Inside the Minds of Antiwar Russians: ‘Silence Is My Punishment Now’
Some Russians who oppose the war in Ukraine are experiencing an existential crisis marked by sorrow and regret.
Flooding Closes Yellowstone, in a Sign of Crises to Come
Record rainfall and mudslides forced closures just as tourism season ramped up. Virtually none of America’s national parks are untouched by extreme weather and climate change.
Ukrainian soliders loading artillery in the Donetsk region last month.Finbarr O’Reilly for The NewYorkTimes
U.S. promises $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine
Amid increasingly urgent calls from Ukraine, President Biden yesterday announced an additional $1 billion in weapons and aid for the war-torn country. Overall, the U.S. has now committed about $5.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24. Germany, Slovakia, Canada, Poland and the Netherlands have also pledged more artillery. Follow the latest updates.
The promise of additional aid came as the U.S. and its allies sought to present a united front against the Kremlin. The war in Ukraine has radically altered the strategic calculus in Europe. Nearly four months in, some fissures are emerging over the end game of an increasingly intractable conflict as Europe grapples with the economic fallout from the war, including rising inflation and gas prices.
Though the U.S. has said it will not pressure Kyiv into negotiations, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, yesterday said that the conflict would eventually have to end with talks. “At some point, when we will have done our maximum to help Ukraine resist — when, I hope, it will have won and the firing has ceased — we will have to negotiate,” he said.
In other news from the war:
The leaders of Germany, France and Italy will visit Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, today, in what is intended to be a show of solidarity. They face a tense reception.
Sierra Leone is one of a few countries in sub-Saharan Africa that have not banned female genital cutting, a centuries-old ritual tied up in ideas of sexual purity, obedience and control. Now, young women are defying their mothers and grandmothers by refusing to undergo the procedure, known as “bondo.”
But refusing bondo comes at a great social cost. Women who do so are not permitted to marry; to represent their communities in religious or cultural events; to participate in celebrations or funerals; or to serve as chief or in Parliament.
The leaders of Italy, Germany, France and Romania met with President Volodomyr Zelensky of Ukraine, center, in Kyiv on Thursday.Pool photo by Ludovic Marin
European leaders travel to Ukraine
The leaders of France, Italy, Germany and Romania met with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on Thursday in Kyiv, where they pledged support for putting Ukraine on a path to membership in the E.U. and said they would continue to back Ukraine’s military efforts, despite suggestions to the contrary.
President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, who had been criticized in recent days over the perception that they were seeking to pressure Zelensky into peace talks with Russia, emphasized that their support was genuine. “We are and we will remain by your side in the long run to defend your sovereignty, your territorial integrity and your freedom,” Macron said. “This is our goal, we have no other, and we will achieve it.”
All four leaders expressed support for Ukraine’s E.U. candidacy, Macron said. Scholz added that “Ukraine belongs to the European family.”
The European leaders also visited Irpin, a Kyiv suburb where investigators are looking into reports of Russian atrocities during the war. Russia dismissed their trip as empty symbolism. Dmitri Medvedev, the former Russian president, derisively called the leaders “European connoisseurs of frogs, liverwurst and pasta.”
Hesitation: Ukrainian officials are wary of pressure to negotiate an end to the war with Russia because of the 2014 and 2015 Minsk accords, in which the Ukrainians offered concessions in exchange for Russian cease-fires, which never held.
The textbook material, though still under review by principals, teachers, scholars and employees of Hong Kong’s Education Bureau, seems destined for classrooms. Local news websites published draft excerpts this week, and The Times viewed teachers’ proof copies.
Excerpts from the textbooks reinforce China’s Communist Party’s position on Hong Kong. “The British aggression violated the principles of international law so its occupation of Hong Kong region should not have been recognized as lawful,” read the teachers’ edition proof copy of one textbook.
Quotable: The narrative, one pro-democracy activist said, “is a shorthand for saying, ‘Hong Kong was always a part of China, thus Hong Kongers never could claim a right of self-determination.’”
