Their Wednesday briefing: Zelenskyj visits Bakhmut

Their Wednesday briefing: Zelenskyj visits Bakhmut

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Bakhmut, a city in the eastern Donbass region that has been under heavy Russian attacks for months. It was perhaps his most dangerous trip to the front since the beginning of the war.

“The East is holding out because Bakhmut is fighting,” Zelenskyj told the troops there yesterday. “This is the stronghold of our morality. In bitter fighting and at the cost of many lives, freedom is being defended here for all of us.”

Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, also signaled he would not end his military campaign, now in its tenth month, as he presided over an awards ceremony at the Kremlin to honor Russian crew members and propaganda leaders. He said these were “difficult, unusual times” and hailed Russian soldiers as “heroes”.

Context: Russia’s attacks on Bakhmut were relentless. The besieged city is at the center of the struggle for control of the entire Donbass. Zelenskyy’s visit came as Ukrainian troops said they had driven the Russians out of some positions on the outskirts of the city, although the situation there is far from stable.

When central banks hiked interest rates this summer to fight inflation, only the Bank of Japan stood firm and kept rates ultra-low. There seemed to be a change of heart yesterday.

The bank suddenly eased its bond yield policy, which could open the door for future rate hikes. The move surprised investors in Asia, who had not expected such a move until next year.

Following the announcement, the yen rose 3 percent. Earlier this year, the currency was trading at a decade-low against the dollar. Japan intervened to support the currency.

A stronger yen could ease inflationary pressures on Japan’s shrinking economy. In October, inflation was 3.6 percent. That’s a lot less than other parts of the world. But households and businesses are still suffering from higher food and energy prices.

Interest rates: The bank’s insistence on ultra-low interest rates has provided families and businesses with a steady stream of cheap money – but it has also exacerbated yen weakness. The bank said the policy will not change.

After six days of turmoil over the island’s general election, opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka is poised to become the next prime minister. The shift could result in Fiji breaking away from China and becoming more closely aligned with the West.

Rabuka would replace Frank Bainimarama, who embraced Beijing during his 16-year tenure. Rabuka favors close ties with Australia and New Zealand, the region’s allies with the US. His party has ruled out a proposed security deal with Beijing, like the one signed by the Solomon Islands this year.

The island nation has recently emerged as a key player in the US-China struggle for Pacific influence. This month’s vote was Fiji’s third general election since democratic elections were reinstated in 2013.

A History of Coups: The country experienced four coups between 1987 and 2006. Rabuka originally seized power in Fiji’s first coup and Bainimarama in the last.

Aside from killing tens of thousands and displacing millions, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dealt a severe blow to Ukrainian culture. The Times’ Visual Investigations team has traced the toll of the war to museums and monuments, theaters and libraries, historic churches and more. The team assessed the damage to nearly 340 cultural sites.

Times reporters noted that some of the sites had been deliberately targeted by pro-Russian forces. Long before the invasion began, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin claimed that Ukraine had no culture of its own and called Ukrainian nationality a fiction.

The investigation examines in depth several damaged or destroyed cultural sites, including a pre-Catherine the Great monastery and a library that bridged Ukraine’s language communities, the books of which have now been burned. Look at the evidence of the destruction.

Crème fraîche with miso flavor keeps this salmon juicy while frying.

“The Tudors in Love” tells of sex and dangers at the English court.

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