June 20, 2024

Month: May 2023

Two guards stand on a dock in front of a large gray ship.
The missile cruiser Peter the Great, part of the Russian Navy’s northern fleet, at its Arctic base in Severomorsk in 2021. Russia, China and the West are all seeking to expand their military presence in the Arctic. Credit…Emile Ducke for The New York Times

As polar ice melts, Russia, already a major Arctic power, wants to make the region its own. China has ambitions for a “Polar Silk Road.” And NATO is embracing Finland — and Sweden too, Washington hopes — giving the alliance new reach in the Far North.

Climate change is accelerating and amplifying competition in the Arctic as never before, opening the region to greater commercial and strategic jostling just at a moment when Russia, China and the West are all seeking to expand their military presence there.

The rising importance of the region is underscored by the travels of Antony J. Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, who will attend an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Norway on Thursday.

Mr. Blinken is making a point of visiting Sweden and Finland as well, meeting the leaders of all three countries as they press Turkey to ratify Sweden’s quick entry into NATO. He is scheduled to deliver a major speech on Russia, Ukraine and NATO on Friday in Helsinki, the capital of NATO’s newest member.

For a long time, countries were reluctant to discuss the Arctic as a possible military zone. But that is quickly changing.

Russian aggression plus climate change make “a perfect storm,” said Matti Pesu, an analyst at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. There is a new Cold War atmosphere, mixed with melting ice, which affects military planning and opens up new economic possibilities and access to natural resources.

Two men shake hands at the bottom of the stairs to an airplane.
Tobias Billstrom, the foreign minister of Sweden, welcoming Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday. Credit…TT News Agency/via Reuters

“So all these are connected and are magnifying each other,” Mr. Pesu said. “It makes the region intriguing.”

While NATO has been cheered by Russia’s difficulties in Ukraine, the alliance in fact has significant vulnerabilities in the north.

Russia remains a vast Arctic power, with naval bases and nuclear missiles stationed in the Far North but also along Russia’s western edge: in the Kola Peninsula, near Norway, where Russia keeps most of its nuclear-armed submarines, and in Kaliningrad, bordered by Poland and Lithuania.

change, shipping routes are becoming less icebound and easier to navigate, making the Arctic more accessible and attractive for competitive commercial exploitation, as well as military adventurism.

Russia has said it wants to make the Arctic its own — a fifth military district, on a par with its other four — said Robert Dalsjo, research director at the Swedish Defense Research Agency.

China has also been busy trying to establish itself in the region and use new unfrozen routes, one reason the NATO considers China a significant security challenge.

In its most recent strategy paper, adopted last summer in Madrid, NATO declared Russia to be “the most significant and direct threat to allies’ security and to peace and stability,” but for the first time addressed China, saying that its “stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security and values.”

How to create a “northern bubble” to deter Russia and monitor China is one of NATO’s newest and biggest challenges.

In response to NATO’s enlargement, “Russia is putting increasing emphasis on the Arctic, where they’re stronger and less surrounded by NATO,” said Mr. Pesu of the Finnish Institute. Russia may have drawn down its troops to fight in Ukraine, but retains its air power, northern fleet, nuclear submarines and nuclear-armed missiles in the northern realms.

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Rows of colorful houses in a snowy coastal landscape.
Longyearbyen, Norway, in 2022. Fearing the Russian threat, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark are merging their air forces, creating one with more planes than either Britain or France.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

“So it remains a pretty urgent concern,” he said. Finland, Sweden and Norway “see this most urgently,” even if some in NATO do not, he said. As a consequence, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark have decided to merge their air forces, creating one with more planes than either Britain or France.

Until now, competition in the region was largely mediated through the Arctic Council, founded in 1996, which includes Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States, and promotes research and cooperation.

But it does not have a security component, and soon all members but Russia will be NATO members. The council has been “paused” since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. When Russia’s chairmanship ended in May, Norway took over, so activity may pick up again.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 caused rethinking throughout NATO, and there was new anxiety about the Baltic States — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — combined with submarine hunts in Sweden and more serious war gaming, said Anna Wieslander, the director for Northern Europe at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based research institution.

Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, then the supreme allied commander Europe, called for “an anti-access area denial” — to deny Russia entry to the Baltic Sea from Kaliningrad, the isolated Russian toehold with access to the sea.

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Camouflaged soldiers conduct a training exercise in front of two tanks.
Swedish Army conscripts during a training exercise on the island of Gotland, Sweden, last year. A NATO command created in 2018 defends the Atlantic sea routes, Scandinavia and the Arctic.Credit…Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
Washington started reinvesting militarily in the Arctic then with more ships, planes and military exercises, as did other NATO countries in the region. In 2018 NATO went so far as to set up a new operational command — a kind of regional headquarters that plans and conducts military operations to defend specific areas of NATO. The new command, based in Norfolk, Va., is navy-focused and defends the Atlantic sea routes, Scandinavia and the Arctic.

There remains a concern that China, which now has even closer ties to Russia, remains active in the Far North, building big icebreakers. “China will reach Europe through the Arctic,” Ms. Wieslander said.

One main question is whether the real Russian threat to Scandinavia will come from the sea, as Norway fears, or from the land, with a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States or Finland, then a move westward.

Both Finland and Sweden, when it joins, want to be part of the same NATO operational command, given their long history of defense cooperation.

Norway belongs to the Norfolk command, and there is a logic to making both Finland and Sweden part of that command, since reinforcements would likely come from the West, across the Atlantic.

But there is perhaps more logic, given the current threat from Russia, for them to join the land-oriented command based in Brunssum, the Netherlands, which is charged with defending Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland and the Baltic nations.

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Icebergs near Kulusuk, Greenland, in 2019. Climate change is opening new sea routes and economic possibilities in the Arctic.
Credit…Felipe Dana/Associated Press

“There is logic for both,” said Niklas Granholm, deputy director of studies at the Swedish Defense Research Agency. “It’s not yet resolved.”

According to the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, NATO is recommending putting both countries in the Brunssum command, despite Finland’s early interest in being part of Norfolk, which Sauli Niinisto, Finland’s president, visited in March.

That’s because it is easier for Finland to be reinforced from Norway and Sweden, Mr. Pesu, the Finnish Institute analyst, noted.

The fear is that a modernized Russian Northern Fleet could swing down through the straits between Greenland, Iceland and Britain, a move known in NATO as a “red right hook,” to cut sea lanes and underwater cables and threaten the American East Coast with cruise missiles.

Mr. Dalsjo of the Swedish Defense Research Agency, calling himself a heretic, cautions in a recent paper that this threat is real but may be overblown, especially after Russia’s losses in Ukraine.

Russia is predominantly a land power, and its northern fleet is considerably smaller than it was during the Cold War, when there were worries about the kind of major Soviet naval attack depicted in the Tom Clancy novel “Red Storm Rising.”

“If they didn’t do it then with 150 ships,” Mr. Dalsjo asked, “why would they do it now with 20?”

Police officers photographed from the rear in front of large apartment buildings.
Police officers stood outside several apartment buildings damaged after a drone attack in Moscow on Tuesday. Credit…Kirill Kudryavtsev/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A day after a drone strike on Moscow, Kremlin officials jumped on the refusal of Ukrainian allies to denounce the attack as proof that Russia’s real war was with the West.

The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said Russia “would have preferred to hear at least some words of condemnation” from Western capitals.

“We will calmly and deliberately think how to deal with this,” he said.

While none of Ukraine’s allies went so far as to endorse the drone attack, Britain’s foreign secretary said on Tuesday that Kyiv had “the right to project force beyond its borders.”

The U.S. response was more circumspect, but it stopped short of criticizing the first military strike to hit civilian areas in the Russian capital since the start of the war. Ukraine officials have said they were not “directly involved” in the drone strike.

From the outset of the conflict, Russia has portrayed the invasion of Ukraine as a defensive war provoked by the West, and on Wednesday it seized on the attack.

Dmitri A. Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s national security council and a former president, said Britain “de facto is leading an undeclared war against Russia” by providing Ukraine with military aid and called it “our eternal enemy.”

Known since the war began for staking out extreme positions, Mr. Medvedev argued that now any British official “can be considered as a legitimate military target.”

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A man sitting at a desk in front of papers, next to a flag.
Dmitri A. Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s national security council, accused Britain of “leading an undeclared war against Russia.”Credit…Ekaterina Shtukina/Sputnik

The Russian ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov, called the U.S. refusal to condemn the attack “an encouragement for Ukrainian terrorists,” his embassy said on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia has repeatedly hit civilian areas of Ukraine over the course of the war, though it has denied targeting nonmilitary sites. And in recent weeks it has turned up the barrage of missiles and attack drones aimed at Kyiv, the capital. Thousands of Ukrainian civilians, including children, have been killed in Russian airstrikes and artillery bombardments, U.N. officials say.

Though the drone strike on Tuesday was unusual, it was not the first one on Russian soil since the war began. Drones have hit military air bases deep inside Russia, as well as an oil facility near an airfield in the province of Kursk. And this month, drones exploded over the Kremlin.

