TOP STORIES Your briefing on Monday: Russia makes slow progress in...

Your briefing on Monday: Russia makes slow progress in Donbass

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We cover the brutal Russian campaign to seize Severodonetsk and the elections in France and Colombia.

On Sunday, Russian forces stormed Toshkivka, a key Ukrainian defensive position near Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, indicative of Ukraine’s tentative defense of two of the last cities in the Luhansk region of Donbas not yet under Russian control.

Since Russian troops have surrounded both cities, Ukrainian forces now hold only a small part of Severodonetsk. The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately comment on Toshkovka, but said its forces had captured Metolkino, a town east of Severodonetsk.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based research group, said Russia could likely capture Severodonetsk in the next few weeks, but at a significant cost. The low-key fighting is sapping morale on both sides, Western officials have said, while NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned that the war could drag on for years.

Cruel War: An analysis of more than 1,000 photographs has shown that Russia has used hundreds of weapons in Ukraine that are widely prohibited by international treaties and that kill, maim and destroy indiscriminately.

Number of dead: The war in Ukraine has taken staggering losses. But no one knows exactly what these losses are – only that a lot of people were killed.

Asia: Amy Qin, Taipei-based correspondent for the Times, spoke with the team at The Morning news bulletin about how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made Taiwanese civilians take China’s aggression more seriously.


A centrist coalition led by French President Emmanuel Macron is predicted to come out ahead in a crucial parliamentary election, but a strong left-wing alliance performance and a surge on the far right have prevented its forces from winning an outright majority of seats. a setback that could complicate his second term.

Projections based on a preliminary vote count show that Macron’s coalition will win between 205 and 250 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, the lower and more powerful house of parliament. This is more than any other political group, but less than half of all seats. The absence of a majority will force Macron to go through the passage and could prevent the implementation of his ambitious plans.

If the forecasts are correct, for the first time in 20 years, a newly elected president will not be able to win an absolute majority in the National Assembly.

Turn out: The vote was marred by a record low turnout, growing unrest in France and a warning signal for Macron, who has vowed to rule closer to the people during his second term. Only about 46 percent of the French electorate was predicted to turn up at the ballot box, the second-lowest since 1958.


Colombians voted Sunday in a presidential election that will replace the conservative establishment with a subversive leader: either Gustavo Petro, a former rebel and longtime senator, or Rodolfo Hernandez, a wealthy businessman and former mayor.

At stake is the fate of the third-largest nation in Latin America, where poverty and inequality have risen during the pandemic, and polls have shown growing distrust in almost every major institution. Last year, anti-government protests forced hundreds of thousands to take to the streets in a so-called “national strike.”

In India, a historically undernourished country, many people are gaining more weight now, and the police are no exception. But in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, police have declared creamy curry, fat paneer, and carbohydrate-rich dosa enemy No. 1. Instead, they maintain dietary discipline and fitness in their ranks.

Living in the world’s oldest society, Japanese filmmaker Chie Hayakawa asked her mother’s oldest friends: If the government sponsored a euthanasia program for people over 75, would they agree to it?

Such a world – dystopian to many – is the setting for Hayakawa’s first feature film, Plan 75, which won a special award at the Cannes Film Festival this month. Most of the people she asked with found this an attractive option that ensures they don’t burden their children.

About a third of Japan’s population is aged 65 or over, and there are more centenarians per capita than any other country. The country was forced to discuss how it would take care of its centenarians. To Hayakawa and many others, a world like the one depicted in her film seems shockingly plausible.

“She just tells it like it is,” says Kaori Shoji, a film and art writer. “She tells us, ‘Actually, this is where we’re going.’

To find out more, read our full story on Hayakawa and her motivations behind the film.

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