On March 4, his sister received a police summons to the Monywa mortuary. She identified her brother’s body, Ms. Khin Sandar Win said. A bullet hole punctured his left temple. A long slash ran down his torso.
The family wondered whether the gash signaled that his internal organs had been removed, a desecration increasingly found among those killed by the military in Myanmar. But Mr. Chan Thar Swe was cremated before his relatives could find out more.
His mother now spends her days looking at photographs of him, her oldest child, on Facebook. Along with his ashes, it is all she has of him.
“My brother did not support us financially because he was a poet, but he protected us whenever we needed,” Ms. Khin Sandar Win said.
At Mr. Chan Thar Swe’s funeral, another poet, Ko Khet Thi, recited a poem he had written for those killed by the security forces, many with a single bullet to the head and some when they were not even protesting.
They began to burn the poets
When the smoke of burned books could
No longer choke the lungs heavy with dissent.
Weeks after the funeral, Mr. Khet Thi, a onetime engineer, was hauled into detention and later turned up dead, according to his family. His corpse also had an unexplained incision down his torso, the family said.
“I am also afraid that I will get arrested and killed, but I will keep fighting,” said Ko Kyi Zaw Aye, yet another poet from Monywa who was close to both men.
For the first time since Myanmar’s military locked her up in a pre-dawn raid as part of its coup on Feb. 1, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar’s ousted civilian government, was seen in person on Monday when she sat briefly at a court hearing.
The short appearance at a special court in Naypyidaw, the Southeast Asian country’s capital, was also the first time that most of her legal team had caught a glimpse of their famous client. They have been defending her against a raft of criminal charges that the United Nations and foreign governments say are clearly politically motivated. Most of the country’s elected leadership has been jailed.
In a 30-minute meeting with her lawyers before the hearing, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who had previously appeared by video link, seemed healthy and resolute, if unclear about just how Myanmar had changed since the coup, a member of her legal team said. Since the putsch, the military has imposed a reign of terror, isolating the country once more from the international community.
Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was determined to defend the integrity of her political party, the National League for Democracy, or N.L.D., her lawyers said.
importing walkie-talkies, breaching coronavirus regulations and contravening the Official Secrets Act, among other crimes. Military-linked forces have also accused her of accepting bags of cash and 25 pounds of gold, although she has not been formally charged on those counts.
If she is found guilty of the charges — and Myanmar’s courts have a record of delivering guilty verdicts in political cases — Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, could be imprisoned for the rest of her life.
Although Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was initially held at her villa in Naypyidaw, she was moved to an undisclosed location a week later, blindfolded while in transit, her lawyer said.
“She doesn’t know where she is living now,” Ms. Min Min Soe said. “She doesn’t know anything about what is happening outside.”
internet blackouts imposed by the junta. With Covid-19 restrictions in place, some of the hearings were supposed to occur by video link.
Her next scheduled court date is June 7.
trounced the military’s proxy political party in nationwide elections. The lopsided result seemed to blindside some members of the military, even though the league had done the same five years before when it began sharing power with the army.
When the military, known as the Tatmadaw, staged its coup in February, it promised to hold elections within a year. The timetable was then extended to two years. Now, the country is facing the prospect of an election at an indeterminate point in the future without the party that won the most votes from citizens.
The military says that the elections last year were fraudulent, a charge dismissed by international observers and by a national election commission that was disbanded after the coup.
“The N.L.D. cannot be dissolved by force and orders because it is already the party in the hearts of the people,” said U Aung Kyi Nyunt, a spokesman for the party. “Abolition through illegal power will not succeed. The N.L.D. will survive and remain strong in Myanmar’s political history.”
ethnic armed groups claimed that they had killed dozens of Tatmadaw soldiers in offensives, even as the army’s shelling claimed lives of civilians sheltering in a church in eastern Myanmar. In the big cities, including Yangon and Mandalay, protesters organized flash mobs of dissent, scattering quickly as security forces drew near.