The incursions continued on Wednesday, when, the Russian authorities said, Ukrainian drones attacked two oil refineries in the region of Krasnodar. They also said that four people had been injured by shelling in the border region of Belgorod.

Russia has long accused the West of waging a proxy war against it. Those claims grew louder this month when a group of Ukraine-based Russian paramilitary members staged a multiday raid in Russia’s Belgorod border region — apparently with U.S. armored vehicles.

A New York Times analysis found that at least three of what appeared to be American-made MRAPs had been part of the attack. A leader of one of the groups claimed the weapons had not been provided by the Ukrainian military.

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Damaged armored military vehicles stand in mud after a fight.
The aftermath of a cross-border raid in Russia’s Belgorod region last week. The image was released by the Russian military.Credit…Russian Defense Ministry Press Service

Russian officials have said that NATO’s decision to send weapons, which have become increasingly advance as the war has worn on, raises the risk of a direct confrontation and a potential nuclear war.

On Tuesday, President Vladimir V. Putin also made an oblique reference to this threat, calling the drone strike on Moscow an attempt “to create a response reaction from Russia.” He accused unspecified forces of trying to sabotage a Ukrainian nuclear plant occupied by Russia or to use “a type of a dirty bomb related to the nuclear industry.”

Although Western governments initially focused their military support for Ukraine on bolstering its defenses, over time, the desire to hasten an end the war has led to growing deliveries of offensive weapons to Kyiv.

Tensions between Moscow and Western capitals have worsened since the invasion, as have the economic sanctions imposed on Russia as penalty.

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The Russian president standing in an office with flags.
President Vladimir V. Putin said the drone strike in Moscow was an attempt “to create a response reaction from Russia.”Credit…Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik

At a security conference on Wednesday in Slovakia, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, said that Western allies must give Ukraine “tangible and credible” security guarantees in its battle against Russia.

“If we want a credible, durable peace, if we want to hold our own against Russia, if we want to be credible with the Ukrainians, we must give Ukraine the means to prevent any new aggression and to include Ukraine in any new security architecture,” he said in a speech.

Mr. Macron was criticized early in the war over his insistence on not antagonizing Russia, but his approach toward Mr. Putin has hardened. He also expressed regret that France and other Western European countries had failed to heed warnings from countries on the European Union’s eastern edge about Russian belligerence.

On Wednesday, Germany said it had ordered four of the five Russian Consulates in the country to close after Moscow limited the number of German diplomatic staff allowed in Russia, the latest in an escalating tit-for-tat diplomatic dispute between the two countries.

The Russian Foreign Ministry was told to start shutting down its consulates in Germany immediately and to finish by the end of the year, said Christofer Burger, a spokesman for Germany’s Foreign Ministry.

One Russian Consulate and the Russian Embassy in Berlin will be allowed to remain open.

In Sweden, the U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken met with European officials on Wednesday to discuss trade and technology issues, cracking down on exports that could aid Russia.

On Thursday, Mr. Blinken is scheduled to meet with NATO foreign ministers to discuss the alliance summit planned for July, as well as the war in Ukraine and the prospects for Swedish membership in the alliance.

SEOUL — The emergency siren began wailing at 6:32 a.m. Several minutes later, personal cellphones around Seoul were screeching with a government alert urging residents to “prepare to evacuate,” children and the old and weak first.

For a half an hour on Wednesday morning, confusion and panic swept across this city of 10 million as news spread that North Korea had fired a rocket. Then, the next wave of messages hit: The South’s home ministry issued a notice saying the earlier alert was a “false alarm.”

Anxiety soon turned into anger and exasperation.

“They messed up big time,” said Lee Jae, an office worker in Seoul who woke up to the sirens.

South Koreans, who have grown inured to North Korea’s frequent provocations, were met with a disturbing taste of how their country might respond to a major military attack on Wednesday when their government caused confusion with its public alert system at a time of heightened tension in the region.

The confusion began after North Korea launched a rocket from the northwestern tip of the Korean Peninsula at 6:27 a.m. For days, the North had told the world that it was preparing to launch a rocket that would carry a homegrown military spy satellite into orbit, despite the action violating multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Data the North had released on the rocket’s preprogrammed trajectory showed that it would fly south, over the sea between the Korean Peninsula and China, and over the waters east of the Philippines.

It is rare for a North Korean projectile to fly to the south. In 2016, when a North Korean rocket carrying a satellite flew on a southbound trajectory, South Korea issued an alert on Baekryeongdo, an island near the northwestern border with the North.

Two minutes after the liftoff on Wednesday, South Korea issued a similar alert on Baekryeongdo, but officials were investigating why the same alert was also issued to Seoul, even though the rocket flew hundreds of kilometers west of the city.

After issuing the alert on Baekryeongdo, the home ministry left it to regional governments to decide whether to follow suit, according the Seoul city government. Officials in Seoul said they decided to issue an alert in the city as a precaution, even if they had to retract it. The mayor of Seoul later issued a public apology.

For Chung Sung-hee, 62, the confusing response was infuriating. Ms. Chung said she was preparing breakfast at her home in central Seoul when she heard the phone alert, followed by a loudspeaker broadcast. When she opened the window and trained her ears, all she could make out was that it was “a real situation,” not a drill.

“They should’ve said what was happening, and where to go,” Ms. Chung said. “Who would evacuate with a message like that?” When she got the second alert saying it was a false alarm, Ms. Chung said she couldn’t help but curse the authorities.

“I blurted out, ‘These crazies — isn’t there one thing they can do right?’” she said. “The government should tell you, ‘this is the situation.’ If they out of nowhere just say ‘evacuate,’ what’s anyone to do?”

South Koreans harbor deep skepticism over their government’s ability to handle major disasters. The government of President Yoon Suk Yeol was widely accused of failing to prevent or respond quickly enough to the deadly crowd crush in Seoul that killed nearly 160 people in October.

Critics say that the response on Wednesday was symptomatic of an administration that has championed a tough stance against North Korea yet failed to assure the public of its safety amid the North’s growing nuclear threat.

“It’s right for the Yoon government to have a sense of crisis with North Korea,” said Ahn Byong-jin, a political scientist at Kyung Hee University in Seoul. “But there has been little training for the general public on how to live with it. The commotion we had this morning encapsulates how the government is failing to understand and respond to this new normal with North Korea.”

Min Yun-geun, a college student in Seoul, feared that false alarms, if repeated, might desensitize people to actual emergencies. “I’m realizing how we are actually not so prepared for war,” he said.

Mr. Yoon’s office condemned the North’s rocket launch as a “grave provocation,” calling it a long-range missile test disguised as a satellite launch.

North Korea confirmed that the launch had failed and that the projectile had tumbled into the sea west of the Korean Peninsula after its second-stage vehicle malfunctioned. The country vowed to schedule another launch as soon as possible. South Korea was collecting debris to glean clues about the North’s rocket technology.

By launching a rocket toward the south and attempting to place a military spy satellite into orbit, the North was escalating its nuclear threat, said Lee Byong-chul, a researcher on nuclear policy at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University in Seoul.

“North Korea has already shown that its missiles are powerful enough to fly the distances it wanted, but what it lacks is an ability to guide them to targets with precision,” Mr. Lee said. “Military spy satellites can help provide the North with that capability.”

Though some were frustrated by the South Korean government’s response to the launch, others said they would rather have officials err on the side of caution in such situations. “It’s better that they did it and get chewed out than not doing anything and getting chewed out,” said Lee Jae-hee, 45.

After he saw the alert, Mr. Lee said he saw a news report that it was about the space launch the North had warned it would conduct and fell back asleep. “If you’re hearing buildings blow up and things roaring, it’s probably too late to go anywhere anyway,” he said with a shrug.

South Korea regularly conducted civil defense drills during the Cold War, with sirens wailing and megaphones urging people to take shelter in subway stations, underground parking lots and basements of large buildings. Streets were vacated of traffic.

The country now has thousands of underground shelters for emergencies.

But those drills have become a distant memory for many across the country, particularly after Seoul began to engage in more diplomacy with North Korea under Mr. Yoon’s predecessor, Moon Jae-in. South Korea last conducted an air-raid drill in 2017.

As tensions in the region rise, Mr. Yoon’s government has been slow to reintroduce civil defense drills. On May 16, South Korea conducted its first nationwide civil defense exercise in six years, but it was limited to public servants and schoolchildren.

Jeung Yeon-cheon, 36, who lives on the 18th floor of an apartment building in Seoul, said he participated in the May training, though he thought that any risk of a North Korean attack felt remote. He quickly dismissed the alarm on Wednesday as a blip.

“It didn’t feel that serious,” he said.

People in a crowd waving Turkish flags and looking upward.When Yasemin Oz, a lesbian lawyer in Istanbul, heard President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claiming victory after a runoff election on Sunday, she said she feared for the future. In his speech, he declared “family is sacred for us” and insisted that L.G.B.T.Q. people would never “infiltrate” his governing party.

