Your Wednesday Briefing

President Volodymyr Zelensky addressing the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.Credit…Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Zelensky’s speech at the U.N.

Addressing the U.N. Security Council yesterday via a video link, Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, accused Russia of a litany of horrors and questioned whether a world body that takes no action to stop a war serves any purpose. Follow the latest updates.

A video provided by Zelensky’s government showed some of the hundreds of corpses found strewn around the city of Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, after Russian forces had retreated last week — bloated, charred bodies of civilians, including children. Some victims, their hands bound, had been shot in the head.

China refrained from criticizing Russia, saying that the Security Council should wait until investigations establish the facts in Ukraine. The divisions on the war appeared essentially unchanged since Feb. 26, when 11 of 15 Security Council members voted for a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion; Russia vetoed the measure, and three others abstained.

Quotable: “Where is the security that the Security Council needs to guarantee?” Zelensky said, raising the question of whether Russia deserved to keep its seat on the council. “Do you think that the time of international law is gone? If your answer is no, then you need to act immediately.”

Response: Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, reiterated his government’s claims — rebutted by ample evidence — that atrocities in Bucha had been faked or had not occurred while Russians held the city.

In other news from the war:

  • As many as 200 people are missing and presumed dead in Borodianka, a town northwest of Kyiv, after intense aerial bombing.

  • The E.U. is putting forward a fifth package of sanctions against Moscow, which would cut off Russian vessels from E.U. ports and target two of President Vladimir Putin’s daughters.

  • The U.S. blocked Russia’s access to dollars for bond payments, heightening its risk of default and endangering its international currency reserves.

Administering a second booster shot in Los Angeles.Credit…Alisha Jucevic for The New York Times

Second booster protects against Omicron but wanes fast

A second booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine provides additional short-term protection against Omicron infections and severe illness, according to a large new study from Israel focusing on adults ages 60 and over. But that protection against infection wanes after just four weeks and almost disappears after eight weeks.

Protection against severe illness did not ebb in the six weeks after the extra dose, but the follow-up period was too short to determine whether a second booster provided better long-term protection against severe disease than a single booster. The study did not provide data on the effectiveness of a second booster in younger populations.

The rapid spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant has intensified the discussion of whether second boosters are broadly necessary. A previous study from Israel found that older adults who received a second booster were 78 percent less likely to die of Covid-19 than those who had received just one — though scientists criticized its methodology.

Related: A top U.S. health official said she “really would encourage” second boosters for older people and many with chronic conditions.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other news:

  • South Africa ended its two-year “state of disaster” over the virus.

  • After days of widespread outcry, Shanghai officials will allow parents who test positive for the coronavirus to stay with their children if the children are also infected.

  • Britain’s health service has expanded its list of possible symptoms of coronavirus infection.

Waiting in line to enter a Converse store in New York last week.Credit…Gabby Jones for The New York Times

Why U.S. economists fear another recession

With hundreds of thousands of jobs being added each month and robust consumer spending, there is little sign that a recession is imminent in the U.S. But supply shortages and sky-high demand are testing the economy’s limits, leading forecasters to sharply lower their estimates of growth this year and to raise their estimates of the probability of a slowdown.

Amid the fastest-growing inflation in 40 years, policymakers at the Federal Reserve argue that they can cool off the economy and bring down inflation without driving up unemployment and causing a recession. But many economists are skeptical that the Fed can engineer such a “soft landing,” especially in a moment of such extreme global uncertainty.

Still, a majority of forecasters say a recession remains unlikely in the next year. Though last year’s explosive growth will probably not be repeated this year, corporate profits are strong, households have trillions in savings, and debt loads are low — all of which should provide a cushion against any slowdown, said Aneta Markowska, chief economist for Jefferies, an investment bank.

Analysis: “We have torn back toward normal at a really fast pace, and it would be unrealistic to think that could continue,” said Josh Bivens, the director of research at the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive research institute. Even slower wage growth, he said, wouldn’t worry him, as long as pay increases didn’t fall further behind inflation.

