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The first week of August 2022 as seen by the New York Times

August 01

Why Was Joshua Held for More Than Two Years for Someone Else’s Crimes?

Honolulu incarcerated the wrong man for more than two years — a miscarriage of justice that shows the cruel inadequacy of America’s approach to mental health.

Ukraine’s president urged hundreds of thousands of people living in the east to start leaving. David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

Zelensky urges a mass evacuation

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, urged civilians in the eastern Donbas region to evacuate. The more people leave the Donetsk region now, he said, “the fewer people the Russian Army will have time to kill.”
His statement is the first time the Ukrainian government has issued such a broad evacuation order. By doing so before winter, Kyiv sought to give people time to move — and to prevent an unmanageable crisis later. Russian bombardment has destroyed key infrastructure needed to deliver heat and electricity.
Zelensky’s comments followed the killing of Ukrainian prisoners of war in an explosion on Thursday at a detention facility in the Russian-occupied part of Donetsk. At least 50 prisoners were killed. Many of them had surrendered after the Russian siege of the Mariupol steelworks and were considered national heroes in Ukraine.
Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for the explosion, with the Ukrainian authorities calling for an international investigation. Russia said yesterday that it would allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit the site, but the organization said it had still not been granted access, adding that this was an obligation under international law.
Context: The Russians control around 60 percent of Donetsk, and Ukrainian officials have warned that Moscow will step up efforts to take the rest of the region, as it moves ahead with plans to annex much of Ukraine.
Analysis: Ukrainians have stabilized eastern defensive lines, and Moscow has failed to make significant advances in weeks. But Russian strikes continue to kill civilians daily, and hundreds of thousands still live in Donetsk.
Nancy Pelosi said she was eager for Congress to be part of President Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy. Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times

Nancy Pelosi may soon visit Taiwan

Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House speaker, has embarked on a closely watched tour of several Asian countries.
Biden administration officials said they expected her trip to include a stop in Taiwan, which would be the highest-level visit by an American official in 25 years. But Pelosi has not said whether she will go to the self-governing island.
Speculation about that possibility has jangled nerves in both Beijing and Washington. China, which considers Taiwan its territory, has issued increasingly sharp warnings in recent days that a Pelosi visit would provoke a response, perhaps a military one.
Administration officials have conceded that they do not know the extent to which China is willing to risk a confrontation.
Details: Pelosi had proposed a trip to Taiwan earlier this year. (It was postponed because she contracted the coronavirus.) She was expected to arrive in Singapore today, and she has said that she will also visit Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.
Background: The Biden administration has grown increasingly worried that China’s leader, Xi Jinping, might try to move against Taiwan within the next year and a half. During a two-hour phone call on Thursday, Xi warned Biden against “playing with fire” on Taiwan, according to a Chinese government statement that did not explicitly mention Pelosi.
Military: In the past year, China’s military planes have increasingly probed Taiwan’s airspace. In June, Beijing raised the stakes by declaring jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait. And on Saturday, China’s military said it would conduct drills with live ammunition off Fujian Province, about 80 miles from Taiwan.
A memorial at the spot where Alika Ogorchukwu was killed. Chiara Gabrielli/Associated Press

A brutal killing shocks Italy

A disabled Nigerian street vendor in Italy was beaten to death on Friday. Witnesses filmed the afternoon attack, which happened on a major shopping street and lasted less than four minutes. But no one intervened.
The murder of Alika Ogorchukwu has shocked Italians. Videos have been shared thousands of times on social media, and editorials in major newspapers lamented the “dusk of civilization.” The attack spawned fresh debate over racism, but investigators said they do not believe the crime was racially motivated.
Politicians have also denounced the crime. But concerns have emerged that the murder could be used as a sparring point ahead of national elections in September; the right-wing coalition has already singled out immigration as an issue.
Attack: Ogorchukwu unsuccessfully pitched his wares to an Italian, Filippo Ferlazzo, and his girlfriend. Then, Ogorchukwu walked away. Ferlazzo followed him and used Ogorchukwu’s crutch to beat him to death.
Region: The attack happened in Civitanova Marche, a seaside town on the Adriatic Coast. In February 2018, a right-wing sympathizer shot and wounded six African immigrants in nearby Macerata. Two years earlier, a Nigerian man was killed in Fermo, which lies just to the south, after he tried to defend his wife from racist slurs.

