When I came to Nagorno-Karabakh after the war last year, the sight of a hillside Armenian military cemetery brought to my mind the layers of tragedy embedded in this land.
After returning in June, I left wondering just how much heartbreak a patch of earth can bear.
In Shusha last October, I stepped into the concrete basement of an apartment block, where Armenian women were sheltering on flattened cardboard boxes. They thought they had known what war was like, one said, recalling the 1990s conflict. But the enormous firepower of modern weapons was different, “a horror, a horror.”
Back then, as Communism collapsed, the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war over Nagorno-Karabakh — an area mostly populated by Armenians within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan. Armenia won that war, leaving about one-seventh of Azerbaijan’s territory under Armenian control.
As international efforts to mediate the conflict failed, and Azerbaijan’s oil and gas riches boomed, the country invested in modern drones from Israel and Turkey. By the time Azerbaijan attacked last September, its military, supported by Turkey, was overpowering compared with that of poorer and smaller Armenia.
When I returned last month to the Shusha apartment block, it was gone, razed to bare, brown ground. The area will become part of a new “streetscape,” the British architect, Adrian Griffiths, told me.
Rather than allow the Azerbaijanis to simply return to their homes, President Ilham Aliyev, the country’s authoritarian ruler, wants to rebuild Shusha as Azerbaijan’s cultural capital. About 15,000 people, mainly Azerbaijanis, lived there before the 1990s war; until last fall, there were roughly 5,000 Armenian residents.
The striking hilltop city was a cradle of Azerbaijani music and poetry in the 19th century, though Armenians also see it as core to their historical identity.
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.
No one knows how the so-called Somerton man, found well-dressed and dead with a half-smoked cigarette on his lapel, wound up on the beach in South Australia where he was found. No one knows what he was doing there, or even how he died.
This week, after he had spent decades puzzling investigators in Australia and amateur sleuths around the world, his remains were exhumed for what might be the best chance of identifying the man in 72 years.
Called the Somerton man after the beach where he was found in December 1948, the man has proved to be one of Australia’s strangest and most famous cold cases. Should the authorities be able to extract usable DNA from his remains, they could potentially put to rest decades of speculation about whether he was a poisoned spy, a disguised black marketer, a former ballet dancer, a spurned lover or simply the victim of a natural but public death.
“For more than 70 years people have speculated who this man was and how he died,” Vickie Chapman, the attorney general of South Australia, said in a statement this week. “It’s a story that has captured the imagination of people across the state, and, indeed, across the world — but I believe that, finally, we may uncover some answers.”
strange mysteries of the 20th century, the case of the Somerton man has baffled investigators and drawn more than its fair share of internet sleuths, attracted by both the glaring unknowns — the cause of death, for one — and the uncanny assortment of clues that investigators did turn up.
“What makes this kind of go viral is, I think, just all the strange things,” said Derek Abbott, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Adelaide who has spent over a decade studying the case. “It kind of just gives you that creepy shiver down your spine.”
concluded that it did not have the sophistication of a code and that the letters were more likely the first letters of words in English.
the rabbit hole.” In 2009 he tried to track down Mrs. Thomson for an interview but found that she had died two years earlier. She had a son who had been a professional ballet dancer, Dr. Abbott learned, and photos showed he had distinctive teeth and ears similar to the Somerton man’s.
But he died in 2009, months before Dr. Abbott could reach him. He had a daughter, named Rachel Egan, and Dr. Abbott was able to schedule an interview with her.
To their surprise, they fell for each other, and married in 2010. (“He begged me,” she said, which Dr. Abbott disputed.)
relatives of Thomas Jefferson) as well as the grandparents of the man that Jo Thomson eventually married.
“So my head is spinning,” Dr. Abbott said. “Does that prove she’s not connected now to the Somerton man? Or does that prove that somehow the Somerton man is related to her assumed grandfather? It’s getting all complicated, so complicated that I’m just going to shut up now and let the DNA from the Somerton man speak for itself.”
SINGAPORE—One of the leaders of Thailand’s protest movement, a 22-year-old university student, was led into a Bangkok court on Monday, slumped in a wheelchair and tethered to a saline drip after two weeks on hunger strike.
Parit Chiwarak, whose friends call him Penguin, has been accused of insulting Thailand’s royal family. He has been in prison for more than 50 days after being denied bail by two separate courts.
