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The Killing of Qassim Suleimani Was Unlawful, Says U.N. Expert


GENEVA — A United Nations expert investigating summary executions said on Thursday that the United States’ targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran was unlawful and risked eroding international laws that govern the conduct of hostilities.

Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur investigating extrajudicial and summary executions, said that the American drone strike that killed General Suleimani as he arrived in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in January could only be justified in international law as a response to an imminent threat. The United States had provided no evidence to support that position, she said.

“Absent an actual imminent threat to life, the course of action taken by the U.S. was unlawful,” Ms. Callamard wrote in a report that she presented on Thursday to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The retaliatory missile attacks Iran launched against American bases in Iraq five days later were also “completely outside the scope of what is permissible” in international law, Ms. Callamard said.

Ms. Callamard’s report as a United Nations independent expert is intended as an international wake-up call that will help to generate critical scrutiny and action on issues hitherto debated mainly by academics, lawyers and security experts.

There is an urgent need for international action to monitor and regulate the use of drones and the threat they pose to international law, Ms. Callamard said. In the absence of a clear legal framework for holding states accountable for drone strikes, she called for the U.N. Security Council to review all targeted killings and for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit annual reports on drone strike casualties.

A State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, condemned Ms. Callamard’s report as “dishonest” and “tendentious” and said that, by “giving a pass to terrorists,” it underscored why the United States was right to leave the Human Rights Council in 2018.

General Suleimani commanded Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the military that ran clandestine operations across the Middle East and was designated by President Trump as a foreign terrorist organization in April 2019.

President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said they ordered the strike in response to an imminent threat of attack but provided no evidence in official explanations to Congress and the United Nations.

In a memo to Congress, the administration said only that it carried out the strike as a response to previous Iranian attacks and “to deter Iran from conducting or supporting further attacks against United States forces and interests.”

The information that Trump administration officials provided was “remarkably vague and inconsequential as far as a possible imminent threat is concerned,” Ms. Callamard wrote in the report. “Even at the most basic level, the U.S. did not demonstrate that striking Suleimani was ‘necessary.’”

Instead, she said, the United States strike on General Suleimani set an alarming precedent for the use of drones in targeted killings. Until January, such strikes had been limited to individuals in nonstate groups. Ms. Callamard said that the United States attack on General Suleimani was the first targeted drone killing of a senior foreign government official on the territory of a third country.

“It is hard to imagine that a similar strike against a Western military leader would not be considered as an act of war,” she wrote.

As a result of the killing, the international community faced “the very real prospect that states may opt to ‘strategically’ eliminate high ranking military officials outside the context of a ‘known’ war, and seek to justify the killing on the grounds of the target’s classification as a ‘terrorist’ who posed a potential future threat,” Ms. Callamard said in her report.

“If you have a few more countries moving in that direction, the real risks of global conflagration are becoming very high,” she told reporters in Geneva. “There are no red lines.”

Ms. Callamard presented her findings on the killing of General Suleimani as a case study illustrating the wider dangers posed by what she called the “extremely scary” unregulated growth in the use of armed drones and the dramatic escalation of their capabilities.

The armed forces of at least 102 countries now operated drones, she said, along with at least 20 nonstate actors, including the Islamic State and the Libyan militia led by General Khalifa Hifter. Around 40 states possessed or were procuring armed drones, and at least 11 countries had used drones for military strikes, including targeted killings.

Ms. Callamard also attacked the notion that armed drones enabled precise, surgical strikes as “a myth,” citing the heavy civilian casualties inflicted in the course of drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, often as a result of faulty intelligence.

Ms. Callamard said that analysis of classified data on American drone strikes in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011 found they were ten times more likely to cause civilian casualties than conventional air attacks. Data from Pakistan in 2015 indicated that missed strikes on 24 individuals had killed more than 870 other people.

Pranshu Verma contributed reporting from Washington.

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Trump Administration Imposes Sanctions on Chinese Officials Over Human Rights Abuses


The actions on Thursday target a cluster of officials who played a major role in devising and enforcing policies in the country’s western Xinjiang region that have detained hundreds of thousands — some estimates put it at more than a million — members of largely Muslim ethnic minorities in indoctrination camps, while also smothering those groups under a net of surveillance.

Mr. Chen, the most prominent of the four officials, has been the Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang since August 2016. He oversaw a rise in mass detentions of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities. The New York Times reported last year on government documents from the Xinjiang region that described how Mr. Chen, who previously served as an official in Tibet, ordered officials to “round up everyone who should be rounded up.”

