Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times

The Pentagon is preparing for an evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Sudan. It would not be easy to get embassy staff out, some U.S. officials acknowledged, let alone the estimated 19,000 American citizens believed to be in Sudan.

The U.S. is moving more troops to Djibouti, where it has a base. The moves came as fighting intensified yesterday in Sudan; a bombardment by warplanes in the center of Khartoum, the capital, was one of the most fearsome assaults yet.

But Sudan’s airspace is closed. The international airport in Khartoum has been the target of heavy shelling, leaving destroyed planes littering the tarmac. A State Department spokesman said that, because of fighting there, an evacuation is not currently safe.

Details: The death toll rose to 330, with nearly 3,200 others wounded, according to the W.H.O. The clashes between two generals have upended a transition to a civilian-led democracy.

What’s next: António Guterres, the U.N. secretary general, called for a three-day cease-fire to commemorate the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, but past cease-fires have not held.

The E.U. is considering a temporary ban on Ukrainian food exports to five member states. The unusual move is an effort to quell rising discord and maintain unity against Russia.

Some of the countries, including Poland and Hungary, have taken unilateral measures to block Ukraine’s farm products. Some said the glut of imports had hurt their own farmers.

The prohibitions come at the same time that Russia is threatening to back out of a deal brokered by the U.N. and Turkey to allow grain shipments to leave Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. That deal is set to expire on May 18, although talks about an extension are continuing.

Explanation: After Russia blocked sea shipments, the E.U. suspended tariffs and quotas on Ukrainian food and rerouted exports by rail and truck through neighboring countries. Some reached local markets and pushed prices down.

Other updates:

  • In Kyiv, Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, said Ukraine’s “rightful place” was in the alliance.

The most powerful rocket ever built exploded soon after liftoff. But the launch taught SpaceX important lessons as it looks to the future.

The Starship rocket had no people aboard. Four minutes after launching, it exploded in a fireball. The blast was a setback for the private spaceflight company and its founder, Elon Musk, but offered reams of data.

Looking ahead, NASA is relying on SpaceX to build a version of Starship to carry two astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface of the moon, optimistically set for late 2025. A former NASA official called the launch a “learning experience.”

Museums across Europe and the U.S. are honoring the 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death. His hometown — Málaga, a port city in Spain — is one of the best places to learn about the artist before he became a household name.

The ‘other club’ at the heart of English soccer’s greatest tragedy: A new era of solidarity with Liverpool could now be underway for Nottingham Forest.

U.S. and Mexico bidding to host 2027 Women’s World Cup: The United States and Mexico will jointly bid for the 2027 event. Here’s what you need to know.

England captain is injured as World Cup nears: Leah Williamson limped off in Arsenal Women’s Super League loss to Manchester United. The Women’s World Cup starts in three months.

From The Times: A muscle injury might prevent Rafael Nadal from competing for a 15th French Open singles title.

For insight (and advice), Lynsey Chutel, who contributes to this newsletter from Johannesburg, spoke with Lerato Mogoatlhe, a South African traveler and author of the memoir “Vagabond: Wandering Through Africa on Faith.”

What’s it like traveling in Africa as an African?

In moments when it all works well, I’m instantly connected to places and people, and it makes every place feel like a homecoming. I articulate it as “Africaaaah” to express bliss and satisfaction. I am obsessed with my home continent, our music, culture, destinations, heritage, art, fashion, our diversity and landscapes.

Then there’s “Africaaarg,” for my frustrations. Public transport that rarely leaves on time, and there are cultural differences about gender. One man thought I was a spy and could not believe that I was paying for myself and really just traveling.

Getting visas for many countries is also a problem. Visas force Africans to pay to experience the continent, while people with Western passports just breeze through immigration. A Nigerian coming to South Africa, for example, has a completely different experience to a German traveler.

What are some of the African destinations that most surprised you?

Ilha de Mozambique, along Africa’s southeast coast, is not as well known as Zanzibar or Lamu. Here the quintessential characteristics of the Swahili coast meet Mozambique’s food and vibrant social life.

Siwa Oasis, Egypt, feels like a connection to an ancient time, with added adventure — like floating in the salt lakes and visiting the Mountain of the Dead.

São Tomé & Príncipe. It’s the most beautiful place I have visited. It’s also the safest. It’s small, and if you spend seven days here, you’ll experience all its highlights.

Any other advice?

My top tip for traveling in Africa: Slow down and immerse yourself. Don’t rush through experiences, ticking off a bucket list or replicating influencer content. Talk to people you meet, and ask cabdrivers and hotel staff for their recommended experiences.

That’s it for today’s briefing. I hope you have a lovely weekend! — Amelia

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