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As Gaza Death Toll Nears 30,000, Israel’s Isolation Grows
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As Gaza Death Toll Nears 30,000, Israel’s Isolation Grows

When David Ben-Gurion, one of Israel’s founding fathers, was warned in 1955 that his plan to seize the Gaza Strip from Egypt would provoke a backlash in the United Nations, he famously derided the U.N., playing off its Hebrew acronym, as “Um-Shmum.”The phrase came to symbolize Israel’s willingness to defy international organizations when it believes its core interests are at stake.Nearly 70 years later, Israel faces another wave of condemnation in the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, and from dozens of countries over its military operation in Gaza, which has killed an estimated 29,000 Palestinians, many of them women and children, and left much of the territory in ruins.The huge swell in global pressure has left the Israeli government and its prime minister, Benjamin Net...
How to Vote in the Mexican Elections From Abroad
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How to Vote in the Mexican Elections From Abroad

Two women will face off for Mexico’s highest office in what is set to be a historic election this spring.Mexicans will choose their first female president on June 2, and they will also vote to renew all 500 deputies for the lower chamber of Congress and the 128 members of the Senate. At the same time, 30 of the country’s 32 states will be holding elections — with 19,000 state and local offices up for grabs.This is the first national election in which Mexico will allow residents living abroad to vote in person. More than 12 million citizens live outside the country, 97 percent of them in the United States, according to the Institute of Mexicans Abroad. But in order to vote, those citizens must first register.Here’s what you need to do now to be eligible to cast a ballot in June.Who can cast...
‘Shawshank’ in China, as You’ve Never Seen It Before
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‘Shawshank’ in China, as You’ve Never Seen It Before

When a stage production of “The Shawshank Redemption” opened recently in China, it was cast entirely with Western actors speaking fluent Mandarin Chinese. But that may have been the least surprising part of the show.That the show — an adaptation of the Stephen King novella that became one of the most beloved movies of all time — was staged at all seemingly flew in the face of several trends in China’s cultural sphere.Chinese audiences’ interest in Hollywood films is fading, with moviegoers turning to homegrown productions. China’s authoritarian government has stoked nationalism and cast Western influence as a political pollutant. Censorship of the arts has tightened.Yet the production reflects how some artists are trying to navigate the changing landscape of both what is permissible and wh...
Venezuela Expels U.N. Human Rights Agency
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Venezuela Expels U.N. Human Rights Agency

A United Nations agency that monitors and defends human rights was ordered on Thursday to leave Venezuela by the government of President Nicolás Maduro, an extraordinary move that will further strip the country of foreign oversight at a time when its government stands accused of intensifying repression.The announcement by Yván Gil, the foreign minister, comes just days after the detention and disappearance of Rocío San Miguel, a prominent security expert and human rights advocate.Following her detention, several U.N. entities issued online statements expressing concern about the arrest, some calling it part of a pattern in which the government tries to silence critics through intimidation.Mr. Gil said he was giving the staff of the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights 72 h...
Losing Ground in the War, Ukraine Seeks New Position Around Avdiivka
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Losing Ground in the War, Ukraine Seeks New Position Around Avdiivka

Ukrainian soldiers are withdrawing from positions in the shattered town of Avdiivka after advancing Russian forces breached a critical supply line and threatened to encircle scores of Ukrainian soldiers, Ukrainian military officials and soldiers said on Thursday.Dmytro Lykhovii, a spokesman for Ukrainian forces fighting in the area, said the Ukrainians were “maneuvering” and “sometimes withdrawing to more advantageous positions and sometimes repelling enemy advances.”He also said military commanders had set up a backup logistical route to the town to transport much needed supplies to Ukraine’s beleaguered troops.The battle, Mr. Lykhovii said, was dynamic and changing by the hour as the two sides engaged in fierce urban combat. But his comments suggested the fighting had taken another omino...
Brazil’s Carnival Only Starts When 12-Foot John Travolta Arrives
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Brazil’s Carnival Only Starts When 12-Foot John Travolta Arrives

