Your Thursday Briefing: A Deadly Earthquake in Afghanistan

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We cover a deadly earthquake in Afghanistan and the effects of China’s ban on a Taiwanese fish.

An earthquake hit a remote and mountainous part of Afghanistan yesterday, killing more than 1,000 people and injuring at least 1,600 others.

The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 5.9, struck about 28 miles southwest of the city of Khost, but the worst damage was in the neighboring province of Paktika, which lies along the border with Pakistan and where some residents live in clay and straw houses. It is the deadliest earthquake to hit Afghanistan in more than two decades, and the death toll is expected to rise, a UN agency has said.

Search and rescue efforts, led by the Afghan Defense Ministry, were hampered by wind and heavy rain, which prevented helicopters from landing safely. A UN representative for Afghanistan reported that nearly 2,000 homes had been destroyed. Afghan families are usually large and families sometimes live together, the official said, and the earthquake will most likely displace many people.

Eye-witness: Sarhadi Khosti, 26, who lives in Sperah district of Khost province, said the earthquake woke him up after 1 a.m. and destroyed a number of houses, especially earthen ones or in wood. “At the moment we are still busy removing the dead or injured from under the rubble,” he said.

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Pakistan: The quake was felt in several parts of Pakistan, but the country was spared the kind of damage seen in neighboring Afghanistan.

Government: The earthquake is just the latest challenge facing the nascent Taliban government.


The slow and brutal advance of Russian troops tightened their grip around Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk – the nearby towns where Ukrainian forces tried to prevent Russia from seizing the entire Luhansk province. Moscow forces already control most of Sievierodonetsk, making the defense of Lysychansk a key confrontation for control of the Donbass region.

Russia controls about half of Donetsk province and is pushing from the east, north and south in an attempt to take more territory there. But analysts say Russia’s battered forces face an even tougher battle in Donetsk than in Luhansk.

More news from the war in Ukraine:

  • Finland and Sweden, which applied to join NATO after Russia invaded Ukraine, expected quick admission to the alliance. Turkey had other ideas.


China’s recent import ban on grouper from Taiwan has quickly turned a lucrative industry into one in need of support, threatening the livelihoods of fish farmers and showing the extent of China’s economic power.

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Without the Chinese market, the price of grouper, known for its lean and chewy meat, plummets. Last year, the vast majority of Taiwan’s grouper exports – 91% and more than $50 million – went to China. Most of these groupers were shipped alive, and moving markets elsewhere would most likely require a refrigerated or frozen transport system, which would incur additional costs.

The ban came as Chinese leader Xi Jinping – who has said Taiwan’s unification with China is inevitable – has stepped up pressure on the island: sending military planes to the island almost daily, taking off its diplomatic allies and preventing it from joining international organisations. . Recently, Beijing has sought to restrict the island’s access to China’s vast consumer market, banning Taiwanese pineapples and wax apples – and now grouper.

And after: The Taiwan Council of Agriculture said it would consider filing a complaint against the grouper ban with the World Trade Organization. Meanwhile, grouper farmers said they would have to settle for selling the fish in the domestic market at a huge loss.

Families whose loved ones have been kidnapped or imprisoned by North Korea are seeking to sue the country in hopes of holding it financially responsible. The chances of raising money from the isolated nation are slim, but a few recent payouts from seized North Korean assets have given some families reason to be cautiously optimistic.

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When it comes to cooking, we all have to start somewhere – and for some of us, that starts with slicing an onion or cracking an egg into a pan. Maybe you just graduated from college and are on your own for the first time, or maybe you’ve never really learned to cook. Either way, there is hope.

Nikita Richardson, Food Editor of The Times, has put together these ten recipes for beginners who can hardly boil water. Arranged from easiest to hardest, they include a bowl of no-cook tuna mayo rice on the easier end and oven-roasted chicken thighs with potatoes and lemons for extra challenge.

With practice, repetition, and patience, you’ll not only develop a skill set you can apply to other culinary feats, but you’ll also have 10 delicious dishes under your belt that are worth cooking. repeat. Enjoy your lunch! — Natasha Frost, Briefings Editor

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