Broader effort: The material is part of a wider campaign by China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, to overhaul Hong Kong’s schools, to “protect young minds” and to raise loyal, patriotic citizens.
Mohamed Messara/EPA, via Shutterstock
A nationwide strike by Tunisian public-sector workers threatened to deepen the country’s crisis and is the most visible challenge yet to Kais Saied’s increasingly authoritarian presidency.
Crop Circles Were Made by Supernatural Forces. Named Doug and Dave.
Intricate patterns carved in fields across England in the 1980s were a viral phenomenon long before the internet fed us such prankster curiosities daily.
The Biggest Surprises of the Jan. 6 Hearings So Far
Maggie Haberman breaks down the House select committee’s first two weeks of public testimony.
School’s Catholic Title in Peril Over Pride and Black Lives Matter Flags
Bishop Robert J. McManus of the Diocese of Worcester, Mass., said flying the flags contradicts “Catholic social and moral teaching.” The school has refused to take them down.
A Ukrainian tank heading in the direction of Toshkivka on Sunday.Tyler Hicks/The NewYorkTimes
As Russian troops have moved to surround both cities, Ukrainian forces now hold only a small portion of Sievierodonetsk. Russia’s Defense Ministry did not immediately comment on Toshkivka but said that its forces had seized Metolkine, a town just east of Sievierodonetsk.
The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington research group, said that Russia would likely be able to seize Sievierodonetsk in the next few weeks but at a considerable cost. The slow-moving fight is sapping the morale of both sides, Western officials said, and NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, warned that the war could grind on for years.
Weapons of war: An analysis of more than 1,000 photos found that Russia has used hundreds of weapons in Ukraine that are widely banned by international treaties and that kill, maim and destroy indiscriminately.
Death toll: The war in Ukraine has exacted a staggering toll in lives lost. But no one is quite sure what that toll is — only that many people have been killed.
President Emmanuel Macron voting on Sunday in Le Touquet, France.Pool photo by Michel Spingler
Macron fails to secure a majority
The centrist coalition led by President Emmanuel Macron of France is projected to come out ahead in crucial parliamentary elections. However, a strong showing from an alliance of left-wing parties and a far-right surge prevented Macron’s coalition from securing an absolute majority of seats — a setback that could complicate his second term.
Projections based on preliminary vote counts show Macron’s coalition winning 205 to 250 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, the lower and more powerful house of Parliament. The number of seats captured exceeds that won by any other political group but falls short of half. The lack of a majority will force Macron to reach across the aisle and may hinder his ambitious agenda.
If the projections hold, it will be the first time in 20 years that a president who had just won an election will have failed to muster an absolute majority in the National Assembly.
Apathy: The vote was marred by record-low turnout: Only about 46 percent of the French electorate went to the ballot box, according to projections, the second-lowest level since 1958. Voter abstention has become a growing concern in France and a warning sign for Macron, who has promised to rule closer to the people during his second term.
Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s next president.Federico Rios for The NewYorkTimes
Colombia elects a new leader
For the first time, Colombia will have a leftist president.
Gustavo Petro, a former rebel and a longtime senator who has pledged to transform the country’s economic system, defeated his opponent, Rodolfo Hernández, a construction magnate who had energized the country with a scorched-earth anti-corruption platform.
Petro’s victory reflects widespread discontent in Colombia, a country of 50 million. Poverty and inequality are on the rise, and there is widespread dissatisfaction with a lack of opportunity — issues that sent hundreds of thousands of people to demonstrate in the streets last year. Petro has called for a halt to oil exploration, a shift toward developing other industries, an expansion of social programs and higher taxes on the rich.
The win is all the more significant because of the country’s history. For decades, the government fought a brutal leftist insurgency known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, with the stigma from the conflict making it difficult for a legitimate left to flourish.