Close friends say Mr. Parit’s condition is out of character. They say he is usually animated, often scribbling poetry in a notebook he carries and incessantly singing Thai folk tunes. “We used to complain about it, but now we miss his songs,” said a friend who has known him since high school.
Mr. Parit was one of the young leaders of a stunning movement that directly challenged the country’s powerful monarchy, which was long considered beyond scrutiny. Demanding curbs on King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s powers, he and a few fellow activists emerged as the vanguard of broader pro-democracy protests that began last year and gained momentum over many months.
As authorities have heaped criminal charges on critics and responded with escalating police action on the streets, protests have dwindled since their peak around August, when tens of thousands regularly gathered for demonstrations. They have continued, but with lower turnout and less frequency.
Literary figures and newspaper columnists across Europe have been arguing for weeks about what these decisions mean, turning Gorman’s poem into the latest flash point in debates about identity politics across the continent. The discussion has shone a light on the often unexamined world of literary translation and its lack of racial diversity.
“I can’t recall a translation controversy ever taking the world by storm like this,” Aaron Robertson, a Black Italian-to-English translator, said in a phone interview.
“This feels something of a watershed moment,” he added.
On Monday, the American Literary Translators Association waded into the furor. “The question of whether identity should be the deciding factor in who is allowed to translate whom is a false framing of the issues at play,” it said in a statement published on its website.
The real problem underlying the controversy was “the scarcity of Black translators,” it added. Last year, the association carried out a diversity survey. Only 2 percent of the 362 translators who responded were Black, a spokeswoman for the association said in an email.
In a video interview, the members of the German team said they, too, felt the debate had missed the point. “People are asking questions like, ‘Does color give you the right to translate?’” Haruna-Oelker said. “This is not about color.”
She added: “It’s about quality, it’s about the skills you have, and about perspectives.” Each member of the German team brought different things to the group, she said.
The team spent a long time discussing how to translate the word “skinny,” without conjuring images of an overly thin woman, Gümüsay said, and they debated how to bring a sense of the poem’s gender-inclusive language into German, in which many objects — and all people — are either masculine or feminine. “You’re constantly moving back and forth between the politics and the composition,” Strätling said.
Richard H. Driehaus, an avid investor who grew his grade-school coin collection into a fortune that he wielded to champion historic preservation and classical architecture, died on March 9 in a Chicago hospital. He was 78.
The cause was a cerebral hemorrhage, said a spokeswoman for Driehaus Capital Management, where, as chief investment officer and chairman, he had overseen some $13 billion in assets.
Mr. Driehaus (pronounced DREE-house) restored landmarks in the Chicago area and gave the city a palatial museum that celebrates the Gilded Age. He also established a $200,000 annual prize in his name for classical, traditional and sustainable architecture as a counterbalance to the $100,000 Pritzker Prize, funded by another Chicago family, which he viewed as a validation of modern motifs that were a “homogenized” rejection of the past.
He was immersed in the stock market from the age of 13, took nosebleed gambles on risky rising stocks, and in 2000 was named one of the 25 most influential mutual fund figures of the 20th century by Barron’s.
Institute of Classical Architecture & Art in 2012.
“The problem is there’s no poetry in modern architecture,” he said in an interview with Chicago magazine in 2007. “There’s money — but no feeling or spirit or soul. Classicism has a mysterious power. It’s part of our past and how we evolved as human beings and as a civilization.”
Asked whether he considered buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, for example, to be appropriate, he told Architectural Record in 2015: “They’re mechanical, industrial, not very human. It’s like my iPhone, which is beautiful, but I wouldn’t want the building I live in to look like that.” He added: “Architects build for themselves and build for the publicity. They don’t really care what the public thinks.”
The first Richard H. Driehaus Prize, presented through the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, was awarded in 2003 to Léon Krier, a designer of Poundbury, the model British town built according to the Prince of Wales’s architectural principles. The first American laureate, in 2006, was the South African-born Allan Greenberg, who redesigned the Treaty Room Suite at the State Department.
Philanthropy magazine in 2012. “What my dad couldn’t do, I wanted to do.”
he decided that “this was the industry for me” and invested the money he made from delivering The Southtown Economist in stocks recommended by financial columnists. The stocks tanked, teaching him to research each company’s growth potential on his own.
