Your Tuesday Briefing: Beijing’s Fight against Lockdowns
Good morning. We’re covering the reopening of a mass-isolation center in Beijing, the evacuation of Ukrainian civilians from Mariupol and the forced closure of Rohingya schools in Bangladesh.
Since the beginning of March, Shanghai has reported more than 550,000 cases. Credit…The New York Times
A mass isolation center reopens
Beijing reopened the Xiaotangshan hospital, which has more than 1,000 beds, after recording a few hundred cases in recent weeks. On Monday, officials announced 50 new cases in the city of 22 million, down from the 59 reported on Sunday.
The move appears to be aimed at avoiding the fate of Shanghai, where weeks of confinement have fueled anger and anxiety about the cost of China’s “zero-Covid” strategy. Residents who have spent time in mass isolation or quarantine centers there described piles of garbage, nonstop floodlights and a serious lack of shower facilities.
Response: Officials in Beijing, who are under immense pressure to quickly stamp out outbreaks, have placed a temporary ban on dining in restaurants, closed schools indefinitely and ordered residents to show proof of a negative test within the past week to enter public spaces, including public transportation.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
New York City entered a higher risk level as case numbers rise.
Cases are surging again in South Africa, a spike linked to two Omicron subvariants.
Evacuees arrive from Mariupol
The first large-scale evacuation of civilians from Mariupol, Ukraine, continued as buses of shellshocked residents arrived in Zaporizhzhia, a city 140 miles to the northwest.
Ukrainian officials vowed to sustain the effort despite early-morning shelling in Mariupol. One evacuee said the city’s residents “are starting to talk of suicide because they’re stuck in this situation.”
On Monday, Western leaders were also working to put their promises of aid to Ukraine into action. In Brussels, E.U. ministers were discussing an urgent transition away from Russian energy sources. In Washington, senators prepared to take up President Biden’s $33 billion aid package. Here’s the latest.
Loss: Russian forces killed Iryna Abramova’s husband on the street in Bucha. “The Russians were sitting on the curb, drinking water from plastic bottles, just watching me,” she said. “They didn’t say anything, they didn’t show any emotion. They were like an audience at the theater.”
Escape: Ukrainians are being forced into “filtration” centers in Russian-controlled territory, part of a system of forced expulsions. Two sisters recounted the journey and their escape.
Food supply: Ukraine has limited its exports of sunflower oil, leading to shortages. Dozens of other countries have also erected trade barriers to secure commodities for their citizens, which experts say could worsen a global food crisis.
A British intelligence agency said that a quarter of Russia’s invasion units are now “combat ineffective,” Western analysts described increasing disarray among the forces and a Pentagon official said Russia’s strategy in the east was “anemic” and “plodding.”
Long lines are forming at Ukraine’s gas stations, a possible sign of a coming fuel crisis.
Israel’s prime minister condemned comments by the Russian foreign minister as antisemitic.
A Russian oligarch criticized Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. Retribution was swift.
Bangladesh shuts Rohingya schools
More than 30 community-run schools, which served tens of thousands of Rohingya children, have been forced to close in recent months.
In December, Bangladeshi authorities began a crackdown on these schools. They said the schools were illegal, but did not try to provide any alternatives — and did not remove the prohibition on the Rohingya attending local schools outside the country’s refugee camps.
The closings have come amid efforts by the government to tighten control of the camps. Last month, authorities destroyed thousands of shops there, according to Human Rights Watch. Many believe that Bangladeshi authorities feared the schools would encourage refugees to stay permanently.
Many parents say that, on the contrary, they want to return to Myanmar and believe Rohingya-run schools will prepare their children for the transition. “I fear that he will forget what he learned,” the mother of a sixth grader said. “If he doesn’t go to school, he will never be able to change his fate.”
Background: More than 700,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar since 2017 to escape the state-led persecution that the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing.
Details: About half the population of the densely crowded refugee camps are younger than 18; UNICEF says about 400,000 school-age children live there.
