Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times

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The White House said yesterday that it saw no current prospects for negotiations to end the war in Ukraine, even as President Biden faces new obstacles to keeping together the bipartisan, multinational coalition supporting the effort to drive out Russian invaders, as American midterm elections and a cold European winter loom.

Biden’s advisers have concluded that Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, remains committed to force and that Ukrainian leaders are unwilling to give ground after their recent battlefield victories. The Americans intend to defer to Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian leader, while trying to strengthen his position in any negotiations that may eventually occur, a top military official said.

Domestically, both progressive Democrats and Republicans have wavered on their support for more aid for Ukraine. And on the other side of the ocean, European allies are divided, with some former Soviet-bloc countries seeking a resounding defeat of Russia, while countries like Germany, France and Italy believe a full-scale Ukrainian victory is an unrealistic prospect.

Difference: Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz, the leaders of France and Germany, met yesterday to discuss a French-backed E.U. cap on natural gas prices that Germany has resisted, even as it subsidizes its citizens’ gas bills.

Just 26 of 193 countries that agreed last year to intensify their climate actions have followed through, pointing Earth toward a future marked by climate catastrophes, according to a new U.N. report. The world’s top two polluters, China and the U.S., have taken some action but have not pledged more this year, and climate negotiations between the two are frozen.

Without drastic reductions in emissions, the report said, the planet is on track to warm by an average of 2.1 to 2.9 degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels, by the end of the century — far higher than the goal of 1.5 degrees set by the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015.

In less than two weeks, nations will gather at U.N. climate talks in Egypt to discuss unfulfilled promises and take stock of the fight to stave off environmental catastrophe. But war in Europe, an international energy crisis, global inflation and political turmoil in countries like Britain and Brazil have distracted leaders and complicated cooperative efforts to tackle climate change.

A day of mourning for Mahsa Amini, the young woman whose death sparked a protest movement in Iran, was marred by violence yesterday as security forces attacked and shot at demonstrators in parts of the country, according to media reports, rights groups and videos posted on social media.

Security forces attacked protesters with tear gas, beat them with batons and in some places, like Tehran, Shiraz, Qazvin and Saghez, opened fire on them with pellets, paint and live bullets, videos showed. Some crowds in the capital fought back, chasing security forces and setting fire to their motorcycles.

In Shiraz, a southern city, state media reported that at least two gunmen opened fire into a crowd at the Shah Cheragh Mosque, a landmark tourist attraction, killing 15 people, including two children, and injuring 40. Government officials called it a terrorist attack by foreigners, and the Islamic State claimed responsibility.

Details: Large crowds in the streets clapped and defiantly chanted the mantras of the protesters: “Women, Life, Freedom” and “We will fight and take Iran back.” In the capital, Tehran, women tossed their head scarves onto bonfires in the street, shouting “Freedom! Freedom!” And in many places, the protesters condemned the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and chanted for his death and removal.

Madhur Jaffrey introduced Indian food to the West, starting with her first cookbook, “An Invitation to Indian Cooking,” which will be reissued next year on its 50th anniversary.

Now 89, “the original Spice Girl,” as she describes herself with a smile, continues to publish recipes.

Pierre Soulages was France’s pre-eminent postwar abstract painter, attracting attention for his explorations of the color black and somber-toned calligraphic works. He died at 102.

A Premier League soccer confronts a city’s links to slavery: Everton’s future stadium is being built on a dock named in honor of a man with a deeply troubling past.

England stars offer up a ‘life-changing’ story: Five years after England lifted the Under-17 World Cup, the players and staff recall the tournament and the emotions that came with it.

From The Times: Leaders in sport are wrestling with a problem that has no easy answer: How to stop punishing Russian and Belarusian athletes for the actions of their governments, and how to do it amid an escalating war.

Sudden noises, a shattered front window, clothes scattered about the house: Inexplicable, eerie encounters such as these have led many people to believe their home may be inhabited by someone or something that isn’t alive. In recent polls, nearly half of those surveyed said they had lived — or currently resided — in a haunted house.

Researchers attribute increasing belief in the supernatural to the rise of paranormal-related media, a decline in religious affiliation and the pandemic. With so many people believing that they live with ghosts, a new question arises: How does one live with ghosts?

Some people have managed their fear by speaking aloud — one person encourages his mystic roommates to “calm it down” when he feels uncomfortable — while others have sought to put a name to the presence they feel by placing a pendulum above a board with letters on it and asking the spirit to spell its name.

And for sellers, paranormal murmurings could also be a helpful marketing point. “Embracing a home’s haunted history may be a scary good seller strategy in the race to go viral,” said Amanda Pendleton, a home trends expert. “The more unusual a listing, the more page views it can generate.”

Read more about paranormal house guests.


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