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Your Friday briefing: after the earthquake

Hello. We cover the fallout from the earthquake in Afghanistan and the torrential floods in China.

Afghan officials said rescue efforts were faltering after a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck early Wednesday morning and is estimated to have killed more than 1,000 people.

As hopes of finding survivors faded, Taliban officials appealed to aid agencies for help. The government said some supplies had already arrived from Iran, Qatar and Pakistan. The United States, the UN and the WHO have also taken steps to help. South Korea pledged $1 million in humanitarian aid.

The difficult terrain, weather conditions and severe poverty in hard-hit areas of Paktika province in the remote south-east pose a particular challenge. The area is also far from many clinics or hospitals that could help the injured. Here are the latest updates and photos.

Background: Before the Taliban took power, foreign aid financed 75% of the Afghan government’s budget. The Taliban are struggling to attract foreign funds: Western donors have balked at decrees banning girls from attending secondary schools and restricting women’s rights.

Victims : Hawa, a 30-year-old mother, survived with her one-year-old daughter. Four of his other children died, along with 17 other parents. “I lost everything, my whole world, my whole family, I have no hope for the future,” Hawa told The Times.

And after: The UN has warned that a lack of clean water and sanitation could cause an outbreak of cholera.

After repeated requests to this effect, Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, addressed the African Union this week.

Zelensky faced an uphill battle, pressuring leaders who have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Many African governments have been reluctant to condemn Russia, abstaining in UN votes condemning the invasion and calling it a war that does not directly affect the continent.

Zelensky focused on the economic ramifications for Africa: high food prices caused by the conflict between two of the world’s largest grain producers, which has worsened food insecurity.

“Africa is effectively held hostage,” Zelensky said, according to The Associated Press.

The drought in Somalia and growing food insecurity in the Sahel region have highlighted the consequences of rising food prices, particularly wheat. The rising cost of fuel has weighed more heavily on the burgeoning middle class and the urban poor on the continent.

“They are trying to use you and the suffering of the people to pressure the democracies that imposed sanctions on Russia,” Zelensky said in a video speech.

The response was mixed. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairperson of the African Union, reiterated the call for dialogue in a tweet posted after the meeting.

This was in stark contrast to the enthusiastic audience given to Putin earlier this month. Pinned to Faki’s Twitter timeline is a photograph of him and President Macky Sall of Senegal meeting Putin in Sochi. Speaking as the rotating political head of the African Union, Sall called for an end to sanctions against Russia, calling Putin “a dear friend Vladimir”.

Torrential flooding in southern China has disrupted the lives of nearly half a million people as rising waters submerge cars and homes. In Shaoguan, a manufacturing hub, factories have been ordered to halt production with water levels at a 50-year high, state television reported.

In the northern and central provinces, heat waves have pushed demand for air conditioning to record highs. In Henan, cement roads buckled last week as roadside surface temperatures hit 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It looked like the aftermath of an earthquake, local media reported.

Simultaneous weather emergencies reflect a global trend of increasingly frequent and prolonged extreme weather events caused by climate change.

Background: China has converted farmland into cities in recent decades, lifting millions of people in rural areas out of poverty. But it has also become the world’s biggest polluter, with greenhouse gas emissions exceeding those of all developed countries combined.

India’s most famous fashion designer, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, has long dominated the country’s bridal industry with an elevated and maximalist traditionalism.

Now, for his American debut, he’s looking to establish himself as a kind of Indian Ralph Lauren. “He sold the idea of ​​a good American life to middle-class Americans,” Mukherjee said, “and I sold the idea of ​​a good Indian life to middle-class Indians.”

My colleague Jason Farago visited “Mind Over Matter: Zen in Medieval Japan”, an exhibition in Washington, D.C. He called it “a spectacle of ravishing absence: an austere and beautiful exhibition where form is immersed in silence, and the ego dissolves into emptiness”. space.”

The exhibition at the Freer Gallery of Art – a branch of the Smithsonian’s National Asian Art Museum – is a good introduction to Japanese painting from the 14th to 17th centuries. Jason, a great critic, underlined its contemporary implications.

“Zen these days has become a Western shortcut for peace and quiet, too reducible to a lifestyle,” he writes. But Zen is the purest and most austere tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. Practitioners seek to clear the mind through meditation (Zen, in Japanese), until one reaches the highest state of consciousness, known as satori.

“For all their beauty, these idealized and simplified Zen paintings are best understood as the efforts of individual monks to express and stimulate the non-thought that would even reveal the painting as another part of this cycle of life and death,” Jason writes. . . “They offer no lesson, or rather they offer the primordial lesson of Zen: the lesson of nothingness.”

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Amelia and Lynsey

PS Yonette Joseph is moving from Seoul to Mexico City to expand our global editorial coverage.

The latest episode of “The Daily” concerns a Supreme Court case that could condemn US climate goals.

You can reach Amelia, Lynsey and the team at

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