Imran Khan sentenced to prison
Imran Khan, the former prime minister of Pakistan, was taken into custody and sentenced to three years in prison on Saturday after a court found him guilty of illegally selling state gifts and concealing the assets. The verdict will most likely end his chances of running in general elections, set for this fall.
The verdict is the culmination of a nationwide political saga that has escalated since Khan was ousted in April 2022 after a vote of no confidence. It comes on the heels of a monthslong intimidation campaign by Pakistan’s powerful military, which was aimed at hollowing out Khan’s political party and stifling his comeback.
Reaction: In a sign of the effectiveness of the intimidation, there were no mass protests after Khan was sentenced.
Also in Pakistan: At least 30 people were killed yesterday after a train derailed, officials said. It was traveling from Karachi to Havelian, in the north.
Villages flooded to save Beijing
Chinese officials deliberately diverted floodwaters to villages around Beijing to spare the capital from the worst of last week’s record deluge. Residents were furious after nearly a million people were forced to evacuate in and around Hebei Province, which borders Beijing.
The leader of Hebei said that he had tried to “resolutely build a ‘moat’ for the capital.” The phrasing set off an outcry, as people denounced what they perceived as an effort to appease national leaders in Beijing, and the comment became a hashtag that amassed more than 60 million views before it was censored.
His decision inundated the city of Zhuozhou with water as deep as 23 feet (about seven meters). “No one ever informed us of the flood discharge or told us to prepare to evacuate,” a villager told The Times, adding, “Everything is soaked in water. I can barely calculate my loss.”
Will Russia support Putin’s war?
My colleague Roger Cohen spent a month in Russia, searching for clues that might explain the country’s nationalist lurch into an unprovoked war and its mood 17 months into the conflict.
“I found a country uncertain of its direction or meaning,” Roger wrote. It’s torn between President Vladimir Putin’s glorious myths and the everyday struggle — especially in Russia’s poorest regions — of continuing a fight that U.S. diplomats think has now taken about 100,000 lives on each side.
From an Indian village where “no one wanted girls,” one father of two daughters is taking on the patriarchy by fighting prenatal sex testing. In just four years, his campaign has improved the village’s sex ratio from 37 girls and 63 boys per hundred newborns to 51 girls and 49 boys.
Lives lived: Seiichi Morimura wrote a searing exposé of the Japanese Army’s secret biological warfare program in occupied China, describing how it forcibly infected thousands of prisoners with deadly pathogens. He died at 90.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Why China loves ‘Barbie’
“Barbie” has exceeded box office expectations in China, as female moviegoers celebrate a film that addresses women’s rights. There’s only limited availability, but theaters have raced to add showings, and “Barbie” has been widely discussed on social media.
The movie has raked in $1 billion internationally, Warner Bros. said, but its success flies in the face of trends in China. There, U.S. movie revenues have been declining in general, in part because of controls on foreign films. And feminists have had to struggle against the government’s repression.
But the movie has touched off conversations — perhaps, one 27-year-old said, because its critique of patriarchy was ultimately gentle. (For instance: The subtitles translated “feminism” as “nu xing zhu yi,” or literally “women-ism,” rather than “nu quan zhu yi,” or “women’s rights-ism.”) Even some Chinese state media outlets have offered cautious praise of the movie’s themes.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Watch
“Shortcomings” is a charming comedy about a Japanese American man’s belated coming-of-age.
Now Time to Play
Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: Roadside inn (five letters).
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Amelia
P.S. MJ Franklin, an editor at The Times Book Review, shared some of his favorite short books to read in a day.
Questions? Write to us at [email protected].