August 02

Ayman al-Zawahri, shown here in 1998, was described by an Obama administration official as “the ideological leader of the modern global jihad.”AP Photo/Mazhar Ali Khan

U.S. strike kills Al Qaeda’s leader

A U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan killed Ayman al-Zawahri, the top leader of Al Qaeda and a key plotter of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He took over Al Qaeda after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.
“Justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more,” President Biden said in an address to Americans last night.
The strike, in the heart of downtown Kabul over the weekend, was the first U.S. attack in Afghanistan since American forces left the country last year. The Taliban condemned the operation. Here are live updates.
Legacy: Zawahri, 71, was born in Egypt and trained as a surgeon before becoming a jihadist. He profoundly shaped Al Qaeda and its terrorist movements with his writing and arguments. He was widely depicted as the organization’s intellectual spine, but his death is likely to have little impact on the group’s day-to-day operations.
Politics: The strike is a significant victory for the Biden administration’s counterterrorism efforts, bolstering the president’s argument that the U.S. can still fight terrorist organizations without major deployments of ground forces.
Context: The U.S. claims that the Taliban violated a peace agreement by letting al-Zawahri into Afghanistan. The Taliban claims the U.S. violated a peace agreement by conducting the strike.
Ukraine’s agriculture minister said last week that there was $10 billion worth of grain stored in the country. Photo by Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times. Video by the United Nations.

Ukraine resumes grain shipments

A ship loaded with corn left Ukraine yesterday for the first time since Russia invaded in February.
The departure of the ship raised hopes that desperately needed grain would soon reach the Middle East and Africa. It is set to be inspected in Turkish waters today before continuing on to Lebanon. There are 16 more ships waiting to leave Odesa in the coming days, a Ukrainian official said.
But the shipments may do little to ease global hunger, which has increased, fueled by wars, climate issues and the coronavirus pandemic. In the Horn of Africa, for instance, a four-year drought has left 18 million people facing severe hunger.
Background: A Russian blockade has prevented Ukraine from exporting roughly 20 million tons of grain. Last month, Turkey and the U.N. brokered an agreement with Ukraine and Russia to restart exports. Here are details on the deal.
Warning: Citing the war and tensions over North Korea and Iran, António Guterres, the U.N. secretary general, said that humanity was “just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.”
Fighting: Russia has turned Europe’s largest nuclear power plant into a fortress. Local residents worry that shelling could lead to a radiation leak.
American officials told Nancy Pelosi that a stop in Taiwan might instigate a response from China that could escalate out of control. Anna Rose Layden for The New York Times

A standoff over Pelosi’s trip

The U.S. warned China yesterday not to respond with military provocations to an expected trip to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi, the U.S. House speaker, has not confirmed that she plans to visit the self-governing island on a closely watched tour to Asia. But all indications suggest that she will visit, perhaps as early as this evening.
American officials sought to reassure Beijing that such a visit would not be the first of its kind nor represent any change in policy toward the region. Nothing about a potential visit “would change the status quo,” John Kirby, a National Security Council spokesman, told reporters.
The U.S. also warned China to keep a cool head. “There is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit consistent with longstanding U.S. policy into some sort of crisis or conflict, or use it as a pretext to increase aggressive military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait,” Kirby said.
Analysis: Current economic and political forces may make Beijing unlikely to court a crisis.
Beijing: Xi Jinping, China’s leader, has long vowed to answer any challenge to the country’s claim to Taiwan. And the Foreign Ministry responded strongly to news of Pelosi’s possible trip, promising that China would “defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Washington: White House officials have privately expressed concern that such a visit could escalate tensions in Asia when the U.S. is already consumed with the war in Ukraine.

