Plus accounts of torture in Ukraine and Taiwan’s ambitious diplomacy.
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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.
Among the likely contenders to succeed Truss are Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor of the Exchequer; Penny Mordaunt, the leader of the lower house of Parliament; and Ben Wallace, the defense secretary. Some people want Boris Johnson back despite his own messy departure from Downing Street just last month.
Reaction: The British pound and government bond prices inched higher, but the market’s reaction was muted. Britons expressed relief and uncertainty over Truss’s departure as the country faces multiple crises. The opposition Labour Party called for a general election.
Background: Truss’s political viability became tenuous after her proposals for broad unfunded tax cuts caused market turmoil and sent the pound’s value plunging. Her announcement came just days after her new finance minister turned around virtually all of her planned tax cuts, a stark repudiation of her leadership and one of the most dramatic reversals in Britain’s modern political history.
Analysis: World leaders buffeted by economic challenges are closely watching the political crisis, hoping that Truss’s woes won’t be a harbinger for other countries, our London bureau chief writes.
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:
Nationwide curbs on electricity usage came into force across Ukraine yesterday, after Russian attacks pummeled the country’s energy infrastructure for days.
U.S. intelligence assessments say that the Ukrainian military could make gains in the east and the south in the coming six weeks.
The E.U. imposed sanctions on Iran for supplying Russia with drones.
Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister of Italy who will be part of its new right-wing ruling coalition, was caught on tape blaming Ukraine’s president for forcing President Vladimir Putin to invade.
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.
A little-known organization has claimed responsibility for two explosions at a notorious Myanmar prison, but it remains unclear how the bombs got in.
A couple in Afghanistan accused a Marine of abducting their baby amid the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country last year, The Associated Press reports.
Indonesia has banned syrup and liquid medicines after the deaths of 99 children from acute kidney injury, Al Jazeera reports.
The U.S. detailed for the first time how it will determine penalties for foreign companies that break agreements to protect American national security.
When Russia closed its airspace in February, it upended a decades-long strategy that aimed to make Finland a European travel hub to and from Asia.
A break in an underwater cable left up to tens of thousands of people in Shetland, a remote Scottish archipelago, unexpectedly cut off from the world.
In France, a plan to revitalize the town of Callac by bringing in skilled immigrants has divided its population.
Hurricane Ida has been blamed for a spike in cases in Florida of a potentially deadly bacterial infection sometimes referred to as “flesh-eating bacteria.”
NASA’s Webb Telescope used its infrared eye to inspect a cosmic landscape called the Pillars of Creation.
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.
If your refrigerator happens to be poorly stocked, try this curried carrot and coconut soup.
In the memoir “README.txt,” Chelsea Manning tells her life story and explains her decision to blow the whistle on U.S. actions in the Middle East.
What to do with 36 hours in Milan.
Play the Mini Crossword, and here’s a clue: Topaz or lapis lazuli, e.g. (3 letters).
Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Jonathan
P.S. “Modern Love Tokyo,” based on essays published in the Times column, begins streaming on Amazon today.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is about swing voters in the midterm elections.
You can reach Jonathan and the team at


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