornan a empleados en resorts mexicanos para que filtren información de los huéspedes, según afirmaron los funcionarios estadounidenses.

Esta estafa representa la evolución más reciente del Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación, un grupo que está arraigado en sectores legales e ilegales de la economía. Con poco más que un teléfono y un guion convincente, los trabajadores del cártel están victimizando a personas en diferentes países.

Incluso esos mismos trabajadores son vulnerables a la crueldad del cártel.

En mayo del año pasado, se descubrieron los restos de ocho jóvenes mexicanos que trabajaban en un centro de llamadas del cártel en decenas de bolsas de plástico que fueron tiradas en un barranco en las afueras de Guadalajara, la capital del estado de Jalisco.

Por lo general, el cártel busca aprovecharse de personas mayores retiradas que quieren dejarle todo el dinero posible a sus familiares a través de la venta de bienes. Varias víctimas entrevistadas por The New York Times dijeron que el dinero que perdieron excedía el valor de su inversión inicial en propiedades vacacionales de tiempo compartido en Jamaica, California y México.

“Soy viejo, al igual que estos clientes”, dijo Michael Finn, fundador de Finn Law Group en San Petersburgo, Florida, que ha representado a miles de personas que han lidiado con diversas formas de estafas con tiempos compartidos. “Tendemos a confiar cuando alguien nos llama y nos vende estos sueños”.

Finn comprendió la gravedad de este tipo de fraude hace unos 4 años, cuando recibió una llamada de una mujer desesperada que había transferido 1,2 millones de dólares, la totalidad de sus ahorros, a México, para vender su tiempo compartido.

La industria de las propiedades vacacionales de tiempo compartido está en auge, con 10.500 millones de dólares en ventas en 2022, un incremento del 30 por ciento en comparación con el año anterior, según la Asociación Estadounidense de Desarrolladores de Complejos Turísticos. Cerca de 10 millones de hogares estadounidenses poseen tiempos compartidos, informó la asociación, gastando un promedio de alrededor de 22.000 dólares por su inversión además de tarifas anuales de unos 2000 dólares. La mayoría de los tiempos compartidos son complejos turísticos de playa.

El crecimiento del sector coincide con un incremento del 79 por ciento en los últimos cuatro años en las denuncias de fraudes con tiempos compartidos recibidas por el FBI. Pero, para poder investigar las estafas que se originan en México, el FBI debe contar con la cooperación de las autoridades locales. Además, las firmas de abogados no pueden introducir demandas civiles porque no tienen jurisdicción en México.

En los últimos cinco años, a dueños estadounidenses de propiedades de tiempo compartido les han estafado unos 288 millones de dólares, según el FBI, a través de varios tipos de fraudes, lo que incluye los esquemas gestionados por el cártel. La cifra real está probablemente alrededor de los 350 millones de dólares, ya que cerca del 20 por ciento de los estafados no interponen una demanda.

“Las víctimas no quieren denunciar porque están avergonzadas y le ocultan la situación a sus familias”, afirmó Finn.

En octubre de 2022, una pareja retirada —James, de 76 años, y su esposa, Nicki, de 72— dijeron que habían recibido una llamada de un supuesto agente de bienes raíces en Worry Free Vacations en Atlanta, que les ofreció negociar la venta de su tiempo compartido en el lago Tahoe, California, a un empresario millonario mexicano. La pareja pidió que no se publicaran sus apellidos porque estaban “muy avergonzados” de haber sido estafados.

A medida que sus hijas fueron creciendo, dejaron de utilizar la propiedad vacacional que compraron en la década de 1990 por unos 8000 dólares, por lo que la pareja no dudó ante la oportunidad de vender.

La estafa comenzó con tarifas pequeñas, afirmó James, unos pocos miles de dólares aquí y allá destinados para pagar costos de registros con el gobierno mexicano para “transacciones transfronterizas”. Las tarifas fueron aumentando a medida que le decían que estaba siendo multado por las autoridades mexicanas debido a varias infracciones, y que podía ser extraditado por romper la ley a menos que pagara las multas. En un punto, contó James, los estafadores incluso lo convencieron de que invirtiera en una nueva propiedad comercial en México.

