Your Thursday Briefing: Iran’s Protests Intensify
Iranians mourn Mahsa Amini
Tens of thousands of demonstrators in Iran gathered yesterday to mark the 40th day of the traditional Islamic mourning period for Mahsa Amini, whose death in police custody set off protests across the country.
The mourning was marred by violence as security forces attacked and shot at demonstrators across the country. By evening, demonstrations had spread across the country to many cities and university campuses, with large crowds in the streets clapping and defiantly chanting the mantras of the protests: “Women, Life, Freedom” and “We will fight and take Iran back,” according to videos on social media.
Security forces attacked protesters with tear gas, beat them with batons and in some places, like Tehran, Qazvin and Saghez, opened fire on them, videos showed. Some crowds in the capital fought back, chasing security forces and setting fire to their motorcycles.
In Tehran, women tossed their head scarves onto bonfires in the street, shouting “Freedom! Freedom!” videos showed. In many places, the protesters condemned the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and chanted for his death and removal.
Analysis: The protests that unfolded in recent weeks were more scattered and smaller in recent days, but the revolt may inject new energy into the demonstrations.
Culture: The Times spoke with Zar Amir Ebrahimi, who fled Iran in 2008, and won the best actress award at Cannes this year. She stars in “Holy Spider,” a timely Iranian story of female resistance in the face of male violence. “I saw these images of three actresses throwing away their hijabs, saying we don’t want to lie anymore, we don’t want to hide ourselves,” Ebrahimi said, “and I figure if they arrived at this point, the whole of society is kind of there.”
Myanmar cozies up to Russia
Myanmar’s junta, ostracized by the West and by its neighbors, is deepening its ties with Russia.
Myanmar is the only Southeast Asian country to endorse Russia’s invasion, and the Kremlin has referred to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the junta, as the “prime minister,” a post he gave himself that no other major country recognizes.
The relationship has mutual benefits. Myanmar gets Russian oil in the midst of a fuel shortage exacerbated by the junta’s mismanagement, as well as ammunition and a powerful ally at the U.N.
More on the Protests in Iran
Russia gets revenue as Western sanctions squeeze its economy. Moscow could even eclipse Beijing as Myanmar’s top supplier of weapons, which have been frequently deployed by the military against civilians since it took control of the country in a military coup in 2021.
Ukraine war updates:
A hydroelectric dam could be a linchpin in the looming battle for Kherson. If Ukraine retook the dam, Russian soldiers would have nowhere to retreat, but Russia could breach the dam to slow Ukraine’s advance.
Ukraine’s government urged displaced people not to return this winter, acknowledging that the country faces hardships in the cold months ahead.
A new propaganda push by the Kremlin frames the war as a counterterrorism operation.
Climate pledges are falling short
Only 26 of 193 nations that agreed to climate action plans have followed through, increasing the likelihood of an environmental catastrophe, according to a U.N. report.
Without drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the document said, the planet is on track to warm by an average of 2.1 to 2.9 degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels, by 2100.
That’s far higher than the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) set by the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015, and it crosses the threshold beyond which scientists say the likelihood of catastrophic climate impacts significantly increases.
The U.N. report comes less than two weeks before nations are set to gather for climate talks in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, to discuss unfulfilled promises and the fight to stave off a catastrophe.
Details: The world’s top two polluters, China and the U.S., have taken some action but did not pledge more interventions this year; climate negotiations between the two have been frozen for months.
Toll: Emperor penguins have been listed as a threatened species by the U.S. government. Experts predict that 99 percent of the birds will disappear by 2100 without a significant reduction in carbon pollution.
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Madhur Jaffrey introduced Indian food to the West. Now, at 89, she continues to publish recipes and articles and give interviews. Her first cookbook, “An Invitation to Indian Cooking,” will be reissued next year.
“She inspired an entire generation of Indians,” said Chintan Pandya, 42, the chef at New York City’s Dhamaka who was named the best chef in New York State this year at the James Beard awards. “She planted the seed.”
Taiwan’s autocratic relics
South of Taipei, there’s a museum dedicated to Taiwan’s not-so-distant authoritarian past. It’s become a surprising tourist hot spot.
Once the site of a secretive military detention center, the Jing-Mei White Terror Memorial Park has seen an increase in visitors since Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House speaker, met there in August with pro-democracy activists who have criticized China.
“Now, Taiwan is already a free and democratic country,” said Chen Chung-tong, 85, a physician who was held there for a decade until his release in 1979. He said that Pelosi’s visit to the site was a reminder that Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang, “used to rule Taiwan this way, like the Communist Party rules China now.”
Political dissidents were prosecuted at the detention center during the four decades until 1992 known in Taiwan as the White Terror, which began when the Kuomintang fled to the island to escape the Communist revolution in China. During that period, the Kuomintang targeted people seen as threats to its rule over the island.
For many, the site has a new resonance as China increases its military intimidation in a bid to pressure Taiwan into unification. The site also carries echoes of China’s autocratic present under Xi Jinping — and a potent warning of one possible future. Some fear the past may be a prologue.