Good morning. We’re covering Novak Djokovic’s appeal to enter Australia, escalating violence in Kazakhstan and an outspoken Saudi princess’s release from jail.
Djokovic awaiting a Covid hearing
A hearing on Monday will determine whether Novak Djokovic can defend his men’s singles title at the Australian Open this month. Border officials said they denied him entry because he had not provided evidence to justify being exempted from the country’s Covid vaccination requirement for all arrivals.
Djokovic’s lawyers are appealing Australia’s decision. The Serbian tennis star, who is a skeptic about vaccines, claims he tested positive in December. His lawyers claim that he was granted a vaccine exemption due to the test results and that the country cancelled his visa.
If Djokovic’s appeal fails, he could be barred from entering Australia for three years, under rules governing visa cancellations.
Refugees: Djokovic is quarantining in a Melbourne hotel where about 30 asylum seekers have been held for over a year, drawing attention to Australia’s much-criticized detention policy.
Tennis: The pushback is coming from athletes who once were viewed as iconoclasts and are now being criticized for wanting to play by different virus rules.
Here are the latest updates on the pandemic and maps.
The rate of new global infections per day nearly doubled last week, surpassing a staggering 2 million cases per hour.
Six American figure skaters tested positive, raising concerns about Beijing’s upcoming Winter Olympics.
Kazakhstan is experiencing increasing violence
During several days of violence in Kazakhstan, nearly 6,000 people were detained. Officials claim that at least 2,000 people were injured and dozens of people have died in the violence in Kazakhstan. The country’s biggest and most prosperous city, Almaty, looks like a war zone.
Protests began last weekend in protest against an increase in fuel prices. They quickly spread throughout the country. They set off a political crisis and prompted Kazakhstan’s president to seek help from a Russia-led security alliance to restore order. This move could rebalance politics and power in Central Asia over the next few years.
Now, people are wondering if the street violence has stood in as a proxy for feuding factions of the political elite, after Karim Masimov, the former head of Kazakhstan’s powerful intelligence agency and a key ally of the former president, was arrested on suspicion of treason.
Analysis: The tension comes after Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s leader since its founding, began gradually handing power to a successor in 2019. Our columnist writes that chaos is a common outcome of autocratic leaders as they move on to the next stage.
Ukraine Updates: Russian forces have surrounded Ukraine from three directions, and Western officials are concerned that a military operation could be launched as soon as next month. The U.S. and NATO will begin talks with Russia on Monday to try to forestall an invasion — perhaps with tight sanctions. Ukraine, which was left out of the talks is quietly pursuing separate negotiation with Moscow.
A Saudi princess is freed from prison
The Saudi government has not said why it detained Princess Basmah bint Saud, a daughter of a former king who has been a critic of the country’s policies and legal system — and of its crown prince, though not by name. Officials also did not explain why they released her from prison after three years.
Understand Russia’s Relationship With the West
The tension between the two regions is increasing and Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to be more willing than ever to take geopolitical risks in order to assert his demands.
The 58-year old princess returned home with Suhoud al Sharif, her daughter, according to a legal adviser to her families. The two women had been accused of undefined “criminal offenses” but were never formally charged.
It was not clear if they would be allowed travel abroad. That’s a pressing issue: Princess Basmah needs medical care not available in the kingdom, her legal adviser said.
Context: Princess Basmah was among a number of prominent dissidents, women’s rights activists and members of the Saudi royal family either jailed or put under house arrest during the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Many are still in prison.
THE LATEST NEWS
Asia and the Pacific
South Indian couples are increasingly hosting elaborate weddings. These events are often designed to attract attention on social media. By one estimate, more than 60 percent of celebrations in the coastal state of Kerala now include choreographed performances, riffing on trends that blur the nation’s religious and cultural lines.
Remembering Sidney Poitier
Sidney Poitier was Hollywood’s first Black matinee idol, and the first Black performer to win the Academy Award for best actor in the 1963 film “Lilies of the Field.” He died on Friday at 94.
Poitier rose to prominence during the civil rights movement in the U.S., and his roles tended to reflect the struggle’s peaceful, integrationist goals, a conscious choice by Poitier. His characters faced hatred with reason and forgiveness. They were repressed with anger but responded to injustices with quiet determination.
Although the message was reassuring to white audiences, it also exposed Poitier to attacks by Black activists during the militant phase of the movement in the 1970s and late 1960s. Poitier once said he felt “as if I were representing 15, 18 million people with every move I made.”
“Movie after movie insisted he be The Black man for white America,” Wesley Morris, our critic at large, writes in an appraisal of Poitier’s legacy, adding, “He was summoned to symbolize Black America, single-handedly.” Here’s where to stream some of Poitier’s great performances.
PLAY, WATCH and EAT
What to Cook
To make brookies, combine brownie batter with cookie dough
What to Read
In “Aftermath: Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich, 1945-1955,” the journalist Harald Jähner analyzes Germany’s national myths and moods after the war. “They saw themselves as the victims,” he writes, “and thus had the dubious good fortune of not having to think about the real ones.”
What to listen to
Our critics recommend new songs from Radiohead spinoffs Burial, Delaney Bailey, and others.
Here are some tips to help your running resolutions stick in the new Year.
Source: NY Times