They were familiar themes, heard often throughout Mr. Erdogan’s campaign for re-election: He frequently attacked L.G.B.T.Q. people, referring to them as “deviants” and saying they were “spreading like the plague.” But Ms. Oz said she had hoped it was just electioneering to rally the president’s conservative base.

“I was already worried about what was to come for us,” said Ms. Oz, 49. But after the speech, she thought, “it will get harsher.”

The rights and freedoms of L.G.B.T.Q. citizens became a lightning-rod issue during this year’s election campaign. Mr. Erdogan, facing the greatest political threat of his two decades as the country’s dominant leader and seeking to woo conservatives, repeatedly attacked his opponents for supposedly supporting gay rights. The anti-Erdogan opposition mostly avoided the topic for fear of alienating some of its own voters.

That left many L.G.B.T.Q. people fearing that the discrimination they have long faced by the government and conservative parts of society could worsen — and feeling that no one in the country had their backs.

“People are scared and having dystopian thoughts like, ‘Are we going to be slashed or violently attacked in the middle of the street?’” said Ogulcan Yediveren, a coordinator at SPoD, an L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy group in Istanbul. “What will happen is that people will hide their identities, and that is bad enough.”

Turkey, a predominantly Muslim society with a secular state, does not criminalize homosexuality and has laws against discrimination. But in recent conversations, more than a dozen L.G.B.T.Q. people said they often struggled to find jobs, secure housing and get quality health care as well as to be accepted by their friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers.

Supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrating his victory in Istanbul on Sunday.
An aerial view of a mosque and an election poster for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Kayseri, Turkey in April. Turkey is a predominantly Muslim society with a secular state.

In recent years, they said, they have encountered new restrictions on their visibility in society. Universities have shut down L.G.B.T.Q. student clubs. And since 2014, the authorities have banned Pride parades in major cities, including in Istanbul, where crowds in the tens of thousands used to participate.

That tracks with Mr. Erdogan’s vision for Turkey.

Since the start of his national political career in 2003, he has increased his own power while promoting a conservative Muslim view of society. He insists that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, and encourages women to have three children to build the nation.

Rights advocates say that as Mr. Erdogan has gained power, his conservative outlook has filtered down, encouraging local authorities to restrict L.G.B.T.Q. activities and pushing the security forces to crack down on gay rights activism.

Anti-L.G.B.T.Q. rhetoric was more prominent during this election than in past cycles, even though there are no looming legal changes that would expand or limit rights. No political party is trying to legalize same-sex marriage or adoption, for example, or expand medical care for transgender youth.

Instead, Mr. Erdogan and his allies use the issue to galvanize conservatives.

“What they want to impose on society in terms of other values is full of hatred and violence toward us,” said Nazlican Dogan, 26, who is facing legal charges related to participation in pro-L.G.B.T.Q. protests at Bogazici University in Istanbul. “It was really ugly and it made us feel that we can’t exist in this country, like I should just leave.”

A group of people laughing around a table.
Bambi Ceren, right, and other members of a Pride week organizing committee gather in an apartment in Istanbul.
Nazlican Dogan, who is facing legal charges related to pro-L.G.B.T.Q. protests at a university, in Istanbul last week.

During his campaign, Mr. Erdogan characterized L.G.B.T.Q. people as a threat to society.

“If the concept of family is not strong, the destruction of the nation happens quickly,” he told young people during a televised meeting in early May. “L.G.B.T. is a poison injected into the institution of the family. It is not possible for us to accept that poison as a country whose people are 99 percent Muslim.”

In April, his interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, went even further, falsely claiming that gay rights would allow humans to marry animals.

SPoD, the advocacy group, asked parliamentary candidates during the campaign to sign a contract to protect L.G.B.T.Q. rights. Fifty-eight candidates signed, and 11 of them won seats in the 600-member legislature, said Mr. Yediveren, the coordinator.

His group has also tried to expand legal protections for L.G.B.T.Q. people.

While certain laws prohibit discrimination, they do not specifically mention sexual identity or orientation, he said. At the same time, the authorities often cite vague concepts like “general morals” and “public order” to act against activities they don’t like, such as Pride week events.

“This week is very important because we don’t have physical locations we can come together as a community to support each other,” said Bambi Ceren, 34, a member of a committee planning events for this year’s Pride week, which begins on June 19.

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A drag performer surrounded by a group of people.
A drag performer who uses the stage name Florence Konstantina Delight at a club in Istanbul.People socialize at Ziba, a gay-friendly bar in Istanbul.
Last year, the police prevented Pride events and arrested people who gathered to take part, committee members said.

SPoD runs a national hotline to field queries about sexual orientation, legal protections or how to access medical care or other services. The group can solve most issues related to services, Mr. Yediveren said, but most callers’ problems are social and emotional.

“People are feeling very lonely and isolated,” he said.

Transgender individuals struggle to find jobs, housing and proper medication and care. And gay men and lesbians are sometimes forced into heterosexual marriages and fear coming out to their families and co-workers.

Worrying about, “‘Will I be caught one day?’ causes a lot of stress for them,” Mr. Yediveren said.

And the threat of violence is real.

Some L.G.B.T.Q. people said they had been beaten by the security forces during protests or met with indifference from the police while being harassed on the street.

A survey last year by ILGA-Europe, a rights organization, ranked Turkey second-to-last out of 49 European countries on L.G.B.T.Q. rights. Another group, Transgender Europe, said that 62 transgender people had been killed in Turkey between 2008 and 2022.

Many L.G.B.T.Q. people fear that the demonization during the campaign will make that threat more acute.

A queer university student from Turkey’s Kurdish minority, who grew up in a smaller city with no significant L.G.B.T.Q. presence, said she feared that bad days were ahead.

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People spraying painting prints on a building wall.
Members of a Pride week organizing committee spraying graffiti in Istanbul.
Berat, an openly gay architecture student, works as a hairdresser in Istanbul.

People who would not normally commit violence might feel empowered to do so because the government had spread hatred for people like her, she said, claiming they were sick, dangerous or a threat to the family. She spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being attacked.

Despite the increased danger, many L.G.B.T.Q. people vowed to keep fighting for their rights and maintaining their visibility in society. To deal with the fear of random attacks, they plan to look out for each other more to ensure they are safe.

In Istanbul, a 25-year-old drag performer who goes by the stage name Florence Konstantina Delight and uses gender-neutral pronouns called the new attention unsettling.

“In the whole history of queer life in Turkey, we could never be that visible,” they said in an interview. “But because of the election, everyone was talking about us.”

They described growing up in Turkey as “full of abuse, full of denial, full of teachers ignoring your existence and what happened to you, like your pals bullying you.”

At age 16, Florence accepted their sexual identity, attended a Pride parade and set up a Facebook account with a fake name to contact L.G.B.T.Q. organizations and make friends, eventually stumbling upon someone at the same high school.

They later moved to Istanbul, where they perform weekly at a rare L.G.B.T.Q.-friendly bar.

Mr. Erdogan’s win on Sunday caused Florence despair.

“I stared into space for a while,” they said.

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A woman dancing in a bar.
A woman dancing at a lesbian bar in Istanbul in front of an image of Kemal Kılıcdaroglu, who lost to Mr. Erdogan in the presidential election.

In February, an oil tanker transmitted a signal showing it was sailing west of Japan.

But the tanker’s path was highly unusual. Over the course of a day, its signals showed erratic behavior as the ship rapidly changed position.

satellite image, taken during this time, deepened the mystery: There was no ship there at all.

The Cathay Phoenix was sending a fake location signal. This is known as “spoofing.”

In reality, the ship was 250 miles north loading oil at the Russian port of Kozmino, part of a journey to China that likely caused a breach of U.S. sanctions.

Sources: Planet Labs, Copernicus Sentinel-2, Maxar Technologies, ESRI, GEBCO, Spire Global, MarineTraffic

The Cathay Phoenix is not a lone rogue ship, but one of at least three tankers identified by The New York Times taking extraordinary steps to hide their true activity, a practice that helps them to elude U.S. government oversight and puts their American insurer at risk of violating recent sanctions on Russian crude oil.

For years, ships wanting to hide their whereabouts have resorted to turning off the transponders all large vessels use to signal their location. But the tankers tracked by The Times go beyond this, using cutting-edge spoofing technology to make it appear they’re in one location when they’re really somewhere else.

During at least 13 voyages, the three tankers pretended to be sailing west of Japan. In reality, they were at terminals in Russia and shipping oil to China.

The vessels are part of a so-called dark fleet, a loose term used to describe a hodgepodge array of ships that obscure their locations or identities to avoid oversight from governments and business partners. They have typically been involved in moving oil from Venezuela or Iran — two countries that have also been hit by international sanctions. The latest surge of dark fleet ships began after Russia invaded Ukraine and the West tried to limit Moscow’s oil revenue with sanctions.

