Good morning. We’re covering diplomacy and posturing in Ukraine, research into the pandemic’s origins and another North Korean missile test.
Ukraine agrees with Russian talks
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine agreed to talks with Russia “without preconditions” on the Belarusian border. Vladimir Putin threatened the West with a new threat just before the announcement. Putin ordered the Russian military to be on alert for any nuclear threats.
All Western powers are coming together around Ukraine. The E.U. The E.U. stated that it would close its airspace for Russian planes and fund the donation of weapons. Turkish officials, in a reversal, labeled the invasion a “war.” Tens of thousands of people gathered across Europe — as well as thousands in Russia — to demand an end to the invasion.
The fighting in Ukraine continues. Citizens have taken up arms: lawyers, baristas, and snowboarders. On the eastern front, homes were destroyed. According to the W.H.O. said that Ukraine’s hospitals are running out of oxygen.
Although the Ukrainian Army claimed it was attacking Russian supply lines while fighting for control of Kyiv/Kharkiv, satellite images show large units of Russian forces closing in on capital. The Russian military has started to use siege tactics around Chernihiv in northeast Kyiv. This is a worrying sign of a strategy that could increase civilian casualties.
Resources: Here are live updates, maps and photos from the invasion.
Banking: The U.S. and key allies announced plans to remove some Russian banks from SWIFT, the global financial transaction system, as Russia’s economy struggles. BP, the British oil company, plans to “exit” its nearly 20 percent stake in Rosneft, the Russian state-controlled oil company.
Putin:Although the Russian president faces personal sanctions for his actions, the majority of his wealth is not public. He seems to have ignored advisers, which is a risky move. Authoritarian leaders rely heavily on elite support.
Zelensky: Here’s how he rallied Ukrainians, and the world, against Putin.
China: Online opinion tends to be pro-war. China, which views itself as a defender sovereign independence, is in an awkward situation, potentially fraying ties between Xi Jinping, and Putin.
It is a market origin and not a laboratory leak
Two new extensive studies have shown that Wuhan, China is the birthplace for the coronavirus pandemic.
Scientists concluded that the coronavirus could have been in live mammals sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market (an object of suspicion in early 2019). They concluded that the coronavirus was likely to have infected live mammals sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which was a subject of early suspicion in late 2019. However, they found no evidence supporting the so-called lab leak theory.
The two studies, which were released Saturday, have not yet appeared in a scientific journal that would need peer review.
Some outside scientists have been reluctant to endorse the market origin hypothesis. There is no evidence that animals on the market were infected by the coronavirus. Furthermore, no wildlife was found there when genetic samples were collected by Chinese researchers in early 2020.
Details:Data from Weibo’s case database from December 2019 to February 2020 indicated that the coronavirus originated in China. The virus then spread to nearby areas. The researchers conducted tests that proved it impossible that the pattern could have been created by chance.
Here are the latest updates on the pandemic and maps.
In other developments:
North Korea launches a ballistic missile
At 7:52 a.m. on Sunday, North Korea launched a ballistic missile toward the sea off its east coast, the South Korean military said. According to flight data, the missile was less powerful that the last one tested four weeks back.
The North had conducted seven missile tests in January, more than any other month in 2021. It then paused while China hosted the Winter Olympics.
With the Games over and the Ukraine crisis raging, North Korea might re-examine its diplomatic relations with Washington in order to gain more leverage. On Saturday, it made what appeared to be its first official comment on the Ukrainian war, blaming the U.S. for its “highhandedness and arbitrariness.”
South Korea Many Americans will view the U.S.’s response to the Russian invasion of their country as a test of their military allyship. Failure of American leadership could increase support for South Korea’s nuclear weapons. The missile test came just weeks before the country’s presidential election, on March 9.
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How much does this cost?
The internet was intended to make prices transparent, enabling online shoppers to find great deals.
Instead, shoppers are losing focus of the true cost of products. Retailers are shifting the focus away from price and offering other benefits such as convenience and ease of usage. The overwhelming number of options available to shoppers makes it difficult for them to keep track.
The price of household goods now fluctuates almost as much as cryptocurrencies or ride-hailing service. Pandemic supply chain snarls only add to the ambiguity. Subscription services can add complexity to the math. And as corporations raise prices — in part because of inflation — consumers are spending more, too.
Amazon’s algorithms keep things in swing, too. Amazon uses dynamic pricing to adjust prices millions of time per day to keep up market conditions and compete against other sellers. This forces consumers to monitor price swings and not the actual cost.
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That’s it for today’s briefing. We’ll see you next time. — Amelia
P.S. Amanda Morris, The Times’s inaugural disability reporting fellow, wrote about how she is trying “to shift the way that the news media reports on and writes about disabled people.”
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on Ukraine.
Amelia and the team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: NY Times