Infrastructure is under strain. Some train services were canceled, while others were running at reduced speeds in case the tracks buckled. Flights at Britain’s largest air base were halted over fears that the tar could melt. And the chains of a Victorian-era bridge were wrapped in foil to keep cracks from expanding and threatening the bridge’s stability.
Yesterday, the U.N. secretary general warned that humanity faced a “collective suicide” over the climate crisis. But the top candidates to be Britain’s next prime minister appear to be more focused on the cost-of-living crisis than on the government’s ambitious targets to reach “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050.
In dismissing two top officials, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine suggested they had turned a blind eye to traitors in sensitive positions.David Guttenfelder for The NewYorkTimes
Ukraine seeks to root out collaborators
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, said the country had opened 651 treason investigations into employees of the country’s law enforcement agencies and others who were suspected of working with Russia.
Russian sympathizers are reporting the locations of Ukrainian targets like garrisons or ammunition depots, officials say. Priests have sheltered Russian officers and informed on Ukrainian activists in Russian-occupied areas. One official said collaborators had even removed explosives from bridges, allowing Russian troops to cross.
Ukraine’s shadow war against Russian collaborators came into sharp relief on Sunday, when Zelensky dismissed two senior law enforcement officials. He did not accuse them of betrayal, but suggested that they had turned a blind eye to traitors in sensitive positions.
Zelensky specifically cited Ukraine’s security service, an unwieldy force of 27,000 personnel, the largest in Europe. Many intelligence chiefs graduated from K.G.B. schools, and Western allies say that the service has too many areas of operation, leaving it open to corruption and prone to straying from its spy-hunting role.
Context: In Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, and in Ukraine’s east, where fighting has recently intensified, deep cultural and historical ties with Russia have translated to pockets of support for Moscow. The threat has plagued Ukraine for years but has become more acute during the war.
But many public health doctors say the wave is cause for caution, not alarm: Hospitalizations have climbed 20 percent in the past two weeks, but deaths are rising only modestly. One expert said the nation had entered a newer and less lethal stage, in which vaccines and treatments have significantly improved chances of survival.
The public health authorities are also hesitating to impose new restrictions, noting that most Americans are meeting the new wave with a collective shrug. Even residents of what were once among the most cautious places in the country are shunning masks, socializing indoors and moving on from an endless barrage of warnings.
Retirements: Dr. Anthony Fauci, who saw the U.S. through the worst of the pandemic, said he would “almost certainly” retire by January 2025, the end of President Biden’s current term.
Despite President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s campaign promises, Mexico’s poor are only getting poorer. His government’s welfare policies are only worsening pandemic strife.
What you may have missed this week of July 25 -July 31
The entrance to the grain terminal at the port in Odesa, Ukraine. Daniel Berehulak for The NewYorkTimes
Russia seeks African support
Russia’s top diplomat, Sergey Lavrov, began a tour of four African countries yesterday. He is visiting Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda and the Republic of Congo this week, where he seeks to blame the West for war-related grain shortages, which have sparked fears of famine.
Lavrov’s visit follows a major development in the growing crisis. On Friday, Russia agreed to a deal brokered by the U.N. and Turkey, which would allow Ukraine to export its grain.
Context: Many governments in Africa and in the Middle East have tried to stay out of the conflict, seeking to maintain access to Russian exports, despite pressure from the West. No African countries have joined Western sanctions against Moscow.
Azovstal: The Times took a close look at the 80-day siege at the steel plant in Mariupol, where a relentless Russian assault met fierce Ukrainian resistance.
Atrocities: Russian forces have tortured and beaten civilians in the areas of southern Ukraine that they control, part of a series of abuses that may amount to war crimes, Human Rights Watch said in a report this weekend.
NewYork City began offering the monkeypox vaccine late last month but ran out with just about 1,000 doses available.Kena Betancur/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
In declaring the disease a “public health emergency of international concern,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O.’s director general, overruled a panel of advisers, who could not reach a decision.
The declaration signals a public health risk requiring a coordinated international response. That could lead member countries to invest more in their response to outbreaks and encourage nations to share vaccines, treatments and other key resources.
Details: The U.S., Britain and Spain have each recorded about 3,000 cases, and monkeypox has infected more than 16,000 people worldwide, overwhelmingly men who have sex with men. Many infected people report no known source of infection, indicating undetected community spread.
Context: This is the seventh public health emergency since 2007. Currently, the W.H.O. designation is used to describe two other diseases: Covid-19 and polio.
What’s next: One expert estimated that it might take a year or more to control the outbreak. By then, the virus is likely to have infected hundreds of thousands of people and may have permanently entrenched itself in some countries.
Response: The outbreak has galvanized many in the L.G.B.T.Q. community, who argue that monkeypox has not received enough attention, reminiscent of the early days of H.I.V.
A brass plaque near an unused entrance to the University of Strasbourg’s anatomy building is all that commemorates 86 Jews murdered at a professor’s behest.Dmitry Kostyukov for The NewYorkTimes
The 500-page report, released in May, detailed closer ties with the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp, the only one on French soil, than previously thought.