“Chen Quanguo is truly one of the worst human rights abusers in the world today, and he cut his repressive teeth in Tibet,” said Matteo Mecacci, president of the International Campaign for Tibet, in response to the announcement Thursday. “By developing a model of intense security and forced assimilation in the Tibet Autonomous Region, then implementing and expanding on that model in Xinjiang, Chen has inflicted untold suffering on millions of Tibetans, Uighurs and other non-Chinese ethnic groups.”

Another sanctioned official, Mr. Zhu, led a Communist Party law-and-order committee in Xinjiang from 2016 until early last year. Mr. Zhu is less well-known than Mr. Chen, but appears to have played an important role in the mass-detention drive, urging officials across the region and helping them cope with the practicalities of rapidly confining hundreds of thousands of people.

In 2017, a directive signed by Mr. Zhu called recent terrorist attacks in Britain “a warning and a lesson for us.” It blamed the British government’s “excessive emphasis on ‘human rights above security,’ and inadequate controls on the propagation of extremism on the internet and in society.”

Mr. Huo and Mr. Wang, the two other officials the Treasury Department placed sanctions on, were senior police officials in Xinjiang who helped to roll out the surveillance programs and technology that have constricted Uighurs and other minorities, tracking their movements, recording their visits to mosques or other sensitive sites and collecting their DNA and other biometric information.

Chinese officials have repeatedly defended the indoctrination camps, which are intended to break down inmates’ devotion to Islam, deter any “separatist” tendencies and turn minorities into loyal supporters of the Communist Party.

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Business

Boxer Abner Mares knocks out Huntington Beach home sale



Abner Mares is walking away a winner in Huntington Beach. The world champion boxer just sold his slick modern home for $2 million, around half a million more than he paid for it five years ago.

Clad in concrete, the contemporary house sits close to the water on man-made Davenport Island. One of about 400 homes on the island, it boasts four bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and a handful of custom finishes across 3,776 square feet.

Palm trees frame the entry, leading into a foyer with a built-in saltwater aquarium. Angled wood ceilings top a great room with walls of glass and a fireplace, and the adjacent kitchen has been remodeled with subway tile.

Two of the four bedrooms are master suites, and both expand to private balconies. The custom entertainer’s backyard features a fountain-fed pool and spa with sea glass tile. An outdoor kitchen and oversize fire pit complete the scene.

A dual citizen of Mexico and the U.S., Mares was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and grew up in Hawaiian Gardens in Los Angeles County. He represented Mexico in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and has held world championships in three weight classes, boasting a career record of 35-3-1.

Maurice Frazier of Wish Sotheby’s International Realty held the listing. Mike Meyers of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices represented the buyer.

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Business

How to get out of your student housing lease amid COVID-19



California colleges are by and large still working out the details of what campus life will like look in the fall, even as they announce whether they’ll be open, closed or — most likely — somewhere in between.

That means some students are making housing decisions based on limited information, including the number of in-person classes they’ll have and how communal bathrooms will work.

If you’re having second thoughts about an apartment or dorm room you signed up for, you may have options.

On campus

Students who aren’t ready to face the potential new normal of dorms — such as deserted common areas and assigned bathroom stalls — can most likely still back out. The key is to check your school’s housing cancellation policy for details. Different campuses within a single university system may handle onsite housing differently. That’s the case for both University of California and California State University.

Several colleges are allowing students to cancel on-campus housing contracts — but they differ on deadlines, refund policies and penalty fees. Cal State Northridge and Cal State Los Angeles offer refunds up to to the start of the fall semester. UCLA’s cutoff for refunds is when the contract’s term begins. USC students must cancel before July 15. UC Irvine recently modified its policy to allow students to cancel before Sept. 1 for a full refund. Cal State Long Beach imposes a fee on cancellations less than 30 days before the contract begins, as well as a service fee of $275 no matter when the contract is canceled.

Many students, however, will face the opposite problem: They will not be able to secure desired housing on campus as universities move to decrease density to promote safety during the pandemic. Several campuses said they are working to offer alternative housing solutions, including consulting with local hotels and private housing owners.

“We want our students back, our students want to come back, but we have to be smart about it,” said Sheri Ledbetter, a spokeswoman for UC Irvine, who described the housing situation as a “tug of war.” UC Irvine is no longer offering incoming freshmen its two-year on-campus housing guarantee.

Off campus

Privately owned off-campus housing is a different animal. These are often regular apartments that involve leases governed by landlord-tenant law, not campus policy. American Campus Communities (ACC), a large national student housing owner and operator, falls under this category, as do housing companies that just happen to lease to a large number of students.