Después de unos 20 pagos, la pareja había transferido casi 900.000 dólares a diferentes cuentas bancarias en México, según registros bancarios revisados por el Times.

Las estafas que llegan tan lejos no son poco comunes, según el FBI. La agencia afirmó que, por lo general, víctimas como James y Nicki, transfieren su dinero a cuentas bancarias de socios del Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación.

La pareja dijo que agotaron sus ahorros y que ahora estaban endeudados. Afirmaron que incluso pidieron prestado unos 150.000 dólares a una de sus hijas y vendieron la casa de infancia de James, pero no han recibido ni un solo centavo.

“Estoy seguro de que si les hubiera preguntado, me habrían dicho: ‘¿Cómo puedes ser tan idiota?’”, dijo James refiriéndose a sus hijas. “Y me pregunto lo mismo. Solía pensar que era muy inteligente”.

Los estafadores se identificaron como representantes de ventas y como un funcionario del banco central de México, según revelaron correos electrónicos revisados por el Times, y en todo momento prometieron que si pagaba solo “un monto más”, todo se resolvería y su dinero sería liberado.

Sin embargo, después de cada pago, una nueva tarifa aparecía.

En un comunicado, el banco central de México declaró que estaba al tanto de que se estaban cometiendo estafas con tiempos compartidos usando su nombre y advirtió a las personas para que no cayeran en el fraude.

A fines del año pasado, James comenzó a recibir mensajes desesperados de supuestos representantes que afirmaban que uno de sus colegas había sido encarcelado en México tras intentar resolver el caso, según llamadas grabadas y correos electrónicos revisados por el Times.

“Por favor, haz todo lo posible para que mi amigo/jefe regrese a casa. Extraña mucho a su familia y escucharlo es terrible, eres la única esperanza para que esto se solucione”, decía un correo electrónico reciente. “El monto pendiente de pago es: 157.786,61 dólares”.

James dijo que estaba pensando sacar una segunda hipoteca para pagar el monto, hasta que sus hijas lo detuvieron.

Si bien la estafa dirigida a los dueños de propiedades de tiempo compartido es financiera, en México puede ser mortal.

Los ocho mexicanos que fueron hallados muertos el año pasado trabajaban en un centro de llamadas en el centro de Guadalajara que estaba dirigido por el Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación, según afirmaron funcionarios estadounidenses. Los fiscales locales dijeron que cuando registraron el centro, encontraron un trapeador con manchas rojas, pizarrones con nombres extranjeros y detalles de membresías de propiedades de tiempo compartido.

Cuando los periodistas de The New York Times visitaron recientemente el centro de llamadas, descubrieron que estaba cerrado, y un vehículo de la policía estaba estacionado afuera. El edificio estaba en un vecindario de clase alta, frente a un parque. Los padres pasaban, llevando a sus hijos a la escuela.

Héctor Flores, fundador del Colectivo Luz de Esperanza, una organización que realiza búsquedas por todo el estado de Jalisco en busca de los cuerpos de los desaparecidos, afirmó que sabía de unas 30 personas que habían desaparecido de centros de llamadas desde 2017. Sin embargo, dijo que con casi toda seguridad hay más porque muchas familias no hacen denuncias por miedo.

La fiscalía del estado no respondió a solicitudes de comentarios.

El Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación, que fue fundado hace unos 15 años, ha crecido hasta ser uno de los cárteles más poderosos en México. En los últimos años, se ha expandido hacia sectores legales de la economía, como la venta de aguacates a Estados Unidos.

En Puerto Vallarta, un bastión del cártel y popular localidad costera, los trabajadores mexicanos de los hoteles son presionados de manera rutinaria por la organización criminal para que filtren información de los huéspedes, según James Barnacle, el subdirector asistente del FBI que monitorea los delitos financieros.

Barnacle afirmó que los hoteles y las compañías de propiedades de tiempo compartido en México estaban al tanto de las filtraciones y también dijo que el gobierno de Estados Unidos les ha hecho advertencias para que comiencen a tomar medidas drásticas.

Una preocupación en particular para los funcionarios estadounidenses es el Grupo Vidanta, una de las empresas de complejos turísticos de tiempo compartido más grandes del mundo con sede en México. Su dueño, Daniel Chávez Morán, es amigo y asesor del presidente de México. Muchos de los clientes de Vidanta han sido víctimas del fraude en propiedades de tiempo compartido, según un funcionario estadounidense que no tenía autorización para hablar públicamente.