August 03

Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan could provoke China at a time when tensions with the U.S. are already high.Chiang Ying-Ying/Associated Press

Pelosi meets with Taiwan’s president

Nancy Pelosi met with Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s president, after visiting Taiwan’s Legislature earlier today.
In what is likely to be considered an affront in China, the U.S. House speaker is also likely to hold discussions with a number of human rights leaders this afternoon, before she departs. She said her visit to the self-governed island was a sign of the United States’ “unwavering commitment” to supporting its democracy.
The high-profile meetings set the stage for further tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as its territory. Shortly after Pelosi landed, Chinese diplomats said that her trip “seriously undermines” Beijing’s sovereignty, keeping up a growing drumbeat of anger in China toward the U.S.
And China’s military announced live-fire drills that appear to infringe on Taiwan’s territorial waters. A state news agency warned ships and aircraft away for “safety reasons.” Here are live updates.
Background: Pelosi, long a critic of China, is the highest-level U.S. official to visit the island since 1997. Tsai, Taiwan’s president, has vowed to defend its sovereignty.
Analysis: American officials said Pelosi’s visit could lead to more aggressive military posturing from China: its leader, Xi Jinping, has made it clear that unifying Taiwan with China is a primary goal.
Reaction: People in Taiwan welcomed Pelosi yesterday, displaying their growing weariness with China’s repeated threats. And Russia described the visit as “provocative,” aligning itself with Beijing.
New U.S. sanctions target several Russian billionaires. Leon Neal/Getty Images

New sanctions on Putin allies

The Biden administration announced a major new round of sanctions on Russian entities yesterday, including dozens of companies, oligarchs close to the Kremlin and technology institutions with ties to the military.
They also target a woman believed to be Vladimir Putin’s romantic partner: Alina Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast and a member of the Russian Duma.
The move blocks Kabaeva from access to any assets in the U.S. or conducting transactions with Americans, and it denies her a visa to enter the country. She is already under sanctions imposed by the E.U. and Britain.
And the move follows news of the expansion of U.S. aid to Ukraine. On Monday, the U.S. announced that it would send another $550 million in arms to Ukraine, bringing the American investment in the war effort to over $8 billion.
Toll: At least 140,000 residential buildings in Ukraine have been destroyed or damaged, leaving more than 3.5 million people homeless. Civilians are stockpiling firewood and coal in preparation for winter.
Rights: Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, raised the prospect of “civil partnerships” yesterday. The war is a catalyst: L.G.B.T.Q. soldiers are fighting for their country, but their partners lack legal rights.
At sea: Sailors usually don’t usually discuss politics. The war is testing that norm for Ukrainian and Russian crew members on commercial vessels.
“He’s not the kind of person who gives up and goes away to live a quiet life in some nice house in the country,” a biographer of Boris Johnson said.Carl Court/Getty Images

What’s next for Boris Johnson?

Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, is set to leave office in September. But few expect him to step out of the spotlight — or abandon the prospect of one day regaining his position.
Less than three weeks after he announced his resignation amid a succession of scandals, rumors have already started swirling about a possible comeback. Recently, he posed in a fighter jet, then at a military base where he hurled a hand grenade, used a machine gun and held a rocket launcher during an exercise with Ukrainian troops.
And at his final appearance in Parliament as prime minister, Johnson’s verdict on his three tumultuous years in Downing Street was “mission largely accomplished — for now,” before he signed off with words from a “Terminator” movie: “Hasta la vista, baby.”
What’s next: Either Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, or Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor of the Exchequer, will take over. Johnson’s allies expect him to try to stay in Parliament to defend his legacy and key policy initiatives.
The Killing of al-Zawahri
Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

August 04

A news broadcast in Beijing showed where China will hold military drills off Taiwan.Thomas Peter/Reuters

Taiwan prepares for Chinese drills

Taiwan is bracing for China to begin three days of live-fire military drills today after a high-profile visit to the island by Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House speaker.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own, called the drills a warning. It framed them as punishment for Pelosi’s visit, and as a shock-and-awe deterrent against opponents of Beijing’s claims to the self-ruled island.
But they may also serve as a trial run. China’s military buildup has reached a point where some military commanders and analysts think an invasion is an increasingly plausible, though still highly risky, scenario.
The six exercise zones that the People’s Liberation Army has marked out in seas off Taiwan — one nudging less than 10 miles (about 16 kilometers) off its southern coast — could give its forces valuable practice, should they one day be ordered to encircle and attack the island.
U.S.: The Biden administration is now pondering how it would respond to a slow squeeze of the island by China.
Trade: China also used its status as Taiwan’s largest trading partner to lash out, announcing new trade curbs yesterday, including suspensions on some fruit and fish imports and a ban on exports of sand, a key building material.
Geopolitics: Europe is increasingly wary about China’s human rights abuses. But its countries have mostly sought to avoid the conflict over Pelosi’s trip and do not officially support independence for Taiwan. Even Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, took a nuanced view of China’s neutrality toward the war in his country.
A Ukrainian tank in a camouflaged position in the southeast Kherson region.David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