The town, Toshkivka, was claimed by Russian forces over the weekend — a troubling development for Ukrainian forces defending a swath of territory roughly 30 miles wide that has come to be known as the Sievierodonetsk pocket. The pocket is about three-quarters encircled by Russian forces, leaving only a small gap where Ukrainian forces can shuttle supplies and troops into their remaining population areas of the Donbas.
Ukraine’s battle to hold the Sievierodonetsk pocket centers on a strategy of drawing Russian forces into close urban combat to reduce the impact of their overwhelming firepower. If Russia severs the supply lines into Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, it could claim complete control over the Luhansk region, which forms roughly half of the Donbas.
Elsewhere, Russia ramped up its bombings of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, weeks after Ukrainian fighters had pushed Russian forces back. Ten neighborhoods or villages around the city have been attacked in the past 24 hours, a city official said.
Video: Thousands of refugees from Ukraine have been sent to so-called filtration camps, where they have been interrogated and then forced to resettle to Russia. Some Ukrainians escaped to Estonia; they told us their stories.
Oil: Russia become China’s largest source of petroleum last month, as Chinese companies stepped in to buy oil that has fallen under widening sanctions in the West.
The collapse follows weeks of paralysis caused by the defection of two right-wing lawmakers and frequent rebellions by three others, making Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s coalition no longer the majority in Parliament. The fallout throws a political lifeline to Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister who left office last June and whose Likud party is currently leading in opinion polls.
The election, which is expected to be held in the fall, comes at a tense time after a rise in Palestinian attacks on Israelis and an escalation in a shadow war between Israel and Iran.
The current coalition agreement requires that Yair Lapid, the foreign minister and a centrist former broadcaster, would take over as interim prime minister in the event that right-wing defections prompt early elections. If that agreement is honored, Lapid will lead the government for at least several months.
Nearly three months since an ultra-contagious set of new Omicron variants launched a springtime resurgence of cases, people are nonetheless dying from Covid at a rate close to the lowest of the pandemic.
Why? Experts say it’s because so many Americans have now been vaccinated or infected or both, so the number of people whose immune systems are entirely unprepared for the virus has significantly dwindled.
Looking ahead: With the country’s resources for fighting the virus drying up and many Americans forgoing booster shots, the decoupling of cases and deaths may not last. Immunity will wane and a more evasive variant could cut into people’s residual protection against severe disease.
Last-ditch talks between the transport union and the rail operator collapsed Monday night, and hundreds of trains ground to a halt for the first of three planned days of strikes, throwing travel plans for tens of millions of Britons and visitors into chaos. Most trains will also probably be halted on Thursday and Saturday, with disruptions rippling across the system for the entire week.
The main railway union is demanding a pay raise in line with the increase in cost of living. The strikes are a major test for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who called on the unions to compromise on their demands at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has kept ridership and ticket revenue well below normal levels.
Looking ahead. With soaring food and fuel prices and wages that are failing to keep pace, Johnson is likely to face other restive workers across multiple industries. Teachers, airline employees and criminal defense lawyers are among those who have threatened to walk off the job.
Sacks of wheat flour at the Hamar-Weyne market in Mogadishu, Somalia, last month.Farah Abdi Warsameh/Associated Press
Zelensky to Africa: It’s your war, too
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, lobbied the African Union for support this week. He faced an uphill battle, addressing leaders who have close ties to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.
Many African governments have shied away from denouncing Russia, abstained from U.N. votes condemning the invasion of Ukraine and characterized the war as having no direct effect on the continent. Zelensky zeroed in on the conflict’s economic ramifications for Africa: high food prices caused by a war between two of the world’s largest grain producers, which have worsened food insecurity.
“Africa is actually taken hostage,” Zelensky said.
The background: Drought in Somalia and growing food insecurity in the Sahel region have brought into stark focus the consequences of rising prices for food, particularly wheat. The cost of fuel is also climbing, further squeezing the continent’s nascent middle class and urban poor.