More than 800 people have been killed by security forces since the coup, according to a monitoring group, many shot in the head while peacefully protesting. More than 4,200 have been detained.
Among them is U Thein Hlaing Tun, a lawyer representing another of Myanmar’s jailed elected leaders. He was arrested on Monday as he tried to meet with his client at the same special court in Naypyidaw where Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi appeared.
Mr. Thein Hlaing Tun was charged with violating a section of the penal code criminalizing perceived slights against the Tatmadaw.
“That’s all we know about his arrest,” Ms. Min Min Soe said.
As a girl, Ma Thuzar Wint Lwin would watch the Miss Universe pageant and wish that she could be the one onstage representing her country, Myanmar. She entered her first two contests last year, nervous and excited about what to expect. But she ultimately walked away crowned Miss Universe Myanmar, and this week is competing at the global pageant in Florida.
But now representing her country has new meaning. With the military seizing power in a Feb. 1 coup and killing hundreds of protesters, she hopes to use her platform to call attention to Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement and to appeal for international help in freeing elected leaders who have been detained.
“They are killing our people like animals,” she said in an interview before leaving Myanmar for the competition. “Where is the humanity? Please help us. We are helpless here.”
In a dramatic moment on Thursday during the pageant’s national costume show, she walked to the front of the stage and held up a sign saying, “Pray for Myanmar.” The final competition will be held on Sunday.
responded with a brutal crackdown, killing more than 780 people and detaining more than 3,900, according to a rights group that tracks political prisoners.
In the early weeks of the protest movement, Ms. Thuzar Wint Lwin, 22, joined the demonstrations, where she held signs with slogans such as “We do not want military government,” and called for the release of the country’s civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest since the coup.
black-and-white photos of herself blindfolded, with tape over her mouth and her hands bound.
The military’s onslaught has left the country living in fear, she said.
“The soldiers patrol the city every day and sometimes they set up roadblocks to harass the people coming through,” said Ms. Thuzar Wint Lwin, who also goes by the name Candy. “In some cases, they fire without hesitation. We are scared of our own soldiers. Whenever we see one, all we feel is anger and fear.”
giving up his dream of going to the Olympics and would not compete under the Myanmar flag until the regime’s leader, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, was removed from power. And the mixed martial arts fighter U Aung La Nsang, an American citizen and one of Myanmar’s most famous athletes, has urged President Biden to help end the suffering of Myanmar’s people.
Ms. Thuzar Wint Lwin says she believes that it will not be safe for her to return to Myanmar after speaking out against the regime; she does not know where she will go after the pageant ends.
An English major at East Yangon University, her path to the pro-democracy movement can perhaps be traced back to her childhood. She grew up in a middle-class household. Like many parents, her father, a businessman, and her mother, a housewife, dared not discuss the military government that was then in power.
One of her early memories was walking with her mother near Sule Pagoda in downtown Yangon in 2007, when monks led nationwide protests against military rule. She was 7. As they neared the pagoda, soldiers broke up the protest by shooting their guns in the air. People started running. She and her mother ran, too.
began sharing power with civilian leaders and opening the country, allowing cellphones and affordable internet access to flood in.
Ms. Thuzar Wint Lwin is part of the first generation in Myanmar to grow up fully connected to the outside world, and for whom a free society seemed normal. In 2015, the country seated democratically elected officials for the first time in more than half a century. “We have been living in freedom for five years,” she said. “Do not take us back. We know all about the world. We have the internet.”
November was the first time she was old enough to vote, and she cast her ballot for the National League for Democracy, the party of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, which won in a landslide only to have the military overturn the results by seizing power.
Before the coup, Ms. Thuzar Wint Lwin’s biggest ordeal came when she was 19 and had surgery to remove precancerous tumors from each breast, leaving permanent scars. She decided against having laser treatment to improve their appearance as a reminder of her success in preventing cancer.
