Your Thursday Night Briefing – The New York Times
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Good evening. Here is the last Thursday at the end of the day.
On the ground, Russia is preparing for an eastern assault. “The enemy is trying to cut off all possible means of leaving,” said a governor of the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. “Do not delay – evacuate.” Hopes for peace talks dimmed today after Russia’s foreign minister said Ukraine had canceled some of its proposals.
On the outskirts of kyiv, residents told The Times how they experienced the recent carnage. The mayor of Mariupol said more than 5,000 people had died there. German intelligence reported intercepting radio traffic in which the Russians were talking about killing civilians.
3. Pakistan’s Supreme Court was overthrown today Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to dissolve Parliament, paving the way for his dismissal.
A vote of no confidence, almost certain to end Khan’s leadership, will take place on Saturday. If he loses, an interim government will be formed and the country will prepare for new elections.
Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician, had tried to block such a vote with his maneuver, which opposition leaders called an “open coup”. Khan’s popularity has waned in recent months with soaring inflation and his relationship with key leaders of the country’s mighty military has soured.
4. Saudi Arabia may seek to end the war in Yemen.
Yemen’s exiled President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi resigned today and handed over power to a presidential council, a sweeping reshuffle backed by Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies. Hadi delegated the new council to lead the government and lead peace talks with Houthi rebels who control Sana, Yemen’s capital, and the northwest of the country.
The new push to end the war follows seven years of fierce fighting that has shattered the Yemeni state, spawned one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and undermined the security of oil-producing Gulf monarchies allied with the United States. United. But analysts have raised questions about the effectiveness of the presidential council that would be tasked with managing the peace process given the divergent positions of its eight members.
5. Shanghai’s draconian measures against the pandemic are pushed back.
Parents implored the government not to separate infected children from their families. Residents have confronted authorities over lockdown policies they consider inhumane. Such public discontent has been rare in China since the pandemic began in Wuhan.
The crisis promises to be a political test of the zero-tolerance approach on which the Chinese Communist Party has staked its legitimacy. The government appears unmoved – and public health experts have warned the country is unprepared for life with coronavirus, with just over half of people aged 80 and over fully vaccinated by the end of March.
At New York, the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron causes a slow but steady increase in disease, but has not yet produced an increase in hospitalizations and deaths remain low.
In other health news, Medicare has officially limited the use of the new Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm to patients in clinical trials, citing data showing it poses serious safety risks and may not help patients.
6. Atmospheric methane levels have increased over the past year by the greatest amount since measurements began 40 years ago.
The previous record was set in 2020, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists said levels of the powerful planet-warming gas had reached an all-time high.
Methane leaks into the air from wells and pipelines, livestock, landfills and more. It has greater short-term effects on global warming than carbon dioxide. A NOAA administrator said reducing methane could quickly reduce the rate of global warming.
In other climate news, a Gallup poll found that extreme weather affected a third of all Americans in the past two years.
7. Are 1,818 Airbnbs too many in Joshua Tree?
The pandemic has fueled a short-term rental gold rush in the Southern California desert town. Investors from Los Angeles, New York, China and elsewhere have been rushing to buy land to build homes explicitly for Airbnb and Vrbo, eager to tap into an appetite for an aesthetic some have called “high desert boho” or “the Joshua Tree Look”. on Instagram.
But as in other Airbnb destination cities like Miami Beach, New York and Barcelona, the frenzy is also sparking debate. Some residents, finding themselves priceless from the Joshua Tree area, worry about its iconic trees and wonder if the alternative nature of life in the Southeast California desert is changing forever.
8. The reign of the Monkey Queen of Japan has just begun.
Yakei, a 9-year-old Japanese macaque, battled other macaques – including an elderly alpha male and his own mother – to become the first known female troop leader in the history of his reserve, which is home to more than 1,000 macaques.
His continued reign surprised scientists. During her first breeding season as queen, a time when tensions run high, they believed a dramatic love triangle could bring down Yakei, fearing a spurned suitor would steal her throne. But she maintained her position while mating successfully.
“Social intelligence is more important than physical strength for Japanese macaques,” one scientist told The Times; another speculated that the allies she amassed as queen likely supported her.
9. Not only are Rihanna’s maternity clothes not dirty, they are barely there.
In the annals of public pregnancy, there’s never been anything quite like it, writes our fashion critic Vanessa Friedman. Since announcing her pregnancy in January, pop singer Rihanna’s fashion choices have been marked more by what she hasn’t worn than by what she has.
Rihanna showed off her growing bare midriff in artful designs she wears everywhere from fashion shows to Oscar parties. But the fashion might not even be the main point: It’s a “totally transgressive and highly political statement,” a media studies professor has said, and Rihanna herself calls her pregnancy style “rebellious.” “.
10. And finally, old images of a very young Prince.
In February, a Minnesota television station planned to cover the upcoming Minneapolis teachers’ strike. Archivists helped put together footage of a 1970 strike for context. A producer thought he saw a familiar face.
A boy wearing earmuffs told a reporter that teachers ‘should have more money’ because they ‘work overtime for us and stuff’. After a five-week investigation, he was confirmed as Prince Nelson – as he was known at the time – the music legend who died in 2016.