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Your Thursday Briefing: Pakistan, Submerged

The record flooding in Pakistan has flooded large parts of the country. In Dadu district, one of the hardest hit areas in southern Sindh province, more than 300 villages are completely under water. Others are stranded on what are now islands in drowned farmland.

Pakistani officials warn that it could take three to six months for the water to subside. They have urged people to leave isolated villages and warned that they could overwhelm already tense relief efforts, create widespread food insecurity and create a health crisis as diseases spread.

But many people have their reasons for staying. They must protect their surviving livestock and valuables. It is too expensive to rent a boat to move their family and belongings. And the prospect of life in a tent camp is bleak.

The communities face deadly dangers. Malaria, dengue fever and waterborne diseases are widespread. The government has cut off the electricity to prevent electrocution as high-voltage cables dangle dangerously close to the surface. Few have received help. “We have been abandoned,” a 59-year-old cotton farmer told The Times. “We have to survive on our own strength.”

context: The floods are the worst to hit Pakistan in recent history. About 1,500 people have died – nearly half of them are children – and more than 33 million have been displaced.

Zelensky’s visit to the city, just nine miles (about 14.5 kilometers) from the new frontline to the east, came as Ukrainian forces penetrated from the Kharkov region. Ukrainian officials said their next goal was to recapture Lyman, a gateway to Luhansk province. Here are live updates.

Vladimir Putin: The Russian president faces increasing internal criticism over his faltering invasion. The Kremlin has rejected calls for full military mobilization.

refuge: When they withdrew from a city in northeastern Ukraine, the Russian army left food on tables and clothing still hanging from lines. The withdrawal could weaken Russia’s hold on the Donbas region to the east. Ukraine accuses retreating Russian troops of looting.

Other updates:

  • Russia and Saudi Arabia strengthen their partnership as oil-rich kingdom turns away from US

  • Ursula von der Leyen, the top EU official, has outlined plans for continued support to Ukraine in her annual State of the Union address. “The sanctions are there to stay,” she said.

With four decades in public office and a friendly, fatherly image, Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak was once seen as untouchable.

But last month, he began serving a 12-year sentence for siphoning millions of dollars in public money — a notable conviction in Malaysia, where officials have long engaged in rampant theft. His free-paying wife, Rosmah Mansor, was also sentenced to 10 years in prison this month for soliciting and receiving bribes. She was ordered to pay an extraordinary fine of $216 million.

The case may not be over yet. Najib has powerful allies, including the current prime minister, and his party remains popular. Recently, Najib petitioned to be pardoned, allowing him to keep his seat in parliament while his petition is pending.

Background: In 2016, a U.S. Justice Department investigation found that $731 million had been transferred to Najib’s bank accounts of the government investment fund he oversaw, 1 Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB. In total, at least $4.5 billion was lost, much of which has yet to be recovered.

Details: Rosmah is widely seen as a Lady Macbeth who incited her husband to steal government money to fund her international shopping trips. In 2018, agents found $273 million in cash and luxury goods in the couple’s properties, including 14 tiaras.

Jean-Luc Godard, the French-Swiss filmmaker, died on Tuesday of assisted suicide. He was 91.

A radical and prolific director, Godard rebelled against the cinematic conventions of 1950s art films and emerged as a pioneer of the French New Wave. He broke open the tried and tested techniques of professional filmmaking, helping to redefine the canon to include American genre photos, and creating characters who voiced their own passions and opinions with humor and panache.

“It seems impossible to articulate the immensity of his impact on cinema,” writes Manohla Dargis in a review of his work. Godard, she adds, “urged us to come to him, navigate the densities of his thoughts, decipher his epigrams, and learn a new language: his. If we couldn’t or didn’t want to, too bad — for us.”

For more: Here are nine Godard movies to stream, including “Breathless,” his revolutionary feature film debut. (The writer Susan Sontag compared its influence on cinema to the effect the Cubists had on traditional painting.)

Despite recent innovations, texting apps still don’t have an effective way to set boundaries, writes our columnist.