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Russian and American officers met final night time to start high-stakes negotiations over threats to Ukraine and a widening gulf between Moscow and the West. There was deep pessimism on both sides {that a} diplomatic answer was inside attain.

Even earlier than the talks started, the Russian deputy overseas minister warned that the U.S. had a “lack of know-how” of the Kremlin’s safety calls for. Although the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, voiced doubts over whether or not Russia was “severe” about de-escalating the disaster, he opened the door to mutual limits on the place troops might be deployed.

The negotiations, Blinken insisted, are “not about making concessions” beneath the specter of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, eight years after Russia annexed Crimea. “It’s about seeing whether or not, within the context of dialogue and diplomacy, there are issues that either side, all sides, can do to cut back tensions,” he stated. “We’ve achieved that previously.”

Washington memo: The present confrontation turns partly on what, if any, commitments a former U.S. secretary of state made within the waning days of the Chilly Warfare. Russia has asserted that the U.S. dominated out NATO enlargement into Jap Europe. No such provision was included in the final treaty.

Because the extremely contagious Omicron variant sweeps throughout Britain, colleges in England are grappling with what it means to live with the coronavirus. In some locations, staffing shortages are so dire that retirees have been urged to return to responsibility. Secondary colleges should now take a look at their college students for the virus twice every week, including to the burden of smaller staffs.

Since many colleges reopened final week, greater than a 3rd of about 2,000 colleges surveyed in England had 10 p.c of their staffs absent on the primary day again. Greater than 35 p.c of faculties polled stated they had been unable to search out sufficient substitute academics to fill in for individuals who had been sick.

Although academics’ unions and a few mother and father have expressed misgivings a couple of return to the classroom, the choice in the end falls to the nationwide authorities, which may decree the principles for all public colleges. Dad and mom have little selection however to go alongside, as they are often fined for preserving their youngsters at dwelling over Covid worries.

Quotable: “If now we have to dwell with this virus, now we have to mitigate for it,” stated one English father or mother, who would favor obligatory masking at colleges. “In any other case what you’re truly saying is, ‘Reside with dying and sickness.’”

Listed here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In different developments:


Greater than 5,800 people have been detained amid a number of days of violence in Kazakhstan. Authorities officers say that at the very least 2,000 individuals have been injured, and dozens have died. The nation’s greatest and most affluent metropolis, Almaty, appears to be like like a warfare zone.

The protests, which started final weekend in response to a rise in gasoline costs, had been initially peaceable and unfold throughout the nation. They set off a political disaster and prompted Kazakhstan’s president to seek help from a Russia-led security alliance to revive order. That transfer might realign politics and energy in Central Asia for years to return.

The disaster has coincided with an influence battle inside the authorities, and a few wonder if the individuals preventing within the streets had been proxies for feuding factions of the political elite. On Saturday, in what gave the impression to be one other signal of political infighting, Karim Masimov, the previous head of Kazakhstan’s highly effective intelligence company and a key ally of the previous president, was arrested on suspicion of treason.

Evaluation: The strain got here after Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s chief because it gained independence over 30 years in the past, started steadily handing energy to a successor in 2019. Chaos sometimes follows autocratic leaders on their means out, our columnist writes.

No extra working for jerks! For nearly two years, couches have been cubicles. Colleagues are instant-message avatars. And individuals are reconsidering how much they should have to put up with from a boss.

Sidney Poitier was Hollywood’s first Black matinee idol and the primary Black performer to win the Academy Award for finest actor. He died on Friday at 94.

Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer of the Sherlock Holmes sequence, hated pirate editions. He was as well-known for denouncing pirate publishers as they had been notorious for grinding out low-cost editions — and for not paying royalties to authors like him. But an clearly pirated copy of “The Signal of the 4” bears his signature, under these two phrases: “Yours cordially.”

Think about the plot prospects right here. Did somebody power Conan Doyle to signal the guide? Or might there be one other, extra prosaic rationalization?

That quantity is one among 221 Holmes-related objects at present on show on the Grolier Membership in New York. All are taken from the private assortment of Glen S. Miranker, who owns greater than 7,000 books, illustrations and letters. It’s believed to be the primary complete Sherlock Holmes exhibition in New York Metropolis in additional than 50 years.

Learn more about the exhibition — and the mystery.

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