The response: Overall, it was subdued. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union chairman, called again for dialogue to end the war, a stark contrast to the enthusiastic audience he afforded to Putin earlier this month. Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, speaking as the rotating political head of the African Union, said this month that sanctions against Russia should end, referring to Putin as his “dear friend Vladimir.”
The quake, which had a magnitude of 5.9, struck about 28 miles southwest of the city of Khost. However, the worst damage was in the neighboring province of Paktika, which lies along the border with Pakistan and where some residents live in houses made of clay and straw. The earthquake was the deadliest to hit Afghanistan in more than two decades, and the number of casualties was expected to rise, a U.N. agency said.
Search-and-rescue efforts, led by the Afghan Ministry of Defense, were hampered by wind and heavy rain, which prevented helicopters from landing safely. A U.N. representative for Afghanistan reported that nearly 2,000 homes were destroyed. Afghan families are typically large and sometimes live together, the representative said, so the earthquake is likely to have displaced many people.
Eyewitness: Sarhadi Khosti, 26, who lives in the Sperah district of Khost Province, said that he was awakened by the earthquake after 1 a.m. and that a number of houses — many made of earth or wood — had been destroyed. “For now, we still are busy pulling the dead or injured from under the rubble,” he said.
Pakistan: The earthquake was felt in several parts of Pakistan, but the country was spared the kind of damage seen in Afghanistan.
The E.U. officially made Ukraine a candidate for membership yesterday, a step that even weeks ago seemed impossible. While it could take a decade or more for Ukraine to actually become a member, the E.U.’s decision sends a powerful message of solidarity to Kyiv and a rebuke to Moscow.
Candidate status signals that a nation may begin a painstaking, time-consuming process of internal changes and negotiations with the E.U., with a view to eventually joining. The country must align itself institutionally, democratically, economically and legally with E.U. laws and norms, a process that has taken some countries about 10 years. Others, like Turkey, have been candidates for much longer and have yet to join.
Ukraine’s candidacy is bound to irritate Russia, which has described Kyiv’s aspirations to align itself with institutions like NATO and the E.U. as Western attempts to interfere in its rightful sphere of influence. The move signals a belief on the part of E.U. states that Ukraine’s future lies in an embrace of the democratic West.
Moscow: Asked last week about the prospect of E.U. candidate status for Ukraine. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said, “We have no objections.” Since then, Russian officials and analysts have said that he didn’t really mean it.
As rescue efforts unfolded, vehicles laden with supplies made their way over rugged, unpaved roads to hillside villages strewn with wrecked houses. Relief officials said yesterday that they were now focusing on the survivors, who had endured not only heavy rain but also unseasonably frigid temperatures that threatened to bring snow to some areas.
Afghan officials in the hardest-hit areas estimated Wednesday that at least 1,000 people had been killed and 1,600 or more injured. Yesterday, the U.N. offered a slightly lower estimate — 770 people killed and 1,440 people injured — but cautioned that its figures were likely to rise.
First person: Hawa, a 30-year-old mother of six, felt the walls collapsing on her — then everything went dark. “I did not expect to survive,” she said from her hospital bed. Her village, Dangal Regab, like many others in the region, was a tableau of death and destruction.
An underground natural gas storage facility in Rehden, Germany.David Hecker/Getty Images
Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled energy giant, last week cut by more than half the amount of gas it delivers via the pipeline Nord Stream 1, which serves Germany and other countries. Germany responded by triggering the second stage of its three-step emergency gas plan. The German government has also called on consumers and companies to conserve gas.
The reduction in supplies to the German pipeline, which also affected flows to countries including France, Italy and the Netherlands, dashed any remaining hope among European leaders that they could count on Russian gas, perhaps the most difficult fuel to replace. Analysts say Moscow will probably continue to use gas for maximum leverage.
By the numbers: Since May, the E.U. has required member states to fill their storage facilities to at least 80 percent of capacity by Nov. 1. Overall European storage levels are at 55 percent. Gas prices are already about six times what they were a year ago.
A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world.
We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".
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