On Victory Day, a careful speech by Putin
Speaking in Moscow’s Red Square yesterday, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, pledged to continue the war in Ukraine, but declined to call for new sacrifices or mobilization, did not threaten a nuclear attack, and made no grim statements. about an existential war with the West. Follow the latest updates on the war.
Russians could live their lives, Putin said, as the Russian military would continue to fight to rid Ukraine, in its false narrative, of “torturers, death squads and Nazis”. The only policy announcement in his speech was a decree to provide additional aid to the children of fallen and wounded soldiers.
While polls show widespread support in Russia for the war, there appears to be concern in the Kremlin that support is not deep. Although more than 15,000 Russians were arrested in anti-war protests at the start of the war, the vast majority remained silent. Western sanctions have hit the Russian economy, but it has not collapsed, allowing many people to live much of what they had before the invasion.
Analysis: Putin’s speech was particularly subdued compared to the fiery rhetoric he has adopted on other occasions over the past two months. “He has developed a sense of what is and isn’t possible,” said Gleb Pavlovsky, a former adviser to the Russian leader.
In other news from the war:
Stock market decline continues
Wall Street’s decline reached its sixth week yesterday amid new data on China’s exports and concerns about a global economy ravaged by high inflation, rising interest rates and a malfunctioning supply chain. The S&P 500 fell 3.2 percent and the oil price fell more than 6 percent. Stock markets in Europe and Asia also plummeted.
The drop has sent stocks approaching a bear market, Wall Street’s term for a drop of 20 percent or more from recent highs. Investors have many reasons to back off: Rising prices and higher interest rates are sure to hurt consumption in the US, while the war in Ukraine and lockdowns in China are hampering global supplies and exacerbating inflation.
Few of these concerns are likely to be resolved anytime soon. The Federal Reserve, which raised its benchmark rate by half a percentage point last week, is expected to continue raising rates until it feels confident consumer prices are finally under control — something investors fear will lead to an economic slump.
Rising prices: Annual inflation reached 8.5 percent in March, the fastest pace in more than 40 years, with fuel and food prices rising. Economists expect price increases to slow slightly when consumer price index data for April is released later in the week.
Another Marcos to lead the Philippines
Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the former Philippine dictator, looked certain to win the country’s presidential election last night, with more than double the vote of his closest rival, Leni Robredo. The margin of victory is probably the largest in a presidential race in the Philippines since Marcos’ father was ousted in 1986.
Since the 1990s, Marcos has been working to rehabilitate the family name and chart his own rise to political influence, gaining key leadership roles at the state level before entering national politics as a senator in 2010. His vice president is likely to be Sara Duterte, daughter of Rodrigo Duterte, the outgoing strongman, who remains largely popular.
In this election, Marcos won the support of millions of voters who have become disillusioned with their country’s form of democracy and its inability to meet the basic needs of the population. The result ushered in a remarkable revival for a family once forced into exile and has raised profound questions about the future of Southeast Asia’s oldest democracy.
Predecessor: Marcos’ opponents fear that as president, he will deepen the culture of impunity enshrined by Rodrigo Duterte, who worked on Marcos’ comeback. Marcos has said he would try to protect the former leader from international legal proceedings.
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ART AND IDEAS
Staying grounded in a hectic world
Shunmyo Masuno is a Japanese monk and garden designer who recently published the book “Don’t Worry”. Masuno spoke with Dani Blum, a reporter for The Times, about how he finds peace in the chaos of everyday life.
For Masuno, it all comes down to how you start your day. He wakes up early, he says – but not at asked, what he describes as ‘a burden’. About half an hour earlier than your usual wake up time might be a good place to start. “The trick to feeling better all day and getting a sense of accomplishment comes early,” he said.
He then takes 10 minutes to clean, designating a different room for each day—perhaps the kitchen on Monday or the hallway on Tuesday. By making that extra time for yourself, he said, you can immediately check something off your to-do list. “You’ll feel good once you’ve done it — refreshed,” he said. That way, he added, you don’t have to go through a bigger cleaning on the weekend.
Finally, a morning meditation helps him withdraw from the demands of the day, including paying close attention to breathing to promote “inner peace” and focus. As you inhale, imagine the fresh air flowing into your lungs.