Tuesday Briefing


One day after declaring victory in a performative election, President Vladimir Putin signaled that the war against Ukraine would continue to dominate his rule and called for bringing the people of eastern Ukraine “back to their home family.”

The display of nationalistic fervor yesterday, before a crowd of thousands in Moscow’s Red Square, came after a three-day election whose outcome was never in doubt. Putin’s three puppet opponents praised him at the event, in front of a crowd made up partly of government workers, students and others who had been given tickets.

The authorities said Putin had won more than 87 percent of the vote. For the most part, Russians do appear publicly supportive of Putin, though they have been given no real alternative. But many are also concerned about higher taxes and greater repression and are very worried about another military draft, as Putin doubles down on his invasion.

During his speech, Putin raised the prospect of a “security zone” on Ukrainian territory that Russia does not yet control. Analysts believe that such a buffer zone would involve capturing parts of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, which could require a new draft.

Gambian lawmakers voted to advance a measure revoking a ban on female genital cutting, a move that human rights experts, lawyers and campaigners for women’s and girls’ rights said would undo decades of work aimed at ending the practice.

Cutting, a centuries-old ritual tied up in ideas of sexual purity, obedience and control that many supporters regard as an important religious obligation, takes different forms. Internationally recognized as a gross violation of human rights, it frequently leads to serious health issues, like infections, hemorrhages and severe pain, and it is a leading cause of death in the countries where it is practiced.

If the bill passes the final stages, which analysts said was likely, the small West African nation would be the first in the world to roll back protections against cutting, raising fears that other countries could follow suit.

The food shortage in the Gaza Strip has become so severe that “famine is imminent” and the enclave could see “a major acceleration of deaths and malnutrition,” according to a report from a global authority on food security and nutrition.

The severe shortages of food and other basic goods underscore the desperation in Gaza after five months of Israeli bombardment and a near-total blockade. An Israeli government spokesman said the report had not taken recent humanitarian initiatives into account.

More about the war in Gaza:

People in the Philippines crowd internet cafes to play games that reward players with cryptocurrency tokens.

Playing the games can become a full-time job, or can supplement the incomes of farmers and other workers. But cryptocurrency is still a risky business, and players run the risk of scams or a crash like the one that devastated crypto markets two years ago.

Lives lived: Thomas Stafford pioneered cooperation in space when he commanded the American capsule that linked up with a Soviet spaceship in July 1975. He died at 93.

Buy low, drink up: On some nights, prices at a London pub fluctuate like the stock market, part of a rise in bar games that some call “competitive socializing.”

Nonagenarian powder days: The Wild old Bunch, more than 100 skiers who are well on in years, often hit the slopes at a resort in Alta, Utah, where everyone over 80 skis for free.

Manchester United 4, Liverpool 3: Amad Diallo seals the incredible comeback in an F.A. Cup classic.

28 straight wins: Is the Saudi Arabian team Al Hilal’s run really a world record?

Time to dominate: Scottie Scheffler is ready to rule the PGA Tour.

For Shakira, 2022 was a year of heartbreak and personal upheaval. The Colombian pop star broke up with the father of her two sons; her father was hospitalized after a fall, and later needed brain surgery; and last November, she had to pay more than $8 million to settle charges of tax evasion.

None of that stopped Shakira from releasing her first album since 2017, “Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran” (“Women No Longer Cry”), due Friday.

“All but one of its tracks deal with romantic ups and (mostly) downs, honed into crisp, tuneful pop structures,” our critic writes.

“If life gives you lemons, you make lemonade,” Shakira said in an interview. “That’s what I did with this album — use my own creativity to process my frustration and my anger and my sadness. I transmuted or transformed pain into productivity.”

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