“Unlike universities where housing is provided in connection with academic services and is contingent on a student’s enrollment status and subject to campus restrictions, we cannot simply evict everyone and shut down a housing community,” said Jason Wills, senior vice president of development for ACC. “The lease agreement requires that our communities remain operational, provide essential services to tenants and pay utilities and real estate taxes.”

Students living in an off-campus apartment not affiliated with a university will need to take the same approach as anyone who wants to get out of a residential lease.

Before attempting to break or renegotiate a lease, do these four things:

Check your lease for an attorney fee provision. They’re common in residential leases, and they mean that the tenant is on the hook for the other side’s attorney fees if the matter goes to court and the tenant is ordered by a judge to pay up. Those fees can dwarf the cost of back rent, according to Joseph Tobener, a Bay Area attorney specializing in tenant law. That makes them a major risk factor for tenants and potentially parent co-signers.Check if your lease includes a force majeur clause, also known as an “acts of God” clause. Such clauses nullify contracts when circumstances beyond a party’s control — such as natural disaster, war or a global pandemic — arise that make the obligation impossible and impractical to fulfill. This provision is uncommon in residential leases.Determine if an amendment or change to the lease must be signed by all parties. Most require it. “So it’s not enough to get an email; you really need to get this amendment in writing,” including rent reduction or deferral agreements, Tobener said. Then you — and any roommates — need to decide whether you want to try to get a rent reduction or other arrangement to keep the unit, or whether you want to cancel the lease entirely.

Canceling a lease

Those intent on moving out should give a standard 30-day notice to vacate. The notice “would cut off your damages and trigger the landlord’s duty to mitigate” damages, Tobener said. A duty to mitigate means the landlord is required to re-rent the unit as soon as possible. Tenants can’t be charged for unpaid rent if the unit could have been re-rented and the money reasonably recouped.

Once notice is given, Tobener recommends posting an ad for the room or apartment on Craigslist or a similar platform to find applicants for the landlord. The string of applicants are evidence that the landlord could re-rent the property and mitigate damages, he said.

Another option is using your entire security deposit toward your last month’s rent. Tenants can then give a 60-day notice to vacate and use the unit during that time, Tobener said. Previously, Tobener didn’t recommend this move because it would have likely been met with a three-day notice to vacate the dwelling or face eviction. Now, under a temporary statewide eviction moratorium, tenants in California can’t be evicted. “It’s an aggressive move,” he said, “but it’s the right move so that the landlord can’t steal more than your security deposit.”

Staying put and negotiating

If you want to try to keep the unit, it’s time to put your negotiator’s hat on. Reach out to your landlord and initiate a conversation. According to Tobener, “Your leverage is that the landlord isn’t going to be able to [easily] re-rent and probably doesn’t want to deal with the collections action.”

Consider subleasing, sometimes called subletting. Some jurisdictions, like San Francisco, give tenants the right to make what’s called one-to-one replacements. In an apartment with four roommates where just one wants to move out, for example, the provision allows the remaining roommates to find another tenant to replace the one who’s leaving. Matt Briton, a tenant’s attorney in Los Angeles, said Angelenos don’t have the same right. But even if it’s not written into your local law, you can always talk to your landlord about the possibility of subleasing, Tobener said.

Tenants can also ask landlords for a rent reduction, deferral or waiver. Residents in certain places, like Los Angeles and several Bay Area cities, are eligible for a deferral during the coronavirus emergency.

For students, “the rent reduction would be temporary, until the college is back open till the school is back open,” Tobener said.

Some large student housing owners, like American Campus Communities, allow students affected by COVID-19 to apply for relief.

After having difficulty finding someone to sublet her UC Berkeley-adjacent apartment, student Saya Linney worked out a rent reduction agreement with her landlord for the summer months while she and her roommates are away.

Avoid this

Something to keep in mind: If no one pays the rent for the apartment, the landlord can go after just one person for payment under a legal principle called joint and several liability. “So they can go after the most creditworthy person, the person that has the deepest pockets,” Tobener said. That tenant would then need to seek reimbursement from co-tenants.

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Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times


India recorded nearly 25,000 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, its highest single-day total, as new research showed that the virus transmission rate was up for the first time in months.

Hospitals are overwhelmed and health officials are struggling to respond to the surge in cases. Public health experts said the toll was linked to crowding in major cities. At least two states, Bihar and West Bengal, are reintroducing social distancing measures they had lifted in June.

In addition, an important metric, the country’s virus reproduction rate, has increased to 1.19 in early July, from 1.1 in late June, according to research by the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai. The rate had been steadily falling since March when the country was under lockdown.

Details: India’s outbreak is the world’s third-largest after the United States and Brazil. As of Thursday, India had more than 767,000 confirmed infections and 21,129 deaths, according to a New York Times database.

