Remembrance against a backdrop of war
Despite the World War II commemorations in most of Europe yesterday and in Russia today, there is no indication that the war in Ukraine is anywhere near ending. In the 77 years since the end of World War II, the possibility of a broad conflagration in Europe has seldom seemed more plausible. Follow the latest updates.
In Moscow, fighter jets streaked across the sky yesterday and nuclear weapons were put on display in preparation for Victory Day, the celebration of the Soviet defeat of the Nazis. Orchestrating the celebrations, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, appeared determined to double down on the war in Ukraine until he could conjure something that might be claimed as victory. Russian forces have continued their bombardment of Ukrainian towns and villages.
In a statement, leaders of G7 nations recalled the devastation of World War II and its millions of victims, including those from the Soviet Union, and signaled their unrelenting support for Ukraine. “We remain united in our resolve that President Putin must not win his war against Ukraine,” they said. The statement did not mention diplomacy or a cease-fire.
Divestment: Leaders of the world’s wealthiest democracies pledged to cut off the purchase of Russian oil.
Inequity in the global fight against Covid-19
Global health agencies and the Biden administration are working to bring coronavirus tests and expensive antiviral pills to low- and middle-income nations, the next step in a global pandemic response that has focused largely on vaccinations. But the effort faces obstacles and inequities similar to the difficulties of the H.I.V. epidemic.
Rich nations, including the U.S., have gobbled up much of the supply of antiviral pills and tests. In middle-income countries, generic alternatives have been limited by drug companies trying to protect their patents. Just 20 percent of the 5.7 billion tests conducted globally have been in low- and middle-income nations. Low-income countries, which lack money to buy the tests and where demand has dropped, account for less than 1 percent of the testing.
Paxlovid, the more powerful of the two Covid antiviral pills approved by U.S. health officials, is so plentiful in the U.S. that pharmacies struggle to use up their supplies. The W.H.O. recently issued a “strong recommendation” that the drug be given to patients at high risk of hospitalization and called for its “wide geographic distribution.”
U.S. push: At his second international Covid-19 summit this week, President Biden will call on wealthy nations to donate a total of $3 billion to purchase Covid treatments and oxygen supplies for poorer countries. But refusals from Senate Republicans to authorize funding may mean he shows up at his own summit empty-handed.
Time bomb: “We all expect a major new surge from Omicron or a new variant in the global south from June to September, and if that happens, we are not going to be ready,” said Dr. Bill Rodriguez, who runs the testing arm of the ACT Accelerator, the consortium based in Geneva that is coordinating the global response.
Taliban order women to cover up
The Taliban decreed on Saturday that women must cover themselves from head to toe in public. The move expands a series of onerous Taliban restrictions on women that dictate nearly every aspect of public life, including their employment, education, travel and deportment.
A burqa is the preferred garment, but the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — which replaced the previous government’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs — did not mandate burqas as long as women otherwise cover themselves with a hijab.
Male family heads who do not heed warnings regarding women’s attire could face a jail sentence, termination of employment or even an appearance in front of a religious court. The relatively few women still permitted to hold jobs could be fired if they fail to cover themselves in public.
History: The Taliban required the burqa, which leaves only a woman’s hands and feet visible and includes a stitched facial netting for vision, when it ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
Eid: For many Afghans, the end of Ramadan showed the dissonance between the promise of peace many had imagined and the realities of the end of the war.
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This messy table is a map of the world.
Dive inside “Still Life With a Gilt Cup,” painted in 1635 by Willem Claesz Heda, and ponder such questions as: Can something be real and an illusion at the same time? Why has this meal of oysters been so suddenly interrupted? And is this world we live in really anything beyond a bunch of random stuff?
For sale: A $200 million ‘Marilyn’
This evening, a 1964 silk-screen by Andy Warhol, “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn,” is estimated to sell at Christie’s for about $200 million, potentially surpassing the record for a 20th-century work of art sold at auction, the $179.4 million paid in 2015 for Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’).”
In kicking off the spring auction season in New York, the event tonight is widely viewed as a bellwether for the two weeks of sales ahead, as well as an indicator of the wider health of an international art market still emerging from the pandemic. Can top quality trophies continue to command high prices, even in a world facing uncertainty and instability?
“There’s been a huge amount held back for two years, and there’s a huge amount of pent-up demand from new clients,” said Philip Hoffman, an art adviser. “Everyone was waiting for the right moment, and the right moment has come.”
Nevertheless, the pool of buyers who can afford to spend more than $100 million for a painting remains small. And with a surfeit of blue-chip art coming up for sale over the next two weeks, it is still unclear whether there is a sufficient population of wealthy collectors who can absorb that much big-ticket material.
For more: If Warhol seems particularly ubiquitous right now, that’s because he is: on the big screen, in museums and in the streets.
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