“The type of spoofing we are seeing is uncommon and sophisticated,” said David Tannenbaum, a former sanctions compliance officer at the U.S. Treasury, referring to the tankers identified by The Times. “It definitely looks like evasion on all parts.”

To date, it’s been rare to prove the true location of a ship pretending to be somewhere else. But a Times analysis of publicly available shipping data, satellite imagery and social media footage helped clearly establish that the tankers were not where they claimed to be.

The ships most likely sell their Russian oil to China above a price limit set by the sanctions. Since neither country recognizes the sanctions, the tankers themselves are not in violation by spoofing or carrying the oil.

But the tankers still have motive to spoof: to maintain their insurance coverage, without which they cannot operate in most major ports. The only insurers financially able to cover tankers are mostly based in the West and bound by the sanctions. If a client ship were to carry Russian oil that’s sold above the price limit, the Western insurer would be in violation of the sanctions and must drop its coverage.

“It’s significant when you look at dollar terms,” said Samir Madani, co-founder of TankerTrackers.com, which monitors global shipping, who first alerted The Times to several of the suspicious ships. “It’s around $1 billion worth of oil that is going under the radar while using Western insurance, and they’re using spoofing in order to preserve their Western insurance.”

In addition to the three tankers transporting oil, Times reporters tracked another three vessels spoofing while off the coast of Russia, though it’s unclear what cargo they carried.

All six tankers are insured by a U.S.-based company, the American Club. The Times provided the company with the names of the tankers, as well as details about the voyages on which they spoofed.

In an emailed response, Daniel Tadros, the American Club’s chief operating officer, said he could not comment on any potential investigations because of legal and privacy requirements. “Insurance cover is automatically excluded in the event of sanctions’ violations,” he said.

The U.S. has also created so-called safe harbor provisions to protect insurers from liability if they inadvertently cover ships violating sanctions. As of May 30, a regularly updated list of American Club’s clients posted on its website showed the company is most likely still insuring the six tankers.

There has been at least one change since The Times approached the company with evidence of spoofing. The website had said the Cathay Phoenix’s current policy would expire in February 2024. But recently, the expiration date suddenly shifted much earlier to June 2023. The company would not comment on the reason for the change.

Men on a commercial fishing boat handling an enormous fishing net.Just before midnight, David O’Neill navigated his trawler into the harbor in Union Hall, a small port in southwestern Ireland, the wake from the vessel sending tiny waves slapping against the pier.

The crew swiftly unloaded their catch, using a crane to lift ice-packed crates of haddock and hake from the hold of the Aquila under bright spotlights.

Less than an hour later, the Aquila would depart for its final trip. Two days later, the crew stripped the vessel’s contents — chains, buoys, ropes, steel cables, and hooks — and ejected them onto the pier, on their way to a shipyard to be scrapped.

“This is coming with me,” Mr. O’Neill said as he unscrewed the Aquila’s wooden steering wheel. “It reminds you of all you’ve been through on this boat.”

A man using both hands to hold an old-fashioned wooden steering wheel inside the deck of a commercial fishing vessel.
“This is coming with me,” said David O’Neill, the skipper of the Aquila, as he unscrewed the vessel’s wooden steering wheel. “It reminds you of all you’ve been through on this boat.”

The Aquila is one of dozens of Irish boats being scrapped as part of a voluntary government decommissioning plan introduced after Britain withdrew from the European Union. As part of Britain’s withdrawal, the E.U. transferred back 25 percent of its fishing rights in British waters. That, in turn, significantly limited Irish vessels in the numbers of fish they are allowed to catch — an anticipated annual loss of 43 million euros ($46 million), making Ireland one of the European nations most affected.

Although fishing is a small industry in Ireland, in some coastal communities, it has been the backbone of the economy, even as it has been whittled down over the years. But beyond economics, fishing has been an essential way of life for generations. Locals fear the Brexit quotas and subsequent retiring of boats will be the final death knell.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Mr. O’Neill, 37, who has skippered the Aquila for five years. “You spend most of your time battling the boat. But the boat made us a wage every week and brought us home as well.”

Elsewhere along Ireland’s southwestern coast, in Castletownbere, two fishermen were repairing a net, their hands whipping through the bright green tangle with ease. Behind them, on the pier, stood a memorial to those lost at sea, with dozens of names dating back to 1793 providing a roll call of the dead, linked by family roots and shared tragedy, the same last names repeating through several generations.

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More than a dozen commercial fishing vessels at mooring. Smaller pleasure craft are also visible at the docks.
Fishing vessels at the Irish seaport of Killybegs in April.
Children playing accordions, a banjo, a drum and other instruments around a table in a pub.
A night of traditional music at the Fleet Inn in Killybegs.

At the nearby warehouse for Sheehan’s Fishing — owned by Jason Sheehan, 35, and his father, Ebbie — Jason, who became a skipper at 19, remembers when fishing was lucrative. But new regulations, shrinking quotas and rising gas prices have amounted to “death by a thousand cuts,” he said.

“We have fish, that’s our currency, that’s what we have here,” he said. “So we’re between a rock and a hard place.’”

“There is a lot of disillusionment,” said his father, 64, “because they feel that we were sold out on Brexit.”

The men own a number of trawlers together and have decided to decommission two.

“It was a matter of viability,” the elder Mr. Sheehan said.

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Three men, dressed for wet weather, handling a large fishing net on a commercial fishing boat.
Hauling in a net aboard the Aquila on the ship’s final voyage.
A man holding one fish from a crate filled with them.
The last catch aboard the Aquila.

The realigned fishing rights affect the entire Irish industry, but the decommissioning plan applies to the whitefish fleet, which could see up to 30 percent of its vessels scrapped. Larger trawlers that fish further off the coast for mackerel and herring, among other fish, are also affected; their fishing season has been nearly halved.

Seven hours north in Killybegs, in County Donegal, the trawlers that have already met their quotas have sat idle for weeks. Visitors to the town are greeted by a strong smell of fish, a reminder of the processing plants dotting the town’s edges, and of how fishing is core to the identity of this place.

A dilapidated fishing boat listing to one side just off shore.
An abandoned fishing vessel near the Irish port of Baltimore
If you removed the fishing from Killybegs, Killybegs would become a ghost town,” said Patrick Murphy, chief executive of the Irish South & West Fish Producer’s Organization.On a recent Thursday night, at the Fleet Inn in Killybegs, a group of children known as the Wild Atlantic Buskers were performing traditional music. Most of their families go back generations in the fishing community.

As the youngsters played reels on the fiddle, accordion, and guitar, one mother pointed out a boy whose grandfather was lost at sea, a girl whose father worked for a net supplier, and another with family who still fishes here.

At the processing factories, change has already come. Martin Meehan, the general manager of Premier Fish Products, said production had nearly halved since last year.

A man, deep in shadows, looks at his phone while resting on his back.
The Aquila’s engineer checking his phone in a bunk aboard the Aquila on its final voyage.
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Using a steam hose to clean fishing nets on a dock with a crane in the background.
Cleaning nets from the fishing vessel Sea Quest in Killybegs.
“I have a son myself, and certainly wouldn’t be looking for him to come into the industry,” said Mr. Meehan, 49.

The decommissioning plan is intended to “restore balance” between the Irish fishing fleet’s capacity and the new quotas, according to the government agency in charge. So far, 42 boat owners have accepted offers to scrap their boats. Payments vary, but for a smaller boat, an average amount might be about $1.6 million, often split among multiple shareholders or a bank.

Cara Rawdon, 64, who has been fishing for four decades out of the northern village of Greencastle, said he received a fair price for his boat. He is retiring.
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Four men wearing hats and gloves packing fish in a factory.
Packing fish at the Irish port of Greencastle.
Four men wearing hats and gloves packing fish in a factory.

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A man wearing a hat fixing an enormous green net in a warehouse filled with bales of netting.
Mending nets at the warehouse of Sheehan’s Fishing, owned by Jason Sheehan, 35, and his father, Ebbie. The son, became a skipper at 19, remembers when fishing was lucrative.
A man wearing a hat fixing an enormous green net in a warehouse filled with bales of netting.

“There are no young men getting into it here,” he said. Coastal communities around Ireland “are being annihilated.”

Caitlin Ui Aodha, who also fished these waters, sold her vessel and is using the money to open a restaurant in Dungarvan, in Ireland’s southeast.

“You have to adjust, at sea as well as in fishing,” said Ms. Ui Aodha, 60. “You’re out and it’s moving around, and you kind of learn life changes very quickly.”

Ms. Ui Aodha was born in a village in the Gaeltacht, the Irish-speaking area of the country, into a family that had fished for over 150 years. She fished through her early adult years, eventually alongside her husband, Michael Hayes, and then turned to raising their five children, while he continued as a skipper.

But the sea claimed his and four crew members’ lives when their boat sank in a storm near Union Hall in 2012.

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A woman sits on a pier with a blue commercial fishing vessel behind her.
Caitlin Ui Aodha, 60, a fishing vessel owner and skipper, at the pier near her home at the Irish fishing port of Helvick.