Police officers found the body of Mayor Park Won-soon in northern Seoul, hours after his daughter reported him missing, the authorities said Friday.

There were no immediate details about his death. His disappearance came a day after a secretary in his office told the police that he had been sexually harassing her since 2017, several news outlets reported.

Mr. Park, 64, had left his daughter a cryptic “will-like” message, according to the Yonhap news agency. He had canceled his official schedule for Thursday and called in sick to City Hall. Hours later, his daughter called the police, and hundreds of officers were sent to search for him.

Context: The mayor of Seoul was considered the most powerful elected official in the country after the president. A prominent human rights attorney who founded the country’s most influential civil rights group, Mr. Park had often been named as a possible candidate to replace President Moon Jae-in.

Related: The suicide of Choi Suk-hyeon, a promising South Korean triathlete who had filed complaints against her coach and teammates for abuse, has led to a national outcry over the mistreatment of South Korean athletes.

Our reporters talked to students whose lives were thrown into disarray after the Trump administration announced that it would strip them of their visas if their classes moved online.

Many universities see the move as a political one, meant to pressure them to reopen. But for the young people caught in the mess, it could be life-changing. Here are some of their accounts.

Confusion: “I still like this country,” said Andy Mao, 21, from Shanghai, who is studying biology at New York University. He had planned to go to graduate school in the U.S. “But if Trump gets re-elected, we will face huge uncertainty.” He has decided to look into universities in Canada and Singapore.

Despair: India cut off internet access to Ifat Gazia’s hometown in Kashmir, and her studies in the U.S. offered safety from a region in turmoil. “I considered myself lucky when I landed,” Ms. Gazia said. “But when this order came this week, I felt only despair.”

Resignation: “If they really don’t want me here — and the administration has made that very clear in a number of ways — maybe I shouldn’t have come,” said Macarena Ramos Gonzalez, a native of Spain who is nearing the end of a Ph.D. program in applied physiology at the University of Delaware.

As the pandemic swept the world, The Times asked 29 authors to write new short stories inspired by the moment. As Rivka Galchen writes: “Reading stories in difficult times is a way to understand those times, and also a way to persevere through them.”

From authors like Leila Slimani, Margaret Atwood and Yiyun Li, here are 29 original short stories to read this weekend.

Thailand: The cabinet approved a draft bill on Wednesday that would give same-sex unions many of the same benefits as those of heterosexual marriages. The bill, which still has to be approved by Parliament, is a major step for a country that is one of the most open places in the region for L.G.B.T.Q. people.

Trump tax records: The Supreme Court has cleared the way for prosecutors in New York to see President Trump’s financial records, a stunning defeat for Mr. Trump. But it will not allow Congress to see them, all but ensuring they won’t be released before the November election.

Snapshot: Above, Cairo under lockdown. The coronavirus brought a much-needed deep cleanse to the city, ridding it of traffic and pollution, our correspondent writes. But without the noise, bustle and grind, was it really Cairo?

What we’re listening to: Behind the Bastards podcast. “I was enthralled by this five-part mini-series on policing, including its roots in slave patrols and its embrace of the Klan,” writes Shaila Dewan, a criminal justice reporter.

Watch: Set in Kashmir, “Widow of Silence” explores a woman’s quest for freedom and agency. Our reviewer calls it “a serenely beautiful tragedy about women and war.”

Do: Designing a garden? All it takes is a few well-placed plants — and some guiding principles.

At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.

Ava DuVernay’s films about Black histories and experiences have come to feel more essential than ever. She spoke with our In Her Words newsletter about the role she sees for artists in a time of unrest in the U.S.

We’re in a moment of upheaval — hundreds of thousands marching, a pandemic, an upcoming U.S. presidential election. What’s the role of storytelling in this moment?

The story has been told from one point of view for too long. And when we say story, I don’t just mean film or television. I mean the stories we embrace as part of the criminalization of Black people. Every time an officer writes a police report about an incident, they’re telling a story. Look at the case of Breonna Taylor and her police report. They had nothing on it; it said she had no injuries. That is a story of those officers saying, “Nothing to look at here, nothing happened.” But that’s not the story that happened because if she could speak for herself, she would say, “I was shot in the dark on a no-knock warrant in my bed.”

This is a moment of grief and rage for so many. How can those emotions be translated into art?

The answer to your question for me personally was the creation of our Law Enforcement Accountability Project — LEAP — which uses art to hold police accountable.

It links to the idea that an artist and an activist are not so far apart. Whether you call yourself an activist or not, artists use their imagination to envision a world that does not exist and make it so. Activists use their imagination to envision a world that does not exist and make it so.

