Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times

After weeks of shelling and bombing, until yesterday morning, Russia gave Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol time to lay down their weapons or be “eliminated”. When Ukrainian officials vowed not to surrender, Russian forces intensified their attack on the southeastern city, including the Azovstal steel mill near the port of Mariupol. Follow the latest updates.

The factory has become Ukraine’s last line of defense to prevent Russia from securing a strategically important land bridge between its stronghold in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials said yesterday that the battle for Mariupol was not over and that its forces would “fight to the end,” said Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

Taking Mariupol would be one of Russia’s first major victories in recent weeks, a period in which it withdrew from the area around Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, and lost one of its most important warships, the Moskva. The sinking of the Moskva provoked strong reactions in some corners of the Russian news media, calling for harsh retaliation.

By the numbers: It was unclear how many Ukrainian troops were still fighting in Mariupol. Russian officials said there were 2,500 soldiers aligned with Ukraine at the steel plant, including “400 foreign mercenaries”. Ukrainian officials say the number of Russian troops is six to one greater than the number of Ukrainian troops in the city.

In other news from the war:


Israel’s government crisis worsened last night when the small Islamist party Raam announced a freeze on its participation in the coalition. The decision came after Israeli police, trying to prevent contact between Muslims and Jews, blocked Muslim worshipers from entering the Aqsa Mosque complex for hours. View images of the collisions.

The decision has no immediate impact on the government but has the potential to send Israel to its fifth election in three years if the party chooses to make it permanent. The move highlights the frayed tightrope that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett must walk to keep his ideologically diverse coalition together.

Over the past week, Israeli forces have invaded towns and cities in the West Bank in response to recent Palestinian attacks in Israel that killed a total of 14 people. Palestinians say the operation amounts to collective punishment and will only further fuel the cycle of hatred and bloodshed. Israelis say it is a crucial effort to fight terrorism.

Profile: Wassim Razzouk is a Palestinian Christian tattoo artist whose salon is located in the Old City of Jerusalem, which has long been a melting pot of friction in the region. “I’ve tattooed Christians, Palestinians, Ethiopians, Israelis — believe it or not, I’ve tattooed an Orthodox Jew with side locks,” he said.

From Jerusalem: For the first time since 1991, Passover, Easter and Ramadan coincide, increasing the religious synergies and tensions that have defined Jerusalem for millennia. Read a message from our Jerusalem bureau chief, Patrick Kingsley.


After World War II, the right to seek asylum was seen as both a moral and a practical necessity to rebuild fragmented societies for the common good. But the Western powers that championed this ideal have steadily eroded it in recent years, reaching a new extreme last week when the British government announced a plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Europe’s apparent double standards – as its governments welcome Ukrainians but continue to ban migrants from the Middle East – has mostly exposed the unwritten norms of the global refugee system. Britain’s own policies show how this system, once viewed as an obligation, is now treated as de facto voluntary, writes Max Fisher in The Interpreter column.

Yet Britain did not invent the practice of confining refugees and asylum seekers in distant facilities. European governments have been paying foreign despots and warlords to detain migrants on their behalf for years. And the US pioneered the practice in 1991, when it diverted boats full of Haitians to Guantánamo Bay.

citable: “It’s pretty daring to offer housing to Ukrainians within a month and then announce that you’re sending all the other migrants 4,000 miles away,” said Stephanie Schwartz, a researcher in migration policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

More than 50 years after the death of Otis Redding Jr. his wife, Zelma Redding, has no plans to remarry. “That will never happen,” she said. “I love being Mrs. Otis Redding. I’m the only one.”

What does politics have to do with classical music? The argument comes up time and again when artists are scrutinized for their involvement in current affairs. Most recently, musicians whose ties to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, have been questioned.

Still, playing or listening to classical music has never been an apolitical act, according to Emily Richmond Pollock of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Kira Thurman of the University of Michigan.

The idea that it could be apolitical flourished in the aftermath of World War II, they write in The Times, thanks in part to the process of denazification, the Allied initiative to purge German-speaking Europe of the political, social and cultural influence of the Nazis.

Almost all working Austrian and German musicians were involved in the Third Reich. Many ordinary performers were required to join Nazi organizations in order to remain in service, and the correlation of such membership with ideological commitment was often ambiguous. And the fact that classical music was the industry they worked in doesn’t mean they transcended politics.

Learn about the complex relationship between politics and classical music.

The latest episode of “The Daily” centers on a Supreme Court case brought by an inmate who spent decades in solitary confinement.

You can reach Natasha and the team at briefing@nytimes.com

SOURCE – www.nytimes.com

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