Good morning. We’re talking about a visit by US lawmakers to Taiwan and Salman Rushdie’s road to recovery.
More US lawmakers visit Taiwan
A delegation of five US lawmakers arrived in Taiwan yesterday. Their visit came less than two weeks after a controversial trip by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who infuriated Beijing and provoked Chinese military exercises off the coast of Taiwan.
Taiwanese officials said they appreciated the US show of solidarity amid mounting tensions with Beijing. The US delegation planned to meet Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen today and consult with the foreign affairs and national defense committees of the Taiwan legislature, Taiwan said.
China had no immediate response, but the presence of the five US lawmakers so soon after Pelosi’s visit would likely provoke a sharp response and potentially inspire more military exercises, analysts said.
context: Following Pelosi’s visit, Beijing fired five missiles into waters that are part of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, warning Japan and the US to come to Taiwan’s aid in the event of a conflict there. Last week, China completed live fire drills that surrounded the island and simulated a blockade. But Taiwan seemed undaunted and China took it easy with its economy.
Salman Rushdie is recovering
After Salman Rushdie was stabbed about 10 times during a speech on Friday, “the road to recovery has begun,” his agent said yesterday. Rushdie was taken off a respirator and was able to speak a few words.
A 24-year-old man was charged with attempted murder and assault with a weapon. Prosecutors say the attack was premeditated and targeted.
Rushdie is living relatively openly after years of 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 was published, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then the leader of Iran, issued an edict known as a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie.
Details: The attack could have caused the author to lose an eye, have a damaged liver and severed nerves in his arm, his agent said.
Our coverage of the war between Russia and Ukraine
Background: In 1991, the Japanese translator of “The Satanic Verses” was fatally stabbed. The crime remains unsolved. The Italian translator of the novel, the Norwegian publisher and a Turkish novelist who published an excerpt survived all attempts on their lives.
One year of Taliban rule
A year after the Taliban regime, Afghanistan seems to be raging backwards in time, my colleagues write in an analysis. For many Afghans – especially women in cities – the sense of loss is devastating.
Two decades of US-funded reforms have been reversed by increasing restrictions on everyday life, enforced by police state tactics such as house-to-house searches and arbitrary arrests. Schools and jobs are again restricted for women. Music is banned and beards are mandatory for men – an echo of the Taliban’s first rule in the 1990s.
“Now it’s gone — everything,” said Zakia Zahadat, 24, who used to work in a ministry after she earned a college degree. She’s mostly house-bound 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 be worsened after US officials accused the Taliban of harboring the leader of Al Qaeda this month. But the country has been better off in one respect: it is largely at peace after decades of war that has particularly turned the lives of rural Afghans upside down.
Background: Here are photos from last year’s Taliban offensive, with context and reflections from our bureau chief in Kabul.
Profiles: A group of Afghan employees from our office in Kabul adjusts after their evacuation to the US. Their new life is challenging but full of opportunities.
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