Morocco’s quake toll climbs as aid trickles in
As the death toll from the earthquake rose to at least 2,862 and many settlements waited desperately for help, a senior Moroccan official insisted that the authorities had promptly addressed the disaster amid public criticism over the pace of aid.
Government rescue workers began to reach some devastated mountain villages yesterday, three days after the country was hit by the strongest earthquake in the area in more than a century. Many were without power and phone service, fueling criticism on social media of the government’s response.
In the town of Amizmiz, at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains in Al Haouz province, more ambulances and uniformed emergency personnel were on the streets than on Sunday, and more survivors appeared to be sheltering in disaster relief tents than in makeshift structures.
In some villages where the homes are made of mud bricks, as many as half of the houses were flattened. With official aid slow to arrive and the government offering little information about rescue efforts, many Moroccan citizens have stepped in to fill in the gaps themselves. Some residents, desperate for basic supplies, said that they felt abandoned.
Background: In Morocco, power is concentrated in the king’s hands when it comes to critical matters. This can leave other government institutions paralyzed. The government has provided infrequent updates on casualties and released few comments from King Mohammed VI, who waited hours before making his first public statement on the disaster.
Kim Jong-un plans to visit Russia soon
Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, will make an official visit to Russia at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, the two governments announced yesterday. The Kremlin expected the visit to happen “in the coming days.”
The two leaders are expected to discuss military cooperation, including the possibility of North Korea supplying more weapons for the war in Ukraine, U.S. and allied officials told The New York Times last week. In exchange, the officials said, Kim would like advanced technology for satellites, nuclear-powered submarines and food aid. The meeting could transform what is now a modest trade relationship.
iPhone warnings could cost Apple in China
Apple is unveiling its new iPhone 15 today. But in China, a crucial market, some government employees said they have received directives not to use iPhones for work. Internet users in the country have also been circulating accounts and screenshots said to contain notices against using the devices, directed at government employees and state-owned businesses.
While Beijing has discouraged the use of foreign-made electronic devices by officials for a decade, reports of renewed curbs have unnerved Apple’s investors. The suggestion that Apple could lose ground in the Chinese market has pushed the company’s stock lower.
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Beijing may ban clothes that “hurt the feelings of Chinese people,” and Chinese citizens are outraged. The ban could result in detentions and fines for clothes seen as “detrimental” to China’s spirit, but what was considered offensive was not specified.
If it goes into effect, critics argue, Beijing could police anything it dislikes.
Lives lived: Dr. Ian Wilmut headed a team of scientists that in 1996 cloned Dolly the Sheep, a first-time feat of genetic engineering in mammals that shocked the world. He has died at 79.
Talking with Elon Musk’s biographer
To research his new biography on Elon Musk, which comes out today, Walter Isaacson embedded himself with the world’s richest man for two years. He spoke with Andrew Ross Sorkin for the Dealbook Newsletter about the competing identities of a brilliant but “mercurial” entrepreneur.
“He has an epic sense of himself,” Isaacson said, “almost as if he’s a comic book character wearing his underpants on the outside, trying to save the world.” But while Musk may not always have a strong sense of the responsibility that comes with his power, especially when it comes to the company formerly known as Twitter, he does seem sobered by running “the only entity that can get U.S. astronauts and military satellites into orbit.”
At times he sees himself as an “epic hero,” and at others he realizes he needs to act with more caution. He has three grand missions: Get humanity to Mars, bring us fully into an era of electric vehicles and make sure that A.I. is safe. Isaacson thinks he’s not going to change — and that some day he’ll “bite off more than he can chew.”