International

Tuesday Briefing


President Vladimir Putin of Russia acknowledged for the first time that “radical Islamists” had carried out the attack on a concert hall near Moscow, while insisting that Ukraine could still have played a role.

“This atrocity can be just an element in a series of attempts of those who have been at war with our country since 2014,” Putin said during a publicly broadcast meeting with government officials, referring to the Ukrainian government. He questioned why the four suspects in the Friday attack, which killed at least 139 people, had been captured in a part of Russia that borders Ukraine.

Russian state media has been pushing the narrative that Ukraine was behind the attack, even though the Islamic State claimed responsibility. The U.S. and France both said that an Islamic State entity was responsible, and Ukraine has denied involvement. Russian investigators have shown no evidence that the four suspects, migrant workers from Tajikistan, have any connection to Ukraine.

The suspects: The four men looked battered when they were arraigned, and videos of them being tortured and beaten during interrogation circulated widely on Russian social media. A New York Times visual investigation linked them to the attack.

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, with 14 votes in favor and the U.S. abstaining.

The vote ended a five-month impasse during which the U.S. had vetoed three calls to halt the fighting. The resolution also called for the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages” and the lifting of “all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance.” The U.S. said it had abstained in part because the resolution did not condemn Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel criticized the U.S. for allowing the resolution to pass and canceled a delegation that had been scheduled to go to Washington to hold talks with U.S. officials about alternatives to a planned invasion of Rafah.

What’s next: Security Council resolutions are considered to be international law, and if Israel ignores the resolution, the Council could impose punitive measures like sanctions. Top Israeli officials indicated that they would not implement the resolution for now.


Donald Trump is all but certain to become the first former U.S. president to stand trial on criminal charges after a judge rejected his effort to delay the proceeding.

The trial, in which Trump will be accused of covering up a sex scandal during his 2016 campaign, is set to begin on April 15.

My colleague Amelia Nierenberg went to Iceland to explore what she calls the aurora borealis industrial complex. But the northern lights proved more elusive than advertised.

Lives lived: Laurent de Brunhoff nurtured his father’s creation, the beloved elephant Babar, for nearly seven decades. He died at 98. (Click here to see his art.)

Valter Longo is obsessed with living longer and aging better. He has built a career around studying aging in his native Italy, which has one of the world’s oldest populations, including several pockets of centenarians who tantalize researchers searching for the fountain of youth.

In addition to identifying genes that regulate aging, he has created a plant- and nut-based diet with supplements and kale crackers that mimics fasting. He says it allows cells to shed harmful baggage and rejuvenate, without the downside of actually starving.

Dr. Longo practices what he preaches, and hopes to see results. “I want to live to 120, 130,” he said.



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