Major setbacks for Russia
Russia’s faltering war against Ukraine met further obstacles yesterday when the flagship of its Black Sea fleet sank after a catastrophic explosion and fire, and the E.U. moved closer to an embargo on Russian oil imports. Follow the latest updates from the war.
Ukraine claimed to have struck the vessel, the guided missile cruiser Moskva, with two Neptune missiles. Russia attributed the blast to ammunition aboard the ship. If confirmed, the missile attack would be a serious blow both militarily and symbolically — proof that Russia’s ships can no longer operate with impunity — and another hit to morale.
Moscow also faces the possible loss of European markets in fossil fuels. E.U. officials revealed yesterday that an oil embargo was in the works, on top of a previously announced ban on imports of Russian coal. The steps are bound to raise fuel and electricity prices in Europe.
Elon Musk’s bid for Twitter
Weeks after Elon Musk revealed that he had bought 9 percent of Twitter, the Tesla billionaire has made an unsolicited bid to purchase the company outright. The offer, which may exceed $40 billion, could have a big impact on political discourse: Musk strongly supports unfettered free speech and has bristled when Twitter has moderated users.
In a statement, Twitter said it would “carefully review the proposal.” But after a board meeting spanning several hours, its executives and directors seemed ready for a fight. They appeared to be marshaling investors against Musk’s plans and signaled that he would have to spend billions more if he wanted to own the company.
Twitter is also considering a corporate defense tactic of imposing a so-called poison pill, a maneuver intended to ward off an unwanted takeover offer by making the target’s shares more expensive, according to people familiar with the matter. Musk has provided few details about how he would pay for the company.
Plans: Musk said that if he succeeded in acquiring Twitter, he intended to relax the company’s moderation policies and make public its algorithm for ranking content, which controls what people see in their Twitter feeds. Conservatives celebrated his offer.
Britain plans to send refugees to Rwanda
The British government announced a plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing and resettlement, drawing immediate condemnation from human rights groups and opposition leaders. Such legislation makes the country one of the few major powers seeking to turn away migrants without even considering their cases.
Rwanda — which has historically been criticized for its human rights record — said it would receive about $157 million, or 120 million pounds, as part of the deal. It will offer the asylum seekers the option of seeking resettlement to countries other than Britain, returning home or to a previous country of asylum, or staying in Rwanda.
The policy would take to a new level the hard-line immigration stance of the Conservative government led by Boris Johnson, the British prime minister. Its implementation depends on the passage of a law under consideration that could criminalize anyone entering the country without a valid visa. The plan will most likely face legal challenges, Johnson said.
Context: Very few other countries have tried similar tactics to deter migrants. Australia has faced criticism for its use of asylum processing centers on Pacific islands such as Nauru.
Calls for a reset: Over the past few years, there has been a sharp rise in criticism of France across its former colonies in Africa, rooted in a feeling that colonialist practices and attitudes never really ended. Nearly half of the continent’s countries were at one time French colonies or protectorates.
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Putting toddlers to task
The Japanese television series “Old Enough!” — in which small children run errands — is a three-decade phenomenon, drawing in a fifth of all Japanese television viewers when it airs. Since late March, it has appeared on Netflix, transfixing international viewers with microsagas — episodes under 15 minutes in length — about toddlers marching forth into the big wide world.
In one episode, an “errand genius” attempts to procure groceries from a store more than half a mile away. In another, a voluble 3-year-old forgets what she has been asked to do because she is too busy talking to herself. Children are wont to drop their cargo (live fish, in one case) or refuse to leave home in the first place.
The show’s popularity reflects the country’s high level of public safety as well as a parenting culture that sees toddlers’ independence as a key marker of their development, Hisako Ueno and Mike Ives report for The Times.
“It’s a typical way of raising children in Japan and symbolic of our cultural approach, which can be surprising for people from other countries,” said Toshiyuki Shiomi, an expert on child development at Shiraume Gakuen University in Tokyo.