He flunked out of the University of Illinois at Chicago, enrolled in Southeast Junior College and then transferred to DePaul, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1965 and a master’s in business administration in 1970. He worked for the investment bank A.G. Becker & Company, becoming its youngest portfolio manager, and for several other firms before starting his own, Driehaus Securities, in 1979. He founded Driehaus Capital Management in 1982.
He married when he was in his early 50s; the marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by three daughters, Tereza, Caroline and Katherine Driehaus, and two sisters, Dorothy Driehaus Mellin and Elizabeth Mellin.
“I never did anything until I was 50,” Mr. Driehaus told The New York Times in 2008. “I spent my early years making money for my clients. Now I’m ready to have some fun.”
He did, staging his own extravagant themed birthday parties for hundreds of guests at his mansion on Lake Geneva (at one gala, he made his grand entrance on an elephant) and indulging his passion for collecting.
He started with furnishings he provided to a bar called Gilhooley’s, then moved on to decorative arts and art nouveau for the landmark Samuel M. Nickerson mansion, a palazzo that he restored as the Richard H. Driehaus Museum. He also amassed a fleet of vintage automobiles.
He gave as good as he got, several hundred million dollars’ worth — to DePaul and to Chicago theater and dance groups, Catholic schools and other organizations often overlooked by major philanthropies. And he felt quite at ease being a very big fish in what he acknowledged was a smaller pond — but a more hospitable one.
“In New York, I’m just another successful guy,” he told the City Club of Chicago in 2016. “You can’t make an impact in New York. But in Chicago you can, because it’s big enough and it’s small enough and people actually get along enough.”
Hours after the interview was broadcast in the U.S. on Sunday, Britain was already grappling with the shock wave rippling out across the Atlantic, exposing a deep royal rift.
For many Black Britons, in particular, the interview offered a scathing assessment of the royal family and resurfaced barely submerged tensions over entrenched racism.
Recap: Meghan Markle made dramatic disclosures, including that there were “concerns and conversations about how dark” her son Archie’s skin might be when she was pregnant with him. (Harry later said neither Queen Elizabeth II nor Prince Philip was the source of that comment.) Meghan also disclosed that her life as a member of the royal family had become so emotionally desolate that she contemplated suicide. When she asked for help, she said, palace officials rebuffed her. Here’s what else we learned.
Reactions: The interview left the country divided, with major news outlets publishing biting commentary. On social media, some denounced the couple’s infidelity to the family, while others firmly defended them. The palace has not yet responded, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted to stay out of royal matters.
attracted 17.1 million viewers on CBS, according to preliminary Nielsen figures. The program is airing in Britain Monday night.
setting up makeshift operations on university campuses, hospitals and Buddhist pagoda complexes.
On Sunday, security forces stormed Yangon General Hospital and universities in Mandalay. “I think they are trying to prepare for a brutal war against the people,” a security guard at Mandalay Technological University said. The abbot of the Mahamuni Buddha Temple in Mandalay said that soldiers had taken over the pagoda’s grounds for a month.
U Kyaw Moe Tun, Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations, gave the U.N. General Assembly the defiant three-finger salute adopted by the protest movement, calling the military rule illegitimate. The generals fired him, but his replacement refused the job and the U.N. declined to recognize his dismissal, so he remains at his post.
plans to vaccinate at least 110,000 Palestinians over the next two weeks, including about 80,000 employed in Israel and about 30,000 employed in the West Bank.
Israel has outpaced the rest of the world in vaccinating its own citizens, including Jewish settlers in the West Bank, but has faced intense criticism for providing only token amounts of vaccine for Palestinians living under its control. The new vaccination campaign was worked out with the Palestinian Authority more than a month ago and approved by the Israeli government late last month.
episodes of high heat and high humidity that go beyond the limits of human survival, according to a new study.
Extreme heat and high humidity prevent the body from cooling down, stressing the cardiovascular system. The tropics, a region that encircles Earth at the Equator, is home to more than 3 billion people. Above, Aceh, Indonesia, part of the region.
Here’s what else is happening
Australia murder case: In 2003, a court sentenced Kathleen Folbigg to 40 years in prison for smothering her four children, with tabloids calling her a murderer. But after years of her claiming innocence, saying the children died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, 90 scientists say she is right and are demanding her release.