Covid-19: The pandemic remains a wild card. China has imposed strict regional lockdowns in recent weeks, and a new subvariant has led to a rise in case numbers in Europe. That could prolong supply-chain disruptions globally, even if the U.S. itself avoids another coronavirus wave.


Around the World

Credit… International Criminal Court/EPA, via Shutterstock
  • Two decades after a brutal campaign against a rebellion in the Darfur region of western Sudan displaced millions, the first and only war crimes trial related to it is underway in The Hague.

  • Peru’s increasingly isolated government is struggling to quell violent protests over rising costs that have swept the country in recent days.

  • Tornadoes battered the southern U.S., following a recent pattern of unpredictable weather in the region.

Other Big Stories

Credit…Pool photo by Patrick Pleul
  • Elon Musk will join Twitter’s board of directors after becoming the company’s largest shareholder.

  • Tiger Woods will return to golf’s greatest stage, the Masters Tournament, roughly 14 months after a car crash so devastating that doctors weighed amputating his right leg.

  • Canada introduced legislation that would require big tech companies like Google and Meta to pay Canadian news outlets for links to articles shared on the companies’ platforms.

What Else Is Happening

  • A tiny, black-freckled toad with an affinity for hot pools could halt a plan to build two power plants in the Nevada desert.

  • Two of Charles Darwin’s notebooks were anonymously returned to the Cambridge University Library, 22 years after they went missing. An attached note read: “Happy Easter.”

A Morning Read

Credit…Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Vito Giallo is a 91-year-old artist and quintessential New Yorker. Once an antiques dealer “to the who’s who,” including Elton John, Greta Garbo and Mark Rothko, he was a mainstay of New York’s midcentury art world.

“When I see something that I’m interested in, it’s some sort of vibration that you feel with the item,” he said. “I get a little thrill touching something that’s two or three hundred years old.”


Tiny love stories

The Times’s Modern Love series is a weekly column, a book, a podcast — and now, in its 17th year, a television show — about relationships, feelings, betrayals and revelations. For Modern Love in miniature, readers write stories of no more than 100 words. Here are excerpts from three to start your day with. Submit your own here.

Would she recognize him? I worried that our daughter, Sadie, just 7 months old, would not recognize her father after his long deployment. So I wove him into her day, draping photographs of him inside her crib, video chatting with him as often as his work schedule and her nap routine allowed.

Months later, at the airport, our eyes met across the terminal. We raced to each other, my heart beating hard. Moments after we reunited, Sadie lunged from my hip into her father’s arms. — Peyton Roberts

Going off script. Being in an abusive relationship is like acting in a play with an erratic director. If you break character (say, hang out with friends or move a houseplant without asking), they will make you pay.

So, every day, you get up and improvise to the best of your ability, all in service of upholding their narrative and avoiding their wrath. Until, perhaps, you decide to find a partner who will write a story with you, not for you. — Drew Lindgren

What lingers. Long before her diagnosis, my reliably cheerful friend turned sour. Pessimism and frustration darkened her world. Eventually, as words eluded her and her thinking grew disorganized, the diagnosis came: early dementia. Terrifying, yes, but naming her condition set her free.

Now, when I visit her in her assisted-living apartment, a smile lights her face. Complex sentences are out of her reach. Instead, she pours out pure love — telling me I’m wonderful, beautiful and smart. Her son says her happiness lasts for hours after our visits. — Elise Gibson


What to Cook

Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Chicken yassa coaxes deep flavor from a handful of simple ingredients.

What to Watch

The skateboarder Tony Hawk has originated over 100 skateboard tricks, according to a new documentary about his bumpy rise to fame.

What to Read

Rags-to-riches books by and about the ultrawealthy reveal some of the darkest American fantasies.

Now Time to Play

Play today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Forecast with a flake icon (four letters).

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. Farnaz Fassihi will be expanding her role as our next U.N. bureau chief while also helping The Times cover Iran.

The latest episode of “The Daily” covers how the war in Ukraine is creating a global food crisis.

You can reach Natasha and the team at

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