Your Tuesday Briefing: Kenya’s Next President?

Good morning. We’re covering uncertain election results in Kenya and a possible prisoner swap between Russia and the U.S.

Supporters of William Ruto celebrated yesterday, despite uncertainty.Credit…Simon Maina/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A new Kenyan president?

Kenya’s vice president, William Ruto, won the country’s presidential election, the head of the electoral commission said yesterday. The result came days after a cliffhanger vote.

Ruto gained 50.5 percent of the vote, narrowly defeating Raila Odinga, a former prime minister, said a top official. That percentage is enough to avert a runoff vote, but a majority of election commissioners refused to verify the results. Here are live updates.

An official, speaking on behalf of four of the seven electors, said the panel could not take ownership of the results because of the “opaque nature” of the election’s handling. Kenyan law allows for an election result to be challenged within one week — a prospect that many observers viewed as a near certainty.

Profile: Ruto, who grew up poor and became a wealthy businessman, appealed to “hustlers” — underemployed youth striving to better themselves.

Analysis: Kenya is East Africa’s biggest economy and is pivotal to trade and regional stability. The vote is being closely scrutinized as a key test for democracy in the country, which has a history of troubled elections. Rising prices, corruption and drought were top issues for voters.

“He is very thin in the photo,” Darya Shepets, 19, said of her detained brother, pictured.Credit…Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Ukrainians share detention stories

Hundreds of Ukrainian civilians, mainly men, have gone missing in the five months of the war in Ukraine.

They have been detained by Russian troops or their proxies and held with little food in basements, police stations and filtration camps in Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine. Many said they had suffered beatings and sometimes electrical shocks, though Russia has denied torturing or killing Ukrainian civilians. The U.N. says hundreds have disappeared into Russian jails.

One 37-year-old auto mechanic, Vasiliy, was seized by Russian soldiers when he was walking in his home village with his wife and a neighbor. That was the beginning of six weeks of “hell,” he said.

What to Know About the Brittney Griner Case

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What to Know About the Brittney Griner Case

What happened? In February, Russian authorities detained Brittney Griner, an American basketball player, on drug charges, after she was stopped at an airport near Moscow. Since then, her detention has been repeatedly extended. Ms. Griner’s trial began on July 1; she pleaded guilty. On Aug. 4, she was found guilty and sentenced to nine years in a penal colony.

What to Know About the Brittney Griner Case

Why was she detained? Officials in Russia said they detained Ms. Griner, who was in the country playing for an international team during the W.N.B.A. off-season, after finding vape cartridges that contained hashish oil in her luggage; a criminal case carrying a sentence of up to 10 years was later opened against her. Ms. Griner’s lawyers have argued that the star had a medical prescription for the hashish oil and mistakenly carried the drug into Russia.

What to Know About the Brittney Griner Case

How is the U.S. approaching the situation? U.S. officials have said that Ms. Griner was “wrongfully detained,” adding that they were working aggressively to bring her home. Two days after Ms. Griner sent a handwritten letter to President Biden asking him not to forget about her, Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Cherelle Griner, the W.N.B.A. star’s wife, who had questioned whether the Biden administration is doing enough.

What to Know About the Brittney Griner Case

What are the possible outcomes? Experts say that her best hope for release is a prisoner swap with a Russian citizen being held by the United States, and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has stated that the United States had put forward a proposal to that effect in talks with Russia. On Aug. 5, top diplomats of the two nations said that their governments were ready to negotiate for the release of both the basketball star and Paul N. Whelan, who is also imprisoned by Russia.

Shunted from one place of detention to another, he was beaten and repeatedly subjected to electrical shocks under interrogation, with little understanding of where he was or why he was being held. “It was shaming, maddening, but I came out alive,” he said. “It could have been worse. Some people were shot.”

Prisoners: Brittney Griner, the U.S. basketball star, appealed her conviction. A senior Russian diplomat spoke of a possible prisoner swap.

Fighting: Russia has been firing shells from near a nuclear plant in an effort to thwart a Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kherson. The move has added to fears of a nuclear accident and has blunted Ukraine’s progress. Here are live updates.

Economy: Ukrainian factories are moving west, away from Russian bombs, causing a land rush.

Aung San Suu Kyi was forced from power and placed under house arrest in February 2021, after the military took control. Credit…Aung Shine Oo/Associated Press

Aung San Suu Kyi faces 17 years

A military-appointed court in Myanmar convicted Aung San Suu Kyi on new corruption charges yesterday.

The verdict adds six years to the ousted civilian leader’s imprisonment — she is already serving 11 years on half a dozen counts — for a total of 17 years. Still ahead are trials on nine more charges with a potential maximum sentence of 122 years. At 77, the Nobel Peace laureate and onetime democracy icon has spent 17 of the past 33 years in detention, mainly under house arrest.

