Your Wednesday briefing: Putin blames the US
We cover Putin’s comments on the Ukraine crisis and why the supply chain chaos isn’t likely to end soon.
Putin says US wants to push Russia into war
Addressing the Ukraine crisis for the first time since December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the United States was trying to drag Russia into an armed conflict over Ukraine that Russia did not want.
Speaking at a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday, Putin said the West had yet to meet Russia’s demands for security guarantees, but he hoped “the dialogue will continue.” The United States and NATO provided written responses to Russia’s requests last week.
“Their most important task is to contain the development of Russia,” he said of the United States. “Ukraine is only an instrument to achieve this goal. This can be done in different ways, for example by dragging us into an armed conflict and then forcing their allies in Europe to adopt these severe sanctions against us that are being discussed today in the United States.
Russia has amassed 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders and Putin has threatened to take unspecified action if Russia’s demands are not met.
Requests: The Kremlin wants NATO to promise not to expand east, to withdraw troops from Eastern European countries and to promise that Ukraine will never join NATO. U.S. and European officials dismissed those demands as non-starters.
Related: NATO countries trained and helped equip the Ukrainian army. But it still bears little resemblance to the type of sophisticated military that distinguishes NATO members.
This will require investment, technology and an overhaul of the incentives at play in global businesses. It will require more ships, additional warehouses and an influx of truckers, none of which can be staved off quickly or cheaply.
It could take months or years. “That’s unlikely to happen in 2022,” said Phil Levy, chief economist at Flexport, a San Francisco-based freight forwarding company. “My crystal ball gets cloudy further.”
Impact: Cheap and reliable shipping can no longer be taken for granted, forcing manufacturers to bring production closer to customers. The crisis has caused companies in various sectors to warn of delays or impacts on profits.
Big Picture: Last week, the International Monetary Fund cited supply chain issues among other factors as it lowered its global growth forecast for 2022 to 4.4% from 4.9%. Chaos in factories, ports and shipyards, combined with market dominance by big business, is a key driver of rising prices.
The latest hoarding trend: In many parts of the United States, there is little or no commercial warehouse space available to store goods as a safeguard against supply chain issues. Some companies sign agreements for new spaces long before construction begins.
In Denmark, mask mandates are no longer required. Nightclubs will reopen. And it will be up to businesses and venues to decide whether to continue to require customers to have health passes showing proof of vaccination or recent recovery from Covid.
And in Norway, working from home will no longer be compulsory and the cap of 10 visitors in private homes is ending, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere has said.
The Danish government has said it no longer considers Covid a “socially critical disease” – a designation that allows officials to impose business closures and mask mandates. The two countries are among the first European countries to drop pandemic restrictions in favor of treating the virus as endemic.
Quoteable: “Even though many more people are infected, fewer are hospitalized,” Stoere told a news conference. “We are well protected by vaccines.”
Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.
In other developments:
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Is it zhuzh or zhoosh?
When you fluff up pillows on your well-worn sofa, or roll up the sleeves of your shirt, or sprinkle spices on your morning eggs, you may be engaging in the art of “gaming.” Or is it “zhoosh”? Do this “zhuzh”.
Whatever its spelling, the word is used to express what is often hard to do: the act of adding something extra special, a bit of punch, to a dish, hairstyle, outfit or any number of things.
But where does it come from?
Theories abound online. A few bet on Yiddish. Others swear the term is of Romani origin, derived from the word “zhouzho”, which means clean or neat. And still others insist that it is an expressive formation, like “whoosh”.
The most interesting origin story is also the one with the most historical basis. According to Paul Baker, a linguist at Lancaster University in England, the word can be traced to Polari, “a secret form of language, used mainly by homosexuals, which flourished in the early 20th century” in Britain.
Jonathon Green, who has spent the past 40 years working on an online slang dictionary, cited the early use of the word – spelled “zhoosh” – in a 1977 article in the British newspaper Gay News: “We would like to zhoosh [‘fix’] our riahs [‘hair’].”
While the origins of “zhuzh” may be a little clearer, the jury is more divided than ever on how to spell it.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Melina
PS The Times bought the hugely popular game Wordle.
The latest episode of “The Daily” focuses on inflation in the United States
You can reach Melina and the team at [email protected].