A fatal blast at a rally in Pakistan
At least 43 people were killed in the country’s northwest yesterday, officials said, the latest sign of the deteriorating security situation in Pakistan. The death toll is expected to rise: At least 200 people were wounded.
Officials suspect that the attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province might have been orchestrated by an Islamic State affiliate that is active near the border with Afghanistan. The group has previously targeted members of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, the Islamist political party that organized the rally. A local party leader was killed.
The provincial police chief told the local news media that a suicide bomber set off the explosion. No one immediately claimed responsibility.
Background: Militant groups — including the Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or T.T.P. — have become more active in recent years. This year, the T.T.P. attacked a mosque in Peshawar, killing more than 100 people, and waged an hourslong assault on Karachi.
Fallout: The rise of militant violence in Pakistan could dampen campaigning before the next general election, expected in the fall, and dissuade voters from coming to the polls.
India’s opposition pushes Modi to speak about the ethnic conflict
The violence in Manipur has killed more than 150 people and displaced 60,000 others, and the northeastern state has been effectively partitioned along ethnic lines in what residents are describing as a civil war.
But Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has almost entirely avoided addressing the conflict. Last week, opposition parties resorted to a no-confidence motion in Parliament. The move was procedural; Modi’s government is at no risk of being voted out.
Instead, Gaurav Gogoi, the opposition leader who initiated the vote, said he had hoped that it would “force” Modi to speak about the violence. Gogoi, citing national security concerns such as potential “ripple effects” in other states, noted that about 5,000 weapons were unaccounted for after mobs had looted police weapons depots.
The military: Tens of thousands of national security forces have struggled to restore calm, potentially stretching India’s military resources. Analysts say many come from a division primarily responsible for security at the border with China, where the two sides have remained in a standoff for more than two years.
Modi’s approach: Modi is personally more popular with voters than with his party, known as the B.J.P., which has let him rescue regional elections where it has struggled. Party leaders want to avoid linking him in the public mind with Manipur.
Helicopter crash overshadows Australia-U.S. military cooperation
Australia plans to accelerate missile production for the U.S. and expand military cooperation and training. Overshadowing the announcement was the crash of an Australian army helicopter during one such exercise.
The U.S. agreed to fast-track licensing for the new missiles, which will be built with U.S. defense industry partners beginning in 2025. The two countries will also collaborate to increase logistics support in Australia for the U.S. military and to upgrade two air bases in Australia while enhancing training with the air forces of both the U.S. and Japan.
But officials also noted that increased regional training exercises — a U.S.-led effort to deter a more assertive China — can also bring greater risks, like the crash. As of send time, the four crew members aboard the helicopter had not been found. Reuters reported that Australia had identified them.
Missiles: Analysts said that the U.S. defense industry, struggling to keep up with requests from Ukraine and also the U.S. Defense Department, could benefit from other countries’ manufacturing support. Australia has set aside $2.7 billion to acquire long-range strike missiles, which could be exported to the U.S. or Ukraine.
AUKUS: Officials gathered two years after the landmark deal, which also includes the U.K. The agreement aims to build a mechanism for sharing nuclear-powered submarines and developing other kinds of advanced technology, including hypersonic missiles and quantum computers and sensors.
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Mesopotamia means the land between rivers. But the heart of the Fertile Crescent — a once-verdant area of Iraq — is turning to dust.
“Because of this region’s vulnerabilities, one of the most vulnerable on the planet, it is one of the first places that is going to show some kind of extreme succumbing, literally, to climate change,” one researcher said.
Nearly 40 percent of Iraq has been overtaken by blowing desert sands. So little water remains in some villages near the Euphrates River that families are dismantling their homes, piling them into pickup trucks and driving away.
Introducing ‘Travel 101’
My colleagues have started a new series that is designed to answer your questions about travel with some practical, actionable advice.
Last week, they tackled what to do if your flight is canceled or delayed, how to plan a solo trip and how to put together a friends’ getaway. They’ll be adding new topics on a regular basis and collecting them into a comprehensive guide.
Is there a topic you’d like for them to tackle, or do you have a favorite travel hack to share? Email them at email@example.com.