Your Monday Briefing: U.S. Lawmakers Visit Taiwan
Good morning. We’re covering a visit by U.S. lawmakers to Taiwan and Salman Rushdie’s road to recovery.
In this photo from the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a diplomat from the ministry greeted the U.S. delegation. Credit…Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, via Associated Press
More U.S. lawmakers visit Taiwan
A delegation of five U.S. lawmakers arrived in Taiwan yesterday. Their visit came less than two weeks after a contentious trip by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, which infuriated Beijing and provoked Chinese military drills off Taiwan’s coast.
Taiwanese officials said they appreciated the U.S. show of solidarity during the escalating tensions with Beijing. The U.S. delegation planned to meet today with Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s president, and consult with the foreign affairs and national defense committees of Taiwan’s legislature, Taiwan said.
China had no immediate response, but the presence of the five U.S. lawmakers so soon after Pelosi’s visit was likely to elicit a sharp reaction and possibly inspire more military exercises, analysts said.
Context: After Pelosi’s visit, Beijing fired five missiles into waters that are part of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, a warning to Japan and to the U.S. about coming to Taiwan’s aid in the event of a conflict there. Last week, China wrapped up live-fire exercises that encircled the island and simulated a blockade. But Taiwan appeared undeterred, and China went easy on its economy.
Salman Rushdie is recovering
After Salman Rushdie was stabbed roughly 10 times on Friday during a speech, “the road to recovery has begun,” his agent said yesterday. Rushdie was taken off a ventilator and could speak a few words.
A 24-year-old man was charged with attempted murder and assault with a weapon. Prosecutors said the attack was premeditated and targeted.
Rushdie has been living relatively openly after years of a semi-clandestine existence that followed the publication of his novel “The Satanic Verses,” which fictionalized parts of the life of the Prophet Muhammad. In 1989, about six months after the book came out, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then the leader of Iran, issued an edict known as a fatwa that ordered Muslims to kill Rushdie.
Details: Because of the attack, the author may lose an eye, has a damaged liver and has severed nerves in his arm, his agent said.
Our Coverage of the Russia-Ukraine War
- On the Ground: A series of explosions that Ukraine took credit for rocked a key Russian air base in Kremlin-occupied Crimea. Russia played down the extent of the damage, but the evidence available told a different story.
- Heavy Losses: The staggeringly high rate of Russian casualties in the war means that Moscow may not be able to achieve one of his key objectives: seizing the entire eastern region of Ukraine.
- Nuclear Shelter: The Russian military is using а nuclear power station in southern Ukraine as a fortress, as fighting intensifies in the region. The risk of a catastrophic nuclear accident has led the United Nations to sound the alarm and plead for access to the site to assess the situation.
- Starting Over: Ukrainians forced from their hometowns by Russia’s invasion find some solace, and success setting up businesses in new cities.
Background: In 1991, the Japanese translator of “The Satanic Verses” was fatally stabbed. The crime remains unsolved. The novel’s Italian translator, its Norwegian publisher and a Turkish novelist who published an excerpt all survived attempts on their lives.
A year of Taliban rule
A year into Taliban rule, Afghanistan has seemed to hurtle backward in time, my colleagues write in an analysis. For many Afghans — particularly women in cities — the sense of loss has been devastating.
Two decades of U.S.-financed reforms have been reversed by mounting restrictions on daily life, enforced by police-state tactics like door-to-door searches and arbitrary arrests. Schools and jobs are again restricted for women. Music has been banned, and beards are mandatory for men — an echo of the Taliban’s first rule in the 1990s.
“Now it’s gone — all of it,” said Zakia Zahadat, 24, who used to work in a government ministry after she earned a college degree. She is mostly confined to her home these days, she said. “We have lost the power to choose what we want.”
International isolation is exacerbating Afghanistan’s economic and humanitarian crisis, which may deepen after U.S. officials accused the Taliban of harboring the leader of Al Qaeda this month. But the country has been better off in one way: It is largely at peace after decades of war that upended the lives of rural Afghans in particular.
