Hello. We cover Russia’s victory in a key eastern city, the devastating heat wave in Japan and the debate in Pakistan over transgender rights.

Ukraine’s military said on Sunday it had withdrawn from the key eastern town of Lysychansk, the last town in Luhansk province still held by Ukraine.

Moscow’s victory means Russian forces control large parts of Donbass, a coal-rich region that has become Russia’s focal point since its defeat around Kyiv in the spring. Ukrainian forces are now strengthening defenses along the border between Lugansk and neighboring Donetsk province, residents said.

After Ukraine withdrew from Lysychansk, explosions hit the center of a Russian town just north of Ukraine, killing four people, officials said. This is the deadliest known episode affecting civilians in Russia since the start of the war. Moscow blamed Ukraine for Belgorod attack; The Ukrainian military had no immediate comment.

Here are the live updates.

And after: Lysychansk provides Russia with a base from which to mount offensives on southwestern cities. Yesterday, the Ukrainian city of Sloviansk suffered its heaviest bombardment. At least six people were killed and more than a dozen were injured, the mayor said.

Japan is experiencing one of its worst heat waves on record. Authorities are urging people to keep their air conditioners running to avoid heat stroke, although this could lead to potential power shortages.

Japan’s aging population is particularly vulnerable to heatstroke and exhaustion, and officials have attributed a number of heat-related deaths.

Hospitalizations are also on the rise: Officials said more than 4,500 people with symptoms of heatstroke and exhaustion have been taken to hospital in ambulances in recent days, more than four times the number of the same period a year ago. Most patients were 65 or older.

Data: In Tokyo on Saturday, temperatures topped 95 degrees Fahrenheit — about 35 degrees Celsius — for the eighth day in a row. The capital has only seen such a streak once since 1875, when record keeping began.

The context: Japan is vulnerable to blackouts in times of high demand because it relies heavily on liquefied natural gas, which is difficult to store and has become more expensive since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.


Four years ago, Pakistan became one of the few countries to protect the rights of transgender people by law. He enacted a law that prohibits discrimination in schools, workplaces and public places, and guarantees the right to choose one’s sex on official documents.

Initially, some came out of the shadows. But recently, the violence has increased. In a series of attacks in March, four transgender people were killed and others were injured in the northwest.

Law enforcement is also inconsistent. The legislation provides for the creation of protection centers, where trans people can access mental health services, legal services and temporary housing. But only one has opened so far, in Islamabad, the capital.

And discrimination remains common. Many people live as they did before 2018, hiding their identities, being rejected by their families, deprived of medical care and congregating in group homes for their safety.

Data: Pakistan has recently recorded an average of about 10 transgender homicides per year, according to the Surveillance of trans murders project. This is more than before the adoption of the law and, in relation to the population, much more than its neighbors.

Kaleem Ullah Khan, “the mango man”, has spent his life grafting 300 types of mangoes onto a mother tree. In doing so, the 82-year-old horticulturist also grafted his own life story into it.

“Sometimes the tree asks me questions – and I sit and think about it,” he said. “It leaves me restless – what does he want? I think about the questions for hours.

This month, the James Webb Space Telescope will start spying on planets that orbit other stars. Astronomers hope the powerful telescope will reveal whether certain atmospheres harbor life.

Identifying an atmosphere in another solar system would be quite remarkable. But there’s even a chance, albeit a tiny one, that one of these atmospheres offers what’s called a biosignature: a signal from life itself.

Since 1995, scientists have discovered more than 5,000 exoplanets. Some are similar to Earth – about the same size, made of rock rather than gas and orbiting in a ‘Goldilocks Zone’ around their star, not so close that they’re cooked but not until frozen.

The relatively small size of these exoplanets has made them extremely difficult to study until now. The James Webb Space Telescope, launched last Christmas, will change that, acting like a magnifying glass – gathering signals as weak as a few photons per second – to allow astronomers to take a closer look at these worlds.