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Crab traps and ropes piled high.
Crab traps at the Irish port of Helvick.

After his death, Ms. Ui Aodha bought a trawler and took to the sea again. She assumed she would sell the boat when she retired, but things had been difficult for years, and decommissioning felt like her only option. Her boat was scrapped in late April.

“The saddest thing really is to see how, all around the coast, indigenous fishing people like me become extinct, we’re just not going to be there,” she said, rattling off the names of longtime fishing families. “All these names are disappearing.”

But she also spoke with hopeful resilience about what comes next. The restaurant will be called Iasc, or fish in Irish. Photos of Ms. Ui Aodha’s father with his boat adorn the wall, she pointed out, as she walked through the unfinished space.

“I’ve done what I can and we’ve changed now, and this is just something new,” she said, reflecting on her years of fishing. “So I am bringing my world in here.”

Riding on a hat-trick by Boby Singh Dhami, the Indian junior men’s hockey team stormed into the final of the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 as they defeated Korea 9-1 in the first semifinal in Salalah, Oman on Wednesday.

For India, the scorers were Sunit Lakra (13’), Araijeet Singh Hundal (19’), Boby Singh Dhami (31’, 39’, 55’), Angad Bir Singh (34’), Captain Uttam Singh (38’), Vishnukant Singh (51’), Sharda Nand Tiwari (57’). Meanwhile for Korea it was Keonyeol Hwang (46’) who scored the only goal late in the piece.

In the early exchanges, it was the Koreans who looked more dangerous; however, they came up against a well-organised Indian defensive unit, that absorbed the pressure well. Just after the half-way mark in the first quarter, the India started to go through the gears, pushing Korea back into their half, with a couple of attacks originating from the right. With a couple of minutes left in the first quarter, Sunit Lakra (13’) smashed it into the net, giving India a 1-0 lead against Korea at the break.

Both sides began the second phase well, matching each other toe to toe in the early exchanges, before the Indians doubled the lead. Araijeet Singh Hundal (19’) found himself.

When Siddhartha Gautama was born, he was clearly no ordinary infant. According to Buddhist texts, he raised his hand to the skies and declared, “In the heavens above and below the heavens, I am the world’s most honored one. I will free all beings from birth, old age, sickness, and death.”

Then the remarkable baby is believed to have received a first bath: streams of water poured by the gods Brahma and Indra – or flowing from two dragon kings’ mouths, depending on the legend. This cleansing consecrated the Buddha-to-be as holy, signaling that even the gods recognized him as worthy of veneration.

Buddhists believe that several “buddhas,” or enlightened teachers, have been born throughout history. Yet the title “the Buddha” typically refers to this historical figure, Siddhartha Gautama, who went on to found Buddhism. Each year on the Buddha’s birthday, East Asian Buddhists recreate his first bath by pouring water or sweetened tea over a statue of the infant.

The holiday has been observed in different parts of Asia for hundreds of years, but its significance varied by region. In Sri Lanka, for example, it was a religious day simply celebrated at temples, not a public celebration. In Korea, on the other hand, the Buddha’s birthday became a more commercial festival.

A Chhattisgarh government official has been fined Rs 53,000 after he pumped out 21 lakh litres of water from a reservoir to recover his phone, reported The Times of India on Wednesday.

After the incident on May 21, Rajesh Vishwas, a food inspector in Koilibeda block of the North Baster Kanker district, was suspended from his post on May 26. Now, Vishwas has been ordered to pay the fine in 10 days.

Superintendent engineer of the Indravati project – under which the reservoir functioned – had written last week to the Sub Divisional Officer RK Dhivar, asking why the cost of wasted water should not be recovered from Vishwas, reported NDTV. The letter stated that the water was meant for irrigation and other purposes during the summer.

“Since the officer has drained lakhs of litres of water using diesel pump from the weir without official permission, in order to search his mobile phone, it is illegal and is a violation of Chhattisgarh Irrigation Act,” an official of the state Water Resource Department said in a letter to Vishwas, while imposing the fine.

The pumps ran continuously for four days and emptied out 21 lakh litres of water – enough to irrigate 1,500 acres of farmland.

Bihar Technical Service Commission (BTSC) will soon close the online application window for recruitment to the post of Dairy Field Officer/ Dairy Technical Officer. Eligible candidates can apply for the vacancies on the official websites pariksha.nic.in till June 2.

The recruitment drive aims to fill up a total of 40 vacancies in the state Animal and Fisheries Resources Department. Nine posts are reserved for women. The Pay Scale/ Consolidated Pay is Rs 9300-34,800.

Eligibility Criteria

Age Limit: 21 to 37 years as on August 1, 2022. The upper age limit is relaxed for reserved categories.

Educational Qualification: Degree in B.Tech/ B.Sc in Dairy Technology. More details in the notification below:

Here’s BTSC Dairy Officer notification 2023.

Application Fee

The candidates from General/BC/EWS category are required to pay the application fee of Rs 200. The fee for candidates from Female/SC/ST/OBC (residents of Bihar) is Rs 50.

Steps to apply for BTSC recruitment 2023:

  1. Visit the official website pariksha.nic.in
  2. On the homepage, click on ‘Apply Online’ — ‘Notifications/Advertisements
  3. Click on the apply link for the desired post
  4. Complete registration, fill application form
  5. Upload documents, pay fee and submit form
  6. Download the form and take printout

Direct link to apply for BTSC Dairy Officer recruitment 2023.

For more details, candidates are advised to visit the official website.

pariksha.nic.in

India’s gross domestic product grew at 6.1% in the fourth quarter (January-March) of the fiscal year 2022-’23 and by 7.2% for the full financial year, government data showed on Wednesday.

The growth rate of 7.2% in the previous financial year is lower than the 9.1% India had recorded in 2021-’22. However, the numbers are higher than the government’s estimate of 7% growth.

On a quarter-to-quarter basis too, the growth rate of 6.1% is higher than the 4.5% recorded in the third quarter (October-December) of the financial year 2022-’23, the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation said.

In the March quarter, the manufacturing sector output rose to 4.5% as compared to 1.1% contraction in the previous quarter, it said. In the food sector, the output increased to 5.5% in fourth from 4.7% in the third quarter.

Last week, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das had said that India’s GDP growth could be above 7% for the financial year 2022-’23. Das had said that nearly all high-frequency indicators showed that there was sustained momentum in the final quarter of the previous financial year.

The chief of the central bank had also said that in the financial year 2023-’24, growth in the gross domestic product is expected to be at 6.5%. Last month, the International Monetary Fund had.

After weeks of speculation about further sanctions by the United States on Bangladesh, presumably on allegations of human rights violations and demands for free and fair elections, the cat finally came out of the bag. There were no new sanctions against the country or any specific agency in the country.

What was revealed was a non-specific, yet very wide application of a visa policy that would bar individuals or officials, including those in political parties of Bangladesh, from entering the US – who would be deemed to have used their influence or authority to rig or manipulate elections in the country. The policy is wide reaching and can be interpreted to mean that any individual, whether in government or politics, engaged in electoral malpractice can be denied entry into the United States.

On the face of it, permission to enter into a country is a privilege granted by the host country to any foreigner. It can decide who it will grant this privilege to and who it will deny. As a would-be-visitor, anyone can expect any result. You cannot go to court if you are denied the request. If the US has a visa policy that articulates a set of principles that decides.

The State does not owe loyalty to any religion and the Constitution does not want the religious majority to enjoy any preferential treatment, Supreme Court Judge Justice BV Nagarathna said on Monday, reported Live Law.

“The vision of the founding fathers was that a nation transcending all diversities of religion, caste and creed; to bring about a new social order based on justice, social, economic and political aspects,” she said.

Speaking at the the launch of a book titled Constitutional Ideals: Development and Realisation Through Court-led Justice, Nagarathna also noted that the the essence of fundamental duties is to achieve ideal citizenship for which one needs to practice the values of the Constitution, reported Live Law.

“Among the constitutional values, integrity is the highest,” the judge said. “But alas! With the passing of every year, integrity is losing its value in our total value system. Bribery, corruption and flaunting of ill-gotten wealth has become the order of the day and has been entrenched in Indian society.”

She added: “Disproportionate assets possessed by certain persons, especially by those in public life are hardly thought of as blackmarks in our Indian society.”

The judge also said that a country can only be as independent as its institutions like the Election Commission, judiciary, the central bank, among others, reported Bar and Bench.

Late in the day in Ahmedabad, well past midnight and into the early hours of Tuesday, the presentation ceremony after IPL 2023 final began. And among the long list of awards, came the player of the match decision early on. When the name Devon Conway was read out, it took a few seconds to register why… that he had indeed top-scored in the run-chase with a 25-ball 47.

In ESPNCricinfo’s Most Valuable Player index, Conway’s effort was the fifth best on the night. After three Gujarat Titans players, there was Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round contributions, rated more impactful than Conway. It is not to say Conway didn’t deserve it, but it was a performance by Chennai Super Kings where you could have picked a couple of other players and they would still be deserving of the award.

