Your Thursday briefing: Zelensky at the White House

Your Thursday briefing: Zelensky at the White House

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President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine met President Biden at the White House during his first trip outside of Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in February. The visit amounts to a daring show of solidarity with Ukraine’s most powerful ally and its largest foreign arms supplier.

Sitting next to Biden in the Oval Office, Zelenskyy spoke in English and expressed “all my appreciation from my heart, from the heart of Ukrainians – of all Ukrainians” for US support. Biden said Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian people “inspire the world”.

Later in the day, Zelensky will address a joint session of Congress, in which he will again express his gratitude but stress that Ukraine still needs more powerful weapons, according to Ukrainian politicians. Follow our updates.

The US announced a new $1.8 billion aid package that includes a Patriot missile battery, the US’s most advanced ground-based air defense system. The Patriot could help Ukraine defend against Russian missile and drone strikes targeting its energy infrastructure. In military circles, the Patriot is considered a security blanket, protection from incoming fire.

In his first three years as president, Donald Trump paid $1.1 million in federal income taxes, according to tax data released by a U.S. House of Representatives committee. But by the end of his tenure, he was reporting big losses and paying no taxes in 2020.

Trump began his presidency with the kind of big business losses that had marked much of his career. His fortunes took a turn in 2018 when he reported an adjusted gross income of $24.3 million, mostly due to selling real estate or investments.

Zelenskyy in Washington: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit Washington today to meet with President Biden and address Congress. The visit will be the first time Mr Zelensky has left Ukraine since Russia invaded its second year Ukraine.A new Russian offensive? A senior adviser to Mr Zelensky said Ukraine is preparing for the possibility that Russia will sharply escalate the war in a winter offensive that could involve mass infantry attacks.

He also reported a profit in 2019, but in 2020, as the US reeled from the coronavirus pandemic, his finances reversed course: Trump reported a $4.8 million loss and paid no income tax.

Details: During his presidency, the aggregate of his core businesses — principally real estate, golf courses and hotels — continued to post losses totaling $60 million each year.

Context: The committee’s vote to free Trump’s taxes was the culmination of a years-long struggle. Trump broke with tradition of keeping his finances secret during his campaign and tenure.

Delayed scrutiny: The House committee also said the IRS did not scrutinize Trump during his first two years in office, despite a program that makes scrutiny of incumbent presidents mandatory.

Background: In 2020, The Times published results of an examination of his tax return data, which revealed years of tax avoidance.

The Taliban have barred women from attending universities, another sign that the Afghan government has all but reinstated its hard line of the 1990s. In recent weeks, the Taliban government has reinstated Sharia law, with public beatings and one execution.

The latest move is another blow to young women, many of whom grew up in a time of relative opportunity. Since the Taliban came to power last year, their rights have disappeared.

The restrictions are also likely to threaten the flow of much-needed aid into Afghanistan, which has kept the country from the brink of famine while it grapples with economic collapse.

Response: “I have no hope or motivation anymore,” said a 22-year-old. “If being a girl is a sin and I was born a girl, it’s not my fault.”

Tensions at the border: Pakistani military raided a detention center near Afghanistan after Pakistani Taliban fighters being held there took hostages to break out. Recently, militant violence has increased again.

A photo taken in 1931 showing a menorah framed in a window and a Nazi flag hanging across the street has resonated with people around the world. 90 years after her family fled the Nazis, the photographer’s descendants and the menorah returned to Germany this year for Hanukkah.

After decades of lobbying and research, several governments and museums are returning art and artifacts to the countries from which they were stolen.

This week Germany returned 20 Benin bronzes to Nigeria and many more are expected to return to Nigeria next year – a result that seemed far-fetched just five years ago. As in other European countries, the topic of restitution was largely ignored in Germany until recently. The about-face was largely driven by a changing social consensus on the ethics of holding on to such items.

In recent months, museums in the US have repatriated artifacts such as priceless terracotta figurines to Italy and antiques to Cambodia. US authorities have made heritage repatriation a diplomatic priority, and many museums are complying with the guidelines.

Last week, Pope Francis said he would return three parts of the Parthenon from the Vatican Museums to Greece, a move that has increased pressure on the British Museum, which owns the Parthenon marbles. Greece has campaigned for their return for decades, but the museum’s chairman of the board of trustees seems unwavering.

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