The report, which deeply recasts the way the university views itself, illuminated crimes committed by three professors who used the camp to procure experiment subjects. The report also identified more victims of their extensive medical experiments.
Details: From 1941 to 1944, professors on the medical faculty forced at least 250 people from concentration or death camps to undergo experiments. Some involved chemical weapons, like mustard gas, or deadly diseases, like typhus. And 86 Jews brought from Auschwitz were murdered for a planned skeleton collection.
History: Germany annexed the Alsace region of France in 1940 and poured in money and resources to transform the university into a model Nazi institution: the Reichsuniversität Strassburg.
Context: In 2015, when a book claimed that there were still anatomical remains of Jewish victims on campus, furious school officials strenuously denied it. But that same year, a Jewish doctor in Strasbourg found such remains in a locked storage room. After the discovery, the university commissioned the report in 2016.
Ukrainian forces are currently about 48 kilometers (about 30 miles) from Kherson at their closest point.Daniel Berehulak for The NewYorkTimes
The Ukraine attack would be one of the most ambitious and significant military actions of the war. Ukraine is destroying Russian ammunition depots, hitting command posts and targeting supply lines. And Ukrainian troops have liberated 44 towns and villages along the border areas, about 15 percent of the territory, according to local officials.
The counteroffensive could change the balance of power in the south. The region is critical to Ukraine’s plan to resume grain exports across the Black Sea despite a recent Russian missile attack on the port of Odesa.
Ukraine’s economy: Fuel prices are up by 90 percent from a year ago. Food costs have surged by over 35 percent. Over all, prices have jumped by more than 21 percent, fueled by Russian attacks on critical infrastructure and the occupation of industrial and agricultural regions.
Energy: Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy giant, said it would halve the amount of natural gas it sent to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The flow of gas had already been cut to 40 percent of capacity.
“I humbly beg forgiveness,” he said to a large crowd of Indigenous people. He spoke at a site in Alberta that is notorious among survivors of abuse, and said his remarks were intended for “every Native community and person.”
Roughly 130 such facilities were gruesome centers of sexual, mental and physical abuse, forced assimilation and cultural devastation for over a century. Thousands died. The schools separated children from parents, erased languages and used Christianity as a weapon to break Indigenous cultures and communities.
Background: From the 1880s through the 1990s, Canada forcibly removed at least 150,000 Indigenous children from their homes and sent them to the schools. Catholic orders, which have only recently begun to open their archives, were responsible for running 60 percent to 70 percent of the schools.
Analysis: Francis is a critic of proselytizing and colonialism. He said he was “deeply sorry” — a remark that prompted applause and approving shouts — for the ways in which “many Christians supported the colonizing mentality of the powers that oppressed the Indigenous peoples.”
Rishi Sunak, center, and Liz Truss, right, sparred in a BBC debate yesterday.Jacob King/Press Association, via Associated Press
Thatcher looms large in U.K. race
Either Rishi Sunak, a former top finance official, or Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, will be the next prime minister of Britain.
Each candidate has tried to adopt the style of Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister whose right-wing policies remain popular among the Conservative voters that Sunak and Truss hope to win over. They are casting themselves as the heir to Thatcher’s free-market, low-tax, deregulatory revolution at home and her robust defense of Western democracy abroad.
But experts on Thatcher say the candidates are cherry-picking the legacy of the woman known as the Iron Lady. They are emphasizing the crowd-pleasing elements while glossing over the less appetizing ones, like tax increases in 1981, during the depths of a recession, at a time when she was determined to curb runaway inflation.
Sunak: He kicked off his campaign over the weekend in Grantham, Thatcher’s birthplace, and described his agenda as “common-sense Thatcherism.” His approach echoes Thatcher’s belief in balancing the books and her dislike of borrowing, which she viewed as a burden on future generations.
The deal is initially voluntary, and some member countries are exempt. Nations will have to agree that there’s a broader energy supply emergency to make the measures mandatory.
Still, the quick compromise signified an important step in managing the E.U.’s dependency on Russia. It is intended to avert an energy meltdown as the Kremlin tries to punish Europe for its support of Ukraine.
The agreement came less than 24 hours after the Russian gas company Gazprom said that it would further reduce the amount of natural gas it sends to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Russian gas, which supplies 40 percent of the E.U.’s consumption, was less than one-third the normal average in June.
Germany: The E.U.’s largest economy is turning to liquefied natural gas, which it had once disregarded, to keep warm through the winter.
Diplomacy: Lawyers for the U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner made a case for leniency yesterday. Griner, who is detained in Russia on drug charges, may testify today. In Britain, the Foreign Office froze the assets of a blogger yesterday for his pro-Kremlin propaganda.
Global inflation is rising more rapidly and broadly than the I.M.F. anticipated earlier this year.Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The NewYorkTimes
The economies of the U.S., China and Europe have slowed more sharply than anticipated, the group said in a new report. It said that the probability of a recession starting in one of the Group of 7 advanced economies was now nearly 15 percent, four times its usual level.
