Europe recalculates as Russia gains
As Russia advances in the east, European leaders are under mounting pressure to forge a cohesive strategy to outline what might constitute Ukrainian victory — or Russian defeat.
European leaders say that it is up to Ukraine to decide how and when to enter negotiations to end the war. They have all provided significant financial and military support to Ukraine, which has continued to press for more weapons.
But some European allies are increasingly nervous about a long war. They do not want to bring NATO into direct conflict with Russia — and they do not want to provoke President Vladimir Putin to use nuclear or chemical weapons. Here are recent updates.
Trump was ‘detached from reality’
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continued to conduct hearings yesterday. One after another, members of Donald Trump’s inner circle testified that they told the former president that his claims of widespread election fraud were bogus. But Trump pushed the lie anyway.
William Barr, the former attorney general, said in a recorded deposition that Trump had grown delusional. Barr said that in the weeks after the 2020 election, he repeatedly told Trump “how crazy some of these allegations were.”
Better Understand the Russia-Ukraine War
“He’s become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff,” Barr said, speaking of Trump. “There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.”
Resources: Here are four takeaways from yesterday’s hearings and five takeaways from the first day of hearings last week. The next hearing is scheduled for tomorrow at 10 a.m. Eastern (that’s 10 p.m. in Hong Kong).
Analysis: The committee is trying to make the case that Trump knew his claims of a fraudulent election were not true. Barr’s testimony suggests another explanation: Trump actually came to believe his own lies.
Finances: The committee said that Trump had used lies about fraud to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. The big lie was also a “big rip-off,” a committee member said.
Truckers in South Korea strike
A truck-driver strike in South Korea stretched into a seventh day yesterday, forcing the country’s manufacturers to scale back production and slowing traffic at its ports.
The union representing the truckers said it asked repeatedly for safer conditions and reasonable fares. The truckers are protesting surging fuel prices and demanding minimum pay guarantees, Reuters reported. One trucker told Reuters that he earns about $2,300 a month, and that his monthly fuel bill had increased by about $1,000 since April.
That strike is proving costly for South Korea’s economy and leading to widespread domestic delays: Over the first six days, it has resulted in production and shipment disruptions for automobiles, steel and petrochemicals worth 1.6 trillion won (about $1.25 billion), the government said.
Global context: The strike may further disrupt the battered global supply chain. But so far, The Associated Press reported, the country hasn’t reported any major disruption of key exports.
What’s next: Yesterday, the truckers said they may escalate disruptions if demands are not met, Reuters reported, including stopping shipments of coal to a power plant.
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Beijing is racing to control a coronavirus outbreak linked to a 24-hour bar, Reuters reported.
Chinese police arrested nine people on suspicion of assault after footage of an attack against women at a restaurant went viral, The Associated Press reported.
India’s economy is growing quickly: Exports are at record highs and profits of publicly traded companies have doubled. But India can’t produce enough jobs, a sign of its uneven growth and widening inequality.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Art as collective
Documenta, arguably the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary art, opens later this month in Kassel, Germany. It will run for 100 days and host nearly one million visitors.
Ruangrupa, a radical Indonesian creative collective, is directing the 15th edition of Documenta. The group has long spurned the idea of art as object, and instead turns social experiences into art.
For their sole solo gallery exhibition, ruangrupa threw a party and left the detritus as the exhibition. Some artists were skeptical it was art. “We told them: ‘You felt energetic and inspired. You met your friends. That’s the art,’” one member said.
At Documenta, they will work with 14 other collectives and their colleagues to experiment with the idea of the lumbung, the common rice store traditionally found in Indonesian villages, built and shared by everyone.
“It’s not just that they don’t create tangible objects, they don’t even create intangible experiences,” Samanth Subramanian writes in The Times Magazine, adding, “Instead of collaborating to make art, ruangrupa propagates the art of collaboration. It’s a collective that teaches collectivity.”