The US and Russia will meet at the UN
The United States and Russia joined a public diplomatic battle on Monday at the UN Security Council over the Ukrainian crisis.
The Americans, backed by their Western allies, have accused Russia of threatening peace and destabilizing global security by gathering more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders. Kremlin diplomats have rejected what they called the unfounded and hysterical spread of fear by the United States aimed at weakening Russia and provoking armed conflict.
The 15-nation Council meeting requested by the United States last week was the top arena for the two powers to influence world opinion over Ukraine. As expected, it was interrupted and no action was taken.
Notes: Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador, said that “Russia’s actions extend to the very heart of the UN charter.” Russia objected to the meeting, calling it an “attempt to establish an international community” and an example of “megaphone diplomacy.”
Where things stand: More than a month of tantrums and poses, ominous military maneuvers and high-level diplomatic meetings have not made it easier to assess the security crisis that has engulfed Europe. A complete invasion would probably result in fierce fighting and potentially the worst bloodshed on the continent since the end of World War II.
On the ground: A wave of bomb threats across Ukraine has intensified the already anxious mood.
“Failures of leadership and judgment”
The much-anticipated report released yesterday described leadership failures in the office of Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, as well as excessive drinking in the workplace.
The report found that parties were being held on Downing Street that violated pandemic blockades when the government urged the public to avoid socialization. It did not directly involve Johnson in the infringement and left the judgment to a separate police investigation. This may give him some political room to breathe.
Sue Gray, the author of the report, was forced to remove its most harmful details from the document as the London Metropolitan Police investigated eight pages. Late last night, police said ominously that they had so far collected more than 500 pages of evidence and more than 300 photographs.
Citation: “There have been failures of leadership and judgment in different parts of number 10 and the government office at different times,” the report said. “Some events should not be allowed. Other events should not be allowed to develop as they did. “
Covid’s new division: risk aversion vs
As Omicron coronavirus variants spread around the world, vaccinated and largely sheltered families are strained by varying levels of comfort in terms of risk – whether people will dine indoors; send your children back to school; attend exercise classes; and receive home visits.
In Italy, which now has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, schism in society is no longer among the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, nor the socially responsible and the mockers, but among those who take risks and risk aversion. The recent holiday season has brought these variations to many vaccinated families.
An increasing number of people who received the third dose of the vaccine entered the initial phase of a pandemic, encouraged by the apparently mild symptoms of Omicron for the vaccinated. Others are still coping with the virus, which is seemingly everywhere, and they are forced to adjust their level of comfort and do more.
First person: “Young people feel much freer,” said one 70-year-old woman. At a recent wedding she attended with her husband, their friend stayed out in the cold all the time, she said.
By numbers: In Italy, more than 80 percent of the population, including children, have two doses of the vaccine. This number is expected to increase as more children are vaccinated.
In other pandemic reports:
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ART AND IDEAS
The sound of romance
Dating shows have been a television base for decades, from the premiere of “The Dating Game” in 1965 to the 20-year sequel to “The Bachelor” and its by-products. Now, two podcasts – “This Is Dating” and “It’s Nice to Hear You” – are reworking the match-for-sound format, writes Reggie Ugwu in The Times.
“This Is Dating” follows four people looking for love. They are led by a dating coach and producers select candidates based on dating preferences. Listeners watch the quartet at the first few meetings that took place via Zoom. (Contestants use real voices and fake names.) The effect is like eavesdropping.
“Nice to hear you” is based on shows like “The Dating Game”, in which contestants get to know their potential partners without seeing them. He watches three couples who correspond once a day for 30 days by voice memo without exchanging photos or other identifying information.
“You don’t get distracted by how someone looks or what’s behind them,” said Heather Li, the creator of the series. “I think it’s harder to predict someone in advance if you don’t have that many data points.”
For more: Read Caity Weaver in The Times about why viewers love dating shows where contestants don’t see each other.