Background: Here are photos from the Taliban’s offensive last year, with context and reflections from our Kabul bureau chief.
Profiles: A group of Afghan employees from our Kabul bureau are adjusting after their evacuation to the U.S. Their new lives are challenging but full of opportunities.
THE LATEST NEWS
A gunman fired several shots inside Canberra Airport yesterday, grounding flights in Australia’s capital city. No injuries were reported.
Five state-run Chinese companies, collectively worth hundreds of billions of dollars, will delist from U.S. stock exchanges amid diplomatic tensions.
The Times looked at how Sri Lankans ousted the Rajapaksa family.
The War in Ukraine
Here are live updates.
Fears of a nuclear accident are rising at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine, as Russian shelling continues nearby. An employee died after shells struck his home, and the West called for a demilitarized zone around the plant.
Ukrainians, armed with new long-range weapons from the West, are striking deep behind Russia’s lines of defense.
U.S. officials said that Russia was suffering heavy casualties in Ukraine, which could foil its plans to seize the entire eastern region this year.
Amid sanctions, Russia’s gross domestic product fell 4 percent from April through June compared with last year.
At least 41 people were killed after a fire broke out in an Egyptian Coptic Orthodox church in greater Cairo yesterday.
At least eight people were injured in a shooting in Jerusalem early yesterday. Israeli authorities described the incident as a terrorist attack.
Kenyans are still waiting for results from a presidential election last week. “People are so tense that they cannot even think straight,” a hospital nurse said.
Norway killed Freya, a walrus who had spent weeks lounging on Oslo’s piers. Officials said she became a threat to human safety and moving her was “too high risk.”
President Biden is poised to sign landmark legislation that will lower the cost of prescription drugs, extend health care subsidies and put billions of dollars toward climate and energy programs.
A lawyer for Donald Trump told investigators in June that all classified material at his Mar-a-Lago residence had been returned. But last week’s search turned up more.
Officials are growing concerned that TikTok, and other Chinese-owned apps, could leak Americans’ data to Beijing. And election misinformation is thriving on the app before the midterms.
Some Asian American voters feel overlooked by Democrats despite the group’s growing electoral power.
A Morning Read
Anime idealizes intimacy and romance, but tends to be notably coy in its depictions of physical encounters.
A hug, therefore, has thus taken on symbolic importance, Maya Phillips writes in a video-filled essay. It often is a different kind of consummation, especially when characters embrace as they fall through the air.
ARTS AND IDEAS
The fate of the “comfort women”
The photographer Tsukasa Yajima, known for his stark, poignant portraits of the former sex slaves for Japan’s soldiers in World War II, has won praise for blowing the whistle on South Korea’s treatment of “comfort women.” But it has also come at a cost.
Recently, he exposed subpar conditions at South Korea’s best-known shelter for those survivors, the House of Sharing, where he runs its international outreach program. Along with South Korean employees, Yajima exposed how donations meant for survivors’ welfare were enriching South Korea’s biggest and most powerful Buddhist order, Jogye.
An investigation by a joint panel of government officials and civilian experts confirmed most of the whistle-blowers’ accusations and more, and it lead to criminal indictments. Angry donors have sued the House of Sharing.
Yajima, a Japanese national, has borne the brunt of a backlash from past and present shelter employees. The whistle-blowers face dozens of defamation and other lawsuits; four of them quit last month, complaining about harassment. But Yajima has insisted on staying on.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
Yotam Ottolenghi has made thousands of meringues. This pavlova is his favorite.
To stay cool with style, use an Ankara hand fan.
What to Read
“On Java Road,” a new thriller by Lawrence Osborne, chronicles a mysterious disappearance amid Hong Kong protests.
Now Time to Play
Play today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: “Brain fart” (five letters).
Here are today’s Wordle and today’s Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Amelia
P.S. The National Association of Black Journalists gave Dean Baquet, The Times’s former executive editor, its lifetime achievement award.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
You can reach Amelia and the team at [email protected].