Russian attack looms in the south

Ukraine’s military warned that Russia appears to be preparing to make an attack along the southern battlefront — the same area where the Ukrainians are pushing a counteroffensive.
Ukraine has been pushing to retake Kherson and has been recapturing territory in the occupied territory around the city. Long-range rockets, provided by the U.S., have helped it strike targets deep behind Russian lines.
A new Russian assault could lead to a pitched, seesaw battle. Moscow’s troops staged probing attacks with tanks, Ukraine said, but did not break through Ukrainian lines. Ukraine also said that Russian forces had attacked with helicopters and rocket artillery around Kherson.
Diplomacy: The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted to add Finland and Sweden to NATO yesterday.
Investigation: Five days after an explosion at a Russian prison camp killed at least 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war, Ukrainian officials said they were compiling proof that the mass slaughter was a war crime committed by Russian forces.
Energy: Olaf Scholz, Germany’s leader, showed off a refurbished turbine for the Nord Stream I pipeline from Russia. He rejected Moscow’s claim that technical problems were behind its curtailment in gas flows.
In Sri Lanka, protesters took control of the prime minister’s office last month.Atul Loke for The New York Times

Sri Lanka targets protesters

Sri Lanka’s government is cracking down on some protest leaders who organized the movement that ousted the country’s president last month.
Leading activists have been arrested, including Joseph Stalin, a teacher’s union leader, and Mahanama Thero, a Buddhist monk. Others have been slapped with travel bans. The government also ordered the clearing of the last remaining protest tents.
“It appears to be a witch hunt,” said Ambika Satkunanathan, an activist and a former human rights commissioner in Sri Lanka, who said the government was “hunting people for minor infractions to crush dissent.”
Those arrested include a protester accused of stealing the president’s official flag, another charged with stealing his beer mug, and a third said to have sat in his chair.
Background: The new president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, called some protesters a “fascist” threat when he took office and said the authorities would take action against those who had occupied government buildings.
Context: Soon after taking office, Wickremesinghe sent the police on a violent predawn raid on the protest site. Activists said that timing of the raid — just hours ahead of the protesters’ publicly declared time for vacating the area — made it clear that the president was flexing his muscles and trying to punish dissent.

August 05

“I made an honest mistake, and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn’t end my life here,” Brittney Griner said before the verdict.Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russia

A Russian court sentenced Brittney Griner, the W.N.B.A. star who has been detained in Moscow since February, to nine years in a penal colony after finding her guilty of bringing illegal drugs into Russia.
The guilty verdict, which most experts considered preordained in a legal system in which defendants are rarely acquitted, leaves Griner’s fate subject to diplomatic wrangling between Russia and the U.S. The countries have been discussing the possibility of a prisoner swap that would bring Griner home in exchange for one of the world’s most notorious arms dealers.
U.S. officials maintain that Griner was wrongly detained and that she was held as a political bargaining chip. President Biden, who called the sentence “unacceptable,” now faces a difficult choice between standing firm on his proposal to trade the arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner and another American, Paul Whelan, or sweetening the offer.
News from the war in Ukraine:
The People’s Liberation Army of China released a video that it said shows a long-range ammunition exercise.China Central TV, via Associated Press

