Your Tuesday briefing: Russia bombed Kyiv

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Your Tuesday briefing: Russia bombed Kyiv

Good morning. We’re covering Russia’s bombing of Kyiv and China’s effort to contain the biggest coronavirus outbreak since Wuhan.

Russia launched a flurry of artillery strikes on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, as its offensive broke out in the third week. The attacks followed days of fighting in the city’s suburbs, and the Kremlin insisted that “all plans” for the invasion be carried out. Follow our live updates.

In Kyiv, a missile attack hit a nine-story apartment building on Monday, severely damaging the structure and killing at least two people. “We don’t have any military targets with us,” resident Yuri Yurchik, 30, told The Times. “We didn’t think we’d be a target ourselves.”

Military experts have warned that the battle for Kyiv could be ready and decisive. Some estimate that it may take two weeks for Russian forces to surround Ukraine’s capital and at least a month of bloody, disastrous fighting to capture the city.

Russian and Ukrainian officials concluded a meeting with little sign of progress. Had to talk again today.

China is battling its biggest surge of infections since the coronavirus first emerged more than two years ago. The government is rushing to implement strict containment measures, but the continuing outbreak in two-thirds of the country’s provinces is the toughest test yet of its “Covid zero” policies.

Global commerce may soon take a hit. Many of China’s biggest factory cities have ordered lockdowns or new restrictions, halting production of Toyota cars and Apple phones.

Shenzhen, the center of China’s tech sector and one of the world’s largest ports, imposed a lockdown for a week but limited movement to the most essential. Last spring, an outbreak there halted port operations and caused a massive increase in global shipping rates that pushed up the prices of imported goods.

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Reference: The Omicron variant is fueling the outbreak. China has a very high vaccination rate, except for the elderly, and more than half of infected people do not have symptoms. China has comparatively fewer intensive care hospital beds than most industrialized countries, and rural hospitals in particular can quickly become overwhelmed.

Lockdown: Officials in response to a single case sealed the entrance to a store, office building or even convention center, trapping everyone inside for several days until they were tested and, if If their results are positive, they are sent to isolation.

Hong Kong: In southern China in particular, many reacted, blaming nearby Hong Kong, where a pandemic has overwhelmed hospitals and morgues. The city has said it does not have the testing capacity to carry out a strict mainland strategy.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • One study estimated that there were 720,000 fewer dengue cases globally in the first year of the pandemic due to restrictions on movement.

  • Moderna is expected to send preliminary data to US officials this week on how well its vaccine works in young children.

  • Barack Obama tested positive for the coronavirus, but said he is “feeling fine.”

In January, a family of four died trying to enter the US from Canada. They were just 15 meters away from the border.

Jagdish Patel, 39, and his wife Vaishali, 37, were teachers in the Indian state of Gujarat until Covid-19 closed schools there. With few options, he traveled to Canada on a visa and paid for trafficking in the US with his 11-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

Despite blizzard warnings, smugglers dropped a group of migrants, including family, about five miles (eight kilometers) from the border. As the group trampled from knee-to-groin-deep snow to a state of whitewash for 11 hours, the temperature approached -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 Celsius), and Patel separated from the group.

Reference: As the US tightens controls on its southern border, hundreds of migrants a year are trying their luck from Canada, where the border is less strong.

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Background: In Gujarat, which has a long history of immigration to the US, smuggling enterprises masquerade as travel agencies.

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Cambodia has been open to foreign tourists for months, but the pandemic continues to hit tourism. Angkor Wat’s sprawling temple complex is almost empty until the crowds return, which is usually the peak tourist season. “When you hold one of the wonders of the world to yourself, you can’t help but feel a little special,” said one visitor.

Deforestation is an attractive opportunity for brands looking to increase their climate credibility and strengthen their sustainability record. One tree planted for every T-shirt purchased. Each bottle of wine is sold. For every swipe of credit card.

Trees can slow climate change by giving off planet-warming carbon dioxide. But companies and countries often plant commercial, non-native species in their reforestation projects, which may instead worsen the problems they were meant to solve.

Those trees will hold carbon—all trees do—but they provide little support for the web of life that once thrived in those areas. This can reduce biodiversity and threaten water supplies, accelerate extinction and make ecosystems much less resilient. “You’re basically creating a sterile landscape,” said one conservationist.

According to restoration experts, best efforts try to meet many needs, but reconciling competing interests can be difficult. It involves many players. Some advocate large plantations for carbon storage and wood. Others call for providing fruit trees to small-scale farmers. And some say it is best to allow native species to reproduce.

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