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Belmopan, Belize’s Capital, Is a City of Brutalist Calm
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Belmopan, Belize’s Capital, Is a City of Brutalist Calm

Mention Belmopan, Belize’s capital that sits deep in the country’s interior, and many Belizeans will belittle the city as a bastion of pencil-pushing bureaucrats that’s not just dull, but also devoid of nightlife.“I was warned, ‘Belmopan is for the newlyweds or the nearly deads,’” said Raquel Rodriguez, 45, owner of an art school, about the reactions when she moved to Belmopan from coastal, bustling Belize City.Not exactly known as an Eden for young urbanites, Belmopan figures among the smallest capital cities anywhere in the Americas. It has only about 25,000 residents and a cluster of hurricane-proof, heavy-on-the-concrete, Maya-inspired Brutalist buildings.The capital of Central America’s only English-speaking nation can feel jarringly different from the frenetic capitals of neighboring...
Middle East Crisis: Israel Signals a Willingness to Free High-Profile Palestinian Prisoners, Officials Say
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Middle East Crisis: Israel Signals a Willingness to Free High-Profile Palestinian Prisoners, Officials Say

President Biden said on Monday that he believed negotiators were nearing an agreement that would halt Israel’s military operations in Gaza within a week in exchange for the release of at least some of the more than 100 hostages being held by Hamas.Speaking with reporters during a stop in New York, Mr. Biden offered the most hopeful assessment of the hostage talks by any major figure in many days, suggesting that the war might be close to a major turning point.“I hope by the end of the weekend,” he said when asked by reporters when he expected a cease-fire to begin. “My national security adviser tells me that we’re close. We’re close. We’re not done yet. My hope is by next Monday, we’ll have a cease-fire.”The president delivered the comments spontaneously in response to questions during a v...
A Fern’s ‘Zombie’ Leaves Sprout Unusual Roots
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A Fern’s ‘Zombie’ Leaves Sprout Unusual Roots

In the rainforests of western Panama, the plant biologist Jim Dalling stumbled upon some tree ferns with six-foot-long leaves that bent to the ground as they were dying, encircling the plant like a skirt.“I was trying to move these things out of the way and then in the process, I realized these were rooted into the ground,” Dr. Dalling said. A professor and forest ecologist at the University of Illinois, he had been searching for a completely unrelated plant.The fern’s leaf remnants were brown and withered — dead, by all appearances (though still attached at their base to the tree fern’s trunk). How could lifeless plant matter be endowed with roots? he wondered.“I couldn’t really believe what I was seeing,” Dr. Dalling said.Further study revealed that this tree fern, known as Cyathea rojas...
Argentina’s Leader Meets With Blinken, as He Heads to Meet Trump
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Argentina’s Leader Meets With Blinken, as He Heads to Meet Trump

President Javier Milei of Argentina hosted U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in Buenos Aires on Friday morning to discuss the various ways Mr. Milei is reshaping Argentina foreign policy in line with the United States.A few hours later, both men were set to board separate planes for Washington. Mr. Blinken was going back to the White House and President Biden. Mr. Milei was headed to the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, where he would take the stage ahead of former President Donald J. Trump and give a speech that would almost certainly rail against the dangers of the left.Mr. Milei’s hectic itinerary — traveling south to north, left to right — shows how the new Argentine president is trying to navigate the politically turbulent waters of the United States in an el...
As Latin America’s Prison Population Explodes, Gangs Seize Control
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As Latin America’s Prison Population Explodes, Gangs Seize Control

Ecuador’s military was sent in to seize control of the country’s prisons last month after two major gang leaders escaped and criminal groups quickly set off a nationwide revolt that paralyzed the country.In Brazil last week, two inmates with connections to a major gang became the first to escape from one of the nation’s five maximum-security federal prisons, officials said.Officials in Colombia have declared an emergency in its prisons after two guards were killed and several more targeted in what the government said was retaliation for its crackdown on major criminal groups.Inside prisons across Latin America, criminal groups exercise unchallenged authority over prisoners, extracting money from them to buy protection or basic necessities, like food.The prisons also act as a safe haven of ...
Crew Abandons Cargo Ship After Houthi Missile Attack
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Crew Abandons Cargo Ship After Houthi Missile Attack