Vidanta no respondió a las solicitudes de comentarios.

Pete Willard contó que compró su propiedad de tiempo compartido de Vidanta en 2015. Seis años después, recibió una llamada de una supuesta compañía de bienes raíces de Nueva York, la cual le ofrecía alrededor de medio millón de dólares por ella. Tras enviar varias transferencias de dinero a México, había perdido unos 100.000 dólares sin recibir nada a cambio, dijo Willard.

Cuando comprendió que nunca más iba a ver su dinero, Willard contactó al FBI.

“Me dijeron que no había mucho que pudieran hacer porque todo el dinero estaba en México”, afirmó.

Willard intentó introducir demandas con el Better Business Bureau y el fiscal de distrito en Nueva York contra las compañías que lo habían estafado. “Nunca obtuve una respuesta de nadie más allá de ‘lo siento, debió haber sido más diligente’”.

Barnacle admitió que las fuerzas de seguridad de Estados Unidos están básicamente de manos atadas para contrarrestar estos fraudes, más allá de emitir mensajes de advertencia a la población.

“La gente explota tus datos todo el tiempo”, dijo Barnacle. El cártel no “tiene que invertir en un producto que tienen; solo tienen que levantar el teléfono o enviar un correo electrónico a las personas y, ya sabes, engañarlos para que les den su dinero”.

Hasta el momento, el Departamento del Tesoro de Estados Unidos ha impuesto sanciones a 40 compañías mexicanas y a alrededor de una decena de personas por fraude con propiedades de tiempo compartido, pero se han hecho pocos arrestos. Y apenas se clausura una compañía tapadera o una cuenta bancaria, surgen nuevas.

Los bancos mexicanos “tienen culpa en esto”, afirmó Spencer McMullen, un estadounidense que ejerce el derecho en Chapala, México, y añadió que por lo general no verifican si las cuentas gestionadas por el cártel están utilizando direcciones válidas y son negocios legítimos. “Ellos podrían congelar estas cuentas por actividad sospechosa”.

Durante las dos semanas en las que James, el dueño de la propiedad de tiempo compartido que perdió casi 900.000 dólares, estuvo hablando con el Times, comenzó a entender que nunca más iba a ver su dinero. Su esposa, Nicki, está furiosa, pues se lo había advertido desde el principio.

“Sabes, cuando trabajas durante tantos años y ahorras para poder disfrutar de tu vejez y luego te lo arrebatan”, dijo Nicki, “eso no está bien”.

Pasaron de comenzar su retiro de forma muy cómoda a preguntarse si ahora deberían aplicar a empleos de medio tiempo. Nicki está recuperándose de un cáncer y sus gastos se están acumulando.

“¿Voy a tener que trabajar en un Walmart ahora?”, dijo Nicki.

Emiliano Rodríguez Mega colaboró con este reportaje desde Ciudad de México.

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


París busca organizar los Juegos Olímpicos desde una visión ecológica

Somini Sengupta y

Somini Sengupta y Catherine Porter informaron sobre París y los suburbios del norte en Sena-Saint Denis.

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¿Cómo se organiza un evento deportivo internacional en el que millones de personas visitan una ciudad en la era del calentamiento global?

Esa es la prueba para los Juegos Olímpicos de París 2024 este verano.

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

Los organizadores afirman que están sometiendo a las olimpiadas a una dieta climática. Según ellos, estos Juegos Olímpicos no generarán más que la mitad de las emisiones de gas de efecto invernadero de los más recientes. Eso significa ser muy estrictos con todo lo que produce las emisiones que calientan el planeta: electricidad, alimentos, construcciones y transporte, incluido el combustible que quemarán los aviones que serán utilizados por los atletas y aficionados para viajar desde todas partes del mundo y llegar hasta la ciudad organizadora.

Por su naturaleza, un evento al que acuden 10.500 atletas y cerca de 15 millones de espectadores va a tener un costo en términos medioambientales. Y eso ha hecho que quienes adoran las olimpiadas pero odian la contaminación sugieran que el evento se reparta en las instalaciones ya existentes en todo el mundo con el fin de que no se necesiten tantas edificaciones nuevas y viajes en avión. Por esa razón, la cita deportiva de París está siendo vigilada con mucha atención.