“It’s just a scar and I’m still me,” she wrote in a recent post with photographs of the scars. “I met self-acceptance realizing nothing changed who I am and the values I set for myself. Now, when I see those scars, I feel empowered.”
autobiographical video on Facebook that would be unusual for any beauty pageant contestant: It shows her wearing formal gowns mixed with scenes of people fleeing tear gas and a soldier shooting a man who rode by on a motorbike.
“Myanmar deserves democracy,” she says in the video. “We will keep fighting and I also hope that international communities will give us help that we desperately need.”
The Myanmar military’s disinformation was crude but effective.
Army propagandists claimed an ethnic group called the Rohingya was burning down its own villages and wanted to swamp Buddhist-majority Myanmar with Islamic hordes. The Rohingya were spinning tall tales, the military said in 2017, about soldiers committing mass rape and murder.
The truth — that troops were waging genocidal operations against Myanmar’s ethnic minorities — was perhaps too shocking for some members of the country’s Bamar ethnic majority to contemplate.
But as Myanmar’s military seized power this year and killed more than 750 civilians, Daw Sandar Myo, an elementary-school teacher, realized that the decades of persecution suffered by the Rohingya and other minorities was real, after all.
“After the coup, I saw soldiers and police killing and torturing people in the cities,” she said. “Then I started to feel empathy for Rohingya and ethnic people who have been suffering worse than us for many years.”
mass protests, civil disobedience, worker strikes and even the tentative beginnings of an armed struggle.
But another transformation is quietly underway: a growing acceptance of the nation’s ethnic diversity, something that was notably absent during an earlier political transition. With the military’s violence unleashed once again, some are acknowledging that democracy cannot flourish without respecting the ethnic minorities who have endured decades of persecution.
More than a third of Myanmar’s population is composed of ethnic minorities, who inhabit a vast frontier where the country’s natural resources are concentrated. Their insurgencies against the Myanmar military, which has ruled the country for most of the past six decades, rank among the world’s most enduring civil conflicts.
Tatmadaw, as the military is known. And they say they know better than the Bamar just how unstable Myanmar can be when its armed forces act as an occupying force rather than the people’s protector.
landslide re-election in November, more than a million members of ethnic minorities were disenfranchised during the vote.
During their five years of power-sharing with the Tatmadaw, the N.L.D.’s civilian leaders defended the military’s continuing atrocities against ethnic minorities. Decades ago, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent struggle for democracy. Yet she called the 2017 forced exodus of three-quarters of a million Rohingya the byproduct of “clearance operations” against a terrorist insurgency. The Rohingya were, in fact, victims of a well-documented ethnic cleansing campaign.
But the military’s seizure of power has led to soul-searching.
“The blood that has been shed in the aftermath of the coup has brought about a sea change in public views on federalism and inclusion,” said U Khin Zaw Win, a political analyst and former political prisoner who has long pushed for the rights of ethnic groups in Myanmar.
“While the N.L.D. does remain popular, the country has moved on” since the coup, he added. “It isn’t about an N.L.D. restoration any longer.”
So far, the new unity government is little more than a compendium of policy statements sent by encrypted apps. It has no army or international recognition.
an armed resistance to the Tatmadaw. Recent explosions at urban government offices and military-linked businesses signal their intent.
Joining forces with ethnic minorities involves other tactical considerations. Around the time of the coup, many of Myanmar’s most fearsome infantry divisions were transferred from remote bases to cities. Since then, security forces have killed dozens of children with single gunshots. Pro-democracy figures have turned up dead, some with signs of torture.
With the Tatmadaw preoccupied in the cities, ethnic armed groups have launched their own coordinated offensives in the borderlands. Scores of Tatmadaw soldiers were killed in recent fighting when insurgents overran their outposts, according to the ethnic armed organizations and local residents.
The hope is that with ethnic militias pushing in the borderlands and an armed resistance rising in the cities, the Tatmadaw will be forced to battle on multiple fronts.
