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Your Thursday Briefing: Russia Declares Martial Law In Occupied Ukraine

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President Vladimir Putin of Russia declared martial law yesterday in four regions of Ukraine that Moscow recently annexed but that it does not fully control. This means that pro-Russian authorities can impose even tighter restrictions, as Moscow fights to hold off Ukraine’s military advances.

Martial law in the four annexed territories — Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — would allow the authorities to impose curfews, seize property, forcibly resettle residents to another region, imprison undocumented immigrants, establish checkpoints and detain people for up to 30 days.

Putin also said he was handing more power to regional governors in areas of Russia, which would allow for significantly more restrictive measures to be introduced at home.

But as Putin declared his intentions to assert control over the regions, Russian occupation officials were moving as many as 60,000 civilians out of the city of Kherson, along with its civilian administration there. The evacuation was another sign that Russia’s hold on the city was slipping.

Despite being jeered by Parliament in only her third appearance for questioning as the British prime minister, Liz Truss rejected demands that she resign, declaring, “I am a fighter and not a quitter.”

Hours later, however, she was forced to fire one of her most senior cabinet ministers, the second major ouster in a six-week-old government that has tumbled into chaos.

Truss dismissed Suella Braverman, Britain’s home secretary, over a security breach involving a government document that Braverman had sent to a lawmaker through her personal email. In her letter of resignation, Braverman accused Truss’s government of breaking pledges to voters and, in particular, of failing to curb immigration.

Last Friday, Ms. Truss fired her chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, who was the architect of the sweeping tax cuts that rattled financial markets and sent the British pound into a tailspin.

Countdown: A British newspaper is tracking whether the embattled prime minister can outlast a head of lettuce purchased at a grocery store.

Inflation: Consumer prices in Britain rose 10.1 percent from a year earlier. Food prices were a main driver of that growth, having risen 14.5 percent last month from a year earlier, the largest annual rise in more than 40 years.

Sun has become the enforcer of the country’s strict pandemic restrictions. She is often known as China’s “zero-Covid” czar. Her arrival in a city has come to be seen as a bad omen.

The Communist Party congress is meeting this week; at its end China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, is expected to secure a groundbreaking third term. It is a typical scene of suits and ties — fewer than a third of the delegates are women, and only three women are seen as having the potential to join the Politburo.

Since 1949, just eight women have risen to the powerful 25-member Politburo, including Sun, who at 72 is expected to step down from the body this week. Three of the women were married to the Communist Party’s revolutionary founders.

Outcry in Britain: After a group of men emerged from the Chinese Consulate in Manchester, England, and beat a protester, activists and some British lawmakers are calling for a tough response.


“The Woman King,” a historical drama featuring Viola Davis and sweeping fight scenes, is set in Africa and centering African characters. It has also stoked conversation and controversy on the role of Africans in the slave trade.

The film centers on the Agojie, the female warriors of the kingdom of Dahomey, in what is now Benin. While the movie has been celebrated for spotlighting female fighters and African history, critics say it whitewashes the kingdom’s role in enslaving other tribes.

Hollywood has long taken liberties with history. But this version, Tafi Mhaka writes in Al Jazeera, could falsely “moderate the crimes committed by both Europeans and Africans during the transatlantic slave trade.” An unvarnished depiction would “respect the fact Africa has a rich, vibrant and imperfect history,” he adds.

The film’s revisionism of the Dahomey leader, King Ghezo — presented as something of an abolitionist — “erases the pain of the enslaved” during his reign, said Dominique Somda, an anthropologist who grew up in Benin and studies the legacies of slavery in Africa.

“‘The Woman King,’” however, is still worth watching for its superb and nuanced portrayal of the Agojie in combat and the palace; the film offers rare and powerful incarnations of Black African womanhood,” Somda said. — Lynsey Chutel

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