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Your Thursday Briefing: Liz Truss Quits

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Prime Minister Liz Truss said that she was stepping down after only six weeks in office, the shortest tenure ever for a British prime minister.

“I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected,” Truss said yesterday in brief remarks announcing her resignation outside 10 Downing Street.

For Britain, it is another chapter in the political convulsions that followed its vote to leave the E.U. in 2016. The country will soon have its fifth prime minister in six years.

Truss will remain the Conservative Party leader and the prime minister until a successor is chosen, which is expected to happen next week, but could come as soon as Monday — an extraordinary scramble.

After Ukrainian forces recaptured much of the Kharkiv region a month ago, police officers returned to towns and villages to re-establish a Ukrainian administration. They were soon overwhelmed by accounts of detentions, torture and missing relatives.

The accounts of people detained in police stations and improvised jails reveal a pattern of abuse that included beatings and electric shocks during interrogations. Torture was routine, according to witnesses.

Signs of abuse were also apparent in some of the 534 bodies recovered across the region. “There are people with tied hands, shot, strangled, people with cut wounds, cut genitals,” the police chief said.

Context: The scale of abuse of the population under Russian occupation is most likely greater than that seen in Bucha and in areas around Kyiv, given the breadth of the territory and the length of the occupation, police officials said.

What’s next: War crimes investigators are now examining some of the hundreds of corpses recovered in recaptured towns and villages.

More updates:


Even as China’s threats on reunification grow more pointed, Taiwan is working creatively to bolster its alliances. Few places in the world can claim to be as scrappy with statecraft as the island is today.

To maintain diplomatic ties with Guatemala, Taiwan pays the country’s lobbyists in Washington. To thank Lithuania for becoming their newest unofficial ally, the government and the shoppers of Taiwan have embraced imports from the Baltic country, including lasers and bacon-flavored schnapps.

The freewheeling approach has been around for decades. But the latest burst of diplomacy has been fueled by Taiwan’s deepening insecurity, which was caused by China’s more vocal demands, and by new opportunities for connection created in part by the U.S.

Quotable: “We have to be more creative and, like, more adorable,” said Chiayo Kuo, the founder of the Taiwan Digital Diplomacy Association, a nonprofit helping Taiwan get its message out. “We are trying to make friends, to make more friends.”

Takeaway: While it has fewer embassies than it did a decade ago, Taiwan now has more substantial ties with a wider range of nations.

Stars like Dolly Parton, Madonna and Whitney Houston inspired a generation of American drag queens. In Beirut’s growing drag scene, Arab pop icons serve a similar role. In their outfits and performances, Beirut’s drag queens evoke sequin-clad singers including Haifa Wehbe, Sabah and Sherihan, who have embodied camp and glamour across the Arab world for decades.

During a recent performance, Crush, a South Korean R&B singer, doled out high-fives to fans but avoided an area where some Black concertgoers were extending their hands.

A fan on Twitter called the episode, which occurred at a music festival in Seoul this month, an act of discrimination. When others piled on, Crush apologized for what he called a “misunderstanding,” telling his 2.7 million Instagram followers that he had avoided high-fiving some fans out of concern for their safety.

The debate over the episode has called attention to what experts say is an old problem: the struggle of the K-pop industry to develop the level of cultural sensitivity that fans in the U.S. and elsewhere expect.

The criticism also highlights resentment that has built up for years among Black fans who feel that K-pop acts adopt their culture but do not respect them, just as earlier generations of white musicians appropriated Black music and reaped the riches.

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