King Charles has cancer
Less than 18 months into his reign, Britain’s King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer.
The announcement came from Buckingham Palace a week after the 75-year-old sovereign left a London hospital after a procedure to treat an enlarged prostate. The palace did not disclose what type of cancer Charles has, but a palace official said it was not prostate cancer.
Charles will pause public-facing duties for treatment, but he will continue responsibilities like his weekly meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The palace said that Charles “remains wholly positive about his treatment” and that he looked forward to resuming public engagements.
Background: Charles waited longer than any other British monarch to ascend the throne after the seven-decade reign of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, and he was well known to the public when he became king in September 2022. Since then, he has become a confident elder statesman, traveling widely and speaking out on issues like climate change.
Context: Royal family members often reveal little about their health, and palace officials made clear that they would not issue regular updates on the king’s condition.
Blinken seeks to reduce Middle East tensions
Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Saudi Arabia to rally allies around a proposed cease-fire agreement in Gaza and to try to keep U.S. attacks against Iran-backed militias from spiraling into a broader regional war.
Blinken met with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince on the first stop of the trip, his fifth to the Middle East since Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7.
The visit follows U.S.-led airstrikes against the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen as well as dozens of recent U.S. attacks against targets in Iraq and Syria.
Yesterday a drone strike killed six Kurdish fighters at a military base that houses U.S. and allied troops in eastern Syria, according to a Kurdish-led group’s media outlet that blamed an Iran-linked militia.
A U.S. official said that Blinken would tell allies in the region that the Biden administration’s recent strikes should not be interpreted as an escalation of fighting.
Related: Hamas was considering a proposal to stop the fighting in the Gaza Strip and release the remaining hostages there, according to a broadcaster affiliated with the group.
Zelensky hinted at a major government shake-up
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said that an overhaul of the country’s military and civilian leadership was necessary to reinvigorate the war effort against Russia at a time when the conflict is mired in a bloody stalemate.
Zelensky indicated that he would likely go beyond replacing Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s popular top military commander, whose strained relationship with Zelensky has grown increasingly public.
Problems between the military and the civilian government represent the most serious schism in Ukraine’s leadership since the start of the war, and a new mobilization bill that could lead to the drafting of up to 500,000 people has heightened tensions in the country.
Related: The parent company of Yandex, a tech giant often called “Russia’s Google,” agreed to sell all of its Russian assets for about $5 billion, marking one of the largest corporate exits from Russia to date.
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A growing number of therapists are ditching their couches to treat patients outdoors. They say that combining traditional talk therapy with nature and movement can help clients feel more open, find new perspectives and express their feelings.
Some professionals are skeptical of the practice, but studies have shown that immersion in nature can benefit mental health.
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ARTS AND IDEAS
Women triumphed at the Grammys
Women thoroughly dominated the Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift became the first artist to win album of the year, the Grammys’ top prize, four times, besting Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon, each of whom won three. Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, SZA, Lainey Wilson, Karol G and the band boygenius all won awards. The show also featured powerful performances by Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman — two godmothers of modern songwriting who have rarely appeared in public in recent years.
Overall, “the show was particularly joyous, slick and thoughtful,” our critics wrote. The Grammys captured pop music as it actually is — centerless, and subject to change at any moment. We also have an appraisal of Chapman’s performance and thoughts on Jay-Z’s speech, which he used to excoriate the Recording Academy, which awards the Grammys, for mistreating and short-shrifting Black artists.