Zelensky cleans house in Ukraine’s defense ministry
Ukraine dismissed all six of its deputy defense ministers yesterday, deepening the housecleaning at a ministry that had drawn criticism for corruption in procurement, as the military budget ballooned during the war. The government did not give a reason for the changes.
The move came as Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, headed to the U.S., where he will appeal to Western leaders for further aid for the war. He is scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly in person in New York and to meet with President Biden and members of Congress in Washington later in the week.
In Ukraine’s fight to take back territory seized by Russia, the chain of command for battlefield decisions runs directly from Zelensky to the military’s uniformed general staff, largely bypassing the civilians at the defense ministry. So, the turnover is not expected to have an immediate effect on the course of the war.
In other news from the war: An errant Ukrainian missile, not a Russian attack, appears to have caused the deadly blast at a Ukrainian market earlier this month, a Times investigation found.
U.N. to meet without top leaders
The U.N. General Assembly convenes today, but of the leaders of the five permanent members of the Security Council — the U.S., Russia, China, France and Britain — only President Biden will attend, in a time of growing global division.
This year’s gathering was planned with an eye to growing demands from the nations of the “global south,” an informal group of poorer nations whose crises have fallen by the wayside amid a global focus on the conflict in Ukraine. Discussions have been scheduled on climate change, sovereign debt relief and ways to help struggling countries reach the U.N.’s development goals.
Analysts said that by skipping the annual gathering, world leaders risked weakening the U.N. when the institution was struggling to remain relevant. The U.N.’s agencies are still at the forefront of providing humanitarian aid, but during the war in Ukraine and a series of military coups in Africa, the world body has been marginalized as a negotiator and mediator.
A face of change: Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, Iraq’s prime minister, will address the U.N., hoping to persuade the world that he can finally solve his country’s problems of corruption and instability — and make it a reliable partner for the region.
Trudeau accuses India of a killing on Canadian soil
Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, said yesterday that “agents of the government of India” carried out the fatal shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh community leader in British Columbia, in June.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Trudeau said that he raised the issue directly with Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, at the G20 summit this month. The allegation, which Trudeau said was based on intelligence gathered by the Canadian government, is likely to further strain relations between the two countries. This month, Canada suspended negotiations on a trade deal with India.
Details: The community leader was shot near a Sikh temple. He had called for the creation of an independent Sikh nation that would include parts of India’s Punjab State, and India had declared him a wanted terrorist.
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ARTS AND IDEAS
Is your A.I. conscious?
You know what it’s like to be yourself. You might be able to imagine being your spouse — or a golden retriever. Can ChatGPT, or other artificial intelligence tools, likewise be conscious?
Such an idea — that a robot or a computer could have a subjective experience of the world — has become subject to more serious scrutiny of late. In a new report, a group of philosophers, neuroscientists and computer scientists came up with a list of qualities that might suggest consciousness in a machine, including the ability to be aware of one’s own awareness.