Global economic prospects have darkened amid war in Ukraine, inflation and a resurgent pandemic. If the threats continue to intensify, the world economy will face one of its weakest years since 1970, a period of intense global stagflation.
Growth: The I.M.F. downgraded global forecasts from its April projections, predicting that output would fall from 6.1 percent last year to 3.2 percent this year. Growth is expected to slow even further in 2023 as central banks raise interest rates to tame inflation.
Inflation: The I.M.F. expects prices to rise 6.6 percent in rich countries and 9.5 percent in emerging markets and developing economies.
The referendum could spell the end of a young democracy. The Arab Spring uprisings began in Tunisia more than a decade ago. At the time, the country was internationally lauded as the only democracy to survive the revolts.
But in the years since, many Tunisians have come to view the government as corrupt and inadequate. In 2019, frustration with political paralysis and economic devastation led many to look to Saied, a political outsider at the time. That same anger drove some voters to vote yes on the referendum this week.
“If you tell me about democracy or human rights and all that stuff, we haven’t seen any of it in the last 10 years,” a 50-year-old bank employee said. He said he did not mind the Constitution’s concentration of powers in the hands of the president. “A boat needs one captain,” he said. “Personally, I need one captain.”
Context: The Constitution was approved by 94.6 percent of voters, according to the results released yesterday. But most major parties boycotted the vote to avoid lending it greater legitimacy.
Background: Saied suspended Parliament and fired his prime minister a year ago, effectively giving himself almost absolute power.
Details: The new Constitution demotes the Legislature and the judiciary to something more akin to civil servants. It weakens Parliament and gives the president ultimate authority to form a government, appoint judges and present laws.
Paul Whelan, left, and Brittney Griner, both detained by Russia, could be released in exchange for Viktor Bout.Pool photos by Alexander Zemlianichenko/
U.S. proposes a prisoner swap
The U.S. offered a prisoner swap to Russia: Viktor Bout, a notorious Russian arms dealer, for Brittney Griner, the W.N.B.A. star, and Paul Whelan, a former Marine.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that he would speak to Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine about a “substantial proposal” to free Griner and Whelan. The U.S. State Department says the two were wrongfully detained.
Blinken’s comments came the same day that Griner, who has been detained in Russia on drug charges since February, testified in court. She said that she had been tossed into a bewildering legal system with little explanation of what was happening. Here are live updates.
The protest was scheduled to end at 6 a.m. this morning, but the wage fight is likely to continue. A union official said that salaries were “not high enough to account for inflation,” while Lufthansa outlined pay increases that it had already offered.
This strike is just the latest travel interruption in Europe. Airport and other transport employees have been striking throughout the summer to demand better staffing and pay.
Airports: Heathrow, in London, and Schiphol, in Amsterdam, have both tried to limit the number of passengers in August. Heathrow’s announcement came after photographs of luggage piled up at the airport circulated on social media.
G.D.P. fell 0.2 percent in the second quarter after a 0.4 percent decline in the first. That means by one common but unofficial definition, the U.S. economy has entered a recession, two years after it emerged from the last one.
News of the back-to-back contractions heightened a debate in Washington over whether a recession had begun and, if so, whether President Biden was to blame.
Context: Most economists still don’t think the economy meets the formal definition of a recession. But for many, the label matters less than the economic reality: Growth is slowing, businesses are pulling back and families are struggling to keep up with rapidly rising prices.
A Ukrainian tank in a camouflaged position in the southeast Kherson region.David Guttenfelder for The NewYorkTimes
Ukrainian forces have been preparing for a broad counteroffensive in the south. Now, Russian troops around Kherson are increasingly isolated from eastern strongholds after coordinated Ukrainian strikes disrupted crucial resupply routes.
But Russia is hurrying to bolster its forces in the region and to solidify control of the territory it holds. The Ukrainian military said that Russia was moving “the maximum number” of forces to the southern front in the Kherson region.
In the north, Russia renewed its assault yesterday, conducting strikes from the Black Sea and Belarus that injured at least 15 people in and around Kyiv, Ukrainian authorities said. And missiles continued to rain down on Kharkiv, in the northeast.
In the east: Ukrainian forces continue to hold their defensive lines while targeting key Russian strongholds.
Culture: Painting will not stop missiles. Music will not end suffering. But culture is not powerless, and a visit to Ukraine reaffirms what it can do at its best.
On a trip to Canada this week, as he relied on aides to get in and out of wheelchairs, Francis used his own visible frailty to again demand dignity and respect for other older people.
In Alberta, Francis said that there needed to be “a future in which the elderly are not cast aside because, from a ‘practical’ standpoint, they are no longer useful.”
Analysis: The world is aging rapidly. A U.N. report predicted that by 2050, people age 60 and over will exceed people under 15. “Never as many as now, never as much risk of being discarded,” Francis said.
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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