After the comeback Super Kings moniker (their last two titles have come after poor seasons preceding them), it is time for the cameo Super Kings, as CSK went on to win their fifth IPL title.

It is a rather refreshing approach especially when players could potentially feel burdened with displaying individual brilliance in high-octane games. As much as the CSK story since IPL’s inception has been centered around one hero.

The Madhya Pradesh Employees Selection Board (MPESB) has released the official notification for the Animal Husbandry and Dairy Technology Diploma Entrance Test (ADDET) 2023. Interested candidates can apply on the official website esb.mp.gov.in from June 9 onwards. The last date to apply for the exam is June 23, 2023.

Applicants will be able to make changes to the form till June 28. The exam is scheduled to be conducted on July 25 in two shifts — 9.00 AM to 11.00 AM and 3.00 PM and 5.00 PM.

Here’s the official notification.

The entrance exam is held for admissions in Diploma courses in Animal Husbandry and Dairy Technology offered in different colleges located in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

Candidates who have passed the Class 12 or 10+2 board exam with science subjects including Zoology/ Mathematics/ Agriculture are eligible to apply for MPPEB ADDET 2023. The lower age limit is 17 years and the upper age is 28 years as on 31 December 2023. More details in the notification:

Application Fee

An application fee of Rs 400 is applicable for the general category and Rs 200 for reserved categories.

For more details, candidates are advised to visit the official website here.

esb.mp.gov.in

The rubble of a destroyed home.

A hole left by a bomb that entered the home of the Khoswan family, in a strike on an Islamic Jihad member who lived below, in Gaza City.

As the Khoswan family slept, the Israeli military dropped three GBU-39 bombs into their sixth-floor apartment. One of the bombs exploded just outside the parents’ bedroom, leaving the apartment looking as if a tornado had swept through, killing three family members.

But they were not the stated target of the attack earlier this month.

The Israeli military had dropped the bombs into their home to assassinate a commander of the Palestinian armed group Islamic Jihad who lived in the apartment below.

Jamal Khoswan, a dentist, Mirvat Khoswan, a pharmacist, and their son, a 19-year-old dental student, were killed in the strike as well as the Islamic Jihad commander who lived downstairs, Tareq Izzeldeen, and two of his children, a girl, 11, and a boy, 9.

“Commanders have been targeted before,” Menna Khoswan, 16, said this month at a memorial service for her father at the hospital where he served as chairman of the board. “But to target the commander and those around him, honestly this is something we didn’t expect.”

Israel says that it conducts “precision strikes” aimed at taking out armed groups’ commanders or operation sites, and that it does not target civilians. But the airstrikes are often conducted in heavily populated areas, and many Palestinians in Gaza say they amount to a collective punishment aimed at making them fearful about who their neighbors might be.

Israel also destroys entire residential buildings or towers if it believes an armed group has an office or apartment there, although it usually issues an evacuation warning beforehand.

Menna’s parents and brother were among at least 12 civilians killed by Israeli strikes during five days of fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad this month, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Israel says that nine civilians were killed in the strikes.

People standing under a banner with Arabic writing.
Menna Khoswan, center, at a memorial service for her father at the hospital where he served as chairman of the board.

Six senior leaders of the armed group that Israel said had been responsible for rocket attacks on Israel were killed before a cease-fire was reached on May 13. The Israeli military said that Islamic Jihad had launched nearly 1,500 rockets indiscriminately toward Israel over the course of several days. Two people were killed in Israel, including an Israeli woman and a Palestinian worker from Gaza.

Members of the Khoswan family say they knew that an Islamic Jihad commander lived in the apartment below them and worried that he could be the target of an Israeli strike. Israel has designated Islamic Jihad as a terrorist organization — as have countries including the United States and Japan — and has regularly targeted its leaders and fighters.

Yet the Khoswans never thought their apartment would be hit while they were inside, Menna said, describing the shock of being awakened by the explosions ripping through her home.

The Israeli military said it had twice postponed the assassinations of the three Islamic Jihad commanders to ensure suitable operational conditions and minimize civilian casualties. But the military did not respond to questions about why it had targeted the three Islamic Jihad commanders on May 9 while they were at home or why it had launched the three bombs targeting the Islamic Jihad commander through the Khoswan home.

The Israeli military “didn’t choose to kill the dentist,” said Nir Dinar, an Israeli army spokesman, declining to comment further.

The Israeli military released videos of the strikes it carried out, including one showing a man it accused of having fired rockets at Israel being struck in the middle of a road on a bicycle. Another showed a man walking in the courtyard of a complex of buildings for several seconds before entering a building. Once he went inside, the building was blown up.

The military said the videos showed how it had waited for targets to be alone before striking.

During the five days of fighting this month, Israeli strikes destroyed 103 homes, and more than 2,800 others were damaged, according to Gaza’s public works department.

The facade of a destroyed building.
Over the course of five days this month, Israeli strikes destroyed 103 homes and damaged more than 2,800, according to Gaza’s public works department.
A man kneels over missile debris.
An unexploded GBU 39 bomb fired from an Israeli aircraft, according to ordnance officials in Gaza, along with other ordnance fragments, in Gaza City.

Amnesty International has previously said that Israel’s pattern of attacks on residential homes in Gaza displayed a disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians and could amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity.

In the 11-day 2021 war between Hamas and Israel, Israel struck four tower buildings, destroying three of them; one had housed some of the world’s leading news media organizations, including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

The Israeli military said that it had destroyed the tower because the building also contained military assets belonging to Hamas, the political and armed group which controls and governs Gaza. The A.P. reported that at the time that the tower’s owner had been “told he had an hour to make sure everyone has left the building.”

Fearing that Israel would destroy entire buildings because they contained offices or homes belonging to members of armed groups, residents of some buildings posted signs in their lobbies warning against renting to departments linked to the Hamas-led government.

Israel has long accused Palestinian armed groups in Gaza of hiding among civilians and using them as human shields. Because the armed groups are homegrown, they live side by side among the people and their command centers are spread throughout Gaza.

Leaders and members of the groups say that Israel’s airstrikes are aimed at hurting the civilian population to undermine public support for them. The groups have wide support among Palestinians for their resistance to the Israeli occupation.

Since the 2021 war, Hamas says it has begun moving its offices away from important infrastructure such as hospitals and schools.

Khaled al-Batsh, an Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza, said his group’s members lived in their own communities in the tiny enclave that is home to more than 2.3 million people.

“Where should we go? Should we flee Palestine? Can we go set up a military base in Colorado?” he said. “They target the civilians so they can pit people against us.”

South of Gaza City, Ghada Abu Ebeid, 50, this month was living with a relative near the remains of her family’s two-story house, which was destroyed by an Israeli bomb in the recent fighting that also sheared off the fronts of nearby buildings.

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People walking among the ruins of a destroyed home.
The remains of the Abu Ebeid family home in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, after it was destroyed by the Israeli military.

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A man in a red cap holding a child, next to people sitting on the ground.
A family sitting in the rubble of their house, which was destroyed by Israeli bombing in Jabalia, in northern Gaza.

An hour before the strike, the Israeli military warned residents up to 100 meters away to evacuate their homes, according to the Abu Ebeid family and neighbors.

When asked about the attack, the military referred to a statement saying that it had targeted Islamic Jihad command-and-control centers from which they operate and direct rockets toward Israel.

Ms. Ebeid would not say why she believed Israel had demolished their home. Neighbors said that one of her sons was a member of Islamic Jihad.

Many Gaza residents acknowledge that they do worry about who might move in next door, fearing that their neighbors could become targets. But they put the blame squarely on Israel.

“What kind of precision is this when you kill civilians?” said Asmahan Adas, referring to a strike on the home of her next-door neighbor, Khalil al-Bahtini, another Islamic Jihad commander, that also killed her two teenage daughters. “When Israel wants to kill someone, they can find many different ways to kill, but they want others to die along with their target.”

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A man holds a teddy bear in a destroyed home.
Alaa Adas, the father of Iman, 17, and Dania, 19, who died in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza, in the bedroom where they were killed.
A woman sits on a sofa near two people who are standing. Behind her is a pencil drawing of a woman.
Asmahan Adas, whose daughters were killed by an Israeli airstrike this month, received mourners at her parents’ house, east of Gaza City

Ms. Adas said that when she knew Mr. Bahtini was at home, she would move her two daughters to the far side of their home, fearing that Israeli bombs could destroy the rooms closest to him.

On the night of May 9, she was unaware that Mr. Bahtini had returned home. Before she went to bed, Ms. Adas said good night to her two daughters, Iman, 17, and Dania, 19, who were sitting on their beds, watching cellphone videos and laughing, she said.

Minutes later, shortly after 2 a.m., three GBU-39 bombs pierced the roof of Mr. Bahtini’s second-floor home, killing him, his wife and 5-year-old daughter. The blast also ripped through the bedroom of Ms. Adas’ teenager daughters, burying them in rubble.

