Analysis & Comment

Your Monday Briefing: Fighting in Sudan

Clashes in Sudan

Fighting erupted across Sudan’s capital and in the Darfur region over the weekend after months of rising tensions between factions of the armed forces exploded into all-out battle. The violence, which continued for a second day yesterday, dashed hopes that military leaders would cede power to a democratic government led by civilians.

It remained unclear who was in control, as forces led by two rival generals engaged in ferocious battles. Both sides are fighting for control of the presidential palace, the main airport and the country’s military headquarters. At least 56 people were dead. Here’s a map of the fighting.

The chaos was an alarming turn for Sudan. Just four years ago, the African country saw a jubilant popular uprising topple the widely detested ruler of three decades, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. But hopes for democracy and an end to the country’s international isolation faltered 18 months ago when the two most powerful generals united to seize power in a coup.

Those men — the army chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, the commander of the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces — are now fighting each other.

Darfur: The region, where al-Bashir’s government oversaw a campaign of genocidal violence beginning in 2003, is home to several heavily armed rebel groups that analysts fear could get sucked into the fight.

A killing on live TV in India

A notorious mobster-politician and his brother in India were killed on live television on Saturday, renewing alarm about the country’s slide toward extrajudicial violence.

Atiq Ahmed, a Muslim who was serving a life sentence, and his brother were fatally shot at close range, while the two were being taken by the police to the hospital for what had been described as a routine checkup.

Three assailants — one of whom extended his arm in front of an officer’s face to put a gun to Ahmed’s head — rained several rounds of bullets into the two men. Officers tackled the assailants, and as they were being taken away, they shouted “Jai Shri Ram,” or hail to the Hindu lord Ram. Afterward, two state ministers described the murders of the two men as akin to divine justice.

The State of the War

Context: The killings raised concerns about how deeply extrajudicial violence — which often carries religious undertones — has seeped into the governance of the state of Uttar Pradesh. Yogi Adityanath, a hard-line Hindu monk who is the state’s leader, praised earlier killings of Ahmed’s son and associates. Since Adityanath took over as chief minister in 2017, officials say there have been more than 180 such killings.

Analysis: Politicians are learning that violence can yield political dividends in India, which is deeply polarized along religious lines. Small-time criminals become heroes of the increasingly militarized Hindu right wing, and leaders like Adityanath find themselves in demand as a protector of Hindu interests.

Lula in Beijing

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil met with President Xi Jinping of China on Friday, as Lula sought to rebuild his country’s ties with Beijing. The two spoke about the war in Ukraine and the need to strengthen ties amid complex geopolitical realignments.

On Ukraine, the leaders declared in a joint statement that negotiation was “the only viable way out of the crisis.” But they avoided the words “invasion” or “war” and offered few specifics. Both have refused to take a side and have preserved business ties with Russia.

Brazil has criticized Russia in carefully worded statements, but it also relies on Russia for fertilizer. Lula has suggested that Ukraine’s president and NATO share some blame, and he has resisted calls to send weapons to Ukraine.

Beijing has aligned itself with Russia, though Chinese officials say that Beijing is not on Moscow’s side. Yesterday, its defense minister, Li Shangfu, met with President Vladimir Putin in Russia. Xi hasn’t called President Volodymyr Zelensky since before the invasion, despite Ukraine’s efforts to woo China for its potential to rein in Russian aggression.

Taiwan: Lula called for China’s territorial integrity to be respected with regard to Taiwan, a similar stance to that taken by President Emmanuel Macron of France after meeting with Xi in China this month.


Asia Pacific

Fumio Kishida, Japan’s prime minister, was safely evacuated from a site where he had been scheduled to give a speech on Saturday and shortly before an explosion was heard.

Pressure is mounting on China to offer debt relief to poor countries.

North Korea said it had tested a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time, which would be a significant step for its missile program.

Chinese car companies now sell more vehicles than do their multinational rivals, which have failed to keep up with Chinese consumers’ demand for electric vehicles.

The War in Ukraine

Hungary and Poland banned Ukrainian grain imports after a glut of Ukrainian exports cut into farmers’ profits. The E.U. criticized the moves.

Ukrainians say the intelligence leaks confirm what they’ve been saying for months — they need more weapons.

Ukrainian soldiers are freezing their sperm so that, even if they die, their partners can still build their families.

Around the World

In France, the pension plan cleared a key legal test on Friday. Anger remains high.

Germany closed its final nuclear power plants. The country is an outlier, as other European countries are looking to expand their use of nuclear energy.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an abortion pill would remain broadly available while the justices studied lower court rulings.

A Morning Read

In Japan, yokai are mischievous, occasionally demonic, spooks of traditional folklore, but they are not frozen in classical legend.

The island of Shodoshima hosts a yokai art contest where artists make new spooks that reflect present-day anxieties. Some fight corporate dress codes or the way subway riders get enthralled by their phones.


Rat tales

New York City appointed its first ever “rat czar,” Kathleen Corradi. She will oversee efforts to drive down the rat population. In New York, it seems as though everyone has rat horror stories — so we collected them.

One man tried to save a rat from the jaws of his dog. The rat bit his finger, and he bled profusely. “Apparently, rats have teeth that are like broken glass,” he said.

And then there are the rats that emerge from toilets. One man, confronted with a toilet rat, weighed the lid down with George Orwell’s autobiography. Another man heard splashing, while he was brushing his teeth, and watched as a rat swam down the toilet. He did not stay in that apartment much longer.

“But I still close the lid on the toilet,” he said. “Always.”


What to Cook

This chopped salad with jalapeño-ranch dressing is fresh, festive and delightfully excessive.

What to Watch

“Renfield” is a light and cheery spin on Dracula.

What to Listen to

Check out these eight new songs.


Kettlebells offer a low-impact, full-body workout.

The News Quiz

How well did you follow last week’s headlines?

Now Time to Play

Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: “No worries” (five letters).

Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Amelia

P.S. Here’s how my colleagues identified the suspect behind the leaked documents. For more, listen to “Hard Fork.”

“The Daily” is about “The Phantom of the Opera,” which ended its 35-year run on Broadway yesterday. Or, start your week with this podcast about Chinese espionage.

Email me at [email protected]!

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