Your Friday Night Briefing – The New York Times
(Want to receive this newsletter in your inbox? Here registration.)
Good evening. Here is the latest at the end of Friday.
1. President Biden said Russia was about to invade Ukraine “in the coming week, in the days to come”.
Speaking from the White House, Biden said he was confident President Vladimir Putin had “made the decision” to attack and the capital city of Kyiv would be targeted. “It’s not too late to defuse,” Biden said, adding that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, would meet next week to give diplomacy another shot.
Shelling hit a ring of frontline towns in eastern Ukraine today. Russian-backed separatist leaders have urged some 700,000 residents to flee eastern Ukraine and seek refuge in Russia, saying Ukraine is poised to attack the region. Ukraine denied the claim, saying the separatists were trying to sow panic, a tactic the United States said could be used by Russia as a pretext for an invasion.
In Moscow, many analysts say Putin remains rational and the huge troop buildup could be a convincing bluff. But others believe he has changed during the pandemic, a change that may have made him more reckless.
2. The National Archives have confirmed that they have discovered classified information among the documents that Donald Trump took with him from the White House.
In January, 15 boxes of documents that Trump had taken from the White House were returned to the National Archives. The archives said they had “identified items marked as classified national security information in the boxes.” He added that staff had consulted with the Department of Justice on the matter.
The records also said the Trump White House failed to turn over records containing “certain social media records” and unofficial email accounts used for official business. It’s the latest in a string of disclosures that have raised new questions about whether Trump followed federal record-keeping laws or mishandled classified information after leaving office.
3. Hundreds of police across Canada have begun arresting protesters, in hopes of ending the weeks of traffic jams that have rocked Ottawa.
The arrests came 22 days after a convoy of truckers blocked the nation’s capital to protest pandemic restrictions. Among those arrested was Tamara Lich, one of the main voices of the protest movement which advocated the secession of the western Canadian provinces.
4. The former cop who shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, was sentenced to two years in prison, much less than the standard sentence of about seven years for manslaughter.
Jurors convicted Kim Potter of two counts of manslaughter in December. They discovered she acted recklessly when she shot Wright in the chest after warning him she was going to stun him with a Taser during a traffic stop near Minneapolis. Potter maintained that she accidentally pulled out her gun instead of her Taser.
Judge Regina Chu convicted Potter only on the most serious count, first-degree manslaughter, and said the case was different from other manslaughter cases because Potter had no never intended to fire his gun. “He’s a cop who made a tragic mistake,” Judge Chu said.
5. There will soon be no more statewide mask mandates in the continental United States
A number of Democratic-ruled states are rapidly rolling back their mask requirements as Covid case numbers drop. New Mexico and Washington were the latest states to do so.
Hawaii is now the only state that has not announced plans to relax mask requirements. Puerto Rico has yet to announce any changes to its island-wide mandate.
In other virus news:
6. The Beijing Games are entering their final weekend. So how did it go?
China will make you think everything went well. The country used digital tools during the Games to amplify official messaging and try to stifle criticism, our investigation with ProPublica found.
Many people worry about young athletes like Kamila Valieva, the Russian star who fell several times during her free program. She had been under pressure since it was revealed that she had failed a doping test. The president of the International Olympic Committee called the treatment of the 15-year-old “chilling”.
The question is, what can sports officials do to protect vulnerable teenagers from the kind of night that exposed the worst of Olympic sport? Some say the answer is to raise the minimum age for competition, writes our sports journalist.
Norway leads the medal tally in the final days – again. Its success has prompted experts from other countries to understand how the tiny nation continues to do so.
7. Officials announced a plan to remove homeless people from New York’s subways.
Responding to a rise in crime and concerns about passenger safety, Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul said they would no longer allow the New York City subway to be used for anything other than transportation. The plan includes tougher enforcement by city police, as well as more mental health services and housing options for people sheltering underground.
8. Pitchers and receivers were supposed to report to spring training this week in Florida and Arizona.
Instead, the stadiums are empty due to a dispute over a new contract between Major League Baseball and the players’ union. Many obstacles remain on the way to an agreement. It would be the third year in a row that the spring formation – which affects the cities, people and economies that thrive there – has not been normal. Fans and businesses are eagerly awaiting his return.
“I’m just disgusted,” said one fan. “I love my baseball and have baseball whenever I want to have it.”
Today, MLB announced that spring training games are postponed until “at the earliest” March 5.
9. We take care of your weekend kitchen projects.
Let’s start with a cake for breakfast. Most crumb cakes are more crumbs than cakes. But a really good slice — or square — balances out each bite with a play of spice, butter, and sandy brown sugar. So what’s the right crumb cake ratio? The secret is a base layer of cake delicious enough to eat on its own, writes Melissa Clark.
For dinner, whole oranges take center stage in Genevieve Ko’s version of Orange Roast Chicken, her latest take on American Chinese home cooking. It’s partly inspired by a takeout dish developed 35 years ago for the first Panda Express in Hawaii.
10. And finally, new cousins for a very old crab.
For hundreds of millions of years, horseshoe crabs have roamed the ocean floor… outliving woolly mammoths, Neanderthals and even dinosaurs – to become one of the oldest living creatures on Earth. Scientists have widely accepted that horseshoe crabs have occupied their own branch in the history of life – until now.