A hospital in El Fasher in Sudan’s North Darfur region.Credit…Ali Shukur/Doctors Without Borders, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Sudan’s health system is collapsing
In the third week of brutal fighting in Sudan, health care services are rapidly unraveling in the nation’s capital, Khartoum. Hospitals have been shelled, and two-thirds of those in Khartoum have closed, according to the W.H.O. More than a dozen health care workers have been killed, officials say, and basic medical services have become scarce.
The fighting that erupted April 15 between a paramilitary group called the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Army — both led by opposing generals — has left more than 500 people dead and thousands of others hurt, the W.H.O. says. The violence has thrown Africa’s third-largest nation into chaos, as one declared cease-fire after another has collapsed.
The latest truce to allow civilians to escape was to end at midnight last night, and though the R.S.F. said it would extend a humanitarian cease-fire for three more days, fighting was reported in the capital. The Sudanese Army has accused the R.S.F. of violating the truce and of occupying a hospital. The R.S.F., in turn, has said the army has been looting medical supplies.
Response: The U.N. secretary general’s office said it was “immediately” sending Martin Griffiths, the under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, to Sudan.
Go deeper: Looking at the history of coups — both the successes and the failures — can help put the chaotic events unfolding in Sudan into clearer perspective.
Pope Francis’s secret ‘mission’ of peace
Pope Francis said yesterday that the Vatican was involved in a secret “mission” to stop the war between Russia and Ukraine and that it would do “all that is humanly possible” to return children taken from Ukraine to Russia and to reunite families. He did not specify what the “not yet public” mission entailed.
Early in the war, the pope was reluctant to name Russia as the aggressor, in part because he hoped that keeping the Vatican’s traditional neutrality could put him in a position to broker a cease-fire or peace. But questions about his failure to call out Russia’s invasion, and pressure from Ukraine, eventually led him to condemn Russia.
Francis, who said the Vatican had previously played a role in facilitating prisoner swaps between the sides, now seeks to be a protagonist in a peace process. As the war enters its 15th month, both the Russians and Ukrainians are preparing spring offensives, and few believe a negotiated peace is imminent.
In other news from the war:
Hundreds of Russian men face criminal charges for becoming war refuseniks since Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. Some dodge the draft, while those already serving desert or refuse orders to redeploy in Ukraine.
An attack on an oil depot in Russia-occupied Crimea that sparked a huge fire was part of Ukraine’s preparations for a counteroffensive, a Ukrainian military spokeswoman said.
An apathetic response to the coronation
The coronation of King Charles III, which is set to take place on Saturday, has yet to capture the imagination of a Britain preoccupied by other concerns. In polls, most British adults said they had little or no interest in the coronation. Rainy spring weather and Britain’s economic doldrums have also done little to raise enthusiasm.
Then there is the contrast between King Charles and his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Her coronation in 1953 introduced a poised young monarch who was suddenly thrust on the throne. At 74, Charles is a familiar figure, one whose foibles have been dissected in the news media for decades and who still presides over a dysfunctional family.
The guest list has drawn criticism. On the list is Michelle O’Neill, the leader of the Irish nationalist party, Sinn Fein, in Northern Ireland. President Biden has declined an invitation, instead sending his wife, Jill, and their 23-year-old granddaughter, Finnegan.
Analysis: “In 1953, Britain was a very deferential society,” said Vernon Bogdanor, an authority on the constitutional monarchy at Kings College London. “Now, it’s a competitive society, based on people who’ve earned their position through achievement. Therefore, the monarchy is bound to attract more skepticism.”
Get in touch: Next Saturday, we’re sending a special coronation edition of this newsletter. We’d like to know: Was there one moment in royals history that changed how you feel about Britain’s most famous family? If you’d like to participate, you can fill out the form here.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
The chairman of the BBC, Richard Sharp, resigned after an investigation concluded that he had failed to disclose his involvement in arranging a nearly $1 million loan for Boris Johnson.
Extreme heat in Spain, where temperatures exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit in early April, has prompted fears that it is no longer a seasonal phenomenon but a new daily reality.
A man who has fathered between 550 and 600 children is not allowed to donate any more sperm, a court in the Netherlands ruled.
Fuel shortages have forced the Cuban authorities to cancel the International Workers’ Day parade, which had been set for today.
From the U.S.
Regulators in the U.S. were racing over the weekend to seize and sell the troubled First Republic Bank before financial markets open today.
Restrictions that aim at insulating young people from potentially harmful online content by requiring proof of age could remake the internet for millions of adults.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers in Texas are still searching for a man in connection with the fatal shooting of five people on Friday night.
The Conservative Party wrecked Britain, and it’s not going anywhere, Samuel Earle says.
Neuroscientists and philosophers are beginning to converge on answers relating to addiction, Maia Szalavitz writes.
There should never have been much mystery about whether President Biden would run for re-election, Frank Bruni writes.
The true cost of a $12 T-shirt is far, far higher, E. Benjamin Skinner says.
A Morning Read
Freya was a 1,300-pound walrus who last summer became a beloved local delight in Oslo and an overnight international media sensation — before she was killed by the Norwegian authorities, who said she was a threat to human safety.
On Saturday a life-size sculpture in her memory, called “For Our Sins,” was unveiled at Kongen Marina in Oslo. The work is designed to spark conversations about how to coexist with wildlife.
SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC
How Wrexham celebrated its promotion: The soccer team owned by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney enjoyed some drunken dancing, late-night pizza and a Ferris wheel ride.
Does age matter in coaching?: Can you be too old to manage at the top — or too young? Coaches, players and executives discuss why age is (often) just a number in soccer.
Sergio Pérez’s F1 win in Baku: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix saw Pérez at his best, showing the steps forward he has taken this year — and his potential to rival Max Verstappen.
From The Times: A polarizing redevelopment plan in Japan would level Meiji Jingu, a famed baseball stadium in Tokyo.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Return of the perm
The perm is making a comeback. But the hairstyle has changed a lot since its 1980s heyday: Instead of tight curls and loads of hair spray, the modern perm is tousled and loose. And, increasingly, men are the ones in the salon chair.
The style has long been popular in South Korea but has grown globally since the early 2000s, as Korean pop culture became more influential in the West — thanks, in part, to the meteoric rise of TikTok and K-pop. “I love my curls. I feel so much more self-confident,” Brendan Noji, 25, told The Times. “The waves add a lot more personality that feels a lot closer to my own.”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
This easy chicken dish celebrates rhubarb’s savory side.
What to Listen To
Try our pop critic’s curated workout playlist.
What to Watch
“Polite Society,” a martial arts mash-up set in London, is hectic, colorful and easy to enjoy.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: “April showers bring ___ flowers” (three 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. See you tomorrow. — Natasha
P.S. The Met Gala is tomorrow night. Here’s everything you need to know.
Start your week with this narrated long read about caregiving in the U.S. Friday’s episode of “The Daily” looks at A.I. deepfakes in music.
You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].