Your Monday briefing: Russian forces attack the evacuation
Good morning. We are covering the aftermath of the continuing shelling in Ukraine, China’s new economic plan and the terrorist attack on a mosque in Pakistan.
Russian attacks halt evacuation
As Russian forces continued to fire on 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, authorities called off evacuations from the besieged port city of Mariupol.
Here’s the latest.
The Russian army was struggling to advance on several fronts. The Ukrainian military said it was successfully defending its position in fierce fighting north of Kyiv and troops were also blocking Russians from the east, where President Vladimir Putin’s forces were caught in skirmishes around an airport.
Families are being torn apart. Some Ukrainians are learning that their Russian relatives, clinging to government misinformation, do not believe there is war. Others are falling apart: wives flee while husbands are forced to stay and fight, in what some Ukrainian women call the “little death”.
Flights: of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated his call for NATO to implement a no-fly zone, despite bipartisan opposition from US lawmakers and reluctance from European allies. On Saturday, Putin said those countries who have imposed will be considered fighters of the enemy. The US is discussing how to supply Polish Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine.
China’s new economic plan
China detailed a plan to expand its economy, labeling sustainability as its “top priority”. The changes come as national leader Xi Jinping looks to claim a new term in power.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic and global uncertainty over the war in Ukraine, China’s leaders tried to show confidence and calm. Russia’s aggression was also not mentioned in the annual government work report given on Saturday.
The implicit message appears to be that China may face European unrest – and focus on keeping its people satisfied and planned ahead of a Communist Party meeting in the fall, when Xi is certain to extend his time in power. Huh.
description: Beijing is calling for heavy government spending and lending. Both social welfare and education outlay are set to increase by about 10 per cent this year. China’s military budget will increase by 7.1 percent to about $229 billion – a sign that Beijing is preparing for an increasingly dangerous world.
domestic policy: The plan shows China is prioritizing economic growth with an expansion target of “about 5.5 percent” over domestic consumer spending. Beijing is trying to move the economy away from debt-ridden infrastructure and reliance on housing construction.
ISIS bombed Pakistani mosque
Islamic State’s regional ally, Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K, has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Shia mosque in Peshawar, northwest Pakistan. At least 63 people were killed and around 200 others were injured in the attack.
Pakistani police said on Saturday that they had identified the suicide bomber and the network behind the attack. Both ISIS-K and Pakistani security officials said the attacker was an Afghan national.
Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim terrorist group that views Shias as heretics, has claimed several previous attacks in Pakistan. It was the largest and deadliest ever and one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Pakistan in years.
Background: ISIS-K was formed in Afghanistan in 2015 and opened a Pakistan chapter in 2019. Security officials say the group continues to operate from Afghanistan, but has been displaced by the Afghan Taliban. Officials believe some 1,600 of its fighters fled when the Taliban captured a prison outside Kabul in August.
Other Bombings: Last fall, the group bombed Shia mosques in Afghanistan, killing and injuring dozens.
The new leadership of Auroville, an experimental Indian commune founded in 1968, wants to turn it into a utopian model city. Supported by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials are fighting residents who cherish their trees, tree houses and take-it-slow tradition.
Saturday Profile: A Texan bombing marries an Italian prince. Now, she’s fighting her sons for the crumbling Roman villa—listed in January for $531 million—where she lives after her death.
art and ideas
An Auden poem, in plain sight
Alyssa Gabert has been reading WH Auden’s 1938 poem “Musée des Beaux Arts” for more than 20 years. The poem is inspired by the painting “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
In Bruegel’s masterpiece, the plowman does not notice Icarus, who is half-submerged in the sea after falling from the sun. “The painting is a commentary on the sinister connection between meditation and disaster—as is poetry: something is only a disaster if we notice it,” writes Alyssa in a close reading of it for The Times.
“The message sounds simple enough,” she continues, “but the poem is full of rich, hidden details that you might miss if, like a farmer with his head down – or a distracted museum-goer – you would. Wasn’t looking at the edges.”
Then, Alyssa shows us those edges. She takes us through other hidden works referenced in the poem, before drilling into the structure of the piece. She puts the focus on suffering in context – despite her distinct tone, Auden wrote poetry while Europe was on the brink of war.
One tip: the article is best read on a desktop computer.
play, watch, eat
what to cook
That’s all for today’s briefing. see you next time. — Amelia
PS Sabrina Tavernis will join “The Daily” alongside Michael Barbaro as the show’s second host.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on the US Primary and Redistricting Fights.
You can reach out to Amelia and the team [email protected],
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