Russia confirms Prigozhin’s death
Russian investigators said yesterday that genetic tests showed that the Wagner private military group chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led a brief mutiny against Moscow’s military leadership, was among the victims of a plane crash last week.
Svetlana Petrenko, a spokeswoman for Russia’s investigative committee, said in a statement that “the identities of all 10 victims have been established” and that “they correspond to the list stated in the flight manifest.”
The announcement put an end to several days of speculation over the fate of the mercenary leader, who was presumed to have died in the plane crash on Wednesday.
U.S. and Western officials believe the crash was the result of an explosion on board, and several have said they think that President Vladimir Putin of Russia may have had Prigozhin killed in retaliation for his mutiny. On Friday, the Kremlin dismissed those suggestions as an “absolute lie.”
In Ukraine, residents are still grappling with the battlefield that Prigozhin left behind. From the moment Wagner forces entered the war in April 2022, they earned a reputation for bloodlust. “He has blood on his hands,” one resident in eastern Ukraine said of Prigozhin. “If there is a god, God will figure out what to do with him.”
Other news from the war:
U.S. Commerce Secretary visits China
Gina Raimondo, the secretary of commerce, arrived in Beijing yesterday to meet with Chinese officials. She is the fourth senior U.S. official to travel to China in less than three months, as the Biden administration seeks to stabilize ties between the world’s two largest economies.
The trip comes as China’s economy appears to be slowing and as a crisis of confidence is gripping the country. Economic tensions between the countries have also increased: The U.S. has bolstered its semiconductor industry while limiting investment in Chinese firms, and Western firms are worried about increased regulation in China.
Outcomes: Both U.S. and Chinese officials have hinted that while many of the large issues probably can’t be resolved in the meetings between Raimondo and her counterparts, there are potential areas of agreement with America’s third-largest export market.
U.S. Marines die in an air crash in Australia
Three U.S. Marine Corps troops died yesterday after a military aircraft crashed near Darwin, Australia, during a routine training exercise. Five others were transported to the Royal Darwin Hospital in serious condition.
The Marines were taking part in Exercise Predators Run, a joint military exercise also involving soldiers from the Philippines, Indonesia and East Timor, according to a statement from the Marine Rotational Force. It is the second fatal accident involving aircraft and joint training between the United States and Australia this year.
Context: The type of aircraft that crashed, the Osprey, is an especially complex aircraft with a troubled history. It has been used by the Marine Corps since the early 1990s, but in 2000, the fleet was grounded after two crashes, including one over North Carolina that killed all four Marines on board.
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Lives lived: Bob Barker, the longtime host of “The Price Is Right,” died at 99.
Thailand’s growing weed industry
Since Thailand decriminalized marijuana last year — a rarity in Asia, where the norm for possession or trafficking is a long prison term or worse — weed shops have multiplied. There are about 12,000 registered dispensaries — by some estimates, more than in the U.S. — and investors have plowed millions of dollars into high-tech indoor cannabis farms.
An obvious draw for investors is that Thailand’s cannabis industry pairs nicely with a prime source of customers: tourists, of whom there were nearly 40 million annually before the pandemic, and who are now starting to return. Growers say that tourists, not locals, are their primary target market — but big foreign investment could drive out small farmers.
Make this cheesy cabbage tteokbokki (stir-fried Korean rice cakes), which leans into a base of butter-fried shallots and a layer of melted cheese.