THE LATEST NEWS
Spain said that Israeli-made Pegasus spyware breached cellphones used by its prime minister and defense minister.
E.U. regulators said that Apple had violated antitrust laws by undercutting PayPal and other Apple Pay competitors.
Rights groups have widely criticized the U.K.’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
Troubled by worker abuse and human rights issues, some World Cup sponsors are distancing themselves from the host nation of Qatar.
Left-leaning and young voters have soured on President Biden. As the midterms loom, Democratic leaders are divided on how to respond.
A 45-year-old Chinese immigrant, who worked as a delivery man, was fatally shot on Sunday in New York City. The police are investigating the possibility that he had been targeted because of his Asian ethnicity.
What Else Is Happening
The modern pentathlon is swapping its equestrian portion for an obstacle course, after claims of animal abuse.
Elon Musk’s plan to buy Twitter breaks the usual financial rules for such deals.
A new study suggests that Anglo-Saxon kings ate a mostly plant-based diet, gorging on mutton and beef only at sporadic feasts.
Ireland is giving people room on census forms to leave messages or drawings, which will be kept as “time capsules” to be opened in 100 years.
A Morning Read
The Fox News host Tucker Carlson built what might be the most racist show in the history of cable news while embracing Trumpism without Trump, a Times investigation found. Here are six takeaways and an analysis of 1,150 episodes of his show.
Russia-Ukraine War: Key Developments
Mariupol evacuation. Ukrainian officials vowed to continue a large-scale evacuation from Mariupol, despite renewed Russian shelling. The evacuation is seen as the best and possibly last hope for hundreds of civilians sheltering in bunkers beneath the wreckage of the Azovstal steel plant.
On the ground. Moscow sent its highest-ranking uniformed officer to the front line in eastern Ukraine in an effort to “change the course” of Russia’s flagging offensive, U.S. and Ukrainian officials said. A British intelligence agency said that the Russian losses in the war have been staggering.
Western pledges. U.S. and European leaders are working to put their aggressive promises of aid to Ukraine into action. In Brussels, European Union energy ministers discussed moving away from Russian energy sources, while in Washington, the Senate will take up President Biden’s $33 billion aid package.
Pelosi’s visit. Days after becoming the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Kyiv, Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Poland’s president in Warsaw and said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine merits the “strongest possible military response, the strongest sanctions.”
ARTS AND IDEAS
They’re all good dogs
Researchers conducted owner surveys for 18,385 dogs and sequenced the genomes of 2,155 dogs. They found that breed is essentially useless for predicting a dog’s behavior.
One of the clearest findings is that breed has no discernible effect on a dog’s reactions to something new or strange. This behavior is what a nonscientist may see as innate aggression and would seem to cast doubt on breed stereotypes of aggressive dogs.
So, Labrador retrievers are not necessarily lovers; pit bulls aren’t predisposed to fight, though they did score high on human sociability.
This is not to say that there are no differences among breeds or that breed can’t predict some things; on average, breed accounts for about 9 percent of the variations in the behavior of any given pup. But the genes that shape dog behavior predate modern breeding, which mostly focuses on appearance. Looks appear to matter less than we think.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
You should really broil your salmon. While you’re at it, add a zingy herb salad and some chewy asparagus.
What to Read
Watch out for these 14 new books coming in May, including a new English translation of Mieko Kawakami’s “All the Lovers in the Night,” a biography of Anna Wintour and Elif Batuman’s sequel to “The Idiot.”
What to Watch
The Met Gala’s red carpet will open today at 5:30 p.m. Eastern, as some of the world’s most powerful creatives dress to this year’s theme: gilded glamour. Here’s a guide to the event.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Thumbs-down votes (four letters).
And here’s today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Amelia
P.S. Astead Herndon, a political reporter and regular guest-host of “The Daily,” will lead a new politics show.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on the revival of union membership in the U.S.
You can reach Amelia and the team at [email protected].