Many people in the United States are just beginning the fight for racial and social justice. You’ve been in this battle a long time. What’s your advice for sustaining the fight long term?

The battle is ongoing whether you keep it going or not. The question is how are you going to react to it? That’s up to everyone to decide for themselves.

But the battle is not by choice. I would rather not do any of it. I’d rather just make my films and go about my day. But if I don’t buy into the fight then I don’t get to make my films.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Melina

Thank youTo Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about why an early scientific report of symptom-free cases went unheeded.• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Part of a constellation (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.• “The 1619 Project” from The Times Magazine will be developed into a portfolio of films, television and other content in partnership with Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate.

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In a Death, Details of More Russian Murder-for-Hire Plots


MOSCOW — Earlier this year, a heavyset man living in Vienna and known as Beck Martin said during a TV interview that he was assisting an investigation of a complicated murder-for-hire plot, in which three people were to be killed in exchange for $2 million.

He described a blood-splattered world of contract killings for revenge and politics, of a type that seems to exist only in moviemakers’ fantasies — and in Russia.

Now, associates of Mr. Martin say his murder over the weekend, which he claimed to know was coming and carried a $5 million reward, lends credence to his account of operating as an informant on a group of assassins from the Russian region of Chechnya.

Ihor Mosiychuk, a former member of Ukraine’s Parliament and one of the three targets of the plot Mr. Martin described, said in an interview that he had met with Mr. Martin and found him credible.

“The materials that he gave to me and the police fully conformed with the events that occurred,” he said.

In the fateful interview, Mr. Martin said he had for years been cooperating with the Ukrainian and Austrian secret services to inform on officials in the Chechen regional government who he said ordered contract murders in Europe and Ukraine. The interview was posted online in February by the Ukrainian television station Svobodny.

Born Mamikhan Umarov in Chechnya and known by a variety of aliases, Mr. Martin told the station that he had fought against Russia in the post-Soviet wars in Chechnya and received a new identity as an asylum seeker in Austria more than a decade ago.

Ukraine’s national police and the country’s domestic intelligence agency, the S.B.U., declined to comment on the killing of Mr. Martin, as did the authorities in Austria, who have said they arrested two ethnic Chechens in connection with the shooting on July 4 outside Vienna.

In a statement posted online Thursday, the iron-fisted and Kremlin-allied Chechen leader, Ramzan A. Kadyrov, denied any role in the killing and blamed unspecified Western security services. “The sellout mouthpieces receive money for their work and are then killed as supposedly innocent victims,” he wrote.

Organized-crime style contract murders were rampant in Russia’s business circles in the early post-Soviet period. In recent years, however, the rising incidence of contract killings by Russians outside the country is raising alarms.

American intelligence agencies are investigating whether Russia has paid bounties to the Taliban or criminal groups for attacks on American soldiers in Afghanistan. Speaking anonymously, intelligence officials have said $500,000 in cash was found at the house in Kabul of a possible intermediary, who was thought to have fled to Russia to avoid arrest.

In 2006, Russia legalized the targeted killing of “terrorist” suspects abroad under authorizations that Russian officials like to compare to the legal justifications for American drone strikes. Russia has never publicly acknowledged using the authority granted under the law.

While Ukrainian officials have for years accused Russia of conducting strikes against military officers and members of paramilitary groups active in the war in eastern Ukraine, there is no direct evidence tying the Kremlin to these schemes.

In his February interview, Mr. Martin identified the three targets of the plot as a commander, a deputy commander and a sniper in Ukrainian paramilitary groups fighting Russian-backed rebels. Two of them were Chechens, and therefore considered turncoats, and the third, Mr. Mosiychuk, had insulted the Chechen leader, Mr. Kadyrov, in a video posted online.

Mr. Martin said he learned of the affair because an official of the Chechen regional government, unaware that Mr. Martin was an informant, had asked him to act as a middleman in arranging the killings, and that he had recorded the conversations.

Svobodny published several of the recordings, in which there is some haggling over the price. At one point, a man speaking in Chechen with Mr. Martin says of the three targets in Ukraine, “If they get worked over, it would be very good.”

Elements of the story are unclear, including why the intended victims were not warned in advance. But one thing is certain: All three people were targeted.

Under the guise of a foreign correspondent for the French newspaper Le Monde, one assassin, identified as Artur Denisultanov-Kurmakayev, arranged to interview two of them: the commander of the Dzhokhar Dudayev paramilitary group, Adam Osmayev, and his wife, Amina Okuyeva, who was a sniper.