A week later, Ms. Adas wept as she received mourners at her parents’ house. Dania was to be married on July 21. Now, her fiancé visits her grave every day to talk to her.

“I had dreams of taking my daughter out of our home in her wedding dress, not in a burial shroud,” Ms. Adas said. “They took everything from me in a second, just so they could kill one person.”

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A man stands in front of graves.
Mohammad Saad, 19, whose fiancée, Dania Adas, was killed in an Israeli airstrike, standing at her grave and reciting a passage from the Quran.

अजमेर। प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी बुधवार को अजमेर जिले के पुष्कर पहुंचे और ब्रह्मा मंदिर में पूजा अर्चना की।

राजस्थान विधानसभा में नेता प्रतिपक्ष राजेंद्र राठौड़ ने बताया कि प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी हेलीकॉप्टर से तीर्थ नगरी पुष्कर पहुंचे।इससे पहले मोदी नई दिल्ली से विशेष विमान से किशनगढ़ हवाई अड्डे पर उतरे और वहां से वह हेलीकॉप्टर के जरिये तीर्थ नगरी पुष्कर पहुंचे।

प्रधानमंत्री मोदी ने पुष्कर में ब्रह्मा मंदिर में पूजा अर्चना की। वह पुष्कर से हेलीकॉप्टर से जयपुर-अजमेर राजमार्ग पर स्थित कायड़ विश्राम स्थली जाएंगे, जहां वह जनसभा को संबोधित करेंगे।

Pc:जनता से रिश्ता

मुंबई। घरेलू शेयर बाजारों में पिछले चार कारोबारी सत्रों से जारी तेजी पर बुधवार को विराम लगा और बीएसई सेंसेक्स करीब 347 अंक टूटकर बंद हुआ। वैश्विक बाजारों में कमजोर रुख के बीच बैंक, पेट्रोलियम एवं धातु शेयरों में मुनाफावसूली से बाजार में गिरावट रही।

तीस शेयरों पर आधारित सेंसेक्स 346.89 अंक यानी 0.55 प्रतिशत की गिरावट के साथ 62,622.24 अंक पर बंद हुआ। कारोबार के दौरान एक समय यह 568.11 अंक नीचे चला गया था।नेशनल स्टॉक एक्सचेंज का निफ्टी भी 99.45 अंक यानी 0.53 प्रतिशत की गिरावट के साथ 18,534.40 अंक पर बंद हुआ।

इससे पहले मंगलवार तक चार दिन की तेजी में सेंसेक्स 1,195 अंक और निफ्टी 348 अंक मजबूत हुआ था।सेंसेक्स के शेयरों में एक्सिस बैंक, भारतीय स्टेट बैंक, रिलायंस इंडस्ट्रीज, एचडीएफसी, एचडीएफसी बैंक, एनटीपीसी, टाटा स्टील और अल्ट्राटेक सीमेंट प्रमुख रूप से नुकसान में रहे।वहीं लाभ में रहने वाले शेयरों में भारती एयरटेल, टेक महिंद्रा, एशियन पेंट्स, सन फार्मा, टाटा मोटर्स और कोटक महिंद्रा बैंक शामिल हैं।

जियोजीत फाइनेंशियल सर्विसेज के शोध प्रमुख विनोद नायर ने कहा, ;;विभिन्न आंकड़ों से यह संकेत मिल रहा है कि भारतीय अर्थव्यवस्था में पुनरुद्धार मजबूत है। इससे घरेलू शेयर बाजारों में तेजी का रुख रहा। हालांकि, दुनिया के अन्य प्रमुख शेयरों में नकारात्मक संकेतों से तेजी पर कुछ अंकुश लगा।उन्होंने कहा, ;;पश्चिमी देशों में मंदी और ब्याज दरों में वृद्धि की संभावना को लेकर चिंताओं से घरेलू बाजार पर असर पड़ा। हालांकि, इन सबके बावजूद बाजार का प्रदर्शन बेहतर है।

एशिया के अन्य बाजारों में दक्षिण कोरिया का कॉस्पी, जापान का निक्की, चीन का शंघाई कम्पोजिट और हांगकांग का हैंगसेंग नुकसान में रहे।यूरोप के प्रमुख बाजारों में शुरुआती कारोबार में गिरावट का रुख था। अमेरिकी बाजारों में मंगलवार को मिला-जुला रुख देखने को मिला।मेहता इक्विटीज लि. के वरिष्ठ उपाध्यक्ष प्रशांत तसपे ने कहा कि निवेशकों की नजर चौथी तिमाही के जीडीपी (सकल घरेलू उत्पाद) के आंकड़ों पर भी है। इन आंकड़ों से अर्थव्यवस्था की स्थिति का पता चलेगा।शेयर बाजार के आंकड़ों के अनुसार, विदेशी संस्थागत निवेशक मंगलवार को शुद्ध लिवाल रहे और उन्होंने 2,085.62 करोड़ रुपये मूल्य के शेयर खरीदे।

Pc:Aaj Tak

बैंकॉक। भारत के किरण जॉर्ज ने उलटफेर करते हुए बुधवार को यहां चीन के दुनिया के नौवें नंबर के खिलाड़ी शी युकी को सीधे गेम में हराकर थाईलैंड ओपन सुपर 500 बैडमिंटन टूर्नामेंट के पुरुष एकल प्री क्वार्टर फाइनल में जगह बनाई।

अश्मिता चाहिला और साइना नेहवाल ने भी महिला एकल में अगले दौर में जगह बनाई।किदांबी श्रीकांत और बी साई प्रणीत पुरुष एकल में जल्दी बाहर हो गए लेकिन ओडिशा ओपन के विजेता किरण ने 2018 विश्व चैंपियनशिप के रजत पदक विजेता और तीसरे वरीय शी युकी को 21-18 22-20 से हराकर बाहर का रास्ता दिखा दिया।किरण अगले दौर में चीन के वेंग होंग येंग से भिड़ेंगे।

दिन के अन्य मुकाबलों में क्वालीफायर अश्मिता ने हमवतन मालविका बंसोड़ को 21-17 21-14 से हराया जबकि लंदन ओलंपिक की कांस्य पदक विजेता साइना ने कनाडा की वेन यू झेंग को 21-13 21-7 से शिकस्त दी।अश्मिता अगले दौर में रियो ओलंपिक की स्वर्ण पदक विजेता चौथी वरीय कैरोलिना मारिन से भिड़ेंगी। साइना का सामना चीन की ही बिंग जियाओ से हो सकता है।

विश्व चैंपियनशिप 2021 के रजत पदक विजेता श्रीकांत को हालांकि चीन के वेंग होंग येंग के खिलाफ 8-21 21-16 14-21 से हार का सामना करना पड़ा।तोक्यो ओलंपियन प्रणीत को भी फ्रांस के क्रिस्टो पोपोव के खिलाफ 14-21 16-21 से हार झेलनी पड़ी।ओरलियंस मास्टर्स के विजेता प्रियांशु राजावत भी पहले दौर की बाधा पार करने में विफल रहे और मलेशिया के एनजी जी योंग के खिलाफ 19-21 10-21 से हार गए।हाल में स्लोवेनिया ओपन का खिताब जीतने वाले दुनिया के 11वें नंबर के पूर्व खिलाड़ी समीर वर्मा को भी डेनमार्क के मैग्नस योहानसेन के खिलाफ 15-21 15-21 से हार झेलनी पड़ी।

Pc:Sports – Punjab Kesari

मंगलुरु (कर्नाटक)। आतंकी वित्तपोषण से संबंधित जारी जांच के तहत राष्ट्रीय अन्वेषण अभिकरण (एनआईए) ने बुधवार सुबह कर्नाटक के दक्षिण कन्नड़ जिले में प्रतिबंधित पॉपुलर फ्रंट ऑफ इंडिया (पीएफआई) के सदस्यों से जुड़े 16 परिसरों पर छापेमारी की।

ये संपत्ति अब प्रतिबंधित पीएफआई से जुड़े सदस्यों से संबंधित है। आतंकवाद से संबंधित गतिविधियों में कट्टरपंथी संगठन की मदद के लिए खाड़ी देशों से कर्नाटक को भेजे गए धन के बारे में मिली खुफिया सूचनाओं के आधार पर ये छापेमारी की गई।

सूत्रों ने बताया कि मंगलुरु के साथ साथ बंतवाल, उप्पिनंगडी, वेनूर और बेलथांगडी में छापेमारी की गई। जिन परिसरों पर छापेमारी की गई उनमें कुछ मकान, दुकानें और एक अस्पताल शामिल है। धन हस्तांतरण से संबंधित डिजिटल साक्ष्य एकत्रित किए जा रहे हैं।

उन्होंने कहा कि एनआई ने 12 जुलाई, 2022 को बिहार में एक रैली के दौरान प्रधानमंत्री नरेन्द्र मोदी पर हमले की साजिश को लेकर प्रतिबंधित संगठन के खिलाफ एक मामले सहित आतंकवाद-संबंधी गतिविधियों के लिए धन के स्रोत का पता लगाने के लिए मार्च के आखिर में मंगलुरु में छापेमारी की थी।

