Good morning. We report a major explosion on a Russian target in Crimea and a political scandal in Australia.
And by repeatedly striking the territory Russia has owned for nearly a decade, Ukraine has posed a new challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s home situation. He has told his people that Crimea is a “holy place” and the “holy land” of Russia.
Scott Morrison’s Secret Powers
Australia is gripped by a growing political scandal over the behavior of its former Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.
While leading the country during the pandemic, he secretly put himself in charge of five ministries. And he kept his five new roles a secret from the public and most of his colleagues in Parliament. Several ministers who shared power with Morrison were never told.
Our coverage of the war between Russia and Ukraine
“I can’t imagine the mentality that has caused this,” Anthony Albanese, the current prime minister, said yesterday. (Australia chose to remove Morrison from office in May.) “It undermines our democracy,” he added, calling it “government by deceit.”
In Australia, ministers can decide how broad parts of the government operate. Many Australians view Morrison’s moves as decidedly Trumpian, and critics say Morrison has damaged the country’s democracy.
Details: In 2020, Morrison apparently realized that the country’s pandemic response would have essentially placed the health minister above the prime minister. So he appointed himself second health minister – and then finance minister, to make sure he could also have a say in emergency aid spending.
Response: Yesterday, amid mounting calls to resign his parliament seat, Morrison said his power play had been the “right decision” in “very unconventional times”.
transactions: Before the election in May, Morrison used his new ministerial powers to overrule the Resources Secretary for a controversial gas project, having it abolished over concerns it would hurt his party’s chances. He apologized yesterday.
New Delhi’s Model School System
In India, millions of families are seeking education to lift themselves out of poverty. But public schools have long had a reputation for dilapidated buildings, mismanagement, poor teaching and even spoiled lunches.
In New Delhi, however, the schools are changing. The city’s Aam Aadmi party has pledged billions of additional dollars to overhaul the capital’s schools — more than doubling previous investments.
Many of the solutions are basic maintenance: until recently, some schools did not have drinking water or clean toilets, or they were infested with snakes. The school system also works with top experts and universities to design new curricula.
Students enrolled in private schools are transferring, and the city’s students are doing well. In recent years, they have scored higher in core subjects than their peers across the country.
Politics: The Aam Aadmi party came to power promising to improve basic services. The work on education has helped the party, which took control of India’s second state, Punjab, in March, have won solid political victories.
citable: “You would enter a school and you could smell the toilets 50 meters away,” said an official, speaking of site visits in 2015.
A fight for freedom of expression
Salman Rushdie had wondered in recent years whether the public was losing its appetite for free speech, a principle he laid his life on when Iran wanted him killed for his 1988 novel, “The Satanic Verses.” As Rushdie told The Guardian last year, “The kind of people who stood up for me in the bad years may not do so now.”
After Rushdie was stabbed on stage on Friday, the initial conviction gave way to a renewed discussion about free speech, writes Jennifer Schuessler in The Times. Some Rushdie supporters lamented the growing acceptance, among sections of the political right and left, of the idea that abusive speech is grounds for censorship.
Jennifer’s article also mentions a surprising history – including an opinion essay by Jimmy Carter in the Times denouncing Rushdie’s novel. — Tom Wright-Piersanti, a morning editor