Ukraine, Covid tests, football: your Monday night briefing
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Good evening. Here is the last Monday at the end of the day.
1. Russia downplayed speculation that it was preparing to invade Ukraine as his security talks with the United States continued.
“There is no reason to fear some sort of escalation scenario,” Sergei Ryabkov, Russian deputy foreign minister, told reporters after a meeting between American and Russian diplomats.
Senior U.S. diplomat Wendy Sherman said the United States has rejected Russian demands not to admit Ukraine into NATO and that the alliance end its security cooperation with the United States. Ukraine.
“Today was a discussion, a better understanding of each other and each other’s priorities,” Sherman said. “It was not what we would call a negotiation.”
Sherman added that the United States was ready to discuss reciprocal limitations on military exercises, the location of intermediate-range missiles and the relaunch of a nuclear forces treaty abandoned in 2019. Here are the latest updates. .
2. Authorities find out more about Bronx apartment fire which killed 17 people, including eight children.
The fire was started yesterday by a faulty radiator in the bedroom of a third-floor apartment. Firefighters said the apartment door did not close properly when residents fled, allowing smoke to quickly spread throughout the building.
The fire was mainly contained in the apartment with the radiator and in an adjacent hallway. But the thick smoke reached all 19 floors of the building, causing all the deaths and serious injuries associated with the blaze, none of which appear to have been caused by burns. About fifteen people remained in critical condition on Monday.
Here are the latest updates and how to help Survivors.
3. Americans privately insured can now get up to eight free home coronavirus tests each month.
Under the policy announced by the Biden administration, people who provide their insurance information will be able to obtain the tests free of charge at certain pharmacies. In other cases, they will have to file claims for reimbursement with their insurers.
The policy does not apply to tests that have already been purchased, and it does not apply to people with public health coverage like Medicare and Medicaid.
The administration plans to offer half a billion free home tests through a website and is rushing to fulfill that commitment with a series of testing contracts with companies already in possession of tests or with manufacturers producing them. More details are expected in the coming days.
In other virus news:
An Australian judge has ordered the release of Novak Djokovic. The release of the unvaccinated tennis star, however, does not guarantee that he will be able to play at the Australian Open next week.
Robert Durst, the real estate scion who was convicted of murder in September, has died aged 78. Durst tested positive for Covid-19 last year, and his lawyer said the virus made Durst’s medical problems worse.
Uganda has reopened its schools after the world’s longest Covid shutdown.
Germany braced for more protests as vaccine rules were tightened across Europe.
4. Mike Pence is in a high stakes dance with the January 6th committee.
As the House panel investigating the Jan.6 assault on Capitol Hill focuses on Donald Trump’s role, the outcome of the investigation increasingly appears to depend on one potential witness: the former Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence’s attorney and the panel had informal discussions about voluntary cooperation. But in recent weeks, he has reportedly been increasingly disappointed with the idea. Pence told staff the committee took a strong partisan turn in openly considering the potential for criminal referrals to the Justice Department over Trump and others.
Pence’s testimony would be an opportunity to establish – in detail and for the first time from him under oath – how Trump’s pressure on him to block President Biden’s certification of victory brought the country to the brink. of a constitutional crisis. But if Pence refuses to participate and is subpoenaed, it would set up a potential legal battle that could delay a resolution for months.
Separately, Representative Jim Jordan, a close ally of Trump, announced that he refused to cooperate with the committee.
5. 2021 was the fifth hottest year on Earth on record.
According to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, the European Union program that carried out the analysis, the hottest seven years since about 1850 were, by far, the last seven.
One of the main reasons for the drop in average temperature in 2021 was the presence of La Niña conditions at the start of the year. But that was made up for by the heat in the United States and Europe, which had their hottest summers.
Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States rebounded in 2021 – increasing 6% after a record 10% drop in 2020.
6. The Haitian Prime Minister had close ties to a suspect in the murder of the President of the country.
The evidence against Ariel Henry, the head of government, centers on his connection to Joseph Felix Badio, a former Justice Department official. Phone records seen by The Times, as well as interviews with Haitian officials and a prime suspect, reveal potentially incriminating details.
Among them: Badio spoke to Henry before and after the murder, including two calls the morning after the murder; and after Badio was already wanted by the police, he visited Henry twice, unhindered by the security guards.
Henry’s phone calls with Badio were first disclosed in September by then-Haitian senior prosecutor Bedford Claude. Henry quickly objected to officials who attempted to investigate the links, sacking both Claude and his supervisor.
7. A sick man had a genetically modified pig’s heart.
In a development that could radically transform the outlook for people with failed organs, a 57-year-old man with life-threatening heart disease received a new heart from a genetically engineered pig, the first successful heart transplant pig in a human.
The man from Maryland would have died if he hadn’t received a new heart, and he was too sick to receive a heart from a human donor. Its long-term prognosis remains to be seen, but the critical first 48 hours passed without incident.
“I wasn’t sure he understood me,” the man’s doctor said, describing when he proposed the procedure. “Then he said, ‘Well, am I going to crack? “”
8. College football crowns a champion tonight.
No.1-seeded Alabama dominated No.3 Georgia in the Southeastern Conference Championship game. If the Crimson Tide win again, it will be coach Nick Saban’s seventh national title in Alabama; if Georgia succeeds in upsetting, this will be the moment when coach Kirby Smart finally takes the victory over his long eluded former boss.
Georgia’s best bet might be Brock Bowers, her first-year tight end – a fast athlete who represents years of evolution in the role. Here’s what to watch out for.
9. The world has changed. Here is where to visit.
“52 Places,” our annual list of global destinations, examines places where visitors can be part of the solution to issues like overtourism and climate change. It highlights where endangered wildlands are preserved, endangered species are protected, historic wrongs are recognized and fragile communities are strengthened.
10. And finally, the island of Rum receives fresh blood.
The remote island of the Scottish Hebrides has no doctors, only one shop and the nearest pub is 10 miles by boat. It also has four new families who have withstood the torrential rains and biting flies, bringing its population to around 40.
Just a few years ago, this isolated outpost numbered less than two dozen people. Thus, the islanders, largely outnumbered by the deer, called on newcomers to apply to join them.
Out of around 400 applications deemed serious, four couples were selected, most of them with young children. Newcomers seem to have embraced Rum’s tranquility but, with so few people, social interactions can be intense. “We always say in some ways it’s not far enough away,” one new resident joked.
Have a quiet evening.
Bryan denton photos compiled for this briefing.