Friday Briefing: Zelensky’s High-Stakes Washington Visit

President Volodymyr Zelensky with Senate leaders in the Capitol yesterday.Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times

Zelensky lobbied for more aid in Washington

President Volodymyr Zelensky was welcomed at the White House yesterday as President Biden faces pushback from some Republican lawmakers in Congress who oppose providing further assistance to Ukraine.

Making his second wartime visit to Washington, Zelensky also met with lawmakers and warned that his country would fall to Russia if the U.S. cut the military and financial aid that has helped his forces withstand the Russian onslaught.

“If we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war,” Zelensky said in a meeting with at least 50 senators, as recounted by the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer.

Zelensky came to Washington to follow up on Biden’s request to Congress for a $24 billion package of military and humanitarian funding. His visit came at a critical time: Ukraine is struggling to break through Russian front lines in a counteroffensive before the start of winter brings fighting to a standstill.

Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, said that Biden would announce a new aid package for Ukraine containing “significant air defense capabilities.” Earlier in the day, Russia launched a wave of missile attacks on energy plants and equipment.

A shift: During his first trip to Washington in December, Zelensky received a hero’s welcome. “The whole dynamic is a real departure from where things were the last time Zelensky came to Capitol Hill,” my colleague Karoun Demirjian said. “Then he was feted, he made a joint address in front of Congress and the public, and he was praised pretty roundly for how good a job he did of being able to make his case.”

This time, Zelensky spoke to lawmakers in a closed-door meeting. Republican lawmakers asked Zelensky to address their concerns and provide them with his vision of a plan for victory.

Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan Murdoch in 2018.Credit…David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Rupert Murdoch is retiring

Fox News and News Corporation announced yesterday that Rupert Murdoch was retiring from their boards. His son Lachlan will become the sole executive in charge of the global media empire his father built from a small local newspaper concern in Australia 70 years ago.

The announcement marked the formal end to a career in which Murdoch, now 92, built the most influential media empire on the planet. With a brand of right-wing populism, his companies have amassed the power at times to make or break presidents and prime ministers. He built that empire across three continents, helping to shift norms and tastes in journalism, politics and popular culture throughout the English-speaking world.

Murdoch will become chairman emeritus of the two companies and continue to offer counsel, his son said in a statement.

What’s next: So far there is no indication that Lachlan Murdoch, 52, will change the overall course of Fox News. The political and media worlds will be watching closely to see if his father’s retirement changes that.

A memorial for Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, on Wednesday.Credit…Jackie Dives for The New York Times

A look at Sikh life in Canada

The Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara temple in Surrey, British Columbia, is a major cultural and political center of Canada’s large Sikh community.

When Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian Sikh separatist, became the temple’s leader in 2019, criticism of the Indian state went from a relative undercurrent to a major issue. My colleague Norimitsu Onishi traveled to Surrey to report on the evolution of the Sikh community in Canada, the largest outside India.

Tensions between Canada and India have soared since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of killing Nijjar on its soil. India’s foreign ministry said yesterday that it had suspended visa applications by Canadian nationals.


Asia Pacific

Hong Kong stocks are among the worst performing in the world this year.Credit…Louise Delmotte/Associated Press
  • Hong Kong’s finance chief is making a big push for investors, and is traveling to Europe and the U.S. to counter the view that the once-vibrant city has become more like the rest of China.

  • Indian lawmakers passed a bill to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the lower house of Parliament and in state legislatures, but it may be years before it takes effect.

  • President Bashar al-Assad of Syria arrived in China, seeking to improve his international standing and find financial support to rebuild his country.

  • A TikTok star in Indonesia received a two-year prison sentence after a video of her eating pork rinds angered the nation’s ​​top Muslim clerics.

Around the World

  • The U.S. will allow nearly 500,000 Venezuelans to work legally in the country for 18 months, a move aimed at helping New York City deal with a large influx of migrants.

  • Officials from Nagorno-Karabakh met with representatives of Azerbaijan to talk about the future of the region’s residents under Azerbaijani rule.

  • Authorities in eastern Libya have arrested protesters and activists demanding accountability after the flood disaster.

  • Health workers in developing countries are organizing to fight for fair compensation — 86 percent of community health workers in Africa are completely unpaid.

  • The Bank of England left interest rates unchanged for the first time in nearly two years.

Other Big Stories

  • Negotiations between the Hollywood writers’ union and the studios resumed after a month, with top executives joining the talks for the first time.

  • A director withdrew from a U.S. musical about the Tiananmen protests because of fears for the safety of family members in China. The lead actor also pulled out.

A Morning Read

Emily Lord, who lives in South Dakota, paid to attend a wedding in Jaipur, India, earlier this year.Credit…Emily Lord

Bollywood films often depict grand Indian weddings filled with dance sequences. An online service, Join My Wedding, is capitalizing on the interest in lavish Indian weddings by allowing tourists to purchase tickets to attend. The experience is winning praise from some as a meaningful cultural exchange, but is criticized by others as fetishization.

Lives lived: Gita Mehta, whose books examined the impact of Western culture on modern India and vice versa, has died at 80.


London Maith, 13, getting ready for school.Credit…Dee Dwyer for The New York Times

What it’s like to be 13

My colleague Jessica Bennet followed three girls for a year: Anna, London and Addi, from three U.S. states. Jessica wanted to put a face to the alarming headlines about teenage girls and social media, and to understand what happens when it intersects with girls’ self-confidence, which has been shown to drop right around this age.

Fights escalate in group messages, feelings get hurt when photos reveal who wasn’t included in a social event and an offhand comment in a group chat about “feeling bipolar” draws disapproval.

“It’s not as easy as it used to be,” one girl said. “Cause you can’t escape social media unless you delete the apps.”


Credit…Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Cook this pasta with corn, mint and red onions. It’s practically a no-cook recipe.

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Play Spelling Bee. (If you’re stuck, the Bee Buddy can help.) Here’s the Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you on Monday. — Justin

P.S. “Firsts,” a new limited series of Times obituaries will focus on people who broke through barriers.

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