Your Tuesday Briefing: The Fight for Mariupol

Good morning. We’re talking about the ongoing destruction of Mariupol, Ukraine, the search for survivors in a Chinese plane crash, and the lifting of Covid restrictions in Hong Kong.

Ukraine rejected Russia’s demand that soldiers defending Mariupol surrender at dawn on Monday. Attempts to reach hundreds of thousands of people detained there remained fraught with peril as Russian forces escalated the attacks.

“My city is dying a painful death,” wrote one survivor after she escaped. “I died with it for twenty days. I was in hell.”

A powerful blast also shook Kiev on Monday, reducing a sprawling shopping center to rubble. A Times reporter saw six dead bodies covered in plastic there, while rescuers fought fires and pulled more victims from the wreckage. Here are live updates.

context: After nearly a month of fighting, the war has reached a stalemate. Russia is turning to deadlier and more blunt methods, including targeting civilians, as it loses troops and equipment that would limit its ability to mount offensives.

Resistance: About two million people who remain in Kiev are excited by a renewed unity. In the old city of Lviv, simple rituals have taken on a new and sometimes surreal meaning.

Diplomacy: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky draws on the history of other countries’ struggles to rally support, appealing to the civil rights movement for US lawmakers and the fall of the Berlin Wall for the Germans. Our chief fashion critic also analyzed his most famous piece of clothing: the olive green T-shirt.

Other updates:

A passenger plane with 132 people on board crashed Monday afternoon in the Guangxi region, a mountainous area in southern China. It was unclear if any of the crew and passengers survived.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced Monday that the city would lift the ban on flights from nine countries on April 1 and shorten quarantine times for vaccinated residents returning from abroad from 14 days to seven.

Experts and government officials said the worst wave of an Omicron-powered wave could be over and residents are more at risk of infection from community broadcasts than from imported cases.

But while the new measures remain some of the strictest in the world, Hong Kong’s approach appears to be slightly different from that of mainland China, where Shanghai and Shenzhen remain in lockdown.

Background: For most of the pandemic, Hong Kong has cut itself off from the rest of the world, forcing travelers to quarantine in a hotel for three weeks.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

Other updates:

world news

Just over half a century ago, there were only about three dozen red-crowned cranes in all of Japan. Thanks to the work of conservators, there are now 1,900, but few scientists think they could survive without human food.

The long-running Eurovision Song Contest pits countries against each other for pop supremacy. Acts like ABBA (Sweden), Celine Dion (Switzerland) and Julio Iglesias (Spain) were once competitors.

Now the US wants to recreate some of the Eurovision magic with ‘American Song Contest’ hosted by Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg. Here’s an introduction.

Do I know one of the songs? No, they must be new, although participants do not have to write their own stuff.

Who competes? The contest has 56 entries. Jewel (who grew up yodeling in the famously harsh conditions in Alaska), Michael Bolton (Connecticut), and Sisqó (Maryland) are among the famous names.

Eurovision has some crazy performances† Will this version? “The cliché of one is the truth of another,” said an executive producer. “Some of them are self-conscious, some are not.” — Sanam Yar, a morning writer

What to cook?

pad Thai is Thailand’s national dish and easy for the home cook. Abroad, it is part of the Thai restaurant canon.


The founders of Mejdi Tours believe that travel can be a force for peace.

what to watch

Charlotte Gainsbourg makes her directorial debut in ‘Jane by Charlotte’, an elusive portrait of her mother, the French-English star Jane Birkin.


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