Good morning. We are covering reports of Russian atrocities, a bubble political crisis in Pakistan and the Taliban’s ban on poppy growing for opium.
Prevention: Here’s how Kyiv resisted the Russian invasion and how already legendary fighters drove the Russians out of the small garrison town of Vasilkiv.
Background: Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly tried – and failed – to subjugate Ukraine.
Ripple effect: The war has pushed up food prices in East Africa, which is facing its worst drought in four decades.
Status of war:
The move – a counter-attempt by Khan to stay in power despite losing military support – threatens to plunge the country into a constitutional crisis. On Saturday, Khan said he would not accept the result of the vote, dismissing it as part of an American conspiracy against him.
Reporting from Afghanistan
Opposition leaders accused Khan of high treason and called on the country’s Supreme Court to intervene, calling it “unprecedented” and a “clear violation” of Pakistan’s constitution. The hearing was scheduled for Monday.
Analysis: The strategy risked destabilizing Pakistan’s fragile democracy, a nuclear-armed country that supports the Taliban. Since Pakistan became an independent country in 1947, not a single Prime Minister has served a full term.
Profile: Khan, a former cricket star, was elected in 2018 on a nationalist commitment to fight corruption and keep Pakistan away from the United States, which has a troubled history. If Khan is ousted, many experts say, Pakistan could become closer to the United States and the West.
The Taliban have banned poppy cultivation
Insurgents have become the rulers of Afghanistan, banning the cultivation of opium flowers on Sunday. The decree prohibits the use, sale, transfer, purchase, import and export of heroin and other drugs in addition to alcohol.
The move will have far-reaching consequences for many farmers who are leaning towards illegal crops amid the country’s brutal drought and economic crisis.
Many farmers planted crops – which could be stored for some time after harvest – as an investment. They expected a reduction in supplies and rising prices, although they knew the Taliban could restrict cultivation. The Taliban’s announcement on Sunday came as poppies were being cut.
Context: Afghanistan accounts for about 80 percent of the world’s opium supply.
Background: The Taliban made several half-hearted efforts to limit opium poppy cultivation in the 1990s, before the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and banned poppy cultivation, after which the Taliban returned to crops to fuel their war machine for two decades.
The latest news
Asia and the Pacific Ocean
The Thai government is launching a campaign to call the world the capital of Thailand, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok). Thai citizens would like their leaders to focus on fixing the country’s troubled economy.
Arts and Ideas
As long as there is marine life, there is sea ice – the endless drizzle of death and the waste that sinks to its depths from the surface of the sea.
Now, small pieces of plastic have penetrated the slow-descending flakes, which are the main food source of the deep sea and a pipeline that carries sea carbon to the ocean floor. Microplastics, usually cheerful, sink with flakes.
This is new information: Scientists originally speculated that the plastic was mostly floating on the surface. But a recent model found that 99.8 percent of the plastic that entered the ocean after 1950 sank the first few hundred feet. Scientists have found 10,000 times more microplastics in the ocean floor than in contaminated surface water.
They have just begun to understand the consequences. As microplastics add to the surface area of sea ice, the mixture can carry more carbon to the ocean floor and alter the ancient cooling process of our planet.
Submerged microplastics can also damage deep-sea food nets. “Plastics are a food pill for these animals,” a carbon cycle scientist told the Times.
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