In that attempt in Kyiv in June 2017, Mr. Osmayev was wounded before Ms. Okuyeva shot and wounded the fake journalist. Mr. Denisultanov-Kurmakayev was detained but traded to Russia last year by President Volodymyr Zelensky for captured Ukrainian spies.

Mr. Denisultanov-Kurmakayev had also asked for an interview with Mr. Mosiychuk, who was deputy commander of the nationalist Azov paramilitary group as well as a Member of Parliament. But he had brushed off the request by suggesting the reporter speak to his press secretary instead.

That October, the attacks resumed. An assailant with a machine gun hiding in the bushes near a railway crossing outside of Kyiv sprayed the car of Mr. Osmayev and Ms. Okuyeva, killing Ms. Okuyeva.

Also that month, a remote-controlled bomb attached to a parked motorcycle on a Kyiv street exploded near Mr. Mosiychuk, wounding him and killing a bodyguard and a bystander.

In the TV interview, Mr. Martin said he had helped the Ukrainian authorities identify a courier delivering payments from Chechnya to Europe for contract murders, a lead that could shed light on a string of murders in the Chechen diaspora in Europe.

Last August, an assassin riding a bicycle and armed with a silenced pistol shot and killed a former rebel commander, Zelimkhan Khangushvili, in the Kleiner Tiergarten park in Berlin. Police arrested the killer after he threw his gun and a wig in a river. German officials said they suspected Russia was behind the killing, which Moscow denied, and expelled two Russian diplomats in retaliation.

In January, a Chechen exile and critic of Mr. Kadyrov, Imran Aliyev, was stabbed 130 times and died in his hotel room in Lille, France. Prosecutors say a suspect escaped to Russia.

A few weeks later, a Chechen blogger, Tumso Abdurakhmanov, who is critical of Mr. Kadyrov, said he had fought off and subdued an assailant with a hammer who had sneaked into his home in Gavle, Sweden. Mr. Abdurakhmanov made and posted a video showing him questioning the man immediately after the fight, demanding to know who had sent him.

The man and a woman, both Russian, were arrested in connection with the attack.

Why Mr. Martin decided to go public with his tale, when the consequences seemed so lethal, is not entirely clear. Mr. Mosiychuk said Mr. Martin was motivated by a blood feud with the Chechen leader, Mr. Kadyrov, whom he blamed for the death of his brother.

“All Chechens who went through the war live in a terrifying world,” he said. “It’s a complicated situation.”

Mr. Martin said in the interview that his relations with Ukraine’s police were fraying, suggesting he could no longer count on their support. It is also conceivable that, if Mr. Martin knew he was being stalked, as he claimed, he might have thought that the glare of publicity was his best defense.

Asked if the price on his own life seemed high or reasonable, Mr. Mosiychuk said it seemed high but, “How should I know? I don’t order killings.”

Maria Varenikova contributed reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine.

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Business

JetBlue to leave Long Beach Airport, move operations to LAX



JetBlue Airways, once the dominant airline at the Long Beach Airport, announced plans to relocate its Southern California hub to Los Angeles International Airport, with an eye to expand service over the next five years.

The New York-based airline plans to begin the relocation to LAX in October. JetBlue’s last day of operation in Long Beach will be Oct. 6.

JetBlue put part of the blame for the move on the coronavirus pandemic, saying the financial hit caused by the pandemic has made the airline reconsider its future in Long Beach.

“The impact of COVID-19 on our industry has forced us to take a hard look at our remaining Long Beach Airport operation, which continues to financially underperform our network despite various efforts through the years — including seeking to bring international flights — in order to make our operation at the airport succeed,” said JetBlue spokesman Philip Stewart, referring to a decision by Long Beach lawmakers in 2017 to kill a proposal to allow for international flights.

In the past few years, the relationship between JetBlue and Long Beach has been rocky.

About a year ago, Long Beach Airport forced JetBlue to give up nearly a third of its gate slots after being warned that it was in danger of violating new city regulations designed to prevent airlines from sitting on under-used slots to keep competitors out.

Several of its competitors, including Southwest Airlines, picked up most of the slots JetBlue gave up.

In addition, JetBlue had proposed adding international flights from Long Beach to Mexico and other Latin American destinations but the idea was rejected by local lawmakers and residents who feared the addition of international flights would lead to more traffic, air pollution, a drop in property values and pressure to lift the city’s restrictive noise limits.

In addition to consolidating its transcontinental flights to LAX, JetBlue says it plans to embark on an expansion to about 70 flights per day by 2025, including international flights. JetBlue now flies about 20 daily takeoffs from LAX.

“While we recognize it is bittersweet to say farewell to a community that’s been part of our company’s story from our earliest days, this move is the right one for JetBlue and our future as we think about our next decade of growth,” Stewart said.