Yesterday’s charges centered on land and construction deals related to an organization she ran until her arrest. Defenders say they are trumped up to silence her. In recent weeks, a Japanese journalist and two well-known models have also been detained.

Conditions: Aung San Suu Kyi is kept by herself in a cell measuring about 200 square feet (about 18 square meters). Daytime temperatures can surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 38 Celsius), but there is no air conditioning.

Context: An estimated 12,000 people are in detention for opposing military rule. Many have been tortured or sentenced in brief trials without lawyers. Last month, the junta hanged four pro-democracy activists. It has promised more executions.



China recently deployed its largest-ever military exercises to intimidate Taiwan and its supporters.Credit…Aly Song/Reuters
  • Beijing announced new drills around Taiwan yesterday after U.S. lawmakers visited. It is also laying out a forceful vision of unification.

  • Oil prices fell to their lowest level in months yesterday, after signs emerged that China’s economy was faltering.

  • As coronavirus fears and restrictions receded, Japan’s economy began to grow again.

  • Bangladesh raised fuel prices more than 50 percent in a week, the BBC reports. Thousands protested.

  • Shoppers tried to escape an Ikea store in Shanghai on Saturday as authorities tried to quarantine them, the BBC reports.

The Pacific

  • Anthony Albanese, Australia’s prime minister, said he would investigate reports that his predecessor, Scott Morrison, secretly held three ministerial roles, the BBC reports.

  • The government of the Solomon Islands is seeking to delay its national elections from May 2023 to the end of December that year, The Guardian reports.

  • Australia found a red panda that had escaped from the Adelaide Zoo, The A.P. reports.

World News

  • Of 41 people who died in a fire at a Coptic Orthodox church in Cairo, 18 were children.

  • Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s former adviser, has been told that he is a target of the criminal investigation in Georgia into election interference.

  • Iran blamed Salman Rushdie for the attack on his life, but denied any involvement. In 1989, Iran’s leader ordered Muslims to kill the author.

  • U.K. regulators approved a Moderna Covid-19 booster, making Britain the first country to authorize a shot that targets both the original virus and the Omicron variant.

  • The last French military units pulled out of Mali yesterday after a major fallout with authorities.

A Morning Read

Credit…Illustration by The New York Times

Worker productivity tools, once common in lower-paying jobs, are spreading to more white-collar roles.

The Plight of Brittney Griner in Russia

The American basketball star has endured months in a Russian prison on charges of smuggling hashish oil into the country.

  • Reaction to Guilty Verdict: Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony, but her supporters say they will continue to fight to get her home.
  • Her Teammates’ Response: For the Phoenix Mercury players, the news of Ms. Griner’s verdict was heartbreaking, and hours later they had a game to play.
  • The Ordeal, in Her Own Words: During her trial, Ms. Griner said she had been tossed into a bewildering legal system with little explanation of what she might do to try to defend herself. 
  • Who Is Viktor Bout?: The man who could be part of a prisoner swap to release Ms. Griner has been accused of supplying arms to Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and rebels in Rwanda.

Companies say the monitoring tools can yield efficiency and accountability. But in interviews with The Times, workers describe being tracked as “demoralizing,” “humiliating” and “toxic.”


A look back at partition

India became independent from Britain 75 years ago yesterday. But trouble was already afoot. Britain had haphazardly left the subcontinent after nearly three centuries of colonial rule and had divided the land into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.

The bloody partition caused one of the biggest migrations in history, as once-mixed communities rushed in opposite directions to new homelands. As many as 20 million people fled communal violence. Up to two million people were killed.

Now, 75 years later, nationalist fervor and mutual suspicion have hardened into rigid divisions. Despite a vast shared heritage, India and Pakistan remain estranged, their guns fixed on each other and diplomatic ties all but nonexistent.

Visual history: Here are historical photos of the schism.

Connection: A YouTube channel based in Pakistan has reunited relatives separated by the partition.


What to Cook

Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Rebecca Jurkevich.

Try this broth-first, vegetarian take on a traditional cassoulet.

What to Watch

Here are five action movies to stream.

World Through a Lens

Stephen Hiltner, a Times journalist, lived in Budapest as a child. He just spent three months relearning Hungary’s defiant capital.

Now Time to Play

Play today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: “Word with four vowels in line, appropriately” (five letters).

Here are today’s Wordle and today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Amelia

P.S. Have you had a frustrating airline experience? “The Daily” wants to know.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about a U.S. tax loophole.

You can reach Amelia and the team at [email protected].

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