Pc:The Business Standard (Hindi)

बीजिंग। चीन की सत्तारूढ़ कम्युनिस्ट पार्टी ने कृत्रिम मेधा (एआई) के क्षेत्र में प्रगति से उत्पन्न जोखिमों को लेकर राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा उपाय मजबूत करने का आह्वान किया है।

सरकारी समाचार एजेंसी शिन्हुआ ने कहा कि मंगलवार को पार्टी नेता एवं राष्ट्रपति शी चिनफिंग की अध्यक्षता में हुई एक बैठक में राजनीतिक सुरक्षा और इंटरनेट डेटा एवं कृत्रिम मेधा संबंधी सुरक्षा में सुधार के लिए ठोस प्रयास किए जाने का आह्वान किया गया।सेना के सर्वोच्च कमांडर और पार्टी के राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा आयोग के अध्यक्ष शी ने “राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा के समक्ष आने वाली जटिल और चुनौतीपूर्ण परिस्थितियों से अवगत रहने” पर विचार-विमर्श के लिए इस बैठक का आयोजन किया।

शिन्हुआ ने शी के हवाले से कहा कि चीन को “नए सुरक्षा ढांचे के साथ विकास के नए तरीकों” की जरूरत है।उल्लेखनीय है कि चैटजीपीटी जैसे अत्यधिक सक्षम एआई चैटबॉक्स के चलते चीजों के इंसान के नियंत्रण से बाहर होने जैसी कई तरह की चिंताएं बढ़ी हैं।माइक्रोसॉफ्ट और गूगल के उच्चस्तरीय अधिकारियों सहित वैज्ञानिकों और प्रौद्योगिकी क्षेत्र के लोगों ने मंगलवार को कृत्रिम मेधा के मानव जाति के लिए खतरा होने संबंधी एक नई चेतावनी जारी की।

इससे संबंधित बयान में कहा गया, “महामारी और परमाणु युद्ध जैसे अन्य सामाजिक-स्तर के जोखिमों के साथ एआई की वजह से विलुप्ति के जोखिम को कम करना एक वैश्विक प्राथमिकता होना चाहिए।”

Pc:The Hindu

नयी दिल्ली। भारतीय वायुसेना के चार राफेल लड़ाकू विमानों ने छह घंटों तक हिंद महासागर के ऊपर एक ;;रणनीतिक अभियान पूरा किया और इस दौरान विमानों ने लंबी दूरी वाली लड़ाकू क्षमताओं को प्रदर्शित किया।

अभियान की जानकारी रखने वाले अधिकारियों ने यह जानकरी दी।उन्होंने बताया कि लड़ाकू विमानों ने पूर्वी सेक्टर में हासीमारा वायु सेना अड्डे से उड़ान भरी और विभिन्न युद्धाभ्यास तथा कई अभियान पूरे किए और इच्छित परिणाम पाने के उपरान्त अड्डे पर लौट आए।

भारतीय वायु सेना ने ऐसे वक्त में इस अभियान को अंजाम दिया है जब चीन हिंद महासागर क्षेत्र में अपनी मौजूदगी बढ़ा रहा है, जिसे भारतीय नौसना का ;बैकयार्ड कहा जाता है।अभियान की जानकारी रखने वाले अधिकारियों ने कहा कि चार राफेल विमानों के इस मिशन ने अपनी अभियानगत क्षमताओं तथा चुनौतीपूर्ण स्थितियों से निपटने में अपनी तैयारियों को प्रदर्शित किया।

उन्होंने यह नहीं बताया कि यह अभियान कब हुआ,पर कहा ही हाल ही में इसे अंजाम दिया गया।भारतीय वायु सेना ने भी इस अभियान के संबंध में ट्वीट किया।
वायु सेना ने ट्वीट किया,;; भारतीय वायु सेना के चार राफेल लंबी दूरी के मिशन पर छह घंटे के लिए आईओआर में गए। विमान अपने ;वेपन रिलीज प्वाइंटके रास्ते में भारी बलों की मौजूदगी से निपटते हुए आगे बढ़े। हथियार निशाने पर लगा – जैसा भारतीय वायु सेना करती है।वायु सेना ने भी अभियान की तारीख के संबंध में कोई जानकारी नहीं दी।

Pc:Navbharat Times

जयपुर। राजस्‍थान सरकार ने बीकानेर, हनुमानगढ़ और गंगानगर जिलों में पक्के नहरी खालों का निर्माण और क्षतिग्रस्त खालों का जीर्णोंद्धार कराने का फैसला किया है। इसके लिए 162.95 करोड़ रुपये मंजूर किए गए हैं।

एक सरकारी बयान के अनुसार मुख्‍यमंत्री अशोक गहलोत ने तीनों जिलों में कार्यों के लिए 162.95 करोड़ रुपये की मंजूरी दी है।इस स्वीकृति के तहत हनुमानगढ़ के भादरा स्थित अमरसिंह ब्रांच, सिद्धमुख नहर व नोहर फीडर क्षेत्र और श्रीगंगानगर के सूरतगढ़ में पुराने क्षतिग्रस्त खालों के निर्माण में 112.95 करोड़ रुपये की लागत आएगी।

बयान के मुताबिक बीकानेर के नहरी खालों की मरम्मत में 50 करोड़ रुपये व्यय होंगे। इससे जलधाराएं एवं भूमिगत नालियों का कार्य शीघ्र हो सकेगा जिससे पानी की बचत होगी और खेतों को अधिक पानी मिलेगा।गहलोत सरकार द्वारा वर्ष 2023-24 के बजट में सिंचाई परियोजना के मरम्मत कार्य को लेकर घोषणा की गई थी।एक अन्य फैसले के तहत राज्य सरकार दौसा

जिले के लालसोट क्षेत्र में नवीन पशु चिकित्सा महाविद्यालय खोलेगी। मुख्यमंत्री अशोक गहलोत ने महाविद्यालय खोलने और संचालन के प्रस्ताव को स्वीकृति दी है।बयान के मुताबिक नया महाविद्यालय राजस्थान पशु चिकित्सा एवं पशु विज्ञान विश्वविद्यालय बीकानेर के संघटक के रूप में संचालित होगा। महाविद्यालय में प्रथम वर्ष में अधिकतम 80 विद्यार्थियों को प्रवेश दिया जाएगा।

Pc:Dainik Bhaskar

नयी दिल्ली फ्रांसीसी वाहन कंपनी रेनो भारत में पिछले 11 साल में नौ लाख वाहनो की बिक्री का आंकड़ा पार कर लिया है। कंपनी ने बुधवार को यह जानकारी दी।

भारत में 2012 से ;मेक इन इंडिया (भारत में बने) वाहन बेचना शुरू करने वाली कंपनी इस समय शुरुआती स्तर की क्विड, कॉम्पेक्ट एसयूवी (स्पोर्ट्स यूटिलिटी व्हीकल) काइगर और बहुद्देशीय वाहन ट्राइबर की बिक्री कर रही है।

रेनो इंडिया के मुख्य कार्यपालक अधिकारी (सीईओ) और प्रबंध निदेशक (एमडी) वेंकटराम मामिलपल्ले ने बयान में कहा, “रेनो के लिए भारत रणनीतिक और शीर्ष पांच बाजारों में है। यहां के लिए हमारे दिमाग में एक स्पष्ट दीर्घकालिक रणनीति है।

हमने भविष्य के उत्पादों के लिए स्थानीयतकरण पर जोर देते हुए मजबूत योजना बनाई है।”भारतीय बाजार के लिए दीर्घकालिक प्रतिबद्धता के साथ मामिलपल्ले ने कहा, “ग्राहकों की नई जरूरतों और वरीयताओं को पूरा करने के लिए रेनो अपने उत्पादों और सेवाओं में कई नए नवाचार लाने की योजना बना रही है।”

Pc:Amarujala

चाईबासा। झारखंड के पश्चिमी सिंहभूम जिले में दस विस्फोटक बरामद किए गए।पुलिस ने बुधवार को यह जानकारी दी।

उसने बताया कि टोन्टो पुलिस थाना इलाके में तुमबहाका गांव के निकट वनक्षेत्र से छह विस्फोटक बरामद किए गए। वहीं गोइलकेरा पुलिस थाना इलाके में पांच किलोग्राम विस्फोटक मिला। बम निष्क्रिय दस्ते ने सभी विस्फोटकों को नष्ट कर दिया।

सुरक्षा बलों ने इलाके में अभियान के दौरान ये विस्फोटक बरामद किए।गौरतलब है कि सुरक्षा बलों को निशाना बनाने के लिए नक्सलियों द्वारा लगाए गए विस्फोटकों से जनवरी से अब तक आठ लोग मारे गए हैं और 20घायल हुए हैं।

Pc:Dainik Bhaskar