“If the ethnic armed organizations fight together against the Myanmar military, then it will have better results for the country,” said Colonel Mai Aik Kyaw of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army.
But unity is fleeting among the ethnic armed groups, some of which have reserved as much firepower for each other as they have for the Tatmadaw. Many of the major ethnic groups, such as the Shan and Karen, have more than one armed organization purporting to represent them. Control of these borderlands means access to lucrative mines, forests and illicit drugmaking facilities.
Myanmar is a crossroads culture, squeezed between India and China. Even the notion of Bamar purity is contested. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is part Karen. Other Bamar have Indian or Chinese ancestry. The British, who colonized what was then known as Burma, called the country “a zone of racial instability,” according to Thant Myint-U, a historian and author of “The Hidden Histories of Burma.”
“Myanmar was never a place of neatly packaged racial and ethnic categories,” he said. “Ending Bamar political domination of minority communities may be helped by a more decentralized system of government. But what’s equally important is a radical program to end discrimination in all forms and a reimagining of the country as a place that’s always been home to many different peoples.”
This week, soldiers from the Karen National Liberation Army overran a Tatmadaw outpost across the river from Thailand. Karen forces captured another base in eastern Myanmar last month, prompting the military’s first airstrikes against Karen villages in 20 years. Tatmadaw reprisals in areas populated by ethnic minorities have killed dozens.
As fighting intensifies, tens of thousands have been displaced nationwide, particularly in Karen territory and in the north, where the Kachin Independence Army is making inroads against the Tatmadaw.
For the first time, the Karen National Union has received donations from Bamar people for civilian victims of the Tatmadaw, said Padoh Saw Man Man, a spokesman for the group. “Now we are united with the Bamar people, and I strongly believe that we will win when we fight together against the Tatmadaw,” he said.
When the police and soldiers arrived in the middle of the night, they fired their guns into the air, threw stones through the windows and threatened to drive a car through the front door if no one opened it. U Shwe Win and his family were asleep. It was 2:30 a.m.
The police and soldiers had come to arrest Mr. Shwe Win’s son, Ko Win Htut Nyein. When they found him, they beat and handcuffed the 19-year-old before hauling him away. His offense, the family was told, was taking videos of the police at a protest in Mandalay the day before.
More than two weeks later, Mr. Shwe Win is still searching for his son. The authorities say they have no record of his arrest. “I felt so hopeless, like I had lost everything at that moment,” Mr. Shwe Win said. “I still don’t know where my son is. I don’t want him to die in their hands, and I worry that they will torture him.”
Since the Feb. 1 coup in Myanmar, millions of pro-democracy protesters have joined demonstrations against the military and participated in general strikes and a civil disobedience movement that have brought the economy to a virtual halt. Security forces have responded with increasing ruthlessness, shooting people in the streets and arbitrarily beating and arresting people.
security forces had killed more than 320 people and arrested or charged more than 2,900, according to a group tracking arrests and killings. The youngest victim, 6, was shot and killed on Wednesday while sitting on her father’s lap.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, hundreds who were unlawfully detained have disappeared. At least five have died in custody, and two appeared to have been tortured, the agency said.
terrorists” for their brutal methods when carrying out arrests and shooting randomly into crowds and homes.
In southern Myanmar, students from Myeik University gathered for a protest when soldiers and the police arrived. One student, Ma Thae Ei Phyu, 22, a philosophy major, was shot in the back of the neck with rubber bullets from a few feet away.
“I tried not to fall down because I know they have a habit of raping women and girls,” she said. “I didn’t want to get arrested.”
The soldiers rounded up the entire group of about 70 protesters and took them to a nearby air force base and beat them with sticks, plastic pipes, chains and belts, said a teacher, U Nay Lin, 30, who was among those arrested. The beating left huge red welts crisscrossing his back, a photo showed.
Mr. Nay Lin said a man with a tattoo of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi on his chest received the worst beating of all.
