Your Tuesday Briefing: Pope Apologizes to Canada’s Indigenous People

We’re covering Pope Francis’ apology for the church’s role in ​Canada’s notorious residential school system, and China’s new diplomatic strategy in Africa.

Pope Francis at a ceremony on Monday in Maskwacis, Alberta.Credit…Ian Willms for The New York Times

Pope apologizes for ‘evil’ inflicted on Indigenous people

Pope Francis offered a sweeping apology for the Catholic Church’s role in running boarding schools in Canada where Indigenous children were sexually and physically abused and where many died.

“I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples,” Francis said at the site of a former residential school in Maskwacis, Alberta, a place of horrors for the children forced to attend it between 1894 and 1976.

Survivors had long called on the church to take responsibility for its role in the abusive institutions. For some, Francis’ apology was a chance to let go of their pain, while others said a lot more still needed to be done.

Background: From the 1880s through the 1990s, the Canadian government forcibly removed at least 150,000 ​Indigenous children from their homes and sent ​them t​o residential schools to assimilate them.

The schools inflicted physical, sexual and mental abuse; erased languages; and used Christianity as a weapon to break the cultures and communities of Indigenous people. Christian churches operated most of the schools for the government. Catholic orders were responsible for running 60 to 70 percent of the roughly 130 schools, where thousands of children died.

Related: The U.S. also continues to wrestle with the legacy of its government-run schools for Native American children.An Interior Department investigation released this year cataloged brutal conditions at more than 400 boarding schools that the federal government forced Native children to attend between 1819 and 1969.

U Kyaw Min Yu, center, better known as Ko Jimmy, after his release from detention in 2012. He was executed Saturday.Credit…Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

Myanmar executes four activists

Myanmar’s military leadership said it had executed four pro-democracy activists, an apparent attempt to instill fear in a resistance movement that has battled the junta since it seized power in a coup last year.

The executions — the first in the Southeast Asian nation in more than three decades — came after the activists were sentenced to death during closed-door trials without attorneys present. Western leaders have sought to persuade the military to free its political prisoners and halt its violence.

Myanmar opposition leaders, human rights groups and the U.N. condemned the executions harshly. “These depraved acts must be a turning point for the international community,” Thomas Andrews, the U.N special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said.

Who they were: The four men who were executed had a history of opposing Myanmar’s vicious army, known as the Tatmadaw. They included U Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Ko Jimmy, a widely respected democracy activist who rose to prominence as a leader of a student group during nationwide protests in 1988, and U Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former hip-hop artist who was elected to Parliament after spending five years in prison for his activism.

China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, spoke by video to a China-Africa forum in November. Credit…Seyllou/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

China extends its reach in Africa

As relations with the U.S. and Europe plummet, China is doubling down on its diplomatic efforts across Africa, where it is financing projects and encouraging governments to replicate its authoritarian model.

China already dominates trade with resource-rich nations in Africa. Its first overseas naval base is in Djibouti. Now it is more closely integrating financial and diplomatic efforts, offering to mediate in civil conflicts that are causing devastating famine — and, most significantly, signaling a new strategy to resolve billions of dollars in overdue Chinese loans.

In addition, China, which has long promoted its one-party government style in Africa, opened a new training school in Tanzania. The International Liaison Department, the powerful body that promotes China’s ideology and influence, started the school.

Global politics: The campaign is part of a great geopolitical competition between Beijing and Washington, which has intensified since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Data: Trade between China and Africa topped $250 billion in 2021, compared with $64.33 billion between the U.S. and Africa.


The War in Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers in a village retaken by Ukrainian forces near Mykolaiv.Credit…Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times
  • Ukrainian forces are gathering near the economically vital port city of Kherson, preparing for a counteroffensive.

  • Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, said it would further reduce the amount of natural gas it sent to Germany.

  • Russia is using more than a dozen so-called filtration centers to detain and deport thousands of Ukrainians, according to a U.S. intelligence assessment.

  • Prices in Ukraine have jumped more than 21 percent from a year ago as Russian attacks on critical infrastructure and occupation of major industrial and agricultural regions sow chaos.

Around the World

Peatlands in Équateur Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.Credit…Nanna Heitmann for The New York Times
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo is auctioning off land in a push for oil investments, part of a global shift as the world retreats on addressing climate change.

  • Tunisians voted Monday in a referendum on a new constitution that would greatly expand the powers of their president and dilute those of Parliament and the judiciary.

  • At least 17 Haitians, including a child, died after their boat capsized off the Bahamas on its way to Florida.

  • Both candidates to become Britain’s prime minister have tried to adopt the style of Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, whose right-wing policies remain popular among Conservative voters.

  • Britain will host Eurovision 2023 in place of this year’s winner, war-torn Ukraine.

A Morning Read

Connie Wong, 35, a former flight attendant, went to work for Forget Thee Not, a Hong Kong nonprofit, as a life celebrant.Credit…Louise Delmotte for The New York Times

A flight attendant became a funeral planner. A security guard became a Covid cleaner. The pandemic upended careers in Hong Kong and around the world, forcing or inspiring people to make radical changes.


A different path to homeownership

A number of Southern California residents are moving to Tijuana, Mexico, which some see as their best chance of homeownership.

Stories of migrants who cross from Mexico to the U.S. in search of a better life are well known. But for the past decade, a reverse migration has quietly been gaining steam: Americans, priced out of the housing market and frustrated with sky-high costs of health care, electricity and basic goods, are increasingly opting to rent or buy homes in Mexico.

Consumer prices, including rent, are 62 percent lower in Tijuana than in San Diego, according to the cost-of-living database Numbeo. In Tijuana, about $2,500 a month provides a standard of living that in San Diego would cost $6,600.

The pandemic, which unmoored millions from the commute to a physical office, has accelerated this trend, as has the Sentri pass, which allows approved, low-risk travelers a fast lane into the U.S. at the Mexican border.


What to Cook

Credit…Bryan Gardner for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Grated onions keep these easy turkey burgers from drying out on the grill.

At Home

Conversation pits — cushioned, built-in seating constructed below floor level — are having a resurgence.

What to Read

Here are six new paperbacks that Times editors recommend.

Now Time to Play

Play today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: “French school” (five letters).

Here are today’s Wordle and Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

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

Note: Because of an error, Monday’s Asia Pacific briefing did not send. You can read it here.

P.S. Jordyn Holman is joining The Times as a reporter covering consumers and retailers.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about the downfall of a cryptocurrency company.

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

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