La ciudad le está dando más espacio a las bicicletas y menos a los automóviles. Está eliminando los enormes generadores que funcionan con diésel, un elemento básico de los grandes eventos deportivos. Está planeando menús para los huéspedes cuyo cultivo y cocción no generen tanta contaminación como las típicas comidas francesas: con más vegetales y menos carne a la pimienta. También habrá paneles solares que floten de manera temporal sobre el río Sena.

Pero tal vez la medida más importante que han tomado los organizadores sea lo que no están haciendo: construir. Al menos, no tanto.

En vez de construir nuevas obras emblemáticas para las olimpiadas (lo que genera muchas emisiones de gas de efecto invernadero por la fabricación del concreto y el acero), se están reutilizando muchos de sus lugares de interés existentes, entre ellos el Gran Palacio, la plaza conocida como de la Concordia e incluso la piscina construida para los Juegos Olímpicos de París 1924.

Pero esto no ha ocurrido sin controversias.

Una importante iniciativa para la reducción de emisiones, la decisión de prescindir del aire acondicionado convencional en la villa olímpica, ha planteado preocupaciones. En su lugar, los edificios emplearán un sistema de enfriamiento que utiliza agua extraída del subsuelo. Varios equipos olímpicos están considerando llevar sus propios aparatos de aire acondicionado.

No obstante, la esperanza es que este tipo de experimentos sirvan como modelo para otros Juegos Olímpicos en el futuro y para otras ciudades de todo el mundo. Los pocos edificios nuevos que se están construyendo, entre ellos los que albergarán a los atletas, así como un complejo de piscinas y un estadio, están utilizando menos cemento y más madera. Cuentan con paneles solares y vegetación sobre sus azoteas.

También se espera que los nuevos edificios tengan una vida que vaya mucho más allá del evento deportivo. Están diseñados para que los residentes locales los usen en las próximas décadas y, según los dirigentes del comité organizador de París 2024, para revitalizar los suburbios de la ciudad. “Nos planteamos objetivos que nunca se habían planteado para ningún evento anterior, mucho menos a esta escala”, señaló Georgina Grenon, quien se encarga de los esfuerzos medioambientales de los Juegos Olímpicos.

Los críticos objetan que aunque es admirable gran parte de lo que está haciendo París, sobre todo las restricciones a nuevas construcciones, para combatir la crisis climática se requiere algo más que reducir emisiones aquí y allá. “Tenemos que replantearnos fundamentalmente estos megaeventos”, señaló Cesar Dugats, cofundador de un grupo de análisis climático llamado Eclaircies. “En vez de concentrar todos los eventos en una sola ciudad, podría considerarse distribuirlos en todo el mundo”.

Los Juegos Olímpicos se enfrentan a un riesgo más inmediato: el cambio climático en si mismo. El aumento de la temperatura global está haciendo que los veranos de París sean tan calurosos que impliquen un peligro. Eso ha incrementado las inquietudes sobre cómo proteger a los atletas y a los aficionados a fines de julio y principios de agosto.

Las autoridades de la ciudad afirmaron que durante los últimos años se han plantado miles de árboles para atenuar el calor del verano. Están erigiendo torres que emiten llovizna para que se esparza por el aire. Se pretende instalar amplias sombrillas debajo de las cuales puedan esperar los aficionados. “Tenemos soluciones, nos estamos preparando”, comentó Dan Lert, vicealcalde encargado de preparar la ciudad para el calor. “Es una gran prueba”.

Cuando se trata de emisiones, el transporte es otro dolor de cabeza. París ya ha estado restringiendo el espacio para los automóviles y le ha concedido áreas a las bicicletas, y está usando estos Juegos Olímpicos para acelerar ese cambio.

Pero las olimpiadas, con sus enormes multitudes, suscitan un problema para los medios de transporte usados por los parisinos y muchos están haciendo planes para irse de vacaciones y huir del evento.