An Israeli raid last week has reduced one of Gaza’s biggest hospitals to little more than a shelter for a small, terrified crew of patients and medical staff, while health officials warned on Monday that food and fuel supplies were almost gone at another hospital that has endured a nearly monthlong siege in the same city, Khan Younis.Israel says it is rooting out Hamas activity at the medical centers, which it says Hamas has used to hide military operations — accusations it has made about multiple hospitals in Gaza, backing up some claims with evidence of Hamas tunnels. Hamas and health officials deny those charges, and aid groups have called on Israel to respect international laws protecting hospitals from attack.It was not possible to verify statements made by either the Israeli military...
Overlooked No More: Pierre Toussaint, Philanthropist and Candidate for Sainthood
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Overlooked No More: Pierre Toussaint, Philanthropist and Candidate for Sainthood

This article is part of Overlooked, a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.In 1849, Mary Ann Schuyler, a wealthy New Yorker, was reminded fondly of her longtime hairdresser, Pierre Toussaint, while visiting a Roman Catholic chapel in Europe. “Send my love to him,” she wrote to her sister, Hannah Farnham Sawyer Lee. “Tell him I think of him very often and never go to one of the churches of his faith without remembering my own St. Pierre.”By then, Toussaint, 68, had built a reputation as “the Vidal Sassoon of his day,” as Daniel W. Bristol Jr. wrote in “Knights of the Razor: Black Barbers in Slavery and Freedom” (2015): He had mastered the in-vogue hairstyles of the French — powdered hair, or false hair added on — as well ...
Aleksei Navalny, Russian Opposition Leader, Dies in Prison at 47
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Aleksei Navalny, Russian Opposition Leader, Dies in Prison at 47

Aleksei A. Navalny, an anticorruption activist who for more than a decade led the political opposition in President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia while enduring arrests, assaults and a near-fatal poisoning, died Friday in a Russian prison, according to Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service. He was 47.The prison authorities said that Mr. Navalny lost consciousness on Friday after taking a walk in the Arctic penal colony where he was moved late last year. He was last seen on Thursday, when he had appeared in a court hearing via video link, smiling behind the bars of a cell and making jokes.Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s press secretary, said in a live broadcast Friday that Navalny’s advisers were not yet able to issue an official confirmation of his death but believed that he had perished. And while a...
How to Vote in the Mexican Elections From Abroad
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How to Vote in the Mexican Elections From Abroad

Two women will face off for Mexico’s highest office in what is set to be a historic election this spring.Mexicans will choose their first female president on June 2, and they will also vote to renew all 500 deputies for the lower chamber of Congress and the 128 members of the Senate. At the same time, 30 of the country’s 32 states will be holding elections — with 19,000 state and local offices up for grabs.This is the first national election in which Mexico will allow residents living abroad to vote in person. More than 12 million citizens live outside the country, 97 percent of them in the United States, according to the Institute of Mexicans Abroad. But in order to vote, those citizens must first register by Feb. 20.Here’s what you need to do now to be eligible to cast a ballot in June.W...
Israel-Hamas War News: C.I.A. Chief Helps Push for Gaza Cease-Fire in Egypt
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Israel-Hamas War News: C.I.A. Chief Helps Push for Gaza Cease-Fire in Egypt

President Biden said on Monday that Israel should not proceed with a major ground offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah without a “credible plan” to protect more than one million people who are sheltering there.Mr. Biden spoke after meeting at the White House with King Abdullah II of Jordan, a key figure in the push for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. It was the first face-to-face conversation between the two leaders since the Israel-Hamas war started.“Many people there have been displaced — displaced multiple times, fleeing the violence to the north, and now they’re packed into Rafah, exposed and vulnerable,” Mr. Biden said during an appearance with King Abdullah. “They need to be protected.”The visit came as King Abdullah sought to shore up international support for an immediate c...