Good morning. We cover a Russian victory in a key eastern city, a devastating heat wave in Japan and a debate in Pakistan over transgender rights.
Russia captures Lisichansk
On Sunday, the Ukrainian military said that withdrawn from the key eastern city of Lisichanskthe last city in Lugansk Oblast still held by Ukraine.
Moscow’s victory means that Russian forces under the control of a significant part of Donbass, a coal-rich region that became the focus of Russia’s attention after its spring defeat near Kyiv. According to local residents, Ukrainian forces are now strengthening defenses along the border line between Lugansk and neighboring Donetsk region.
After the withdrawal of Ukraine from Lisichansk, explosions thundered the center of a Russian city north of Ukrainefour people died, officials said. This is the deadliest known episode to have affected civilians in Russia since the start of the war. Moscow blamed Ukraine for the Belgorod attack; The Ukrainian military did not immediately comment.
Here live updates.
What’s next: Lisichansk offers Russia a base to attack the cities to the southwest. Yesterday, the Ukrainian city of Slavyansk came under heavy shelling. At least six people were killed and more than a dozen injured, the mayor said.
Heat wave hits Japan
Japan is experiencing one of the strongest heat waves ever recorded. Officials are urging people to keep their air conditioners on to avoid heatstroke, although doing so could lead to potential power shortages.
Japan’s aging population is especially vulnerable to heatstroke and exhaustion, with officials linking a number of deaths to the heat.
Hospitalizations are also on the rise, with officials saying more than 4,500 people with symptoms of heatstroke and exhaustion have been taken to hospitals in ambulances in recent days, more than four times more than in the same period a year ago. Most of the patients were 65 years of age or older.
Better Understand the Russo-Ukrainian War
Data: In Tokyo on Saturday, temperatures topped 95 degrees Fahrenheit – about 35 degrees Celsius – for the eighth day in a row. The capital has only seen such a streak once since 1875, when record keeping began.
Context: Japan is vulnerable to power outages during periods of high demand because it relies heavily on liquefied natural gaswhich is difficult to accumulate and has become more expensive since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
Debate in Pakistan about trans rights
Four years ago, Pakistan became one of the few countries that legally protects the rights of transgender people. He passed a law prohibiting discrimination in schools, workplaces and public places and guaranteeing the right to choose one’s gender in official documents.
First, some stepped out of the shadows. But recently violence has risen. In a series of attacks in March in the northwest of the country, four transgender people were killed and others injured.
Law enforcement is also inconsistent. Legislation requires the creation of advocacy centers where transgender people can access psychiatric and legal services and temporary housing. But so far only one has opened, in the capital Islamabad.
And discrimination remains commonplace. Many people are living as they did before 2018, hiding their identities, shunning their families, refusing medical care and huddling in group homes for safety.
Data: Recently, there are an average of 10 murders of transgender people in Pakistan every year. Monitoring trans murders project. This is more than before the adoption of the law, and, in relation to the population, much more than that of its neighbors.
Kalim Ulla Khan, “mango man” spent a lifetime grafting 300 varieties of mangoes to a single mother tree. Thus, the 82-year-old gardener also brought his own life story here.
“Sometimes a tree asks me questions and I sit and think about them,” he said. “It leaves me uneasy – what does it want? I think over the questions for hours.”
ART AND IDEAS
Searching for life there
This month the James Webb Space Telescope start spying on planets that orbit other stars. Astronomers are hoping a powerful telescope will show if some places have atmospheres that could support life.
Identification of the atmosphere in another solar system would be remarkable enough. But there is even a chance, however tiny, that one of these atmospheres will offer what is known as a biosignature: a signal of life itself.
Since 1995, scientists have discovered over 5000 exoplanets. Some of them are Earth-like—about the same size, made of rock rather than gas, and orbiting in the “Goldilocks zone” around their star, not close enough to boil, but not far enough to freeze.
The relatively small size of these exoplanets has made them extremely difficult to study until now. The James Webb Space Telescope, launched last Christmas, will change that by acting like a magnifying glass, collecting signals at just a few photons per second so astronomers can take a closer look at these worlds.