Pierre Rabadan, un exjugador de rugby que ahora es vicealcalde en el área de deportes de la ciudad, se encogió de hombros para protegerse del viento y salió con paso enérgico de la parada del tranvía que está frente al nuevo estadio de baloncesto de la ciudad, sobre la calle de la Chapelle. Señaló una ciclovía casi terminada que corre a lo largo de la calle, construida en una amplia avenida que solía estar dedicada a los automóviles.

Desde la elección de Anne Hidalgo como alcaldesa en 2014, París ha añadido casi 600 kilómetros de carriles para bicicleta. Cerca del 10 por ciento se han denominado como “olimpistas”.

“El problema es que construimos la ciudad en torno a los automóviles”, explicó Rabadan.

Otro problema es que el sistema del metro de la ciudad está desbordado. Los vagones ya van repletos y los trabajadores se apresuran para terminar las nuevas ampliaciones de dos de las líneas con el fin de que estén listas para los Juegos Olímpicos.

Con el fin de brindarles espacio a los asistentes, las autoridades han exhortado a la población a no usar los vagones o a trabajar desde casa.

Según Grenon, los Juegos Olímpicos proporcionan “un laboratorio”, sobre todo en el caso de edificios diseñados desde cero.

Un nuevo centro acuático, al final de una autopista en el suburbio de Saint-Denis, al norte, es una obra emblemática de pino y abeto de Douglas. Su techo de 5000 metros cuadrados dibuja una curva como si fuera una ola: los arquitectos la diseñaron de ese modo para reducir el tamaño del edificio y disminuir la energía que se requiere para calentar el espacio.

La piscina tiene 5 metros de profundidad solo en la parte necesaria para clavados de mayor profundidad y es menos profunda donde no se necesita. Eso también ahorra agua y la energía que se requiere para calentarla. Parte de ese calor vendrá de un centro de datos cercano. Los 5000 asientos del recinto están fabricados con plástico reciclado.

El objetivo, según señaló la arquitecta Cécilia Gross, fue “hacer más con menos”.

Léontine Gallois colaboró con reportería desde París.

Somini Sengupta es la reportera internacional del equipo climático del Times. Más de Somini Sengupta

Catherine Porter es reportera internacional del Times y cubre Francia. Está radicada en París. Más de Catherine Porter

Bolsonaro enfrenta posibles cargos penales por falsificar registros de vacunación

La policía federal de Brasil recomendó que el expresidente Jair Bolsonaro sea imputado por un esquema de falsificación de su tarjeta de vacunación de la COVID-19, una acción que en parte fue cometida para viajar a Estados Unidos durante la pandemia. Este incidente es la señal más reciente de que las investigaciones penales se ciernen sobre el exmandatario.

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

Ahora los fiscales federales tendrán que decidir si siguen adelante con el caso. Si eso sucede, sería la primera vez que el expresidente se enfrentaría a cargos penales.

La policía brasileña acusó a Bolsonaro de ordenarle a uno de sus principales ayudantes que obtuviera registros falsificados de vacunación de la COVID-19 para él y su hija de 13 años, a fines de 2022, justo antes de que el expresidente viajara a Florida donde estuvo durante tres meses después de su pérdida electoral.

La policía brasileña dijo que estaba esperando una respuesta del Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos sobre si Bolsonaro utilizó una tarjeta de vacunación falsa para ingresar al país, lo que podría acarrear diferentes cargos penales. En ese momento, la mayoría de los visitantes internacionales que ingresaban a Estados Unidos estaban obligados a mostrar una prueba de vacunación de COVID-19 para poder entrar al país.

Bolsonaro ha dicho que no recibió la vacuna de la covid, pero ha negado las acusaciones de que estuviera involucrado en cualquier plan para falsificar sus registros de vacunación. Su abogado dijo en un mensaje de texto que todavía estaba revisando las acusaciones.

Si es declarado culpable de falsificar su tarjeta de vacunación, Bolsonaro podría enfrentarse a penas de prisión.

La acusación de la policía federal es la primera vez en que las diversas investigaciones penales sobre Bolsonaro han avanzado hasta la fase de formular cargos.

Bolsonaro ha sido objeto de interrogatorios y registros como parte de varias investigaciones, incluida la venta de relojes y joyas que recibió como regalos presidenciales de Arabia Saudita y otros países, así como las acusaciones de que trabajó con altos funcionarios gubernamentales para fraguar un plan con el fin de tratar de aferrarse al poder tras su derrota en las elecciones de 2022.

