Your Wednesday briefing: Zelensky addressed the UN

Hello. We cover President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech at the UN, a change in the controversial Covid family policy in Shanghai, and political tensions ahead of the French presidential election.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a fiery speech to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, a day after visiting Bucha, where images of civilian bodies surfaced following Russia’s withdrawal.

Zelensky said more than 300 people were tortured and killed in the city north of kyiv and soldiers raped women in front of children. He lamented the organization’s inability to stop the bloodshed: “Where is the Security Council? He asked. “It is obvious that the world’s key institution for protecting peace cannot function effectively.” Follow live updates here.

His speech came as the EU moved to ban imports of Russian coal and the bloc said it was working to ban Russian oil soon. But energy remains a tense issue: Germany, the EU’s biggest economy, is heavily dependent on Russian energy and cannot simply pull the plug.

The war moves east as Russia turns its attention to regions ruled by separatist governments in Donetsk and Luhansk. Military analysts said supply problems and falling morale had hampered Russia’s progress and that the “next crucial battle” would take place in the eastern city of Sloviansk.

The context: It was almost certain that the Security Council would not agree on any measure against the Kremlin: Russia and its ally China have a right of veto.

State of the war:

  • As many as 200 people are missing and presumed dead in Borodyanka, a town northwest of kyiv, after intense aerial bombardment.

  • Residents of Nova Bashan, about 60 miles east of kyiv, described beatings and mock executions as part of a month-long occupation.


  • The EU is proposing a fifth sanctions package against Moscow, which would cut off Russian ships from EU ports and target two of President Vladimir Putin’s daughters.

  • The United States has blocked Russia’s access to dollars for bond payments, increasing its risk of default and putting its international currency reserves at risk.

Other developments:

In a U-turn, Shanghai officials will allow parents who test positive for the coronavirus to stay with their children who have also tested positive. These families will be sent to centralized isolation facilities.

But parents who test negative will still be separated from their infected children, authorities said, citing China’s national virus control guidelines.

The policy change follows days of widespread outcry and fury online: Photos and videos began circulating of crying young children in a Shanghai hospital. Some photos showed several children sharing a crib in what appeared to be a hospital hallway. Many said the response to the virus was worse than the virus itself.

Officials called the response a clarification of their parental guidance policy, but the hospital acknowledged that the photos and video were real and did not deny that Covid-positive families were separated.

Reaction: Many Weibo users were left unappeased, sharing their frustrations under a hashtag seen over 80 million times.

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

  • After two years, South Africa ended its national “state of disaster” over the virus.

  • US senators have dropped a proposal for $5 billion in global funding for vaccines from a coronavirus aid package that is now focused on the domestic response.

The February death of a Jewish man, Jérémy Cohen, became a political flashpoint days before French citizens headed to the polls to vote in Sunday’s presidential elections.

The death was initially reported as an accident – Cohen, 31, died after being hit by a streetcar. But this week a new video surfaced showing Cohen running through the lanes of a Parisian suburb to escape a violent assault by a group of young men.

The video raised suspicions that an anti-Semitic attack had precipitated his death, which some see as a symbol of the problems facing France. Far-right politicians have been the most vocal; Éric Zemmour, an anti-immigrant expert whose campaign was recently cut short, brushed off the unknowns, using the incident to portray France as a crime-ridden country.

Context: In 2017, weeks before President Emmanuel Macron was elected, a man threw a 65-year-old Jewish woman named Sarah Halimi out of a window. The drawn-out affair has exacerbated long-standing concerns among French Jewry that authorities are downplaying or mishandling attacks on Jews.

And after: Macron is expected to pass the first round of voting, but the latest polls show his lead in a possible runoff against far-right leader Marine Le Pen is shrinking and his promises to revitalize the industrial zones have not yet materialized. .

The context: Zemmour is Jewish, although his rise – propelled by attempts to rehabilitate France’s Vichy regime, which collaborated with the Nazis during World War II – has divided France’s Jewish community.

Every spring and autumn, swirling flocks of starlings fill the skies over southern Denmark, an event known locally as the “soil spell” or “black sun”. Photographer Søren Solkær captured the transfixing patterns.

Many common educational strategies are based on the idea that, in the classroom, challenge is something to be embraced.

This may seem wrong when students are reeling from two years of pandemic learning and isolation from their peers. But a lot Educators and scientists say that as students now seek to restore academic confidence, it is crucial that parents and teachers step back when learning gets difficult and be explicit that the challenge offers rewards.

Often, educators provide students with strategies to reframe difficult tasks and feel comfortable with a little discomfort. “The answer is not to take away the challenge, but to give more tools to meet the challenge,” said a Stanford psychology professor.

Some educators speak of a “learning pit,” a visual metaphor devised by a teacher in a former mining town in northern England for an imaginary place pupils go to when the subject becomes difficult. A student may say to the teacher, “I’m in trouble with this” – something easier for a child to admit than “I don’t understand”. And a teacher can prepare students to “enter the pit”, as if it were a caving adventure.

This 35-minute sabut masoor dal recipe makes a comforting meal in about half the time of traditional dal.

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