Your Monday Briefing – The New York Instances
Death and despair in Nagorno-Karabakh
Three weeks of dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnically Armenian enclave that belongs to Azerbaijan under international law, has embroiled itself in a brutal war of attrition.
Azerbaijan has deployed Armenian firepower and deployed advanced drones and artillery systems, which it purchases from Israel, Turkey and Russia. However, it has failed to convert this advantage into far-reaching territorial gains, indicating further conflict.
Our reporter spent four days with a photographer in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. “I am not going to say that we are not afraid,” an Armenian fighter told him. “We’re all scared.”
Find security: Officials say more than half of the people in Nagorno-Karabakh have fled their homes. Civilians who have stayed behind live in their cellars, which have been remodeled with makeshift kitchens in recent weeks.
The newest: Armenia and Azerbaijan on Sunday blamed the failure of a new ceasefire brokered by France. Fighting continued after the ceasefire entered into force at midnight on Saturday.
The high cost of pandemic fatigue
In parts of the world where coronavirus is on the rise again, outbreaks have clashed with a growing sense of apathy, a dangerous combination that could compound health officials’ fears of being a devastating new wave.
Despite rising cases in Europe, new restrictions have encountered public fatigue and the tendency to risk the dangers of the coronavirus out of desire or necessity: with no end in sight, many people are socializing as much as they were before the virus outbreak. Others have to go back to school or work when the communities try to revive the economy.
And in sharp contrast to spring, the rituals of hope and unity – teddy bears in windows or applause for health workers – that helped people endure the first surge in the virus have given way to exhaustion and frustration.
Quote: “Citizens have made great sacrifices,” said Dr. Hans Kluge, Regional Director of the World Health Organization for Europe. “It has created an extraordinary cost that has exhausted us all regardless of where we live or what we do.”
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
More than 70,450 new coronavirus cases were reported in the United States on Friday, according to a Times database. This is the highest since July 24, and the seven-day global average for new cases is 350,000.
A person living in the same residence as Pope Francis has tested positive for the virus, adding to concerns about the safety of the Pope sparked by an outbreak by the Swiss Guard, the uniformed force that protects him.
Both the Austrian and Belgian Foreign Ministers tested positive for the coronavirus, which increases the possibility that they caught it during a meeting with European Union counterparts in Luxembourg on Monday.
The UK space agency has endorsed an innovative medical drone delivery service aimed at shipping coronavirus test samples, test kits and personal equipment to hospitals and other locations of the country’s National Health Service, the authorities said on Saturday.
Spain’s far right is targeting Franco’s historic rivals
Vox, an ultra-nationalist party in Madrid, is working to remove monuments to Spanish socialist figures of the 1930s and is calling the effort a warning that a “law of historical memory” should be abolished.
The “Law of Historical Memory” was enacted in 2007 with the aim of condemning the Franco regime and banning the elevation of leaders or symbols related to the military coup and the Spanish civil war. The Spanish government used the same law last year to exhume Franco’s remains from a basilica he built outside of Madrid.
Despite denouncing these efforts, their political opponents are now trying to use the same law to convince the Madrid authorities to erase monuments to Franco’s socialist rivals.
Official remarks: Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez replied on Twitter that Vox’s warnings were “unacceptable”. He added: “Let us continue to build a Spain worthy of those who fought so that we can be what we are now: free.”
If you have some time, it’s worth it
The importance – and majesty – of a mustache
Like so many men searching for novelty during months of isolation, Wesley Morris, a critic of the Times, grew a mustache. But what began as a quarantine facial hair experiment led him instead to a deep look at its blackness.
Among many predictable answers, one stood out. “You look like an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund!” a friend told him.
“Where someone could have sensed shadows being cast, I have seen the opposite,” writes Wesley. “It was said as a blinking correction and serious clarification. Y’all, that’s it. The call went on, but I didn’t. That’s it: one of the sweetest and truest things anyone has said about me in a long time. “
The following also happens
France beheaded: The suspect in the beheading of a history teacher in the suburbs of Paris who was fatally shot by police shortly after Friday’s attack was an 18-year-old Chechen refugee who was upset by a caricature in the classroom of Prophet Muhammad.
Jacinda Ardern: The New Zealand Prime Minister and her Labor Party won the national elections and sparked a surge of support for their response to the coronavirus. Ms. Ardern has now cemented her position as New Zealand’s most popular Prime Minister for generations, if not ever.
Snapshot: Voters in El Alto, Bolivia’s second largest city, on Sunday. The election is seen as a referendum on the political project of former President Evo Morales, who fled the country last year. Mr Morales lifted many out of poverty, but his policies and tone divided the country.
Lived life: Ruth Kluger, whose haunting, irreconcilable treatise “Still Alive: A Holocaust Girl’s Time in Memory” recalled her experience growing up Jewish in Nazi-occupied Vienna and escaping death in a concentration camp, died earlier this month at the age of 88 years.
What we read: In a departure from our usual selection of material from outside the Times, today we are highlighting a special section on the upcoming presidential election entitled “The Case Against Donald Trump.” It was published by the editorial staff of the Times, which operates independently from the newsroom.
Now a break from the news
Read: In “Blockchain Chicken Farm”, Xiaowei Wang documents how technology is changing the lives of the rural poor in China.
To do: Bird watching in the back yard has become the perfect pandemic pastime. Here’s how to attract more species to your garden and maybe get a good photo too.
Our At Home collection has ideas on what to read, cook, see and do while being safe at home.
And now for the background story about …
A quiet breakfast
Writer Hillary Richard wrote about a wellness practice that is helping some people cope during the pandemic: eating breakfast in complete silence. Here is an excerpt.
The concept of a silent breakfast is simple enough: calmly focus on your food and deal with all your thoughts. But it’s harder than it seems.
My parents were both entrepreneurs who successfully worked their way out of disadvantaged childhoods. They gave me a very hard work ethic. “Self-care,” I believed, was for people who had the time and money. Not working hard enough meant risking failure.
But here I was on my first wellness retreat, trying to cherish a bowl of berries and turn into existential fear. It felt indulgent and lazy to focus so intensely on my food. I had a mile-long to-do list and a new mortgage to worry about. I felt deeply uncomfortable.
I couldn’t concentrate, so I let my mind wander through the litany of worries and memories. Then my mind settled like a toddler wearing off after a tantrum.
After a few days of quiet breakfast, I began to hear myself. My worries and thoughts, happy with their time in the soap box, receded and the first thing in the morning to stop bothering me. I was able to focus on what was in front of me, with no guilt, no obligation, no stress. It was an unusual feeling of freedom.
That’s it for today’s briefing. I wish you a good start to the week.
Thank you very much
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected]
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