Stories to Follow
Taliban sends deputy leader to Qatar peace talks with the U.S.: The United States and the Taliban are to sit down for what could be the highest level of negotiations yet in the Qatari capital, Doha, aimed at finding a solution to the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan. Abdul Ghani Baradar, a powerful commander and a co-founder of the movement, landed in the Qatari capital of Doha on Sunday. Abdul Manan Omari — the younger brother of the Taliban’s longtime leader, the late Mullah Omar — was also among the negotiating team that also includes senior militants freed from U.S. custody in exchange for captured U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl in 2014.
Pressure mounts on Venezuela’s President Maduro as US plans ‘concrete steps’: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is facing growing international pressure after his troops repelled foreign aid convoys at the country’s borders, with the United States threatening new sanctions and Brazil urging allies to join a “liberation effort”. Juan Guaido, Venezuela‘s self-declared interim president, urged the international community on Sunday to consider “all measures” to overthrow Maduro after clashes at border crossings left at least three protesters dead and 300 others wounded near the Brazilian border.
Dozens Dead in Nigeria as Election Results Are Delayed: Election Day violence killed at least 39 people across Nigeria, civil society groups reported, and with ballot-counting halted and rumors flying, Nigerians were left waiting on Monday for an announcement of the winner in the presidential contest. Violence affected areas in the country’s restive northeast prior to polling on Saturday. There were explosions on the polling day in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, which has come under repeated attacks by the Boko Haram. Residents of Geidam in neighbouring Yobe state were forced to flee their homes into the bush before polls opened.
Troops on the Move as India and Pakistan Face Off Over Kashmir: The Kashmir Valley, a disputed territory that has led to war between India and Pakistan in the past, is once again bringing the two arch-rivals to the brink. In the past few days, hundreds of Kashmiris have been arrested, accused of fueling the insurgency against Indian rule. India has moved thousands of new troops into the valley, where they have taken up positions in towns, along the highways and in snow-dusted apple orchards. Chances of war, however, are still thankfully low, most analysts say. This is because neither country really wants it. But both India and Pakistan are nuclear armed, and any escalation between them sends jitters around the world.
Happening This Week
The Big Apple Circus | February 27 – March 23
The family-friendly circus returns to Lincoln Center for its 41st season with a show that aim to throw some spotlights on women. New ringmaster Stephanie Monseu presides over a spectacle that includes a trapeze routine by the Flying Tunizianis, a trampoline act created by Andréanne Quintal, and an acrobatic duet, performed by Virginia Tuells and Ihosvanys Perez, in which she does most of the heavy lifting. For tickets and more information, click here.
NYC Orchid Show | February 23 – April 28
The Orchid Show takes place at the New York Botanical Garden (2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx) inside the Enid A. Haupt Observatory. For tickets and more information, click here.
This week’s Monday Briefing was brought to you by Zuha Siddiqui.