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Business

Former NBA coach David Fizdale finds a new home court in Calabasas



Basketball coach David Fizdale, who recently spent stints with the Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks, is putting down roots in Southern California. The L.A. native just bought a Mediterranean-style home in Calabasas for $2.25 million.

That’s about half a million shy of the original asking price, records show.

Recently remodeled, the two-story house sits on a third of an acre in guard-gated Mountain View Estates. A clean white exterior and clay tile roof give the façade a Mediterranean feel, and inside, updated living spaces feature sleek shades of black, white and gray.

Wrought iron touches up the double-door entry and staircase, and farther in, the family room adds a custom fireplace and wet bar. Other highlights include a center-island kitchen and living room under coffered ceilings.

In about 6,200 square feet are six bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. Outdoors, a column-lined patio expands to a fenced backyard with a grassy lawn, swimming pool and spa

Fizdale, 46, attended the University of San Diego and eventually became an assistant coach of the school’s basketball team before landing NBA assistant roles with the Warriors, Hawks and Heat, with whom he won a pair of championships in 2012 and 2013. In 2018, he signed a four-year deal to become head coach of the Knicks but was fired midway through his second season.

A few different NBA players and coaches have landed in Calabasas in recent years. Mark Jackson put his home in Mountain View Estates on the market for $4.75 million in 2019, and earlier this year, former No. 1 overall pick Kenyon Martin listed his Tuscan-style spot for $3.599 million. In 2018, Chris Paul sold his mansion with a basketball court for $11.05 million.

Shore Behdin of Gold Star Realty Encino held the listing. Mark Goldsmith of Coldwell Banker Realty represented the buyer.

Categories
World

Afghan War Casualty Report: July 2020


The following report compiles all significant security incidents confirmed by New York Times reporters throughout Afghanistan for the month. It is necessarily incomplete as many local officials refuse to confirm casualty information. The report includes government claims of insurgent casualty figures, but in most cases, these cannot be independently verified by The Times. Similarly, the reports do not include Taliban claims for their attacks on the government unless they can be verified. Both sides routinely inflate casualty totals for their opponents.

At least 47 pro-government forces and 17 civilians were killed in Afghanistan during the past week. The deadliest attack took place in Zabul Province, where the Taliban attacked a military convoy that had been heading toward Shinky District with a roadside bomb before both sides opened fire, killing seven police officers. Days later, in Paktika Province, unknown gunmen entered a house in the Khwaza Khail area of Sharana, the provincial capital, killing six members of a family, including a young girl. It remains unclear if the attack was carried out by insurgents or motivated by personal enmity for the family.

[Read the Afghan War Casualty Report from previous weeks.]

July 9 Baghlan Province: four soldiers killed

The Taliban struck a Humvee of security forces with a rocket, killing four soldiers, in the Chashma-e-Shir area Pul-i-Kumri, the provincial capital, where checkpoints have been set up in order to push insurgents out of the area.

July 9 Herat Province: one civilian killed

An employee of Torghundi Port, located on the border with Turkmenistan, was killed by the Taliban in the village of Chehl Dokhtaran in Kushk-e- Robatsangi District, while three other civilians were kidnapped. The employees were traveling from Herat City to the port via private vehicle.

July 8 Baghlan Province: six civilians killed

Security forces fired mortars at the Taliban, but a mortar shell hit a house in the Chashma-e-Shir area of Pul-i-Kumri, killing six civilians, including women and children, and wounding another.

July 8 Balkh Province: one soldier killed

The Taliban ambushed a military convoy in the Alam Khil area of Balkh District, killing one soldier and wounding four others.

July 8 Ghazni Province: three police officers killed

The Taliban attacked a security outpost in Deh Yak District. When the district police chief was trying to reach the area for backup, his vehicle hit a roadside bomb, killing him and two other officers.

July 8 Kandahar Province: three police officers killed

The Taliban tried to target the district police headquarters of Shawalikot District with a large truck laden with explosives, but the truck was targeted by security forces. Three police officers were killed and 14 others were wounded in the explosion, while the police headquarters were damaged.

July 8 Wardak Province: one security force killed

The Taliban fired several mortar shells on the district governor’s office in Nerkh District, killing one police special force member.

July 8 Badghis Province: two civilians killed

A roadside bomb placed by the Taliban hit a group of children in the village of Gandah Ab in Ab Kamari District, killing two children.

July 8 Kandahar Province: two police officers killed

Two police officers were shot and killed by the Taliban in the Nakhoni area of Panjwai District. The attackers managed to escape from the area.

July 8 Kandahar Province: one security force killed

A member of the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, was shot and killed in the 10th Police District of Kandahar City, the provincial capital.

