Your Monday briefing – New York Times

On a trip shrouded in secrecy, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin made a wartime trip to Kyiv, Ukraine, where President Volodymyr Zelensky called on them to provide more assistance in his nation’s struggle. against Russian attackers. Follow the latest updates.

Congress has already approved $13.6 billion in emergency spending related to the invasion, including for weapons, military supplies, and one of the largest inflows of U.S. foreign aid to any country in the past decade. Last week, President Biden announced an additional $ 800 million in military aid, including equipment to help fight Russia’s new focus on conquering eastern Ukraine.

Russia yesterday doubled its attack on the eastern port city of Mariupol, where a steel plant held by Ukrainian forces is under heavy attack, and where an estimated 120,000 people survive under what witnesses have described as barbaric conditions.

In other news from the war:

In the second round of France’s elections, President Emmanuel Macron defeated Marine Le Pen, his far-right challenger, by a margin of about 17 percentage points. In a solemn speech, Macron said it was a victory for “a more independent France and a stronger Europe.”

During the campaign, Le Pen was hostile to NATO, the United States and the European Union, as well as to the fundamental values ​​that no French citizen should be discriminated against because they are Muslims. Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the result of the election reflected “the mobilization of French people to preserve their values ​​and against a narrow vision of France.”

Le Pen, who admitted defeat, bitterly criticized Macron’s “brutal and violent methods” without explaining what she meant. She promised to fight on to secure a large number of representatives in the parliamentary elections in June.

Link: Since 2002, a French president has not been re-elected. Macron’s exceptional performance in securing five more years in power reflected his effective management over the Covid-19 crisis, his revival of the economy, and his political agility in occupying the entire center of the political spectrum.

Related: In the parliamentary elections in Slovenia, the preliminary results showed that the populist Prime Minister, Janez Jansa, had lost to her center rivals.

While the war is raging in Ukraine, governments across Africa, Asia and Latin America have refused to take sides and avoid the binary count of us-against-them that marked most of the post-World War II era, pointing to confidence in smaller countries. who are no longer dependent on a single ideological or economic protector, to go their own ways.

The current geopolitical landscape has often been compared to that of a new Cold War. While the main antagonists may be the same – the United States, Russia, and increasingly China – the roles played by much of the rest of the world have changed, reshaping a global order that lasted for more than three-quarters of a century.

In a UN referendum this month on suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council, dozens of countries abstained, including Thailand, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Singapore. More than half of the omissions were among African nations, many of which have received growing Chinese attention and investment. (The resolution succeeded anyway.)

Historical fidelity: Some U.S. allies have characterized their decision to diversify as a function of U.S. absence on vaccine diplomacy or trade. And Russia, which lacks both the protection money and the geopolitical influence of the Soviet Union, can not necessarily count on its former allies either.

The American youth year is undergoing a drastic change. Three decades ago, the most serious threats to public health against American teens came from alcohol, drunk driving, pregnancy and smoking. These problems have since been replaced by a new concern for public health: soaring rates of mental illness.

“We have to find out,” said Candice Odgers, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine. “Because it’s life or death for these children.”

It’s an open secret in Hollywood that book stylists suggest reading material that celebrities and influencers can wear – and be photographed with – in public. Fashion has also been looking at literature for inspiration lately: Last year, Dior presented models walking down a runway printed with Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” while Valentino tapped writers like Brit Bennett and David Sedaris to contribute to advertising campaigns.

Books have become “coveted signs of taste and self-expression,” Nick Haramis writes in T Magazine – though some critics have wondered if the books are just being used as props.

What about the authors? If books have become a version of the latest IT bag, it can only be good for business. “If you ask a writer, they want to read, but they also want to keep writing,” said Karah Preiss, who runs Belletrist, an online reading community, with actress Emma Roberts. “The bottom line for publishers is not ‘Was your book read?’ It is ‘Was your book sold?’ And well-known readers sell books. ”

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