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Ecuador Shaken by Days of Terror After Gang Leader’s Disappearance
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Ecuador Shaken by Days of Terror After Gang Leader’s Disappearance

A sense of dread took hold in Ecuador on Wednesday, with the streets empty, schools closed and many people afraid to leave their homes after the disappearance of two gang leaders set off prison riots, police kidnappings and the on-air storming of a TV station.Even for a country accustomed to violence, the events that have rocked Ecuador this week were shocking.“I feel like the world I knew before is gone,” said María Ortega, a schoolteacher in Guayaquil, a sprawling coastal city. “You can know how things start, but not how they’ll end.”It began with violence erupting in prisons across the South American country as soldiers surged into a penal compound in Guayaquil, after the disappearance of a powerful gang leader, Adolfo Macías, from his cell over the weekend. Inmates at various prisons t...
A.I. Giant Tied to China Under Scrutiny
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A.I. Giant Tied to China Under Scrutiny

A U.S. congressional committee has asked the Commerce Department to look into whether a giant technology company controlled by the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates should be put under trade restrictions because of its ties to China.The company, G42, specializes in artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, and is overseen by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, the national security adviser of the Emirates and a younger brother of the country’s ruler.It has signed recent agreements with prominent American technology companies, including Microsoft, Dell and OpenAI. A Silicon Valley chip firm, Cerebras, is building a supercomputer for G42 to create and power A.I. products.But in a letter sent to the Commerce Department on Wednesday, the bipartisan House Select Committee on the Ch...
Mário Zagallo, Longtime Fixture of Brazilian Soccer, Dies at 92
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Mário Zagallo, Longtime Fixture of Brazilian Soccer, Dies at 92

Mário Zagallo, who as both a player and coach helped lead Brazil to four World Cup soccer championships, becoming a national hero and one of only three people to lift the tournament’s trophy in both roles, died on Friday in Rio de Janeiro. He was 92.His death was confirmed by his family on his social media channels. Barra D’Or Hospital in Rio de Janeiro, where he had been a patient several times in recent months, said the cause was multiple organ failure.An attack-minded wing as a player and a tactically minded coach known as “the Professor,” Zagallo was part of the Brazil teams that won consecutive World Cup championships in 1958 and 1962 and the head coach of Brazil’s 1970 champions.His 1970 triumph made Zagallo the first person to win the World Cup as both a player and a coach, a feat t...
Israeli Minister Proposes Plan for Postwar Gaza Amid Divisions
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Israeli Minister Proposes Plan for Postwar Gaza Amid Divisions

As Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken returned to the Middle East on Friday in an effort to ease escalating tensions, Israel’s defense minister floated a postwar plan for the Gaza Strip that exposed divisions in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wartime government.The proposal by the defense minister, Yoav Gallant, who is a moderate member of Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, was widely seen as a trial balloon, but it showed the pressure Israel was facing as Washington and others press for a shift to a less intense phase of the war.Further complicating diplomatic efforts in the region, Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the powerful armed group Hezbollah, which has been clashing with Israeli forces along the Israeli-Lebanese border, on Friday ruled out any negotiations to stop the fig...
Canada’s Boreal Forests Badly Damaged by Logging
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Canada’s Boreal Forests Badly Damaged by Logging

Canada has long promoted itself globally as a model for protecting one of the country’s most vital natural resources: the world’s largest swath of boreal forest, which is crucial to fighting climate change.But a new study using nearly half a century of data from the provinces of Ontario and Quebec — two of the country’s main commercial logging regions — reveals that harvesting trees has inflicted severe damage on the boreal forest that will be difficult to reverse.Researchers led by a group from Griffith University in Australia found that since 1976 logging in the two provinces has caused the removal of 35.4 million acres of boreal forest, an area roughly the size of New York State.While nearly 56 million acres of well-established trees at least a century old remain in the region, logging ...
Deputy Hamas Leader Killed by Blast in Beirut: Israel-Hamas Live Updates
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Deputy Hamas Leader Killed by Blast in Beirut: Israel-Hamas Live Updates

