Evacuations from Sudan
The U.S. evacuated its diplomats from Sudan yesterday, starting an exodus of foreign diplomats from the country as fighting there stretched into a second week.
Officials said almost 100 people — mostly U.S. Embassy employees — were evacuated by helicopters that arrived from Djibouti, where the U.S. has a base. More than 100 special operations troops were involved in the operation. Within hours after the U.S. announced the move, a swell of countries, including France, Britain and Germany, followed suit.
India said that it had two military aircraft and a naval vessel on standby to prepare for the evacuation of its citizens. China issued a notice via its embassy in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, asking its citizens to register if they wanted to be rescued.
As helicopters and planes swept away foreigners, Sudanese citizens continued to flee. They often face greater risks than diplomats or aid workers, and many have been trying to leave through land borders, but the journeys are dangerous.
Sudan’s challenges: Many of those still stranded in their homes in Khartoum are without electricity, food or water. The health care system is on the verge of a breakdown, medical workers say.
Context: The evacuations came on the ninth day of brutal fighting between the Sudanese Army and a paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces, whose leaders are vying for supremacy. At least 400 people have been killed in the violence and more than 3,500 injured, according to the U.N.
China rewrites the Covid-19 story
It is well documented that China muzzled scientists, hindered international investigations and censored online talk about Covid-19. But Beijing’s censorship goes far deeper than even many pandemic researchers are aware of.
Chinese researchers have withheld data, withdrawn genetic sequences from public databases and altered crucial details in journal submissions, shaking the foundations of shared scientific knowledge, a Times investigation found. Western journal editors enabled those efforts by agreeing to those edits or by withdrawing papers for murky reasons.
Notably, in early 2020, a team of scientists from the U.S. and China released data on the coronavirus, which showed how quickly the virus was spreading and who was dying. But days later, the researchers quietly withdrew the paper.
It’s now clear that the paper was withdrawn at Beijing’s direction amid a crackdown on science, starving doctors and policymakers of critical information about the virus when it was most needed.
Analysis: The censorship helped China control the narrative about the early days of the pandemic, especially the timeline of early infections. Beijing has faced criticism over whether it responded to the virus quickly enough.
An assassination in Myanmar
A rebel group in Myanmar claimed responsibility for the assassination of a high-ranking election official for the military junta. The attack on Saturday, by bicycle-riding gunmen, came as violence escalated on both sides of the country’s internal conflict.
The official, Sai Kyaw Thu, was fatally shot while he was driving his wife to her job in Yangon. He had worked on elections before the 2021 coup and had testified at the trial of the ousted civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and the ousted president, U Win Myint. The junta convicted them of election fraud.
The resistance group, “For the Yangon,” targeted him for his testimony and accused him of being complicit in “oppressing and terrorizing” the public. The killing is one of several recent high-profile assassinations. It comes as the junta faces growing resistance from pro-democracy forces and ethnic rebel groups, which have long fought for autonomy.
Recent context: The military has responded in recent months with an increasing number of atrocities, including the beheading, disembowelment or dismemberment of rebel fighters, as well as attacks on civilians.
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The War in Ukraine
For centuries, families in the Belgian town of Geel have taken in people with mental illnesses. The approach has often been regarded with suspicion, but more recently the town has come up for reconsideration as an emblem of a humane alternative to neglect or institutionalization.
Lives lived: Bruce Haigh, an Australian diplomat, helped offer covert support to anti-apartheid figures in South Africa. He died at 77.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Women inspiring women
T magazine asked 33 mid- and late-career female artists (the majority of them over 45 years old) to identify a younger female creative person who inspired them. The artists didn’t have to know each other or even be in the same field.
Hanya Yanagihara, the editor in chief of T, wrote that she was struck by how many of these artists’ younger counterparts saw the lives of those who picked them as models of self-possession and assuredness, even as the older artists themselves claim this wasn’t the case.
For instance, both Margaret Cho, 54, and Atsuko Okatsuka, 34, imagined each other was born confident. But it took years for each to find her voice.
“I had a hard time understanding, or committing to, artistic integrity, whereas Atsuko already has the presentation down,” Cho said. “She knows who she is. She has a strong sense of self that took me a long time to develop.”