George Floyd: Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged in connection with Mr. Floyd’s death. Mr. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Afghan peace: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has proposed a United Nations-led peace conference in Turkey aimed at forming an inclusive Afghan government with the Taliban and establishing a three-month reduction in violence leading to a cease-fire. The U.S. has not decided whether to withdraw its remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan by May 1.
Foreign Affairs article by Cai Xia, a former Chinese Communist Party insider, on why she backed away from Beijing.
Now, a break from the news
Thai curry risotto, effortlessly lending lots of flavor.
Read: Imbolo Mbue’s “How Beautiful We Were” is set in an African village ravaged by an American oil conglomerate. What starts as a David-and-Goliath story slowly transforms into a nuanced exploration of self-interest, of what it means to want in the age of capitalism and colonialism.
Do: Here are five workouts that take less than 10 minutes.
Let us help you discover an interesting pastime. At Home has ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
A translator’s book recommendations
The prolific translator Margaret Jull Costa, who has brought Portuguese- and Spanish-language fiction and poetry into the English-speaking world, spoke to our Books desk about what she’s reading.
What books are on your night stand?
Well, none, since I never read in bed, but there’s always a pile next to my favorite chair. At the moment, this includes “Buddenbrooks,” which we’re reading with a group of friends, “Le Château de Ma Mère,” by Marcel Pagnol, which my husband and I are reading with our French tutor, a collection of novellas and short stories by the Portuguese writer Maria Judite de Carvalho, who I’m keen to translate more of. And Michael Gorra’s “Portrait of a Novel,” about the writing of “Portrait of a Lady” (possibly my favorite novel), which has been on my pile for far too long and should be read soon.
P.S. • We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is the second part of our look at the biggest issues facing the Biden administration. • Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Sounds from owls (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here. • The Times won 127 awards in the Society for News Design’s Best of Digital Design competition. The Best in Show award went to our piece “Who Gets to Breathe Clean Air in New Delhi?”
Amanda Gorman, the poet who won acclaim for her performance at Joe Biden’s inauguration, has told of being followed home and accosted by a security guard who allegedly claimed she looked suspicious.
She said the incident, on Friday night, was emblematic of “the reality of black girls” in the US, in which “one day you’re called an icon” but the next day considered a threat.
Gorman wrote on Twitter:
She said in a following tweet: “In a sense, he was right. I AM A THREAT: a threat to injustice, to inequality, to ignorance. Anyone who speaks the truth and walks with hope is an obvious and fatal danger to the powers that be.”
Gorman, 22, from Los Angeles, shared a post she made in February which said: “We live in a contradictory society that can celebrate a black girl poet & also pepper spray a 9 yr old” – in reference to a recent incident in Rochester, New York, that led to protests and three police officers being suspended pending the completion of an investigation.
A favourite with Democratic establishment figures, the youngest inaugural poet in US history was named the country’s’ first youth poet laureate in 2017, when she was a student at Harvard. The Guardian has contacted her for further comment. She did not indicate the ethnic origin of the security guard.
A Virginia state legislator, Mark Keam, tweeted: “Let this story sink in. And realise how – while I’m glad it ended safe for Amanda Gorman – this type of confrontation is an every day occurrence for millions of our fellow Americans.”
In her inauguration poem, The Hill We Climb, Gorman described herself as “a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother [who] can dream of becoming president, only to find her self reciting for one”.
She also spoke of “striving to forge a union with purpose / To compose a country committed to all cultures, colours, characters and conditions of man.”
Talking to the New York Times, Gorman said she had been struggling to write the inaugural poem. But she was compelled to stay up all night and finish it after the 6 January assault on the US Capitol.
“I’m the daughter of Black writers,” Gorman said after the inauguration. “We’re descended from freedom fighters who broke through chains and change the world.”
Gorman also performed at this year’s Super Bowl and has recently been signed by IMG Models. Her forthcoming books, the poetry collection The Hill We Climb and the children’s book Change Sings, shot to the top of book charts after her inauguration performance.
“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” she wrote on Twitter. Gorman has described herself as having been a bookworm as a child and overcoming a speech impediment in her youth.
She is also the founder of charity One Pen One Page, which supports underprivileged young people through writing.