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Your Tuesday Briefing – The New York Times

President Biden indicated at a press conference in Japan yesterday that he would use military force to defend Taiwan if ever attacked by China, removing the “strategic ambiguity” traditionally fostered by US presidents and charting a firmer line at a time of rising tensions in the region.

Responding to a reporter who asked if the United States would be “willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if that were to happen,” Biden simply said yes. “That’s the commitment we made,” he added. The statement set the stage for further tensions between the United States and China, which insists that Taiwan is part of its territory.

Although Biden appeared to suggest he would be willing to go further on behalf of Taiwan than he has to help Ukraine, the White House was quick to assert that its policy had not changed and that the United States would provide Taiwan with the “military means to defend itself” if necessary.

Quoteable: “The idea that it can be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not appropriate,” Biden said of Taiwan. “It would dislocate the whole region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine. And so it’s an even heavier burden.

Diplomacy: Biden has enlisted nearly a dozen Asia-Pacific countries to join a loosely defined new economic bloc intended to counter China and reassert American influence in the region.


Boris Bondarev, a Russian diplomat at the UN, has become the most high-profile Russian official to resign and publicly criticize the war in Ukraine. “During 20 years of my diplomatic career, I have seen different turning points in our foreign policy, but I have never been as ashamed of my country as I was on February 24 of this year,” he said in an email. e-mail to his colleagues, referring to the date of the Russian invasion of his neighbor.

Bondarev wrote: “Those who engineered this war want only one thing: to stay in power forever, to live in pompous and tasteless palaces, to sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and cost to the entire Russian Navy, to enjoy unlimited power and total impunity. To achieve this, they are ready to sacrifice as many lives as it takes.

The resignation came the same day that Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, told political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos that they needed to go much further to punish Moscow for invading his country. Follow the latest war updates.

Resignations: Anatoly Chubais, the climate envoy of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, resigned and left the country in March, apparently over his opposition to the war. Several Russian state television journalists also resigned in protest. And some business leaders have spoken out against the war.

Repress: The Kremlin has made extraordinary efforts to silence dissent over the war. On state television, opponents of the war are regularly branded as traitors. A law signed by Putin punishes “false information” about the war – potentially defined as anything that contradicts the government line – with up to 15 years in prison.

In other wartime news:


As more than a dozen countries grapple with outbreaks of monkeypox, health officials are racing to assess stockpiles of vaccines and treatments that may be needed to contain the spread. The WHO has stockpiled about 31 million doses of smallpox vaccine, which could be used to contain monkeypox, but which may have lost potency in the decades since they were made.

As of yesterday, there were more than 100 confirmed cases of monkeypox in 14 countries outside Africa, with dozens more under investigation. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has urged health officials across Europe to assess the availability of smallpox vaccines, antivirals and personal protective equipment.

The largest monkeypox clusters have been reported in Europe, particularly in Spain. Spanish authorities are investigating two potential sources of the outbreaks: a major gay pride event held in the Canary Islands and a sauna in Madrid. Many of the initial infections in Europe were reported in men who have sex with men.

Details: The original smallpox vaccine is associated with rare but serious side effects and should not be given to some patients, including those who are immunocompromised. A newer vaccine, called Jynneos, was approved in 2019 for the prevention of smallpox and monkeypox.

Prevention: Officials may recommend vaccinating a circle of close contacts around infected people — an approach called ring vaccination that has been used to suppress other rare disease outbreaks.

Every time we send an email, tap on an Instagram ad, or swipe our credit cards, we create digital data that goes around the word.

Largely unregulated, the flow of bits and bytes such as these has helped fuel the rise of transnational megacorporations like Google and Amazon and reshaped global communications, commerce, entertainment and media. Today, the era of open borders for data is coming to an end.

Baseball is full of traditions, superstitions and oddities. But few are as fun or as aromatic as the one that countless players – including many from Latin America – practice daily: slathering on cologne or perfume before entering the field.

Although a baseball field might be the last place people would expect to smell like concoctions of flowers, fruits and tree oils, players have their reasons, James Wagner reports for The Times. .

Among the most cited: they don’t want to smell bad when they sweat, and the emotions attached to their colognes and perfumes – special occasions, specific mood, positive vibes – are useful reminders during tense competitions.

Framber Valdez, a Dominican pitcher for the Houston Astros, alternates between three scents: a refreshing and tropical one for games and practice; a softer option when not throwing; and yet another scent to hang out with his teammates – this one he described as “very intense”.