A truce in Tigray
Ethiopia’s government and rebel forces in the northern Tigray region will end their brutal civil war. A team of mediators said the two parties had agreed to “a permanent cessation of hostilities.”
The war, which began in November 2020, has led to widespread destruction and extensive human rights violations, including massacres, ethnic cleansing and sexual violence. As many as 500,000 people have died as a result of the conflict, and hundreds of thousands are displaced. And famine looms.
The announcement came after 10 days of peace talks, convened in South Africa by the African Union. At the start of the negotiations, the conflict had been intensifying, and Ethiopia and its Eritrean allies were advancing toward Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region.
“This agreement to cede hostilities is an important step and brings a much-needed respite to those devastated by the two-year civil war,” Abdi Latif Dahir, our East Africa correspondent, told me. “But it is not the end point and both parties will have to do a lot of work and overcome mistrust to ensure that permanent peace is achieved and aid reaches millions who are in dire need.”
Analysis: “South Africa’s foreign minister Naledi Pandor remarked that she was the ‘most nervous person in the room,’” my Johannesburg-based colleague Lynsey Chutel told me. “I think that showed just how high-stakes these talks were, not just for Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa, but for the whole continent.”
North Korea launched new missiles
North Korea launched at least 23 missiles off its coasts yesterday, the most it has fired in a single day. All fell into international waters.
The volley triggered an air-raid alert on Ulleung, a populated island in South Korea. One missile landed 103 miles (about 166 kilometers) northwest of the territory. South Korea, in response, fired three missiles from fighter jets into international waters near the North.
The exchange marked the first time that many missiles were launched across the maritime border, the South’s Defense Ministry said. The standoff came two days after South Korea and the U.S. began an annual joint military exercise that involved 240 aircraft and thousands of military personnel.
Background: North Korea has conducted 28 weapons tests involving ballistic and other missiles this year — more than ever before.
Context: The launch was the North’s most daring missile test since Oct. 4, when it fired a ballistic missile that flew over Japan and covered the longest distance ever traveled by a North Korean weapon.
Russia rejoins the grain deal
Russia will rejoin a deal that allows grain to move from Ukrainian ports through the Black Sea. The announcement restores hope to countries facing severe food shortages.
Russia suspended its participation over the weekend after an attack on its naval ships in Crimea. Russia blamed Ukraine for the attack, which it claimed showed that the waters were unsafe. In rejoining the deal, Russia said it had received Ukrainian guarantees that the sea corridor would not be used “for military operations.”
But there have been no reports of security incidents involving grain ships. And Russia’s withdrawal may have been a miscalculation: Ukraine also suggested that other parties remained committed to the deal, even without Russia’s involvement. At least 15 grain ships departed after Russia announced it was pulling out on Saturday.
Analysis: Abandoning the deal may have been a Russian strategy to gain leverage after battlefield struggles. But the tactic risked antagonizing two important Kremlin allies: Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
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Kyiv is going dark, as restrictions on electricity take effect. At nightfall, smartphone flashlights flicker like fairy lights, dogs wear glow stick collars and flower merchants hawk their wares with headlamps.
But beauty and threat dance together in the shadows. Car accidents have spiked 25 percent, the police say, and the threat of another Russian strike on infrastructure dangles overhead.
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U.S. money in Indian cricket
American money has discovered Indian cricket. Billion-dollar funds and N.F.L. ownership groups are among those angling for a foothold in the Indian Premier League.
The returns are the draw. India’s top cricket competition — a closed league with only 10 teams — now generates annual broadcast revenues on par with the N.F.L. ($10 billion a year), England’s Premier League (about $6.9 billion) and the N.B.A. ($2.7 billion).
On a per-match basis, the I.P.L., whose season lasts only two months, now ranks behind only the N.F.L. Most experts agree that every I.P.L. franchise is now worth at least $1 billion or more.
As recently as the 1990s, the sport’s governing body had to pay the state-owned broadcaster to show the national team’s matches. The start of the I.P.L. in 2008 changed all that. “When we first started looking at cricket, we were by no means experts,” an investor said. “But the more we studied it, the more we realized it felt like the N.F.L. did 20 years ago.”
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