It was near the start of one of Brazil’s most famous Carnival celebrations, in the northern seaside city of Olinda, and the town plaza was jammed with thousands of revelers. They were all awaiting their idol.Just before 9 p.m., the doors to a dance hall swung open, a brass band pushed into the crowd and the star everyone had been waiting for stepped out: a 12-foot puppet of John Travolta.Confetti sprayed, the band began playing a catchy tune and the crowd sang along: “John Travolta is really cool. Throwing a great party. And in Olinda, the best carnival.” (It rhymes in Portuguese.)The giant John Travolta, perched on the head of a puppeteer, then led a parade through the cobblestone streets.The “boneco,” as such giant puppets are known in Brazil, wore a bedazzled disco-era turtleneck and su...
Israel Says It Rescued 2 Hostages From Rafah
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Israel Says It Rescued 2 Hostages From Rafah

Israeli security forces said early Monday that they had rescued two hostages who were being held in the southern Gazan city of Rafah, in one of the few examples of a successful hostage rescue in Gaza since the start of the war.The hostages, Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, were undergoing tests at a hospital in Tel Aviv and were both in good condition, according to a joint statement from the Israeli military, the police and the domestic security agency, Shin Bet.The statement was issued around the same time that Israel said it had conducted a “wave” of attacks on Rafah, a crowded city at the border with Egypt where more than a million Palestinian refugees are anxiously expecting an Israeli ground invasion. The military said later that the strikes, which local news outlets said...
Walter Shawlee, the Sovereign of Slide Rules, Is Dead at 73
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Walter Shawlee, the Sovereign of Slide Rules, Is Dead at 73

For about 350 years, humanity’s most innovative hand-held computer was something called a slide rule. As typewriters once symbolized the writer, slide rules symbolized the engineer.These analog calculators came in metal, wood, plastic and even bamboo, and they could be found all over the world. Their functions included computing higher-order multiplications, exponents and logarithms, among other mathematical operations. They were usually long and rectangular with a retractable middle segment, and they featured dense fields of letters, lines and numbers stacked on top of one another.They looked almost comically abstruse, as if they might be used as paddles in the hazing rituals of a math fraternity.Non-nerds struggled to make sense of them. Then, in the early 1970s, lightweight electronic c...
Israel Plans Advance in Southern Gaza as Airstrikes Hit Rafah: Live Updates
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Israel Plans Advance in Southern Gaza as Airstrikes Hit Rafah: Live Updates

A U.S. Special Operations retaliatory drone strike in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday killed a senior leader of a militia that U.S. officials blame for recent attacks on American personnel, the Pentagon said, following up on President Biden’s promise that the response to a slew of attacks by Shiite militias would continue.The Pentagon said the man was a leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah, the militia that officials have said was responsible for the drone attack in Jordan last month that killed three American service members and injured more than 40.A U.S. official said that the strike was a “dynamic” hit on the militia commander, whom American intelligence officials had been tracking for some time. A second official said the United States reserved the right to strike other Shiite militia leaders a...
Sebastián Piñera, Former President of Chile, Dies in Helicopter Crash
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Sebastián Piñera, Former President of Chile, Dies in Helicopter Crash

Sebastián Piñera, a former president of Chile who helped strengthen the nation’s young democracy after becoming its first conservative leader since a military dictatorship, died in a helicopter crash in Chile on Tuesday, the government said. He was 74.The helicopter, carrying four people, crashed into Lake Ranco in the Los Ríos region in southern Chile about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, shortly after taking off, the government said. Three people survived and swam to shore, and the Chilean Navy recovered Mr. Piñera’s body. It is unclear who was piloting the aircraft, but Mr. Piñera was known to fly his own helicopter.Mr. Piñera was a billionaire businessman and investor who served two terms as Chile’s president, from 2010 to 2014 and from 2018 to 2022.A conservative, Mr. Piñera ushered in pro-busines...