Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times

In his first interview with Western media since the Taliban took full control of Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid – considered likely to be the future Minister of Information and Culture – said the group wanted ” forget what happened in the past “and dismissed widespread fears that the Taliban are already in the process of retaliation.

Concerns that the Taliban would force women to stay at home or cover their faces again are unfounded, he said. He added that the requirement that women be accompanied by male guardians only applied to trips of three days or more, not trips to school, office, university. or in the hospital.

He also offered assurances to Afghans trying to leave the country, saying – contrary to information based on his press conference on Tuesday – that people with valid travel documents would not be barred from entering the airport.

Quote: Mujahid confirmed that music would not be allowed in public. “Music is prohibited in Islam,” he said, “but we hope we can persuade people not to do such things, instead of pressuring them.

Evacuations: US and Allied planes have flown an additional 19,200 people out of Kabul in the past 24 hours, but more than 10,000 people were still inside the international airport awaiting flights out of the country. A new estimate from the Association of Wartime Allies released Wednesday concluded that at least 250,000 Afghans could be eligible for expedited immigration status. Here are the latest updates.

Further developments:

  • The US embassy has warned of a threat at Kabul airport, telling citizens to “leave immediately” and citing three gates as being of particular concern.

  • An Islamic State affiliate, a nemesis of the Taliban and the United States, threatens a full-scale attack on the mission at the airport.

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for talks with the Taliban to preserve the progress made for the Afghans.

  • In Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley, burgeoning resistance to the Taliban faces long chances.

In his first interview with a news agency since his arrest in January, Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny spoke about his life in prison, why Putin repressed the opposition so harshly, and his belief that a democratic Russia will emerge.

The experience is primarily “emotional abuse,” Navalny wrote in a 54-page exchange with The Times. The most infuriating thing, he suggested, is being forced to watch Russian state television and selected propaganda films for more than eight hours a day.

Still, Navalny was optimistic about Russia. “Putin’s regime is a historic accident, not a fatality,” he wrote. “Sooner or later this mistake will be corrected and Russia will move on to a democratic and European path of development. Quite simply because that’s what people want.

Strategy: Navalny said Putin cracked down on his group and other opponents for fear of losing a majority in the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, in the next election.

Quote: “The opposition exists in Russia not because Aleksei Navalny or someone else commands it from a headquarters,” Navalny said, “but because about 30% of the country – mainly the educated urban population – has no political representation “.

Experts studying the origins of the coronavirus for the WHO have warned that the investigation was “at a standstill” and that further delays could make it impossible to recover crucial evidence on the start of the pandemic.

“The window is quickly closing on the biological feasibility of critical research of people and animals inside and outside China,” the experts wrote in an editorial in the journal Nature.

“We were getting a little worried that there really is virtually no debate on the bulk of the recommendations that are unrelated to the lab hypothesis, and of course there is a lot of discussion about the history of the lab, especially from the United States, ”one of its co-authors said.

Dismissing investigation, China peddled conspiracy theories blaming the US

In other virus news:

In Birmingham, England, artisans fear luxury apartments and trendy cafes will push them out of an area where jewelers have been concentrated since the 18th century.

This year, the Swiss tennis star is said to have surpassed $ 1 billion in earnings during his career, joining Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, LeBron James, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Federer’s performance in this area has been just as impressive as his performance on the court. Perhaps even more so considering the disadvantage he started with – his home country is wealthy but small, which hampered his appeal to potential sponsors early in his career.

Considering the achievements of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, it is questionable if he is even the greatest player of this era. What is undeniable, however, is that no tennis superstar has ever built a financial empire like Federer’s, and that this may well be his most enduring legacy, writes Christopher Clarey in The Times Magazine.

The French have a beautiful expression that applies to Federer: “combine business with pleasureWhich loosely translates to ‘combining business and pleasure’, but actually has a broader scope, encompassing the tasks of daily living. His impeccable strategic instincts, along with the kind of personality that might be more suited to a boardroom or political campaign than a sports arena, all combine to make Roger Federer the greatest player-mogul the world has ever seen. tennis could ever see.

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