Your Tuesday Briefing: A Bombing in Pakistan

A powerful suicide bombing ripped through a mosque in a highly secured part of Peshawar yesterday. It was Pakistan’s worst attack in months: The death toll stands at 59 people, but may rise. At least 157 people were injured. Here is a short video of the aftermath.

The explosion interrupted a period of relative calm in Peshawar, a northern provincial capital. No group immediately claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack, but violence is growing near the Afghan border as the Pakistani Taliban grows more assertive. (The group denied playing a role in the attack yesterday.)

Recent attacks in the northwest have focused on police and military targets. The bombing happened in the heavily guarded “Police Lines” area, which has important government and military buildings. Many officers frequented the mosque.

History: In 2014, Taliban fighters attacked a school in Peshawar, killing almost 150 teachers and students. The massacre — the country’s most shocking event — sent shock waves across the country and turned many against the militants.

Context: It’s been about 11 months since the last terrorist attack in Peshawar. That suicide bombing at a mosque killed more than 60 people. Islamic State’s regional affiliate, Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, took responsibility.

In the latest chapter in the shadow war between Israel and Iran, the Mossad used drones to attack an Iranian military facility in Isfahan on Saturday, senior intelligence officials told The Times. 

Isfahan is a major center of Iranian missile production, research and development. And the attack, against a facility in the center of a city, may have been designed to shake the Iranian leadership. It show the reach of Israeli intelligence regarding key sites, even those hidden in the middle of cities.

The facility’s purpose was unclear, as was how much damage the strike caused. But many of Iran’s Shahab medium-range missiles, which can reach Israel, are made in Isfahan. U.S. officials said they believed this strike was prompted by Israel’s concerns about its own security, not the potential for Iranian missile exports to Russia.

Diplomacy: Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, arrived in Jerusalem yesterday. He is trying to quash the current Israeli-Palestinian violence and navigate relations with Israel’s new right-wing government. He heads to Ramallah today.

Crackdown: Some relatives of Palestinian attackers expressed a mixture of pride and dread in the wake of Friday’s deadly synagogue attack. Israel is preparing to demolish the homes of the attackers, a practice that the U.N. says amounts to collective punishment for individual acts, which is prohibited under international humanitarian law.

The Adani Group, a powerful Indian conglomerate run by Asia’s wealthiest man, is on the offensive against fraud allegations. The criticism has already wiped out about $70 billion of market value from its listed companies. It has also diminished the net worth of Gautam Adani, its founder.

The battle is hurting investor confidence in India. Indian and U.S. investors already knew of the allegations, at least as rumors. Some have been wary of Adani Group companies’ shares, some of which trade at extraordinarily high valuations relative to their earnings.

And the allegations are highlighting Adani’s ties to Narendra Modi, the prime minister. Both men came up in Gujarat. Adani helped Modi reshape his image after the Hindu-Muslim riots of 2002, and his empire has recently won a number of government concessions. But Modi and his government have stayed out of the fight.

Background: Hindenburg Research, a short seller that has made a name for itself taking on S.P.A.C.s and crypto firms, had said that Adani Group had perpetrated “the largest con in corporate history.”

Reaction: For now, investors seem to be siding with Hindenburg. The claims could damage Adani Group’s goal of raising $2.5 billion through a stock offering, which closes today.

Rebuttal: Adani Group said the claims amounted to a “calculated attack on India.” Hindenburg stood by its report, saying “fraud cannot be obfuscated by nationalism.”

Goa is at the center of India’s gin boom. The coastal state has long been a center of global trade and has a more liberal attitude toward alcohol than many other parts of the country.

As the industry grows, new distilleries are using native ingredients like turmeric and mango. “The idea behind it was to use only Indian botanicals,” a 25-year-old distiller said of his small-batch spirit.

Lives lived: Ray Cordeiro was a familiar voice on Hong Kong’s airwaves and worked as a disc jockey for more than 70 years. He died at 98.

The metaverse is a frontier of entertainment. According to McKinsey, more than $120 billion was spent globally on developing metaverse technology in the first five months of 2022. 

South Korea is a prime testing ground for metaverse entertainment, which has piqued the interest of many U.S.-based investors. The country has historically been on the crest of a tech wave, and has experimented with virtual entertainment for years. It’s also got a built-in content bank: K-pop.

A new reality show, “Girl’s Re:verse,” is a high-stakes test. Singers compete as cartoon K-pop singers to join the next big girl band. In three days, the debut episode was viewed more than a million times on streaming platforms.

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