El Tribunal Superior Electoral de Brasil ya ha declarado a Bolsonaro inelegible para ocupar cargos públicos hasta 2030 por difundir información falsa sobre los sistemas de votación de Brasil en la televisión estatal, lo que impide su participación en la próxima contienda presidencial de 2026.

Durante la pandemia, Bolsonaro criticó la vacuna de la covid con bromas en las que decía que convertiría a la gente en cocodrilos y también promovió tratamientos no probados, como la hidroxicloroquina, un fármaco contra la malaria.

Su gobierno titubeó en obtener las vacunas cuando se empezaron a distribuir, lo que agravó la pandemia en Brasil, según una investigación del Congreso del país que recomendó en 2021 que se acusara al expresidente de “crímenes contra la humanidad”, entre otros cargos, por su actuación durante la pandemia.

En ese momento, los fiscales no presentaron cargos contra el líder político. Más de 700.000 personas han muerto en Brasil a causa de la covid, lo que lo convierte en el segundo país con mayor número de víctimas mortales después de Estados Unidos.

En mayo de 2023, la policía registró la casa de Bolsonaro, confiscó su celular y detuvo a uno de sus ayudantes más cercanos y a dos de sus guardias de seguridad como parte de la investigación sobre los registros falsos de vacunación.

En una denuncia presentada el martes, la policía federal de Brasil dijo que los registros mostraban que el ayudante personal de Bolsonaro, el teniente coronel Mauro Cid, y su esposa, usaron tarjetas de vacunación falsas para entrar en Estados Unidos en el año 2022. Cid, que fue arrestado el año pasado como parte de la investigación, le dijo a la policía que cuando Bolsonaro se enteró de que tenía una tarjeta de vacunación falsa, le ordenó que también le consiguiera una, según dijo la policía.

La policía también dijo que los registros muestran que el 21 de diciembre de 2022, un funcionario en un suburbio de Río de Janeiro introdujo registros falsos en la base de datos sanitarios de la ciudad que decían que Bolsonaro y su hija habían recibido dos dosis de la vacuna de Pfizer a principios de ese año. Los funcionarios policiales dijeron que durante una de las dos fechas en las que los registros mostraban que Bolsonaro recibió una vacuna, el expresidente no estaba en ese suburbio de Río de Janeiro.

Además de Cid, según la policía, otros aliados del expresidente falsificaron registros de vacunación en un esquema similar, algunos de los cuales utilizaron los registros para acompañar a Bolsonaro a Estados Unidos. La policía también recomendó presentar cargos contra ellos.

Bolsonaro pasó sus tres primeros meses tras dejar la presidencia en una casa alquilada cerca de Disney World, en las afueras de Orlando.

Bolsonaro entró en Estados Unidos varias veces más mientras el país exigía a los visitantes que mostraran una prueba de vacunación, incluso para asistir a la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas y para reunirse con el presidente Joe Biden en Los Ángeles, aunque esos viajes de 2022 preceden al plan descrito por los investigadores para falsificar los registros de vacunas.

En 2021, Bolsonaro, que fue quizás el único líder mundial no vacunado en la Asamblea General de la ONU, ofreció un discurso en el que dijo que Brasil no le exigiría a la gente que se vacunara. Añadió que se había recuperado de la covid usando medicamentos que no fueron desarrollados para el tratamiento específico de la enfermedad.

“La historia y la ciencia pedirán cuentas a todos”, dijo.

Durante ese viaje, él y su comitiva tuvieron problemas para entrar en restaurantes de Nueva York que exigían una prueba de vacunación. En su lugar, publicó una foto de su equipo comiendo pizza en la acera. El ministro de Salud de Bolsonaro, que estaba mordiendo un trozo de pizza en la foto, dio positivo por COVID-19 horas después de asistir a las reuniones de la ONU.

Flávia Milhorance colaboró con reportería desde Río de Janeiro y Paulo Motoryn desde Brasilia.

