Monday, June 17

Politics

US expands sanctions against Russia during G7 leaders’ meeting
Politics

US expands sanctions against Russia during G7 leaders’ meeting

While the measures expand the scope of the U.S. sanctions program, the Biden administration has so far refrained from imposing sanctions on Chinese or European banks it believes are helping Russia. The new measures do not prevent banks from facilitating transactions related to Russia's energy exports, which the Biden administration has allowed to continue out of fear that restricting them could stoke inflation. Announcing the sanctions, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said in a statement that “Russia's war economy is deeply isolated from the international financial system, leaving the Kremlin's military desperate for access to the outside world.” At the heart of the measures is an expansion of “secondary” sanctions that give the United States the power to blacklist any bank in the wor...
Christophe Deloire, who fought for threatened journalists, has died at the age of 53
Politics

Christophe Deloire, who fought for threatened journalists, has died at the age of 53

Christophe Deloire, whose nonpartisan organization to protect journalists saved dissidents from prison and championed a diversity of viewpoints in the profession around the world, died Saturday in Paris. He was 53 years old. The cause would be complications due to brain cancer, according to Reporters Without Borders, the media group of which he has been general secretary for 12 years. Deloire, who was himself a journalist and author, lobbied publicly and worked behind the scenes to promote a free press in countries that muzzled journalists. He helped negotiate freedom for those who had been threatened with arrest, imprisoned or held hostage. In 2023, Reporters Without Borders, known by its French initials RSF, coordinated the clandestine escape of Marina Ovsyannikova, a former Rus...
How the Israeli mission to save four hostages unfolded
Politics

How the Israeli mission to save four hostages unfolded

Israeli troops have overrun much of Gaza since their ground invasion began in late October. But they managed to save only seven living hostages in three separate military operations, with around 120 prisoners remaining in Gaza. Several proposed rescue missions did not go ahead for fear that hostages or law enforcement would die in the process, according to two Israeli defense officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive operation. In December, Israeli special forces attempted to rescue a hostage from Hamas captivity, according to the two defense officials. Sahar Baruch, an Israeli hostage, was killed during the firefight and two Israeli officers were seriously injured. According to one of the defense officials, Israeli intelligence first learned that Ms. Arga...
In the rescue of the Israeli hostages, minutes made the difference
Politics

In the rescue of the Israeli hostages, minutes made the difference

In the footage, edited to blur the soldiers' faces and remove gory images, the hostages are then seen leaving the building and climbing through tree-lined terrain as gunfire erupts around them. “Hamas members shot at them,” said al-Tahrawi, the shop owner. Other militants joined the fight, according to Admiral Hagari, "running through the streets with RPGs," an acronym for rocket-propelled grenades. "There was a lot of fire around us," he said. As Ms. Argamani was approaching the beach in one vehicle, the other truck used for the rescue broke down, according to Israeli officials, who requested anonymity to discuss a clandestine operation. To provide cover for the stalled truck, officials said, the Air Force began bombing the nearby area, effectively creating a fire shield. “Suddenly I h...
In the European elections the center holds, but the far right still wreaks havoc
Politics

In the European elections the center holds, but the far right still wreaks havoc

The biggest losers of the election appear to be the Greens, who have seen their support plummet by a quarter compared to five years ago. However, the Greens, with their 53 seats, could play an important role by strengthening centrist majorities as an alternative to far-right parties. Final data from all 27 EU countries is expected to be made public early Monday morning. The results appear to have largely maintained the balance of power in the European Parliament, which approves legislation, the bloc's budget and its top leaders, including the president of the powerful European Commission, the EU's executive branch. The first test for the weak centrist majority will be the approval of the new president of the European Commission, expected in July. Von der Leyen, who was approved for her p...
Netanyahu may have to choose between a truce and the survival of his government
Politics

Netanyahu may have to choose between a truce and the survival of his government

For months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to offer a timeline for ending the war against Hamas in Gaza, a reticence that his critics see as a political tactic. But he was put in difficulty by President Biden's announcement outlining a proposed truce. Netanyahu, a conservative, has long juggled competing personal, political and national interests. Now he appears to face a difficult choice between the survival of his tough, uncompromising government and the return home of hostages held in Gaza, as he sets himself and Israel on a new course away from growing international isolation. The prime minister's critics have painted him as indecisive and say there are two Netanyahus. One, they say, functions pragmatically in the small war cabinet he has formed with some cen...
In the former Soviet states, tug of war between East and West
Politics

In the former Soviet states, tug of war between East and West

De Waal of Carnegie Europe said that while Georgia wants to stay out of the conflict in Ukraine, it “sees the war blowing more in Russia's direction. It is leaning more towards Russia as it seeks to remain non-aligned.” The Georgian government, while officially aspiring to join the European Union, a goal widely supported by the population, has used the fear of Russian retaliation to justify its refusal to join the European sanctions against Moscow. The ruling Georgian Dream party, Turmanidze said, would never say it was siding with Russia against Ukraine because “it would be political suicide,” given public hostility towards Moscow. But it has adopted measures, particularly a controversial foreign influence law that sparked weeks of street protests, that “are Russian-style,” he added. M...
18 arrested during Israeli nationalist flag march through East Jerusalem
Politics

18 arrested during Israeli nationalist flag march through East Jerusalem

“We need revenge,” said one protester, Noam Goldstein, 15, a high school student from a small Israeli settlement near the West Bank Palestinian city of Hebron. “They committed attacks against us, so we must be avenged. That doesn't mean we have to kill every last one of them." But he added: “I want all this land to be ours.” After Israel's founding in 1948, Jerusalem was divided in two: Israel controlled the city's western neighborhoods, while Jordan controlled the largely Palestinian east Jerusalem. During the 1967 Middle East War, Israel captured East Jerusalem and later annexed it, a move not recognized by most countries, which still consider it occupied territory. Tensions inflamed by the annual demonstration to commemorate the seizure of power helped spark an 11-day confl...
An Israeli airstrike unleashes chaos in a Gaza hospital
Politics

An Israeli airstrike unleashes chaos in a Gaza hospital

During The Times' visit to Al Aqsa, doctors were seen pushing through crowds of panicked people to try to reach operating rooms, delayed by the mass of people. Amid the confusion, Ms. Huster said, doctors sometimes rushed fatally injured people into operating rooms, wasting vital time for those who still had a chance of survival. Ms. Huster said most of the people she had treated in recent days were women and children. Early Thursday afternoon, after burying a friend he had pulled from the rubble of the school complex, Mr. Abu Ammar once again found himself in hospital. This time he was accompanied by his friend's brother, who he was trying to cram into a corridor near the entrance. The brother's face was cut by shrapnel and he had a deep gash in his right leg. But he wasn't the only on...
Politics

The stars sing under the stars: a global gala celebrates opera

Although much of the campaign for recognition occurred under a previous center-left government, inclusion on the list by the United Nations agency, UNESCO, was something of a coup for Italy's conservative government, the whose Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, has made it his mission to exalt Italianness. One of his projects is a museum of Italian culture, to highlight the "contribution that Italy has made to humanity", and his positions at the direction of the most important museums have favored local choices where the previous government looked for international talent. His choice in April of a director for La Scala, Milan's grand opera house, came with a statement trumpeting that the new boss, Fortunato Ortombina, was Italian, "after three foreign general directors." At Friday...