Your Tuesday Briefing: Russia’s Faltering Campaign

Good morning. We’re covering Russia’s struggling military campaign, Australia’s halting recovery from bush fires and a Covid-19 protest at Peking University. Russia scales back its charge east After a series of military setbacks, Moscow now appears to be focusing on a narrow objective: widening its holdings in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas. But even there Russia may be forced to scale back its ambition to take most of eastern Ukraine, according to the Institute for the Study of War. Russia still controls the wide swath of southern Ukraine it seized…

Your Friday Briefing: Russia’s Growing Isolation

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Good morning. We’re covering Russia’s departure from the U.N. human rights council, a political blow to Pakistan’s Imran Khan and Shanghai’s growing frustration with Covid restrictions. Diplomacy: Prospects for successful peace talks have dimmed: Russia’s foreign minister said Ukraine had proposed a new draft deal that deviated from previous versions, and President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus demanded that his country be included in the negotiations. State of the war: Khan in jeopardy after court ruling Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s move to dissolve Parliament on Thursday, setting…

Your Wednesday Briefing: Zelensky Addressed the U.N.

Good morning. We’re covering President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to the U.N., a modification to Shanghai’s controversial family Covid policy and political tensions ahead of the French presidential election. Zelensky addresses the U.N. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine delivered a fiery speech to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, a day after visiting Bucha, where images have surfaced of civilian bodies in the wake of Russia’s retreat. Zelensky said that more than 300 people had been tortured and killed in the town north of Kyiv and that soldiers raped women in…

Your Tuesday Briefing: The Fallout from Bucha

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Good morning. We’re covering the fallout from Russian atrocities in Bucha, the end of Carrie Lam’s tenure as Hong Kong’s leader and Pakistan’s political crisis. Rising calls to punish Russia President Biden called the indiscriminate civilian deaths in Bucha a “war crime” and said the U.S. would impose additional sanctions on Russia. Some European leaders also demanded tougher sanctions, including a total ban on Russian fuel imports. Here are the latest updates. Moscow has denied that its soldiers had anything to do with the atrocities, which have come to light…

Your Monday Briefing: Russian Forces Attack Evacuees

Good morning. We’re covering sustained shelling in Ukraine, China’s new economic plan and the fallout of a terrorist attack on a mosque in Pakistan. Russian attacks halt evacuations As Russian forces continued shelling Ukraine, at least three people — a mother and her children — were killed outside Kyiv as they tried to get to safety. For the second straight day, the authorities called off an evacuation from the besieged port city of Mariupol. Here’s the latest. Russian forces were struggling to advance on multiple fronts. The Ukrainian military said…

Your Monday Briefing: Shelling in Ukraine intensifies

Russia’s imminent invasion? U.S. intelligence learned last week that the Kremlin had ordered an invasion of Ukraine to proceed, prompting a dire warning by President Biden that President Vladimir Putin had made the decision to attack. The new intelligence reveals that 40 to 50 percent of the Russian forces surrounding Ukraine have moved out of staging and into combat formation. Russian artillery fire escalated sharply in eastern Ukraine this weekend, deepening fears of an imminent attack and potentially giving Russia a pretext to invade. Ukrainians reluctantly left their homes, some…

Your Monday Briefing: Omicron Evades Many Vaccines

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Good morning. We’re covering the latest Omicron news, the Hong Kong elections and a Times investigation into civilian casualties from U.S. airstrikes. Omicron outstrips many vaccines A growing body of preliminary research suggests most Covid vaccines offer almost no defense against infection from the highly contagious Omicron variant. The only vaccines that appear to be effective against infections are those made by Pfizer and Moderna, reinforced by a booster, which are not widely available around the world. Other vaccines — including those from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and vaccines manufactured…

Hong Kong’s Election Is Really a Selection

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The signs and messages are everywhere: “Cast a vote for Hong Kong and yourself.” Candidates’ faces cover the pavement and walls from the city center to stalls in the wet markets on its outskirts. Government-sponsored billboards calling to “improve electoral system, ensure patriots administering Hong Kong” abound. Hong Kong and Chinese government officials have for weeks been urging the public to vote in this weekend’s legislative election. But this is not a typical free and fair election: It’s a selection process, thanks to an electoral overhaul with no meaningful participation…

How Hong Kong’s ‘Patriots Only’ Elections Bolster Beijing’s Grip

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Only a few of all the candidates running this year have described themselves as “pro-democracy,” and they share one thing in common: They observe Beijing’s red lines. They have avoided the sort of political stances that could lead to their disqualification or even imprisonment, such as calling for independence for Hong Kong or foreign sanctions against Hong Kong officials. In Hong Kong’s new electoral landscape, the absence of the mainstream opposition has resulted in an odd political twist: Such outside candidates are being given some help by Beijing’s representatives and…

Ahead of Biden’s Democracy Summit, China Says: We’re Also a Democracy

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BEIJING — As President Biden prepares to host a “summit for democracy” this week, China has counterattacked with an improbable claim: It’s a democracy, too. No matter that the Communist Party of China rules the country’s 1.4 billion people with no tolerance for opposition parties; that its leader, Xi Jinping, rose to power through an opaque political process without popular elections; that publicly calling for democracy in China is punished harshly, often with long prison sentences. “There is no fixed model of democracy; it manifests itself in many forms,” the…