Your Friday briefing: Russia’s growing isolation

Good morning. We are covering Shanghai’s growing frustration with Russia’s withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council, Pakistan’s Imran Khan’s political trauma and the Covid sanctions.

Diplomacy: Russia’s foreign minister says Ukraine has proposed a new draft agreement that deviates from previous versions, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has demanded that his country be included in the talks.

Status of war:


Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday overturned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s move to dissolve parliament, setting the stage for a no-confidence vote on Saturday.

The vote that Khan tried to block is widely expected to remove him from office. In that case, a caretaker government will be formed and the country will prepare for elections next month.

The Supreme Court ruling was a major victory for opposition leaders, who said Khan had attempted an “open coup”. The new election will be a test for the coalition of opposition parties, which are usually at war but have rallied around the no-confidence vote.

Analysis: The military controls key parts of power, and Khan’s relations with key leaders soured last year after he refused to support a new head of the country’s intelligence service.

Economy: The Pakistani rupee hit a record low on Thursday. Analysts say the current crisis has further polarized the country and could lead to instability.


The city of 26 million is facing its worst outbreak since the epidemic began, and Chinese authorities have imposed their usual hard-line restrictions to prevent infection.

But Shanghai is different. City residents – China’s richest and most populous – are spreading their grievances. They have signed a petition to protest a policy that separates infected children from their parents, criticizes the state of separation benefits, and confronts officials in a perverse way.

Their rhetoric could erode the power of the central government, as the crisis quickly becomes the most important political test to date in the country’s zero-tolerance system – a policy by which the Chinese Communist Party has withheld its legitimacy.

Analysis: The city is home to a vibrant middle class and many elites, who are accustomed to a relatively high level of political autonomy.

Background: Officials stressed that Shanghai was very important for quarantine. “The fact that Shanghai is being locked down shows that we are very close to the red line, and close to the tolerable limit of defensive zero,” said a political scientist.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the epidemic.

In other news:

Rihanna’s bare-belly maternity outfits are both haute couture and, presumably, outrageous political statements. As right-wing lawmakers fight for control of women’s bodies, Rihanna is “combining the right to dress as you wish with other, more constitutional rights,” wrote our leading fashion critic. “It’s a fantastic radical move.”

Over the years, the multi-storey collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Caracas has sat in storage in a dilapidated housing complex, as unpaid workers and cultural officials have struggled to preserve the collection.

The gem, once a gem of Venezuela’s modernization project, was once the museum’s growth. But in 2001, the socialist government launched a “cultural revolution” that turned every institution into an ideological battlefield. The industry, which includes works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Mirো, Mark Chagall and Lucian Freud, is caught in the crossfire.

This February, the museum partially reopened after being closed for two years; Workers painted the gallery and fixed the lights in a few rooms. The new exhibition is a decent one, with only 86 exhibits out of the museum’s 4,500 works, and reflects the country’s uneven economic recovery.

Experts are concerned that the collection is at risk of erosion and theft without higher wages and a profound change in how the state views culture. Officials earned the equivalent of $ 12 per month last year, and the museum received a daily budget of $ 1.50 to maintain its facilities.

Yogurt adds moisture to these bright, light kofta-style meatballs.

“Aline” is an emotional and sometimes-awkward word to singer Celine Dion.

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