July 8 Kandahar Province: two police officers and one civilian killed

Unknown gunmen opened fire on police officers who were on duty in the Fourth Police District of Kandahar City, killing two police officers and one civilian. Police officers in the area engaged with the attackers, killing them both.

July 7 Paktika Province: six civilians killed

Unknown gunmen entered a house in the Khwaza Khail area of Sharana, the provincial capital, killing six members of a family, including a young girl. The motive for the attack was unclear.

July 7 Kandahar Province: one police officer and one civilian killed

Unknown gunmen shot and killed a police officer and a municipality in Kandahar City before escaping from the area.

July 7 Paktia Province: one soldier killed

A vehicle carrying Afghan soldiers hit a roadside bomb in the Karkin Khwla area of Ahmad Khail District, killing one soldier and wounding two others.

July 7 Nangarhar Province: five police officers killed

A car bomb targeted a convoy of local police forces in the main roundabout of Koz Kunar District, killing five police officers, including a local police team leader. Two other officers were wounded, as were nine civilians.

July 6 Herat Province: one soldier killed

A soldier was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in the bazaar of Shindand District, where he was standing near his outpost. The attackers managed to escape from the area.

July 6 Zabul Province: four police officers killed

Four police officers were killed in an insider attack in Sharisfa District carried out by two Taliban infiltrators who later joined the insurgency after killing their colleagues.

July 6 Faryab Province: one soldier killed

The Taliban attacked a military base in the Bala-Hisar area of Andkhoi District, killing one soldier. The attackers seized the soldier’s rifle before escaping.

July 5 Baghlan Province: two police officers killed

A Taliban fighter shot and killed two local police officers in Baghlan-e-Markazi District before escaping from the area.

July 5 Nangarhar Province: one soldier killed

Afghan soldiers were trying to defuze a roadside bomb placed by the Taliban in the Fateh Abad Area of Surkhrood District when the bomb detonated, killing one soldier.

July 5 Zabul Province: seven police officers killed

The Taliban attacked a military convoy that had been heading toward Shinky District with a roadside bomb before both sides opened fire, killing seven police officers.

July 4 Kapisa Province: one security force killed

A member of the National Directorate of Security was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in the Dangarkhil village of Mahmod Raqi, the provincial capital. The attackers managed to escape from the area.

July 4 Herat Province: three police officers killed

Three police officers were killed and three others were wounded when their Humvee hit a roadside bomb in the village of Ahmad Abad in Kohsan District.

July 3 Baghlan Province: two police officers killed

A police vehicle hit a roadside bomb planted by the Taliban in the Kotal-e-Hafiz Bacha area of Nahrin District, killing two police officers and wounding three others.

July 3 Paktia Province: one police officer killed

The Taliban attacked the district headquarters of Mirzaka District, killing one police officer.

Reporting was contributed by the following New York Times reporters: Najim Rahim from Kabul, Taimoor Shah from Kandahar, Zabihullah Ghazi from Jalalabad, Asadullah Timoory from Herat and Farooq Jan Mangal from Khost.

Categories
Business

Miley Cyrus buys Hidden Hills home in off-market deal



Singer-actress Miley Cyrus has purchased a Hidden Hills home for a little over $4.95 million in an off-market transaction.

The “Wrecking Ball” singer used a trust to facilitate the deal, which closed in late June, according to real estate records. The seller was Steven Baio, the brother of actor Scott Baio.

The Traditional-style house was built in 1957, but was recently renovated and expanded. Wide-plank wood floors, vaulted ceilings and a new-look kitchen are among the features of note. A snazzy wet bar near the entry is decked out in Mercury glass.

The 1.18-acre estate in Hidden Hills has a sunken dining area, a lagoon-style swimming pool and a fenced pasture.

(NearMap)

A home theater with a snack bar, formal living and dining rooms, a family room, six bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms also lie within about 6,000 square feet of living space.

Outdoors on the 1.18-acre site are a sunken dining area, a barbecue pavilion and a lagoon-style swimming pool. A white-picket fence encloses a grassy hillside to the rear.

The property was most recently listed last summer at $5.099 million. Multiple Listing Service records indicate it was leased out last fall at $39,000 a month.

Cyrus has a history with the area, having sold another home in the guard-gated equestrian community two years ago for $5 million, The Times previously reported.

The daughter of musician Billy Ray Cyrus, Cyrus gained fame at an early age as the child star of Disney’s “Hannah Montana.” As a singer, the 27-year-old has released six studio albums, most recently “Younger Now” in 2017. Her seventh album, “She is Miley Cyrus,” is expected to be released later this year.