The New York Times 2024-07-06 20:10:33


In the French Countryside, a Deep Discontent Takes Root

Last month, Sophie-Laurence Roy, a conservative Paris lawyer with roots in Burgundy, decided to cross the political dividing line that defined postwar France and dedicate herself to a nationalist, far-right political movement that seems poised to dominate parliamentary elections on Sunday.

“I realized I would reproach myself for the rest of my life if I did not offer my services to the great movement of change that is the National Rally,” she said as she ate a sausage of pork intestines in a cafe in Chablis, the northern Burgundy town known for its fine white wine. “It was now or never.”

So, on June 9, Ms. Roy, 68, deserted her longtime center-right political family, the Republicans, who trace their beliefs to the wartime hero Charles de Gaulle, to support Marine Le Pen’s far-right party whose quasi-fascist roots lie with the collaborationist Vichy regime against which De Gaulle fought to liberate France.

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Reformist Candidate Wins Iran’s Presidential Election

In an election upset in Iran, the reformist candidate who advocated moderate policies at home and improved relations with the West won the presidential runoff against his hard-line rival, the interior ministry said on Saturday.

The reformist candidate, Masoud Pezeshkian, 69, a cardiac surgeon, got 16.3 million votes to defeat Saeed Jalili, with 13.5 million votes. The result delivered a blow to the conservative faction and was a major victory for the reformist camp, which had been sidelined from politics for the past few years.

After polls closed at midnight, turnout stood at about 50 percent, roughly 10 percentage points higher than in the first round with about 30.5 million ballots cast, according to the interior ministry.

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After Deadly Protests, Kenyans Tell of Brutal Abductions

Reporting from Nairobi, Kenya.

One activist was taken while organizing a blood drive for wounded protesters. Another said he was snatched as he worked at home after midnight, his wife and three children sleeping nearby. A third said he was beaten and blindfolded before being tossed into the trunk of a car.

All of them said they were swept up by government security forces in Kenya over the past two weeks after they had spoken out against a contentious bill to raise taxes in the cash-strapped East African nation.

Some had participated in the wave of antigovernment protests that rocked Kenya after the bill was first introduced. At least 39 people were killed during clashes with the police in June, according to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

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Britain’s New Leader Is About to Get a Crash Course in Statecraft

Prime Minister Keir Starmer of Britain will barely get his feet under the desk in 10 Downing Street before he flies to Washington this coming week to attend a NATO summit. A week after that, he will play host to 50 European leaders at a security meeting at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

It’s a crash course in global statecraft for Mr. Starmer, Britain’s first Labour prime minister in 14 years. But it will also give him the chance to project an image of Britain that is uncharacteristic in the post-Brexit era: a stable, conventional, center-left country amid a churning tide of politically unsettled allies.

In Washington, Mr. Starmer will encounter President Biden, who is resisting calls to abandon his race for re-election because of age-related decline. He will meet with President Emmanuel Macron, whose attempt to fend off the far right in France appears to have backfired, and with Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, whose coalition has been weakened by the advance of the hard right in European Parliament elections.

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In Ukraine, Killings of Surrendering Russians Divide an American-Led Unit

Thomas Gibbons-Neff reported this article over several months during multiple assignments to Kyiv, Ukraine, and the front lines of the war.

Hours after a battle in eastern Ukraine in August, a wounded and unarmed Russian soldier crawled through a nearly destroyed trench, seeking help from his captors, a unit of international volunteers led by an American.

Caspar Grosse, a German medic in that unit, said he saw the soldier plead for medical attention in a mix of broken English and Russian. It was dusk. A team member looked for bandages.

That is when, Mr. Grosse said, a fellow soldier hobbled over and fired his weapon into the Russian soldier’s torso. He slumped, still breathing. Another soldier fired — “just shot him in the head,” Mr. Grosse recalled in an interview.

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Violence, Rape, Thirst, Even Organ Theft: Migrants Face Lethal Risks in Africa

If not left to die of dehydration or illness, migrants on the dangerous land routes through northern Africa toward the Mediterranean and Europe risk rape, torture, sex trafficking and even organ theft, according to a new report produced in part by the United Nations.

Migrant deaths on the Mediterranean have drawn global attention over the past decade, but “the number of those who die in the desert may well be at least double” those, said the report, which was released on Friday by two United Nations agencies and the Mixed Migration Centre, a nongovernmental research group based in Denmark.

Based on interviews with more than 31,000 migrants all along their routes, from 2020 to 2023, the report documents the brutality suffered by the growing number of people from dozens of countries who try to make their way across the Sahel and the Sahara, fleeing war, environmental degradation and poverty.

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