We cover the Taliban’s disputed claim to the Panjshir Valley and the ruling of the Belarusian opposition leader.
The Taliban claim control of the Panjshir Valley
Taliban On Monday it claimed to have captured the Panjshir ValleyThey raise their flag over Bazark, the last provincial capital that was not under their control, even as opposition forces there declare that they will fight from the mountains.
The Taliban were unable to control Panjshir, a rugged region 70 miles north of Kabul, and the last time they ruled Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001. It was the starting point for the US-led invasion after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
Soviet forces during The occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, he advanced to the territory on at least nine occasions, only to be repelled each time.
details: Taliban fighters posted pictures online that were said to be from Armed men raise the flag of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the Taliban call the country, as well as from the conversations of their forces with local leaders.
suspicion: The opposition group, the National Resistance Front, has questioned the Taliban’s claim that they occupied the entire province, but conflicting accounts of what was happening on the ground have been difficult to verify due to the interruption of internet and telephone service in the area.
Belarus opposition leader sentenced to 11 years in prison
On Monday, a Belarusian court sentenced Maria Kolesnikova Up to 11 years in prison After a closed trial in the capital, Minsk.
Kolesnikova tried to run for president last year. She and her colleague Maxim Zanak, another dissident and lawyer, were charged with extremism and conspiracy to illegally seize power and harm state security. Zanak was sentenced to 10 years in a high-security penal colony.
This was another sign that President Alexander Lukashenko was continuing a relentless crackdown on dissent after elections widely condemned as sham by many Western governments. An estimated tens of thousands of opposition supporters have fled Belarus since the campaign began last year.
“This ruling is illegal and groundless,” said the couple’s lawyer, Yevgeny Belchenko, announcing the appeal. “It is not based on evidence. During the trial, their guilt, not even the commission of the crimes attributed to him, was not confirmed.”
Concept: Kolesnikova became one of the most prominent opposition leaders in Belarus last year after the candidate, who campaigned, was arrested and banned from running. She threw her support behind Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who entered the race after her husband was also banned from running and put in prison. Together with the third candidate, Veronica Tsipkalo, they attracted tens of thousands of supporters to the pre-election rallies.
New Zealand eases Covid restrictions
New Zealand announced on Monday that it would do so Restrictions eased outside Auckland, ending a series of shutdowns that began in August.
Residents outside Auckland will be allowed to return to work and school, and National alert level Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference that the level would be lowered to level 2 starting Wednesday morning.
The city of Auckland, which has a population of about 1.7 million, will remain at Level 4, which means that everyone, except for essential workers, must stay at home. Schools will reopen on Thursday morning.
Concept: New Zealand is one of the last countries to follow the so-called Covid Zero strategyand imposing strict restrictions on movement and activities. Other governments that have used this strategy, including Hong Kong and Singapore, have said they may begin to relax their measures.
data: The average number of daily new cases is still relatively low, at 36, but the vaccination campaign in New Zealand has been slowing down: only 49 percent of the population has received at least one dose, less than 62 percent in the United States and 72% in Britain.
In other developments:
News from Asia
Pipe plovers, an endangered species of bird in the United States, have cannons when they roam the beaches of New York: Plover Patrol. Volunteers monitor the area, making sure people stay away, keeping their dogs off the sand and keeping the chicks out of harm’s way.
If humans were more rational
Stephen Pinker, a cognitive psychologist at Harvard University, made the case for positivity in an uncertain age. for us The modern columnist asked him about his latest bookwho takes rationality.
Your new book is driven by the idea that it would be good for more people to think more rationally. What mechanisms might prompt more people to test their thinking for rationality? Ideally, there will be a change in the rules of our conversation. Relying on anecdote, advertising arguments – this must be painful.
The most powerful way to make people more rational is not to focus on people. We achieve rationality by applying rules of society that collectively make us more rational than any of us. People put their beliefs to empirical testing.
Are there aspects of your life in which you are intentionally irrational? The answer is almost certainly yes. Maybe I do things that I can’t morally justify, like eating meat. I’d probably risk that if I were to do an unjustifiable expected benefit calculation, like cycling. But I still enjoy cycling.
What about love? There is nothing illogical in love. In the end, our values are neither rational nor irrational. It is our values. They are our goals.