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The India-Pakistan crisis flares up again, China recruits ethnic Muslim minorities to arrest their peers in Xinjiang and crocodiles spark panic in the Philippines. Here’s the latest:
India and Pakistan exchange fire along the border
The two nuclear-armed neighbors exchanged artillery fire on Saturday, killing at least five civilians and two soldiers.
The recent flare-up, with both sides accusing the other of firing first, came just a day after Pakistan returned a captured Indian pilot as a goodwill gesture in a conflict that seems far from over.
Dispute: Independent security analysts continue to question India’s claim that it targeted a “large number” of terrorists at a major training camp in Pakistan last week. Satellite imagery of the area showed India “didn’t hit their targets,” according to a think tank in Washington.
Go deeper: After an aging Indian warplane was shot down by Pakistan, New Delhi’s military preparedness is receiving renewed scrutiny, particularly as the U.S. looks to strengthen its alliance with India to help keep China in check.
The Indian military is in such a troubled state that, according to government estimates, if intense warfare broke out tomorrow, its troops would only have ammunition for 10 days.
On the ground: Kashmir’s complicated history, tugged in different directions by two muscular powers, has left its local population living with the constant threat of death and an uncertain future.
Perspective: In an Op-Ed essay, the author Basharat Peer blames both India and Pakistan for creating such a hostile environment in Kashmir that a young man would turn to a terrorist group and carry out a suicide bombing, setting off the latest crisis and bringing both countries to the brink of war.
China recruits ethnic minorities to round up fellow Muslims
In the past few years, as China stepped up its crackdown on Muslim minorities in the western Xinjiang region, it leaned on officers from those same targeted ethnic groups, putting them in the uncomfortable position of monitoring and arresting members of their own communities.
How we know: One former police officer, Baimurat, an ethnic Kazakh Muslim who managed to escape, offered The Times a rare, firsthand glimpse into the security apparatus of the region, where the government has detained as many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities in a network of widely condemned indoctrination camps.
Details: In 2016, after a series of anti-government attacks in Xinjiang, the Chinese government escalated its effort to crackdown on minorities there to turn them into loyal supporters of the party and get them to give up their Islamic faith.
That’s when the region’s security forces began recruiting people from those targeted groups, like Mr. Baimurat, who had returned after a stint in Kazakhstan. He said his job included examining travelers at police checkpoints, monitoring mobile phones for any content considered subversive and taking handcuffed people into facilities that were basically prisons.
Officers like him, said Mr. Baimurat, were also closely scrutinized for any signs of disloyalty. They were required to attend political indoctrination meetings and prohibited from speaking anything but Chinese.
“I came to regret ever coming back to China,” he said.
U.S. suspends military exercises with South Korea again
The Pentagon will hold off on large-scale military exercises with South Korea this spring, according to two American officials, as the Trump administration tries to maintain a fragile truce with North Korea and pushes for a resolution after nuclear talks in Vietnam collapsed last week.
President Trump first suspended the military exercises, originally intended as a deterrent against North Korea, after his first meeting with Kim Jong-un last year in a move that took the Pentagon by surprise.
Go deeper: The recent meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim was doomed before it even started, as both sides went in with drastically different visions and an inability to agree on a basic starting point.
In Myanmar, a shared Buddhist faith is no shield from sectarian violence
Since 2017, the western state of Rakhine has turned into a global byword for ethnic cleansing, as members of the Buddhist majority unleashed a widespread rampage against the Muslim Rohingya ethnic group. The U.N. has labeled the violence a genocide.
But a recent flare-up in violence there now focuses on another ethnic group, the Buddhist Rakhine group, whose shared faith with the country’s dominant group, the Bamar, has not fostered a sense of unity.
Details: In January, the Arakan Army, a Buddhist Rakhine militant group, attacked four police bases in the state, killing 14 officers. The assault elicited a brutal response from the Myanmar Army with fatal clashes continuing through February.
History: Rakhine State was once an independent kingdom known as Arakan and the ethnic group there claims that they have been left out of the economic development of Myanmar, feeding a rising nationalist sentiment.
The Arakan Army, which was founded a decade ago and has killed hundreds of soldiers, aims to take back the state.
Here’s what else is happening
Huawei: This week Canada will begin the extradition hearing of Meng Wanzhou, a top executive at the Chinese technology company who is wanted in the U.S. on fraud charges. Ms. Meng was arrested in December at the request of the U.S., hurting relations between China and Canada.
Saudi Arabia: Walid Fitaihi, a U.S. citizen initially detained at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh as part of what the Saudi government has billed as a crackdown on corruption, has been imprisoned without any public charges or trial since 2017. His friend says he has also been tortured — including being shocked with electricity and whipped.
Syria: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found “reasonable grounds” that chlorine weapons were used in the assault on the town of Douma last year that killed 43 people. The U.S. and its allies blamed President Bashar al-Assad for the attack and launched punitive airstrikes against government targets at the time.
Philippines: Crocodiles are a growing nuisance in some parts of the archipelago, with the reptiles increasingly attacking human settlements, prompting people to seek revenge. But the animals are a protected species and some consider them sacred.
Britain: Landlord checks on a prospective tenant’s immigration status lead to racial discrimination and violate human rights, a court found. The ruling dealt a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May, who has championed “hostile environment” policies that leave nonwhite British citizens having to prove their status repeatedly as well.
Jeff Bezos: For years, Amazon’s chief executive kept a low profile. But in recent weeks, his focused and discreet personality has become tangled in Hollywood’s gossip machine, with his private life and family drama splashed all over the news media.
Kidfluencers: Brands like Mattel and Crayola are striking lucrative deals with toddlers and tweens with large social media followings (some deals can fetch from $10,000 to $50,000) in an effort to get their products in front of a generation that spends more time online than watching TV.
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Recipe of the day: Start the week with a bracing, spicy dinner of vegetarian mapo tofu.
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Traveling while holding down a full-time job sounds too good to be true. But it can be done.
On Tuesday, the end of the women’s ready-to-wear season in Paris, the last of Karl Lagerfeld’s enormous sets for Chanel will be revealed — the final gesture of a man who shaped fashion as we know it. He died on Feb. 19.
Though many designers have created dramatic shows — most notably Alexander McQueen, John Galliano when he headed his own brand and currently Thom Browne — none reached the extremes of Mr. Lagerfeld. He once imported (and then returned) a Swedish iceberg, had a rocket launch and created a sandy beach with real surf — all within the glass-roofed confines of the Grand Palais.
Though I was never as big a fan of these fantasy moments as many peers were (I believed the money could be better spent elsewhere, like on a charitable foundation), they were the markers of a time that is coming to a close, symbols of a vision that bridged the couture and Instagram eras.
Get ready for the farewell hurrah. Given that Mr. Lagerfeld never did anything by half measures, it is bound to be a doozy.
Vanessa Friedman, the chief fashion critic at The Times, wrote today’s Back Story. Follow her on Twitter for live updates from this week’s show.
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