We are talking about Russian military exercises and loosening regulations for EU visitors.
Ukraine’s diplomacy stalls as Russia holds military drills
Russia on Tuesday announced a series of military exercises over its vast territory, extending from the Pacific Ocean to its western slopes near Ukraine. These include joint exercises with the Chinese fleet in the Arabian Sea.
The announcement comes after a series of military moves by the US and NATO this week aimed at thwarting Russian incursions into Ukraine.
Russia is blaming the US for the escalation and insists it has no plans to invade Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said the US and NATO were orchestrating “information hysteria” about Ukraine by reporting “lies” and “fake news”.
Military moves: Russia’s drills involve tanks, drones, paratroopers and ships. In a part of Belarus near Ukraine, the Russian military downed heavy armored vehicles and other equipment before a joint exercise with Belarusian forces. In Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, Russian tanks conducted planned shooting exercises.
EU relaxes Covid travel rules for people
The European Union will relax its travel rules for residents vaccinated against the coronavirus, as well as those who can demonstrate recent infection.
On Tuesday, the bloc recommended that EU residents traveling through the 27 member states have been vaccinated in the last nine months or have recovered from the coronavirus. should not face additional restrictions as testing or quarantine.
The new rules, which are set to take effect from February 1, are the latest sign that the bloc is accepting Covid as part of daily life, a day after the WHO said the spread of coronavirus Omicron variation could change the pandemic from overwhelming to manageable.
“Omicron offers legitimate hope for stability and normalization,” Dr. Hans KlugeWHO Regional Director for Europe, said.
However, the bloc has recommended additional restrictions for people who are unvaccinated or have not recovered from the virus and who come from high-risk areas. To encourage booster shots, the block also says that proof of a two-dose vaccination expires after nine months. Hitherto, more than 40% of the residents of the block received an additional dose.
In other developments:
IS fighters have been trying to kill prisoners since Thursday. They used suicide bombers to blow up the gates and gain control of about a quarter of the facility.
As of Tuesday, ISIS attackers still controlled part of the prison, even after the US sent ground troops and air support to the Kurdish-led forces trying to take it back.
Background: Prisoners including 12 year old boys – some of the thousands of foreign children brought by their parents to the Islamic State in Syria.
A long-standing source of local pride and affection, the Welsh mountain ponies have seen many of their traditional roles disappear. A new initiative aims ensure their continued survival by giving them new jobs.
Disney pop hits
Disney’s “Encanto” soundtrack has reached number one on Billboard’s album chart for the second time. If you don’t live with young children, this can come as a surprise. If you do, you may be wondering: “Only twice?”
“Encanto” is an animated film about a Colombian family with magical powers, featuring a soundtrack by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Classic Disney songs combine with salsa, bachata, hip-hop and Broadway. (A Times review called the film “awesome.”)
Leading the way is the single “We are not talking about Bruno,” peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 yesterday. That makes it Disney’s most successful film in decades, outperforming “Frozen’s Let It Go.” TikTok has contributed to its success, with people singing along or reenacting moments in the song. “I could look at TikToks all day,” Jared Bush, one of the film’s directors, told The Times.
For more: The Wall Street Journal explains what it takes to translate “Bruno” into more than 40 languages.
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https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/25/briefing/russia-drills-omicron-europe-olympics.html Your Wednesday Summary: Russian Military Exercises