Prigozhin arrives in Belarus
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner mercenary group, arrived in Belarus yesterday, state media reported. The Russian authorities dropped criminal charges against him and his fighters after he called off an uprising over the weekend.
Russian state media reported that the Wagner group will hand over military equipment to the Army, though there were few details. It’s not clear how many Wagner fighters — Prigozhin recently said there were 25,000 — would agree to be placed under the Russian Army’s command.
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin sought to demonstrate control in a series of public appearances. During a rare outdoor speech on the Kremlin grounds, he thanked Russia’s military for having “essentially stopped a civil war.” He also vaguely warned of consequences for officials who helped Prigozhin enrich himself at Russia’s expense.
The deal: Russia had said that it would grant amnesty to Prigozhin and his fighters. Under a deal brokered by President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus, Prigozhin will live in exile there. Lukashenko said that he offered Wagner group members an “abandoned” military base in the country.
Will Americans let Biden ease U.S.-China tensions?
Polls show that Americans are starting to think about China as they once did about the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Between about 2000 and 2016, comparable shares of Americans viewed China favorably and unfavorably. That changed starting in 2018, with Donald Trump’s anti-China language and trade war. Today, most Americans view China as either unfriendly or an enemy.
Souring opinion could make it harder to mend ties and avoid conflict. The message Americans are getting from their leaders about China is profoundly negative. Public animosity, in turn, can incentivize leaders to speak and act aggressively, a hawkishness that journalists then communicate back to the public.
Quotable: “The conception at the macro level is that we are really in a serious competition,” a professor who studies international relations and public opinion said. “Now the public has followed. And it’s not like you can turn this ship around overnight.”
A glimpse of U.S. life without abortion access
The U.S. territory of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean is thousands of miles from the nearest state, and has no resident doctors who perform abortions. Now, a U.S. court ruling could make in-person doctor visits a requirement to obtain abortion pills, effectively cutting off the only legal way for most residents to end pregnancies.
The island could soon become an extreme example of what life under a near-total abortion ban would look like. More than a dozen states have already put such bans in place since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade a year ago.
But that ruling led to a seismic shift in public opinion: For the first time, polls show that most Americans say abortion is “morally acceptable,” believe the laws are too strict and are more likely to identify, in the language of polls, as “pro-choice.”
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Where generations have seen a sublime countryside in Ireland, ecologists see a man-made desert, cleared of most native species by close-grazing sheep that often pull grasses out by the roots. Now, a “rewilding” movement is trying to restore that biodiversity.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Tours for plus-size travelers
A small but growing number of companies in the U.S. are dedicated to size-inclusive travel, often targeting their services exclusively to women. The tours cost about the same as other group trips. Participants know that their companions understand their joys and their challenges, and they also know that events and meals have been planned with accessibility in mind.
“I gained weight during the pandemic, and I had been nervous about going abroad,” one traveler said. Instead of being anxious that people would be irritated by “that one fat lady on the trip,” she knew that she’d be with people who accepted her.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Amelia
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