Chinese military tests threaten Taiwan

China’s military is conducting live-fire military tests in the waters surrounding Taiwan — a show of force intended to punish the island for hosting Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, earlier this week.
At least 11 Chinese missiles struck seas north, south and east of Taiwan within 24 hours of Pelosi’s departure. The drills, some of which are being held in areas less than 10 miles from the Taiwanese coast, will also have given Chinese forces valuable practice should they one day be ordered to encircle and attack the island.
While imminent conflict is unlikely, the exercises, which are expected to last a full three days, are putting the region on edge. Tensions could escalate dangerously, especially if something goes wrong. The Japanese government said that five Chinese missiles had fallen into its exclusive economic zone, the first time any had landed in those waters.
U.S. view: American officials have expressed concern that the events could trigger an unintended confrontation between Chinese and Taiwanese forces, especially if the Chinese military launches a missile over the island, or if an incursion into disputed airspace leads to a midair conflict.
In China: On social media, many Chinese people were disappointed with Beijing’s limited response to Pelosi’s visit, especially given the government’s tough rhetoric. Some compared the military to the Chinese men’s soccer team, a laughingstock in the country because it has qualified for the World Cup only once.
Next stop: Pelosi met with political leaders in South Korea on Thursday and remained largely silent on China’s response, The Associated Press reported. The South Korean president, Yoon Suk-yeol, who is on vacation, spoke with her over the phone rather than in person — which critics saw as an intentional snub in consideration of South Korean relations with China.
The line in Los Angeles for a monkeypox vaccine.Etienne Laurent/EPA, via Shutterstock

U.S. declares monkeypox a health emergency

President Biden’s health secretary declared the growing monkeypox outbreak a national health emergency. The rare designation signals that the virus now represents a significant risk to Americans.
The declaration sets in motion measures aimed at containing the threat and gives federal agencies power to direct money toward developing and evaluating vaccines and drugs, to access emergency funding and to hire additional workers to help manage the outbreak. Earlier this week, Biden named a respected infectious disease specialist to coordinate the response from the White House — a sign that the administration was stepping up its efforts.
The U.S. now has among the highest rates of monkeypox infection in the world, and the number is expected to rise as surveillance and testing improve. As of Wednesday, the country had recorded nearly 7,000 monkeypox cases, with the highest rates per capita in Washington, D.C., New York State and Georgia. More than 99 percent of the cases are among men who have sex with men.
The background: Supplies of the monkeypox vaccine, called Jynneos, have been severely constrained, and the administration has been criticized for moving too slowly to expand the number of available doses. Demands for stronger action against monkeypox have intensified in recent weeks, but many experts fear containment may no longer be possible.
Notable: A woman was filmed without her consent in a TikTok video and accused of having monkeypox, highlighting a new form of social-media vigilantism that has emerged in the absence of government guidance.
The basics: How serious is monkeypox? We asked experts for answers about the virus.

Lisa Leutner/Reuters

Andy Rain/EPA, via Shutterstock
What Else Is Happening
  • Viktor Orban, the populist prime minister of Hungary, spoke as an opening-day headliner at a conservative event in Texas.
  • A U.S. court ordered Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist and a radio show host, to pay $4.1 million in damages to the parents of a 6-year-old killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, which Jones claimed was a hoax.
  • Scientists published the latest images from the James Webb Space Telescope, including photos of the aptly named Cartwheel galaxy.

Paulo Nunes dos Santos for The New York Times
In Ireland, the cry of the corncrake bird, thought to be loud and harsh, is a poignant reminder for older people of the advent of summer. The birds became threatened in much of Western Europe in the late 20th century, but efforts are underway to preserve its “kek kek” for new generations.

Heat waves are changing tourism in Europe

Travelers to Europe are adjusting their plans to account for high temperatures, whether by swapping out destinations, reworking their daytime schedules or delaying their trips by a month or two, according to people in the tourism industry.
Given the pace of climate change, such shifts are likely to become more common — and more necessary — in the years ahead. That’s especially true for travel to Europe, a region that climate researchers have described as a “hot spot” for severe summer heat, and where they predict that future heat waves will be longer, more frequent and more intense.
Europe’s summer travel calendar has now begun to stretch into the quieter (and cooler) months of April, May, September and October, while many travelers have started to shift their itineraries northward and toward the coasts.
Dolev Azaria, the founder of Azaria Travel, helped one family make the last-minute choice to spend the first five days of their vacation in Amsterdam instead of Rome, just to avoid the heat. Other clients scrapped their plans for Tuscany and rebooked for Sicily, where at least they would have a Mediterranean breeze.
“The goal is to move a client from any heat-trapped city to a waterfront vicinity,” Azaria said. “So places like Copenhagen and Amsterdam have come up, places that maybe our clients wouldn’t have originally chosen to go to.”

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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