Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times
The prince caught up in a far-right conspiracy theory
Prosecutors and intelligence officials in Germany have accused Prince Heinrich XIII of holding meetings at his hunting lodge in Bad Lobenstein, Thuringia state, where they say he and a gang of co-conspirators d extreme right plotted to overthrow the German government and execute the Chancellor.
The Waidmannsheil lodge, a three-hour drive south of Berlin, was one of 150 targets attacked by security forces in one of Germany’s biggest postwar counterterrorism operations. As of Friday, 23 members of the cell had been detained in 11 German states and 31 other members were under investigation. The police discovered weapons and military equipment as well as a list of “enemies”.
Nostalgic for the pre-1918 German empire, when his ancestors ruled an East German state, 71-year-old Heinrich XIII openly embraced the far-right conspiracy theory that the German republic of post-war period is not a sovereign country but a society created by the Allies after the Second World War.
As a well-to-do scion of a 700-year-old noble family, prosecutors say he was nominated by his co-conspirators to become head of state in a post-coup regime.
The context: Followers of this conspiracy theory call themselves Reichsbürger, or citizens of the Reich. Many live in southeastern Thuringia, the state where the Nazis first seized power more than 90 years ago and where the biggest political force is the far-right Alternative for the Germany, or AfD.
Ukraine strikes Russian-occupied town of Melitopol
Ukrainian forces struck the Russian-occupied town of Melitopol over the weekend, authorities said, signaling the importance of longer-range artillery in the next phase of Ukraine’s campaign to take back land in the south of the country. The attack hit a church that served as a base for Russian soldiers, according to the town’s exiled mayor.
A Russian state-owned news agency reported that a strike on Melitopol using a long-range HIMARS system killed two people and injured 10 others. Ukrainian partisans working behind Russian lines have launched attacks on targets around the city for months.
Ukraine retook the city of Kherson in mid-November, forcing Moscow to withdraw its troops to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River and opening a new phase of the battle for the south of the country. But military experts warn that Ukrainian progress is likely to be slow. Russian forces have improved their defenses in the south and east of the country in recent weeks.
Related: All of Ukraine’s thermal and hydropower plants have been damaged by recent waves of Russian strikes targeting the country’s power grid, Ukraine’s prime minister said yesterday.
In other news:
Cut off from natural gas and electricity due to the conflict in neighboring Ukraine, Moldova is facing street rallies funded by a pro-Russian politician to target its pro-Western government.
Detaining foreigners to extract concessions from the government of their country of origin carries perils for both parties, but above all, perhaps surprisingly, for the hostage takers, writes Max Fisher in The Interpreter.
Lockerbie suspect to be extradited to US
Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud, a Libyan intelligence agent charged in the 1988 bombing of a US airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, was arrested by the FBI and extradited to the United States to face prosecution for one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in United States history. .
The arrest was the culmination of a decades-long effort by the Justice Department to prosecute him. It is unclear how the US government negotiated his extradition. Mas’ud, who is accused of building the explosive device used in the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 passengers, including 190 Americans, was being held in a Libyan prison for unrelated crimes.
Mas’ud confessed to the 2012 bombing to a Libyan law enforcement official. His alleged role in the bombing came under renewed scrutiny in a three-part documentary about “Frontline” on PBS in 2015.
And after: Extradition would allow Mas’ud to stand trial. But legal experts have expressed doubts whether his confession, obtained in prison in war-torn Libya, would be admissible as evidence.
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(For those who haven’t made the cut, 2023 is just weeks away – and we’ll be watching.)
SPORTS NEWS FROM ATHLETIC
How Argentina and the Netherlands descended into jeers, tears and chaos: Seventeen yellow cards, an expulsion, a fracas and post-match arguments. Still, Lionel Messi and Argentina have booked a semi-final date with Croatia.
The particular brilliance of Croatia: How does a team reach such lofty heights without finding a way to score goals? Croatia has made its way.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the man of yesterday: Ronaldo’s World Cup dream is over. It ended with the superstar leaving the stage in tears after a totally ineffective cameo.
From the Times: Caught off guard by Qatar’s decision to ban beer in stadiums, Budweiser has redone its real-time marketing strategy.
Celebrate the Octagonal House
In the mid-19th century, an offbeat architectural fad swept the United States: the octagonal house.
With windows on all sides, octagonal homes had more light and better airflow, so they were healthier to live in, said key proponent Orson S. Fowler, and they made better use of space. . A unified floor plan, he argued, would also make household chores easier, as there would be a shorter distance to walk from the kitchen to the laundry room.
Most of these claims were denied, but not before some 1,500 had been built in North America. More than 300 of these houses are still standing. They still have devoted fans, who celebrate the prodigious light and good ventilation, which helps keep buildings cool.
Joseph Pell Lombardi, an architect who owns and restored the magnificent Armour-Stiner House, in Irvington, NY, is skeptical of the claim that eight-sided houses make better use of space – partly because the triangular pieces are somewhat of a design issue.
“When you look at it from the door, it looks like a big room,” he said. “But when you walk into it, you fill it up immediately. So these are just curious types of coins.
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