Jack Nicas es el jefe de la oficina de Brasil del Times, con sede en Río de Janeiro, donde dirige la cobertura de gran parte de Sudamérica. Más de Jack Nicas


La falta de agua agravó el incendio forestal más letal de Chile, según denuncias

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

A medida que un incendio forestal arrasó con rapidez las ciudades de Viña del Mar y Quilpué en la costa del Pacífico de Chile el mes pasado, las llamas rodearon a los residentes en la calle, destruyeron casas y sobrepasaron la red de servicios públicos. Se cortó la electricidad, se interrumpieron las comunicaciones y no llegó el agua necesaria para una línea de defensa crítica: los hidrantes.

En este reportaje en video, varios bomberos y residentes de Quilpué y Viña del Mar dijeron a los reporteros de The New York Times que la escasez de agua obstaculizó los esfuerzos para salvar casas y detener el avance del fuego, lo que los obligó a tener que salir de algunos sectores de ambas ciudades.

El incendio forestal —el más mortífero de la historia de Chile, con 134 muertos y miles de casas destruidas— ardió fuera de control casi desde el principio, impulsado por unas condiciones climáticas extremas, fuertes vientos y árboles inflamables.

Según los bomberos y los residentes, la falta de agua empeoró las cosas.

Chile, un país inmerso en una prolongada sequía, se enfrenta a continuos problemas de abastecimiento de agua para combatir los incendios forestales en zonas urbanas.

En la región de Valparaíso, que incluye Viña del Mar y Quilpué, los expertos en incendios forestales afirman que el desarrollo desordenado ha hecho que las ciudades y pueblos sean especialmente vulnerables a los incendios forestales.

“Es un problema de oferta y demanda”, dijo Miguel Castillo, profesor del Laboratorio de Incendios Forestales de la Universidad de Chile, quien trabaja con las ciudades en medidas de prevención de incendios forestales.

“Esta agua muchas veces no está disponible para el combate”, dijo y agregó que el problema había persistido durante años en la región. “Ese problema ahora aumentó”.

Esval, la empresa privada que suministra agua a la región de Valparaíso, negó que hubieran problemas con los hidrantes en la zona del incendio y afirmó que el sistema local de agua trabajó a plena capacidad.

Mientras el fuego hacía estragos, Esval dijo que había reducido el suministro de agua fuera de la zona del incendio para reforzar la presión del sistema.

Daniel Garín, un funcionario con experiencia, quien ha trabajado durante 13 años en el cuerpo de bomberos de Quilpué, le dijo al Times que los problemas de presión del agua y los hidrantes fuera de servicio ya existían antes del incendio de febrero.

A principios de enero, después de que un supermercado se incendiara en Viña del Mar, el jefe de bomberos de la ciudad, Patricio Brito, declaró a una estación de televisión local que no había agua en los hidrantes, diciendo: “La verdad es que el agua en este sector es nulo, nulo”.

Un diputado local, Andrés Celis Montt, dijo que era necesario investigar y solucionar el “grave problema” con los hidrantes antes de la temporada alta de incendios forestales, que en Chile suele durar hasta abril.

El 2 de febrero, en el barrio El Olivar de Viña del Mar, Yanet Alarcón dijo que vio con impotencia cómo el fuego se acercaba y la manguera de agua que estaba usando para rociar su casa de dos pisos se secó. Tuvo que huir, y su casa fue consumida por el fuego.

“Cuando yo pasé todavía había una llama aquí. Había llamas adentro, de hecho focos de llamas dentro”, dijo Alarcón entre lágrimas.

En Quilpué, Mauricio Miranda dijo que los bomberos no habían podido encontrar agua en los hidrantes cercanos y se quedaron detenidos esperando a que llegaran suministros mientras su casa ardía.

“Cuando llegamos después del incendio, la casa estaba consumida y no había nada de agua dentro. Eso significaba que los bomberos no tiraron agua”, dijo.

Miranda y una decena de familias del barrio de Canal Chacao dijeron que tenían previsto reunirse con Esval para solicitar una indemnización, alegando que el hecho de que la empresa no suministrara suficiente agua a los hidrantes provocó la destrucción de sus hogares.

Arijeta Lajka y Kristen Williamson colaboraron con este reportaje.

Brent McDonald es corresponsal sénior de video para el Times en Washington. Produce cortos documentales, reportajes en video e investigaciones visuales. Más de Brent McDonald