Ms. Thae Ei Phyu was taken to a hospital, where she received stitches for the deep holes in her neck caused by the rubber bullets. She and most of the others were eventually released without charges. Earlier this week, the junta also released more than 600 mostly young protesters who had been detained in Yangon, in a seeming effort to appease the movement.
“They tried to threaten us by arresting and torturing us like this, but we aren’t afraid to die,” she said. “It’s better to die than living under the junta.”
The Myanmar construction tycoon spoke in a faltering monotone, blinking fast and gulping occasionally for air. He said that over the past several years he had handed a total of $550,000 to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader of Myanmar who was ousted in a military coup last month.
On two occasions, he had provided $100,000 and $150,000, the businessman said in a confessional statement broadcast on a military television network Wednesday night. In the English subtitles, the money had been handed over in a “black envelope.” In Burmese, the description had him presenting the money, meant to enhance his business ties, in a paper gift bag.
Either way, the envelope or gift bag would have been very large to hold that much cash.
The televised statement by U Maung Weik, a military crony who was once imprisoned for drug trafficking, appears to be the latest act in an intricately planned effort to impugn Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi.
Before elections in November, an online campaign amplified by pro-military groups raised a litany of unproven allegations against the civilian leader, who had shared power with the military for five years. Once her party won a landslide victory, military-linked forces stepped up their attacks on her, calling her corrupt and under the influence of foreigners.
a digital forensics investigation found.
Myanmar’s envoy to the United Nations, who gave an impassioned speech last month decrying the military’s seizure of power.
On Wednesday, the last of Myanmar’s major independent newspapers ceased publication. More than 30 journalists have been detained or pursued by authorities since the coup. The country, for decades under the military’s fist, is rapidly losing whatever democratic reforms had been introduced over the past few years.
various crimes that could see her imprisoned for years. The charges include esoteric crimes such as illegally importing foreign walkie-talkies and contravening coronavirus regulations.
Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has not yet been charged in relation to Mr. Maung Weik’s accusations that he gave her money to better his business relationship with the civilian government. The military television network said that investigators were currently looking into the case.
25 pounds of gold and about $600,000. Mr. Maung Weik’s accusations of money transfers are separate from this figure.
If charges are brought in any such cases, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, could face life imprisonment.
“I 100 percent believe that their accusations against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi are groundless,” said U Aung Kyi Nyunt, a spokesman for the National League for Democracy.
Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s popularity in Myanmar far outstrips that of the generals who have controlled the country for most of the past 60 years. She spent 15 years under house arrest and won the Nobel Peace Prize for her commitment to nonviolent resistance.
While her international reputation faded after she defended the military’s ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims, her star appeal endured at home. The National League for Democracy’s electoral performance last year bested its 2015 landslide. The military has called fraud on the polls.
Mr. Khin Maung Zaw, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer, said that by silencing and imprisoning her the military regime risked burnishing her popularity further.
“They should not let Daw Aung San Suu Kyi change from a hero to a martyr,” he said. “If Daw Aung San Suu Kyi becomes a martyr, then the strength of the people will never be destroyed, and her martyrdom will become the people’s greatest strength.”
Until Thursday, Myaing, a small town in central Myanmar, was best known for its production of thanaka, a bark that is ground for use as a cooling cosmetic.
But in the late morning of March 11, the town, which can be traversed in 10 minutes, became synonymous with the brutality of the military that seized power last month. Myaing’s rain-slicked streets were mottled with blood as police officers shot into a cluster of unarmed civilians, killing at least eight people and injuring more than 20, according to witnesses and hospital officials.
U Myint Zaw Win was among the crowd that scattered with the bursts of live ammunition in the late morning, outside Myaing’s police station. When he looked back, he saw a body with half its head blown apart, on a street that he has walked all his life. He did not know whose body it was, but he said a mason and a bus driver were among the dead.
“They were shooting people like shooting birds,” Mr. Myint Zaw Win said of the police officers, some of whom he said he knows personally because Myaing is a small town where almost everyone knows each other.
