Wednesday briefing: calls to free Ukraine’s grain exports

We are covering up the food crisis caused by the war in Ukraine and the unequal toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

World leaders have called for international involvement to free 20 million tons of grain currently trapped in Ukraine, while fears of a global food crisis grow.

Some Western officials, including Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, have accused Russia of arming the crisis by confiscating Ukraine’s grain stocks and agricultural machinery, bombing grain warehouses, and trapping Ukrainian merchant ships carrying grain. and sunflower seeds in the Black Sea.

The EU is now considering alternative routes and methods, such as the one in which a flotilla escorted by ships from non-NATO countries would attempt to break the Russian blockade off Odesa. But doing so would risk a wider confrontation with Russia.

On the ground: The Russian army hammered into civilian areas in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk, killing four civilians. A city on the riverSievierdonetsk is central to the control of the wider Donbas region.

displayed: The objectives of the Russian invasion continue to shrink. But his exhausted army still fails to make much progress and time is on Ukraine’s side. Check out ours Maps showing the progress of the war.

refugees: The British government has opened a program to offer Ukrainian refugees a quick path to safety. But although tens of thousands of Brits have expressed interest in hosting, the launch was painfully slow.

Literature: that’s how The greatest Ukrainian novelist he is fighting for his country.

On the eve of a summit between the United States, Australia, India and Japan – the so-called Quad – President Biden’s vote to defend Taiwan from the Chinese attack has left allied leaders in a difficult position as they tried to avoid further antagonizing Beijing.

Biden’s comments posed a particular challenge for Australia’s new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, who was elevated to office over the weekend. Albanian should have pursued a closer relationship with China than his country under his predecessor, and his foreign minister has sharply criticized suggestions that Australia would follow the United States in any war on Taiwan.

At the summit on Tuesday, Biden tried to moderate his comments, saying his administration had not abandoned the “strategic ambiguity” about Taiwan long embraced by the United States. Asked if he would send troops if China attacked Taiwan, Biden said, “The policy hasn’t changed entirely.”

Answer: Quad leaders tried to build consensus where they could. The blockade issued a statement calling for “peace and stability” in Ukraine and announced initiatives on cybersecurity, space, vaccine distribution and a data-sharing partnership to monitor shipping routes in the South China Sea..

Globally, many poorer and developing countries have suffered far more deaths above normal levels than rich ones in 2020 and 2021, according to data released by WHO that aim to measure the true toll of the pandemic. .

Although most rich countries have relatively older populations, they have also had access to the lion’s share of life-saving supplies such as vaccines, antiviral treatments, masks and test kits. Some of the countries with the largest increases in mortality rates during the first two years of the pandemic were those in the upper-middle income groups: Ecuador (50% above normal), Mexico (around 40% above normal). normal) and Peru (97 percent higher than normal).

Some rich countries have also experienced significant peaks in deaths. In the United States, deaths were 15% above normal, a number only exceeded by four other large high-income countries: Chile, the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania.

for more, read the full report.

Global scale: According to the report, about 13% more people worldwide, or about 15 million more people, died than expected in the first two years of the pandemic.

As the United States experiences the largest migration wave at the southwestern border in decades – 8,200 crossings per day – it is increasingly relying on an informal pipeline of shelters to provide meals, places to cool off or sleep, legal aid and medical assistance to migrants, many of whom are seeking asylum.

Live theater has an energy unmatched by digital performances and this season of Broadway is no exception. The Times has chosen five current productions with designs “that would lose something essential if you tried to put them in front of the camera” and spoke to their designers.

The sets have an extraordinary level of detail that deserves a closer look. In “Plaza Suite”, Designer John Lee Beatty tried to be loyal to the Plaza Hotel, but removed some real-life objects that didn’t match his image. “Like plastic trash cans,” he said. “In fact, I invented an official ‘Plaza Suite’ trash can with his logo on it.”

For Adam Rigg, who designed the set for “The skin of our teeth”, It’s about making people want to be part of the furniture. “This desire to get up and enter this space is, I think, fascinating at a time when all we do is sit and stare at the screens,” she said.