Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times

Europe’s attempt to stand up to Russia and Vladimir Putin, its president, has been slowed down by Viktor Orban and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the strong leaders of Hungary and Turkey. As the war continues, tensions mount. Peace talks seem to have gone nowhere, and Western sanctions are adding to economic pain and high inflation, both domestically and in Russia. Follow the latest updates from the war.

Erdogan yesterday blocked a procedural vote to move NATO forward quickly with Sweden and Finland’s membership applications. And Orban continues to block the EU embargo on Russian oil. While the pair are outliers in their organizations, they use the need for consensus to allay their political concerns.

But the delay may be temporary: Sauli Niinisto, the president of Finland, said yesterday that the Turks “have informed us from many sources that Turkey will not block membership”. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made a similar statement on Turkey’s intentions on Sunday.

The frontside: Doctors in eastern Ukraine choose to amputate limbs rather than repair them in a desperate attempt to save lives.

The global economy is entering a potentially grim period as rising costs, shortages of food and other goods and the war in Ukraine threaten to slow economic growth. Policymakers continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, including clogged supply chains and lockdowns in China.

G7 finance ministers will meet this week in Bonn, Germany, to find ways to avoid a slowdown as they continue to put pressure on Russia for its war in Ukraine. The economic challenges could threaten the united front of the West against Moscow, including its efforts to reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

Central banks are starting to raise interest rates to curb rapid inflation, moves that will dampen economic growth by raising borrowing costs and could lead to higher unemployment. Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, last week signaled a possible hike in interest rates in July, which would be the ECB’s first such move in more than a decade.

US markets: Shares fell sharply on Wednesday after shrinking profits from major retailers rekindled Wall Street fears of high inflation. The S&P 500 fell 4 percent, the biggest drop since June 2020 and the fourth drop of more than 3 percent in less than a month.

Beware of the bear: During the pandemic, an estimated 20 million people started trading independently. As the stocks plummet, some change their strategies, while others get out.

According to a new analysis of tens of thousands of private insurance claims, about 76 percent of Americans diagnosed with Covid were not sick long enough to be hospitalized for their first infection. The results paint a sobering picture of the severe and ongoing impact of Covid on people’s health and the US healthcare system.

Lung Covid, a complex constellation of ongoing or new post-infection symptoms that can last for months or longer, has become one of the pandemic’s most terrifying legacies. The new study adds to growing evidence that people with mild or moderate initial infections may still experience debilitating symptoms later on.

While two-thirds of patients had pre-existing health problems on their records, nearly a third had none. More than three quarters of the patients in the study were infected in 2021, most in the last half of the year. On average, four and a half months after their infection, patients still had long-lasting Covid symptoms that qualified for diagnosis.

By the numbers: Nearly 35 percent of patients were between 36 and 50 years old, while nearly a third were between 51 and 64 years old and 17 percent were between 23 and 35 years old. Children were also affected: Nearly 4 percent of patients were 12 years old or younger, while nearly 7 percent were between 13 and 22 years old.

In other pandemic news:

A husband who commits matricide will almost certainly become a prime suspect, novelist Nancy Brophy wrote in a 2011 blog post titled “How to Murder Your Husband.” The woman, she said, must therefore be “organized, ruthless and very smart.”

Seven years later, one sunny June morning, her husband, Daniel, was brutally murdered. At first, the police regarded Brophy as a grieving husband who only seemed to want to help with their investigation. But over time, researchers said, the evidence against her began to pile up.

In 2017, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus ended their 146th anniversary. The nostalgic circus faced dwindling sales and a growing public distaste for the exotic animal acts — lions, tigers and elephants — that were once synonymous with its show. The company announced yesterday that it would return in 2023, without animals, Sarah Maslin Nir reports.

The revamped show will focus on narrative and human performance – not unlike Cirque du Soleil. Ringling has even hired Giulio Scatola, a Cirque du Soleil veteran, to direct the new production. Scatola said he was influenced by “America’s Got Talent,” where the participants’ stories are as important as their art.

The company’s business model was in need of an update anyway: touring the country with a crew of 500 people and 100 animals on miles of trains, as it did for more than a century, costs a lot. The circus has since sold those trains and performers will drive or fly from city to city and stay in hotels. Logistics is much easier if you don’t have to check in in Dumbo anymore.

Go behind the scenes at auditions for the Las Vegas show.


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