70 people in Myanmar have been killed by security forces since the army staged its Feb. 1 coup, ousting a civilian leadership and returning the country to the nightmare of full military rule.
While the bulk of the deaths have been in big cities like Yangon and Mandalay, security forces have shot and killed people in at least 17 different towns across the country: Taungdwingyi, Myingyan, Salin, Kalay, Htee Lin and Pyapon, among others.
After analyzing more than 50 videos of such killings, Amnesty International concluded in a report published Thursday that the security forces were using battlefield weaponry on protesters. In some cases, commanders ordered extrajudicial killings, Amnesty International said, while in other instances bullets were sprayed indiscriminately.
worst attacks have been reserved for ethnic minorities, such as Rohingya Muslims whose persecution is being tried as genocide in international courts.
populace accustomed to massacres by the military. On Thursday, three people were shot dead in the cities of Yangon, Mandalay and Bago. Another person who had been shot on March 3 in the town of Myinchan succumbed to his injuries on Thursday as well.
Before the gunfire turned downtown Myaing into a battlefield on Thursday, residents had gathered daily, in hard hats and motorcycle helmets, to march against the military’s seizure of power last month. Its residents were just as determined as those in larger metropolises to speak out against the coup, during which dozens of elected politicians, including the civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, were detained.
On Thursday, a military spokesman accused Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi of having illicitly received 25 pounds of gold and about $600,000. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi heads the National League for Democracy, which won the last two elections by landslides. She has been charged with various other crimes that could see her imprisoned for years, including the obscure infraction of possessing foreign walkie-talkies without proper import licenses.
Two days after the putsch, Myaing’s residents began marching down its half-paved streets, demanding that Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and other elected officials be returned to office. They have carried on every day since. On Thursday, at least two youth from a local monastery were arrested and a crowd gathered at the police station to find out why. They sat in quiet protest.
There was no warning that live ammunition was to come, witnesses said. The police refused to comment.
Around the same time, in Yangon, the nation’s largest city, security forces fired on a crowd in North Dagon township, striking Ko Chit Min Thu, a 25-year-old collector of recycled materials, in the head. He died almost immediately, his relatives and other protesters said.
Worried that security forces would seize the body — as has happened in recent days and in Mandalay on Thursday — other protesters carried Mr. Chit Min Thu away from the shooting zone.
By early afternoon, his body was back at home with mourners gathered around. A bandage obscured his fatal head wound. His widow, Ma Aye Chan Myint, keened, their two-year-old son by her side. She is pregnant, in her first trimester.
“Why didn’t they just shoot at the legs, why did they shoot at the head?” she asked. There was no answer.
Ms. Aye Chan Myint reached out to touch the feet and face of her husband, who went to protest each day with hopes that a surge of civilian strength could somehow dislodge the military from power.
“You said I should be proud,” she told her husband’s body. “I’m proud of you, my love.”
The hundreds of thousands of women at the forefront of Myanmar’s protest movement are sending a powerful rebuke to the country’s military junta.
The protesters represent striking unions of teachers, garment workers and medical workers — all sectors dominated by women. The youngest are often on the front lines, where the security forces appear to have singled them out. Three young women were among the at least 38 people killed on Wednesday, the biggest one-day toll since the Feb. 1 coup.
There are no women in the military’s senior ranks, and soldiers have systematically raped women from ethnic minorities, according to Human Rights Watch. More broadly, though, women’s roles in politics, business and manufacturing in Myanmar are growing. In elections in November, about 20 percent of candidates for the National League for Democracy, the party of the ousted civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, were women.
Lives lost: Ma Kyal Sin, 18, was one of the protesters killed on Wednesday. “She is a hero for our country,” said a close friend.
Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to every adult in the Austrian district of Schwaz, which has been battered by a surge in infections, to determine how effective the inoculation is against the variant first found in South Africa.
