World

Your Tuesday Briefing

A missile hit a tire-fitting plant in Lviv, Ukraine, on Monday.Credit…Finbarr O’Reilly for The New York Times

Russia strikes eastern Ukraine

Russian forces launched a ground assault along a nearly 300-mile front in eastern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian officials, after hitting the country with one of the most intense missile barrages in weeks. Follow the latest updates.

At least seven people were killed in Lviv, a western city that had been a refuge for fleeing civilians, barely 50 miles from Poland. Russia also claimed to have carried out 300 other missile and artillery strikes, mainly in the east, in what appeared to be a campaign to terrorize the population and intimidate Ukraine’s military before a new ground offensive in the Donbas region.

In the coastal city of Mariupol, Russian forces also appeared to be finally seizing the entire port, where outnumbered Ukrainian fighters defied demands to lay down their weapons at a vast steel plant that has become a kind of industrial Alamo. The city is the last obstacle to Russia’s drive to secure a “land bridge” to the peninsula of Crimea.

Effects: The intensified attacks came amid signs that international sanctions were beginning to choke Russia’s economy. Moscow’s mayor warned that 200,000 people risked losing their jobs in the capital alone, while the head of the central bank warned that the effects of Russia’s isolation were just starting to be felt.

In other news from the war:

  • Ukrainian troops appear to have used cluster munitions in a village that they were trying to retake from Russian forces, based on evidence reviewed by The Times.

  • The U.S. will soon begin training Ukrainian troops to operate the powerful howitzers that the Pentagon is sending.

  • A Russian Orthodox leader has cast the war as a holy struggle to protect Russia, driving some believers away from the church.


VoltStorage, based in Germany, is developing new battery technology. It is facing a funding gap.Credit…Lena Mucha for The New York Times

Europe’s bumpy energy transition

As Europe aims to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, some companies in the renewable energy sector are facing a frustrating reality that threatens to undercut Europe’s plans and poses a wider challenge in the global fight against climate change: a lack of money to finish the job.

After getting initial start-up money or grants, businesses are struggling to raise funds for larger projects needed to complete the transition from carbon-spewing sources of energy. The funding gap means that Europeans face further energy shortages and rising costs or the prospect of falling short of the bloc’s ambitious climate targets.

Attracting private investors, who may be seduced by cryptocurrencies or start-ups that deliver groceries and beer, is tough. Of the $106 billion invested by venture capitalists in European start-ups last year, just 4 percent went into energy investments, according to PitchBook.

Forecasts: Solutions are available if given a financial boost, experts said. Almost half the reductions in emissions to meet net-zero targets by 2050 will come from technologies currently in their infancy.

War in Ukraine: The conflict has made Europe’s energy transition even more urgent, as the E.U. moves away from Russian fossil fuels. While some of that supply will be made up by imports from other countries, such as the U.S. and Qatar, expanding domestic renewable energy capacity is a critical pillar to this plan.


A safety video aboard an airplane in New York last year.Credit…Justin Lane/EPA, via Shutterstock

Mask mandate struck down by federal judge

A federal judge in Florida struck down a nationwide mask requirement on airplanes, trains, buses and other public transportation yesterday, less than a week after health officials had extended the mandate through May 3. Decisions on masks will now be left to the discretion of individual airlines and local transit agencies.

By the end of yesterday, the nation’s largest airlines had dropped their mask requirements for domestic flights. The Amtrak rail system said passengers and employees would no longer have to wear masks.

A Biden administration official said that the administration was still reviewing the decision and assessing whether to appeal it, and that health officials still recommended masks in enclosed public transportation settings. To what extent local transportation agencies would seek to keep their mandates in place remained unclear.

In other pandemic updates:

  • China’s “zero Covid” measures are inflicting a grim toll on the world’s second-largest economy.

  • The White House plans to co-host a second global Covid-19 summit next month, a gathering intended to build momentum for vaccine donations.

  • Officials in Shanghai said some residents might have to live at their work places even after the city lifts a citywide lockdown.

  • Philadelphia, the sixth-largest city in the U.S., reinstated its indoor mask mandate in response to sharply rising numbers of new coronavirus cases.

THE LATEST NEWS

News From the U.S.

Credit…Charles Krupa/Associated Press
  • Peres Jepchirchir, left, and Evans Chebet, both of Kenya, won the women’s and men’s races in the Boston Marathon. Here are the highlights.

  • Lawyers for Donald Trump are still trying to decertify the 2020 election based on the lie that the former president had won.

  • Ford plans to introduce an electric F-150 pickup truck that could determine the automaker’s survival in an industry dominated by Tesla.

  • Deaths among the homeless in the U.S. have risen as the population has aged, and the cumulative toll of living and sleeping outdoors has shortened lives.

  • Infowars and two other companies affiliated with the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones filed for bankruptcy.

Around the World

Credit…Dan Balilty for The New York Times
  • Militants in Gaza fired a rocket for the first time in months, days after clashes in and around the Aqsa Mosque compound, a sacred site in Jerusalem for both Muslims and Jews. Israel’s air defense system, as seen last year, intercepted the rocket.

  • Toronto’s marijuana shops have flourished during the pandemic, changing the character of an iconic neighborhood.

  • Sunday’s runoff vote in the French election will hinge to a large extent on perceptions of the economy, amid worries about widening economic insecurity and the surging cost of living.

What Else Is Happening

  • The World Bank lowered its forecast for global economic growth this year, citing the war in Ukraine, inflation and the lingering effects of the pandemic.

  • The private equity firm Apollo Global Management is considering participating in a bid for Twitter by offering debt financing to potential buyers, including Elon Musk.

A Morning Read

Credit…Photo illustration by Bráulio Amado

Julia Roberts is one of those few actors who have achieved a stardom that never really fades: She’s always up there in the pop-culture firmament, flashing that famous smile. But while Roberts may not have changed, Hollywood has.

“What I’ve learned is that you always want to do what you’re not doing,” she said. “Whenever I’m in a comedy, I think I just want to be at a table with a cup of tea sobbing over something. Then you’re doing that, and you think, Oh to be wearing a pretty dress and laughing.”

ARTS AND IDEAS

A creativity problem

We look up to great artists, scientists and inventors. Or do we? The new science of implicit bias suggests we may talk a good game about admiring creativity, but many of us are suspicious of it. Subconsciously, we may see creativity as disturbing.

“People actually have strong associations between the concept of creativity and other negative associations like vomit and poison,” said Jack Goncalo, a business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Goncalo has looked at what spurs or hinders creators in studies. One main conclusion: Often, people’s subconscious views of creativity reflect a fear of change or uncertainty. Creativity disrupts, without the certainty of desirable results.

“We have an implicit belief the status quo is safe,” said Jennifer Mueller, a professor of management at the University of San Diego. “Leaders will say, ‘We’re innovative,’ and employees say, ‘Here’s an idea,’ and the idea goes nowhere,” she added. “Then employees are angry.”

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook

Credit…Julia Gartland for The New York Times (Photography and Styling)

Embrace spring with this jumble of orzo, asparagus, garlicky bread crumbs, herbs and Parmesan.

Wellness

The pandemic has been hard on our feet. Here’s what’s plaguing them and how to avoid it.

What to Watch

In “A Very British Scandal,” Claire Foy plays a duchess whose sex life became the subject of salacious tabloid stories.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Shell for a sea snail (five letters).

And here’s today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.


That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha

P.S. Meet the inaugural class of our Diverse Crossword Constructor fellowship.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about student loans.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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