We discuss Russia’s struggle to make progress in Ukraine and attempts to overthrow Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Russia suppresses dissent as war stagnates
A Russian court sentenced already imprisoned opposition leader Aleksei Navalny to nine years in prison on charges of fraud, a measure widely seen as a way for the Kremlin to more closely monitor the war narrative.
Navalny’s extended sentence came when Russia amended an already draconian censorship law to make “discrediting” the activities of all government agencies abroad a possible criminal offense, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Navalny has urged Russians to protest the invasion of Ukraine through letters from prison that his lawyers posted on social media.
On the ground, Russia has made little progress in its attempt to encircle Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Ukrainian officials said they had hoisted their flags over Makariv, a town about 40 miles (40 km) from the capital, where control goes back and forth between Russian troops and Ukrainians.
The US has determined that Russia’s “combat force” in Ukraine has fallen below 90 percent of its original strength for the first time, reflecting the losses suffered by Russian forces.
Pfizer to send millions of Covid pills to poorer countries
Pfizer said it plans to sell up to four million treatment courses of its Covid-19 pills for use in lower-income countries, and the first supplies are expected to be available next month.
In a supply agreement with UNICEF, the UN’s pediatric aid agency, Pfizer agreed to sell its pills on a non-profit basis to 95 low-income countries where about four billion people live. In some cases, UNICEF’s pooled Covid fund may pay for the treatments, a spokeswoman said.
Pfizer’s treatment, known as Paxlovid, has been shown to be very effective in preventing serious illness in Covid patients when given early in the course of an infection. It is thought to show promise in low-income countries because it is given in pill form, taken at home, and easily stored at room temperature.
While Pfizer’s pills will most likely be the first Covid drugs to be available in many of the poorest parts of the world, wealthy countries have a large share of the 120 million courses of treatment the company said it could produce this year. lock done.
Imran Khan fights for his political survival
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan could soon be removed from office as rising inflation and a split with the military threaten his grip on power.
Political opposition parties called for a vote of no confidence in parliament after it emerged Khan had lost his majority support and the support of the country’s powerful military. Last week, Khan’s party was rocked by the defection of at least a dozen lawmakers who accused their leader of failing to tackle double-digit inflation. Khan, a former cricketer, slammed his critics as part of an American-influenced conspiracy.
“He’s a fighter,” said Arif Rafiq, president of a political risk consultancy in New York. “But it just doesn’t look like he’ll have the numbers to survive a no-confidence vote.”
Of particular concern is the military’s discontent with Khan, whose election in 2018 was widely attributed to the military’s support. The country’s generals seemed to get angry with Khan for trying to place a loyal aide at the head of the army over the objections of senior officials.
What’s next: Ahead of the vote, expected next week, Khan said he would gather a million supporters for a rally in Islamabad this weekend. The opposition responded by announcing a counter-protest, fearing violent clashes.
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Facing criticism from politicians and environmentalists, the cryptocurrency mining industry has embarked on a rebranding campaign to challenge the notion that its electricity-guzzling computers are harming the climate. The effort — part public relations exercise, part genuine effort to make the industry more sustainable — has intensified recently.
ART AND IDEAS
The houses of artists and other creative people
Do you want to brighten up your environment after spring cleaning? The spring design issue of T Magazine explores homes where creative work is done.
In Los Angeles, a cocoon-like house from the 1960s, bathed in purple hues, formerly belonged to the writer Anaïs Nin. (One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s grandsons designed it.) In North Carolina, four black artists preserve the childhood home of singer Nina Simone. A former farming community near Berlin, once the farm of the artist Danh Vo, has become a lavish retreat.
And for color savvy, there’s no shortage of neutral designs to get inspired by — though this kid’s bathroom is a sweet pastel delight.