Your Monday Briefing

A second day of fighting in Sudan

Rising tensions between rival factions of Sudan’s armed forces have exploded into all-out battle. Fighter jets fired rockets into Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, yesterday, and at the city’s airport, civilian planes were bombed and terrified passengers cowered on the terminal floors. The fighting has also spread deep into the region of Darfur.

More than 83 people have been killed and over 1,126 others injured, and it remained unclear who was in control. See a map of the fighting.

Only four years ago, the widely detested president who had ruled for three decades, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, was toppled by a popular uprising. But hopes for democracy faltered 18 months ago when the two most powerful generals — the army chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan — together seized power in a coup. They are now fighting each other.

Sudan’s neighbors sought to jump-start diplomatic efforts, with the African Union and a separate regional bloc convening emergency meetings yesterday, and Egypt and South Sudan offering to mediate between the rival factions. But neither side has indicated a willingness to meet for talks.

Darfur: The region, where al-Bashir’s government oversaw a campaign of genocidal violence beginning in 2003, is home to several heavily armed rebel groups that analysts fear could get sucked into the fight.

Poland and Hungary ban Ukraine grain imports

The E.U. criticized bans by Poland and Hungary on imports of Ukrainian grain and other foods over the weekend. In general, the trade policy of E.U. countries can be legally enacted only by the bloc itself. “Unilateral actions are not acceptable,” a spokesperson for the European Commission said.

The bloc lifted tariffs last year on Ukrainian grain to help transport it to the rest of the world amid Russia’s invasion, but the exports have led to a glut of produce in Europe. The current agreement has been crucial for alleviating global food shortages and limiting price increases — but farmers in Poland, Hungary and other nations have seen their incomes plummet.

Poland reached a deal with Kyiv on Friday to strictly limit and halt, for a time, Ukrainian grain deliveries to Poland. That deal was expected to affect grain, wheat, corn and some other produce, but on Saturday, Poland expanded the ban to include dozens of other types of food.

In other news from the war:

Some in Kyiv see the leak last week of documents about the war in Ukraine as potentially helpful.

Ukrainian soldiers are freezing their sperm so that, even if they die, their partners can still build their families.

Thousands of Christians gathered in Kyiv to mark Holy Week for Orthodox Easter.

The conservative campaign against trans rights

Social conservatives in the U.S. long used same-sex marriage to galvanize rank-and-file supporters and big donors. The campaign to restrict transgender rights has since supplanted that topic as an animating issue, reinvigorating a network of conservative groups, increasing fund-raising and setting the agenda in school boards and state legislatures.

The campaign, both organic and deliberate, has gained speed since Donald Trump, an ideological ally, left the White House. Since then, at least 20 Republican-controlled states have enacted laws that go beyond the initial debates over bathroom access, delving into medical treatments, participation in sports and even policies on discussing gender in schools.

“It’s a sense of urgency,” said Matt Sharp, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that has provided strategic and legal counsel to state lawmakers as they push through legislation attacking transgender rights. The issue, he argued, is “what can we do to protect the children?”

By the numbers: About 1.3 million adults and 300,000 children in the United States identify as transgender. These efforts have thrust them, at a moment of increased visibility and vulnerability, into the center of the nation’s latest battle over cultural issues.


Around the World

A notorious mobster-politician and his brother were killed on live television in India on Saturday, renewing alarm about the country’s slide toward extrajudicial violence.

A Polish public radio station is under fire for helping to identify a 15-year-old sex abuse victim, the son of a local opposition politician. The boy later killed himself.

Ahead of next month’s elections in Turkey, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the opposition leader, is promising a focus on tackling inflation and strengthening democracy.

“A pathetic caricature of French administration”: In southern France, a war is being waged — over goats.

From the U.S.

Relentless storms in California created conditions for a wondrous display of wildflowers.

Threatened by A.I. competitors, Google is racing to build an all-new search engine powered by the technology.

At least four people were killed and 28 others were wounded in a mass shooting at a 16th birthday party in Alabama. And in Kentucky, two people were dead and four others were injured by gunfire in a park.

In a 101-page financial filing, Donald Trump revealed sizable bank loans and lower-than-expected values on his social media company.

From Opinion

Being reachable around the clock is a recipe for burnout, Adam Grant says.

Paul Krugman asks: Is dollar dominance really at risk — and would losing reserve currency status be such a disaster?

For older lesbians, there is no road map to aging, Cris Beam writes.

The Times asked cultural critics to retrace 17 pop culture moments that defined the Covid era.

A Morning Read

Step inside the world’s most beautiful calendar, as Jason Farago, a critic for The Times, guides you through an invaluable 15th-century book of hours, in which science, religion and art coalesce.

”I have long been in love with its paradoxes,” Jason writes of the calendar. “Its piety and its luxury. Its mathematical exactitude and its spiritual excess.”


Fighting relegation battles: Alan Shearer spoke to three managers who have been battling to prevent their teams from dropping out of the Premier League.

The soccer players who don’t watch soccer: Arsenal defender Ben White has said more than once that he doesn’t watch the game. Does it matter?

From The Times: Eliud Kipchoge will run his first Boston Marathon today. See what happens when mere mortals try to keep his pace.


How people are using A.I.

Since the public release of ChatGPT last fall, A.I. models have snaked their way into many people’s everyday lives, helping them to save time at work, to code without knowing how to code, to make daily life easier or just to have fun. Read the full list of 35 different ways real people use A.I. Here’s a selection:

Get feedback on fiction: Paul Gamlowski, a microfiction author, uploads his work at the 98 percent mark, prompting ChatGPT to give him a summary, to analyze the text or to speculate on the moral of the story. If ChatGPT misses the point, “that tells me as a writer probably many readers will miss it too,” he said.

Draw like Sol LeWitt: Amy Goodchild, a generative artist, handed over these prescriptive instructions from the famed American artist: “On a wall surface, any continuous stretch of wall, using a hard pencil, place 50 points at random. The points should be evenly distributed over the area of the wall. All of the points should be connected by straight lines.” ChatGPT’s relatively successful attempt at Wall Drawing #118 is above.

Choose tunes: Jonathan Soma, a journalism professor at Columbia University, uses prompts like “Give me songs that are acoustic but energetic” or “Play the Cars but none of those boring slow songs” to get playlists on demand.

For more: Can you tell which of these images were generated by A.I.?


What to Cook

For a healthy start to the week, make Greek chicken with cucumber-feta salad.

What to Read

“The Tale of Genji” is often described as the world’s first novel. What explains its appeal, which has lasted for more than 1,000 years?

What to Listen to

Eight new songs from our pop critics’ weekly playlist.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Tree with smooth gray bark (five letters).

And here are today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. I’m working on other projects for the rest of this week, but you’ll be in my colleagues’ capable hands. — Natasha

P.S. Did you follow the news this week? Take our quiz to see how well you stack up against other Times readers.

Friday’s episode of “The Daily” is on the closing of “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway. Fans gathered yesterday for the final day of its run.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

Source: Read Full Article