The study in Austria is part of a much broader global effort to answer a crucial question as new variants emerge: Do vaccinations designed last year work against more recent mutations? If not, scientists will have to keep developing new versions of the inoculations.
Laboratory studies have shown that some vaccines that work well against earlier variants are less effective — though they still offer significant protection — against the variant known as B.1.351. It was found in South Africa in December and has become the dominant one there.
a three-day visit to Iraq today despite worries that the trip could become a superspreader event in a country where the coronavirus still rages.
The Vatican insists the trip will be safe, and the pope is planning a large Mass in a soccer stadium in the Kurdish town of Erbil. He will also very likely draw crowds to watch him pray in Qaraqosh, a town of Syriac Catholics, in the northern Nineveh Plains. Francis, 84, was vaccinated against Covid-19 in mid-January.
Such a visit has been the goal of many popes before him, who had to cancel plans because of security concerns in a nation ravaged by war. Francis accepted an invitation extended in July 2019.
Explainer: The Vatican believes the risks are outweighed by the chance to support one of the world’s oldest Christian communities. The ranks of Iraq’s Christians have dwindled to roughly a third of the 1.5 million who lived there during the final years of Saddam Hussein’s rule.
a sensational royal rupture to Oprah Winfrey, the British royal family and the self-exiled couple are maneuvering furiously before the interview is broadcast on television to try to shape the narrative.
Was Meghan the victim of a cold, unwelcoming family that cruelly isolated her after she married Harry? Or was she a Hollywood diva who mistreated her staff and triggered a breach between the family and one of its most beloved young princes?
Here’s what else is happening
Algeria-France relations: President Emmanuel Macron of France has taken a further step toward reconciliation by declaring that Ali Boumendjel, a leading Algerian lawyer and nationalist, did not die by suicide in 1957, as France had long claimed, but was tortured and killed by French soldiers.
Iceland: More than 18,000 earthquakes have shaken Iceland in just over a week, leading scientists to believe that a volcanic eruption could be imminent.
Tsunami warning: Thousands of people were evacuated in New Zealand on Friday after an 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck in the South Pacific, prompting officials to issue tsunami warnings for coastal areas.
Hong Kong: A senior Communist Party official announced that China’s national legislature planned to rewrite election rules in Hong Kong to ensure that the territory was run by patriots — people loyal to Beijing and the Communist Party. The congress will discuss a draft plan when it gathers for a weeklong session starting today.
A new report suggests that the bigger the meteor that hits the moon, the brighter the trail.
Gender gap: Under a proposed E.U. law, companies in Europe could be sanctioned if they fail to pay men and women the same salaries for doing the same work. Separately, a new report suggests mothers in the U.S. are going back to work — and still doing most of the parenting.
Drag kings: Once an underappreciated part of the drag world, drag kings have found more exposure during the pandemic, with pageants moving online, and amid the popularization of drag for wider audiences.
What we’re reading: This deep-dive New Yorker article on the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. It’s a chilling report on the near-future of the war-torn country.
Now, a break from the news
gets the eggplant Parmesan treatment — baked with marinara sauce, mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese until bubbling and browned.
Watch: The thoughtful documentary “Stray” uses the stray dogs of Istanbul to comment on the human condition.
Here are five tutorials for varying styles — each is a good workout.
Start your weekend with aplomb. At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
Coping at home
Melissa Kirsch spends her days thinking up activities for us to do at home in The Times’s At Home newsletter. She shared some of her own strategies for living well during an uncertain time.
Think about how I want to look back on this time. I find myself consciously trying to do things that will make me feel better about this experience in the future. That may mean reading more or cooking more or trying to be creative about the ways that I connect with other people — like writing letters or meeting people for walks in the cold. I don’t want this year to turn into a blur of Zoom chats and Netflix.
P.S. • We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about how close the end of the pandemic might be. • Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Fitting name for a hirsute guy (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here. • Our travel writer Tariro Mzezewajoinedthe “Travel With Hawkeye” podcast to discuss plans for a vaccine passport.