Ukraine to mount a counteroffensive
Ukrainian forces are preparing for a high-stakes counteroffensive to retake Kherson, a crucial Russian stronghold in southern Ukraine. Moscow uses the vital port city as a base to launch attacks across a large part of Ukrainian territory.
The Ukraine attack would be one of the most ambitious and significant military actions of the war. Ukraine is destroying Russian ammunition depots, hitting command posts and targeting supply lines. And Ukrainian troops have liberated 44 towns and villages along the border areas, about 15 percent of the territory, according to local officials.
The counteroffensive could change the balance of power in the south. The region is critical to Ukraine’s plan to resume grain exports across the Black Sea despite a recent Russian missile attack on the port of Odesa.
Ukraine’s economy: Fuel prices are up by 90 percent from a year ago. Food costs have surged by over 35 percent. Over all, prices have jumped by more than 21 percent, fueled by Russian attacks on critical infrastructure and the occupation of industrial and agricultural regions.
Energy: Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy giant, said it would halve the amount of natural gas it sent to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The flow of gas had already been cut to 40 percent of capacity.
“I humbly beg forgiveness,” he said to a large crowd of Indigenous people. He spoke at a site in Alberta that is notorious among survivors of abuse, and said his remarks were intended for “every Native community and person.”
Roughly 130 such facilities were gruesome centers of sexual, mental and physical abuse, forced assimilation and cultural devastation for over a century. Thousands died. The schools separated children from parents, erased languages and used Christianity as a weapon to break Indigenous cultures and communities.
Reaction: The pontiff’s apology fulfilled a critical demand of many survivors, who have long called on the Catholic Church to take responsibility for its role in running the abusive institutions. “Today means hope and healing,” one survivor said.
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Background: From the 1880s through the 1990s, Canada forcibly removed at least 150,000 Indigenous children from their homes and sent them to the schools. Catholic orders, which have only recently begun to open their archives, were responsible for running 60 percent to 70 percent of the schools.
Analysis: Francis is a critic of proselytizing and colonialism. He said he was “deeply sorry” — a remark that prompted applause and approving shouts — for the ways in which “many Christians supported the colonizing mentality of the powers that oppressed the Indigenous peoples.”
Thatcher looms large in U.K. race
Either Rishi Sunak, a former top finance official, or Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, will be the next prime minister of Britain.
Each candidate has tried to adopt the style of Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister whose right-wing policies remain popular among the Conservative voters that Sunak and Truss hope to win over. They are casting themselves as the heir to Thatcher’s free-market, low-tax, deregulatory revolution at home and her robust defense of Western democracy abroad.
But experts on Thatcher say the candidates are cherry-picking the legacy of the woman known as the Iron Lady. They are emphasizing the crowd-pleasing elements while glossing over the less appetizing ones, like tax increases in 1981, during the depths of a recession, at a time when she was determined to curb runaway inflation.
Sunak: He kicked off his campaign over the weekend in Grantham, Thatcher’s birthplace, and described his agenda as “common-sense Thatcherism.” His approach echoes Thatcher’s belief in balancing the books and her dislike of borrowing, which she viewed as a burden on future generations.
Sunak served in Boris Johnson’s government and is responsible for some of the economic policies he now proposes to sweep away.
She has even taken to wearing a silk pussy-bow blouse, a familiar Thatcher look, which could risk self-parody. Truss has rejected the comparison, which she casts as gendered.
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Ramla, a city in Israel with a mixed population of Arabs and Jews, saw sectarian riots last year. A musical composition, set in an underground reservoir that was built in the city 1,233 years ago, combines Arab love songs with Hebrew poetry and seeks to use culture to address the tensions.
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What’s in a T. rex?
In February, a team of scientists sent shock waves through the world of paleontology when it posited that Tyrannosaurus rex was actually three distinct species — T. rex, T. imperator and T. regina.
Yesterday, another group of researchers published the first peer-reviewed rebuttal, a counterattack that sets the stage for what is likely to be a king-size taxonomic debate for years to come.
The disagreement highlights a fundamental issue with dinosaur research: It is hard to differentiate prehistoric species. Without dinosaur DNA, the lines between one fossil species and another are messy. Paleontologists measure different traits, like the size and shape of a particular bone. But fossils can be misleading: Bone can distort after spending eons entombed underground.
In the meantime, neither side appears ready to surrender. The first group anticipated the rebuttal, and one author is already working on another paper.
“I don’t like flat-earthism because the evidence is against it,” he said. “It’s the same here: The evidence indicates very strongly that there are multiple species.”