Your Thursday Briefing: Zelensky at the White House

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President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine met with President Biden at the White House during his first trip outside Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in February. The visit amounts to a daring show of solidarity with Ukraine’s most powerful ally and its largest foreign supplier of weapons.

Sitting next to Biden in the Oval Office, Zelensky spoke in English and expressed “all my appreciations, from my heart, from the heart of Ukrainians — all Ukrainians” for the U.S. support. Biden told Zelensky that the Ukrainian people “inspire the world.”

Zelensky will deliver an address to a joint session of Congress later in the day in which he will again express gratitude but stress that Ukraine still needs more powerful weapons, according to Ukrainian politicians. Follow our updates.

The U.S. announced a new aid package of $1.8 billion that includes a Patriot missile battery, the most advanced U.S. ground-based air defense system. The Patriot could help Ukraine defend against Russian missile and drone attacks that have targeted its energy infrastructure. In military circles, the Patriot is viewed as a security blanket, protection from incoming fire.

In his first three years as president, Donald Trump paid $1.1 million in federal income taxes, according to tax data released by a U.S. House committee. But by the end of his term, he reported large losses and paid no taxes in 2020.

Trump began his presidency experiencing the sort of large business losses that had defined much of his career. His fortunes turned in 2018, as he reported $24.3 million in adjusted gross income, largely because he sold properties or investments.

He also reported a gain in 2019, but in 2020, as the U.S. staggered under the coronavirus pandemic, his finances reversed course: Trump reported a loss of $4.8 million and paid zero income tax.

Details: During his presidency, the entirety of his core businesses — mostly real estate, golf courses and hotels — continued to report losses every year, totaling $60 million.

Context: The committee’s vote to release Trump’s taxes was the culmination of a yearslong battle. Trump had broken with tradition by keeping his finances confidential during his campaign and while in office.

Delayed audit: The House committee also said that the I.R.S. failed to audit Trump during his first two years in office, despite a program that makes the auditing of sitting presidents mandatory.

Background: In 2020, The Times released findings of an investigation into his tax-return data that showed years of tax avoidance.

The Taliban have barred women from attending universities, another sign that Afghanistan’s government has all but reinstituted its hard-line rule from the 1990s. In recent weeks, the Taliban government has reinstated Shariah law, with public beatings and one execution.

The latest move is another blow to young women, many of whom were raised in an era of relative opportunity. They have seen their rights disappear since the Taliban took power last year.

The restrictions are also likely to threaten the influx of badly needed aid to Afghanistan, which has kept the country from the brink of famine as it grapples with economic collapse.

Reaction: “I have no more hope or motivation left,” a 22-year-old said. “If being a girl is a sin, and I was born a girl, it is not my fault.”

Border tensions: Pakistan’s military raided a detention center near Afghanistan after Pakistani Taliban militants held there took hostages to try to break out. There has been a recent resurgence in violence from the militants.

A photograph taken in 1931 of a menorah framed in a window with a Nazi flag hanging across the street has resonated with people around the world. This year, the photographer’s descendants and the menorah returned to Germany for Hanukkah, 90 years after her family fled the Nazis.

After decades of lobbying and research, several governments and museums are returning art and artifacts to the countries from which they were taken.

This week, Germany returned 20 Benin Bronzes to Nigeria and many more are expected to come back to Nigeria next year — an outcome that had seemed far-fetched just five years ago. As in other European countries, the subject of restitution had largely been ignored in Germany, until recently. The about-face has mainly been driven by a changing social consensus about the ethics of holding on to such items.

In recent months, museums across the U.S. have repatriated artifacts such as precious terra cotta figures to Italy and antiquities to Cambodia. U.S. authorities have made the repatriation of cultural heritage a diplomatic priority, and many museums are complying with directives.

Last week, Pope Francis said he would return three pieces of the Parthenon from the Vatican Museums to Greece, a move that increases pressure on the British Museum, which holds the Parthenon Marbles. Greece has lobbied for their return for decades, but the museum’s chair of trustees seems to be unwavering.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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