The decision by the Israeli Supreme Court to reject legislative control over the judiciary ends for now the languishing effort by the far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu to diminish the courts, which had already sparked nine months of protests that only ended when Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7.The protests had deeply divided Israel, but the subsequent war united it, with even pilots and reservists who had vowed to ignore military exercises immediately showing up to fight before they were called.If the court’s decision on Monday ripped off this wartime poultice, displaying anew the cultural war at the heart of Israeli politics, Mr. Netanyahu and his government responded by appealing again to wartime unity to try to downplay their loss. It was another version of Mr. Netanyahu’s argu...
It’s OK to Call It Soccer
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It’s OK to Call It Soccer

George Best’s résumé, in the late 1960s, was pretty much flawless. He was a dazzling, edge-of-the-seat winger, certainly one of the finest players on the planet. For a time, he perhaps did not even require the caveat. He was an English and European champion. Along with Bobby Charlton and Denis Law, he was a sanctified member of Manchester United’s Holy Trinity.More than that, he was a true crossover star. He was a fashionista. He was a heartthrob. He dated models. He graced the hippest nightclubs. He owned a trendy boutique. He was a darling of the swinging ’60s, a genuine celebrity. He had sufficient cultural cachet that he was known, in Spain, as El Beatle.All of that should, of course, have afforded him unquestionable authority when it came to the game that made him famous. Sadly, thoug...
How Greggs, a Super Affordable Bakery Chain, Became a U.K. Culinary Icon
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How Greggs, a Super Affordable Bakery Chain, Became a U.K. Culinary Icon

To most of this bakery’s millions of devotees, the idea that its “Steak Bake” could be “lifted” lies somewhere between folly and heresy. It brings diced beef, gravy and crisp puff pastry together in perfect harmony. It cannot be improved, or ameliorated, or heightened. It has already attained its highest form.Its popularity attests to that. The bakery, Greggs, a family chain founded in 1939 to deliver door-to-door baked goods to mining communities around Newcastle, England, sells hundreds of thousands of them every week, mostly to customers who walk into one of their more than 2,300 branches around Britain and take them away in a paper bag, to be eaten hot, on the go.Mark Reid and Kieran McBride, of the upscale Fenwick department store in Newcastle, decided this fall simply to play with it...
Surging Mexico Border Crossings Push U.S. Resources to Brink
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Surging Mexico Border Crossings Push U.S. Resources to Brink

At a remote spot in the Arizona desert, near a hole in the border wall, dozens of migrants huddled over wood fires.After fleeing war in Sudan, violent gangs in Central America or Mexican cartels, the men had all crossed into the United States illegally, walked on foot over rugged terrain for hours, and arrived at this outpost exhausted, hungry and cold.They wanted to turn themselves into the authorities to ask for asylum, but were stranded here, miles away from the closest town, Sásabe.Then, as temperatures dropped on Tuesday night, a convoy of Border Patrol agents rolled in, loaded the men into a van to be processed and sped away — off to search for more people in need of rescue.“We are not equipped to deal with this,” Scott Carmon, a Border Patrol watch commander, said while surveying th...
Ukraine Attacks Novocherkassk, a Russian Warship, in Crimea
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Ukraine Attacks Novocherkassk, a Russian Warship, in Crimea

Ukraine scored a major success on Tuesday when it struck a Russian warship at port in Crimea, one of the most significant attacks against Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet in months. But in another setback for their ground campaign, Ukrainian officials acknowledged that they had all but retreated from the eastern city of Marinka after a monthslong battle to defend it.The two developments underscored the diverging fortunes of the two combatants this winter in a war that has largely settled into a deadlock: Ukraine racking up naval successes in the Black Sea and Crimea, where it is putting Russia on the defensive, and Russia pressing its attack on battlefields in the east after blunting a Ukrainian counteroffensive.A day after Russia said it had taken complete control of Marinka, Gen. Valery Zaluzhn...