Putin addressed the revolt
President Vladimir Putin addressed the rebellion over the weekend by the Wagner mercenary group, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, in a short televised speech yesterday. In his first public comments since Saturday, Putin tried to project unity and stability as questions swirled about the strength of his grip on power.
Putin appeared visibly angry as he denounced the rebellion as “blackmail” and claimed that “the entire Russian society united and rallied everyone.” He did not mention Prigozhin by name.
“They wanted Russians to fight each other,” he said. “They rubbed their hands, dreaming of taking revenge for their failures at the front and during the so-called counteroffensive.”
Earlier in the day, Prigozhin also spoke publicly for the first time since Saturday. He said that he wasn’t seeking to oust Putin and denied that he had any intention of seizing power. He said that he was only protesting the new law that he said would have effectively halted Wagner’s operations in Ukraine.
A crackdown in Pakistan’s military
Pakistan’s military fired three senior army commanders and disciplined 15 top officers over their conduct during recent protests that supported Imran Khan, the former prime minister. Analysts said it was the strongest action the military has taken against its own in decades.
The crackdown sent a message that support for Khan would not be tolerated in the ranks. The punishments also underscored that the military would use an increasingly strong hand to quash support for Khan, who was ousted from power last year but has made a comeback in the months since.
Details: Violent demonstrations erupted last month after Khan was briefly arrested on corruption charges, accusations that he denied. A military spokesman said that the members of the military who had been disciplined had failed to secure military installations against attacks by protesters.
Arrests: Since the protests, at least 5,000 of Khan’s supporters have been arrested. A military spokesman said at least 102 will be tried in military courts, which has drawn widespread criticism from human rights groups.
U.S.-China relations complicate lending
Middle- and lower-income countries are grappling with untenable debts after years of low interest rates encouraged borrowing. The rivalry between China and the U.S. is now complicating their ability to get relief on time.
For decades, the I.M.F. has regularly prescribed austerity as a condition for financial aid. But in recent years, China has emerged as a major lender for developing countries across the world, and its loans are accompanied by fewer demands.
Now, the I.M.F. and the U.S., its most influential participant, have balked at providing some relief to debt-stressed countries until Chinese financial institutions participate. Otherwise, they say, Chinese lenders are free-riding on debt forgiveness extended by others. But as Beijing grows increasingly assertive, it has refused to bow to the West.
As a result, countries such as Ghana, Ethiopia and Pakistan — each facing escalating debts, much of it to state-owned Chinese lenders — are caught in the crossfire.
Case in point: Suriname was offered low-interest loans from the I.M.F., but the agency was adamant that Chinese creditors restructure $545 million in debt — loans Suriname had used to build roads and housing. The impasse delayed relief as inflation soared and children went hungry.
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In the Philippines, an annual rodeo on the island province of Masbate is both a competition and a celebration of the country’s unique cowboy culture, with roots in the Spanish and American colonial eras.
“Where there’s cattle, there’s rodeo,” said a livestock farmer who directs the festival’s rodeo events. “It is not necessarily American.”
Inside Barbie’s dream house
In 1962, American women were denied mortgage applications because of their sex or marital status. But that year, Barbie bought her first home. It had a record player and a television set, but no kitchen. She was there to have fun, not to be a housewife.
In the years since, Barbie’s Dreamhouse has been a mirror for social, political and economic changes across the U.S. It responded to the sexual revolution, to the environmental movement and even to pandemic remote work.
Throughout that time, Barbie’s house has given little girls a subliminal, maybe even subversive, blueprint for economic liberation. Notably, the Dreamhouse was all her own — Ken wasn’t on the deed.
Barbiecore: Hot pink and magenta are surging in popularity in home décor. The forthcoming “Barbie” movie is serving as a catalyst.
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