Your Monday Briefing: A U.K. Accusation

your monday briefing a u k accusation scaled

Good morning. We’re covering reports of Russia’s positioning in Ukraine, Beijing’s hard-line Olympic strategy and miserable conditions at a Chinese tire factory in Serbia. Britain accuses Russia of Ukraine plot The British government said that the Kremlin appeared to be developing plans to install a pro-Moscow leader in Ukraine. The highly unusual public statement, backed by U.S. officials, comes at a pivotal moment in high-stakes negotiations. Moscow has deployed more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders that could, according to American officials, attack anytime. According to the assessment, Russian planners…

The Biden doctrine: Ukraine gaffe sums up mixed year of foreign policy

Joe Biden marked his first anniversary in office with a gaffe over Ukraine that undid weeks of disciplined messaging and diplomatic preparation. The president’s suggestion that a “minor incursion” by Russia might split Nato over how to respond sent the White House into frantic damage limitation mode. Officials insisted Biden had been referring to cyber attacks and paramilitary activities and not Russian troops crossing the border. That failed to entirely calm nerves in Kyiv and other European capitals, especially as Biden also raised eyebrows by predicting that Vladimir Putin would…

Your Monday Briefing: Omicron Evades Many Vaccines

your monday briefing omicron evades many vaccines scaled

Good morning. We’re covering the latest Omicron news, the Hong Kong elections and a Times investigation into civilian casualties from U.S. airstrikes. Omicron outstrips many vaccines A growing body of preliminary research suggests most Covid vaccines offer almost no defense against infection from the highly contagious Omicron variant. The only vaccines that appear to be effective against infections are those made by Pfizer and Moderna, reinforced by a booster, which are not widely available around the world. Other vaccines — including those from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and vaccines manufactured…

Your Friday Briefing

your friday briefing scaled

Good morning. We’re covering booster shots in France, Peng Shuai’s piercing accusations in China and the Pakistani madrasa that has educated many Taliban leaders. A French rush for boosters Thousands rushed to book appointments for coronavirus booster shots on Thursday after the French government said that health passes would soon no longer be valid without them. Amid a surge in new cases and rising hospitalizations, the government made all adults eligible for booster shots starting this weekend. The health minister, Olivier Véran, said that over 400,000 vaccination appointments had been…

C.I.A. Admits to Losing Informants

c i a admits to losing informants

The warning, according to those who have read it, was primarily aimed at front line agency officers, the people involved most directly in the recruiting and vetting of sources. The cable reminded C.I.A. case officers to focus not just on recruiting sources, but also on security issues including vetting informants and evading adversarial intelligence services. Among the reasons for the cable, according to people familiar with the document, was to prod C.I.A. case officers to think about steps they can take on their own to do a better job managing…

Freed From Guantánamo, but Still in Limbo 15 Years Later

freed from guantanamo but still in limbo 15 years later

TIRANA, Albania — Accused by the United States military of being a terrorist in league with the Taliban, a devout Muslim man from western China spent four years imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay before being cleared and then dumped in Albania 15 years ago. Still stranded in a country he did not know existed until he was sent there, the man, Abu Bakker Qassim, 51, has a word of warning for the hundreds of Afghans who have fled their country over the past month and followed his path to one of…

In Biden’s Foreign Policy, Friends and Foes Claim Echoes of Trump

in bidens foreign policy friends and foes claim echoes of trump

They include Mr. Biden’s continuation of Trump-era trade tariffs, which Democrats roundly denounced before Mr. Biden took office but his officials quickly came to see as a source of leverage in their dealings with China. Similarly, Iranian officials complain bitterly that Mr. Biden has not lifted any of the numerous economic sanctions that Mr. Trump imposed after he withdrew from the nuclear deal. Early in Mr. Biden’s presidency, some European allies urged the administration to lift some of those restrictions as a way to jump-start nuclear talks, but Biden officials…

Afghan Uyghurs Fear Taliban Will Deport Them to China

afghan uyghurs fear taliban will deport them to china

Ibrahim’s parents fled political turmoil in China for Afghanistan more than 50 years ago. At that time, Mao Zedong had unleashed the Cultural Revolution, and life was upended for many Uyghurs, the mostly Muslim ethnic group in Xinjiang that included Ibrahim’s parents. Ibrahim was born in Afghanistan. But now he, too, is trying to escape the clutches of Chinese authoritarianism. He and his family have been afraid to leave their home in Afghanistan since the Taliban, the country’s new rulers, took control last month, venturing outside only to buy essentials.…

The Sharp U.S. Pivot to Asia Is Throwing Europe Off Balance

the sharp u s pivot to asia is throwing europe off balance

There are deeper questions about America’s future reliability as a security partner, especially if the conflict with China turns kinetic, which is part of Mr. Macron’s argument, Mr. Lesser acknowledged. “For all the U.S. commitment to Europe, if things go wrong in the Indo-Pacific, that would change the force structure in Europe pretty fast.” In Poland, a strong American ally in the European Union and NATO, the reaction to the new alliance was more positive, focusing not on a pivot away from Europe “but on the U.S., with the British…

How Afghanistan Changed China’s Taiwan Calculus

how afghanistan changed chinas taiwan calculus

The U.S. policy toward Taiwan is “strategic ambiguity” — there is no explicit promise to defend it from Chinese attack. In this tense environment, U.S. policymakers and experts are feverishly considering ways to make U.S. commitment to Taiwan more credible and enhance overall military deterrence against China. A recent $750 million arms sale proposal to Taiwan is part of these efforts, as is talk of inviting Taiwan to a democracy summit, which undoubtedly would provoke Beijing’s ire. Some have argued that America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan undermines efforts to signal U.S.…

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