On Victory Day, a careful speech from Putin
During an address in Red Square in Moscow yesterday, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, committed to continuing the war in Ukraine, but he declined to call for new sacrifices or mobilization, did not threaten a nuclear strike and made no stark pronouncements about an existential war with the West. Follow the latest updates on the war.
Russians could keep on living their lives, Putin said, as the Russian military would keep fighting to rid Ukraine, in his false telling, of “torturers, death squads and Nazis.” The only policy announcement made in his speech was a decree to provide additional aid to the children of killed and wounded soldiers.
While polls show broad support in Russia for the war, there appears to be concern in the Kremlin that the backing is not deep. Though more than 15,000 Russians were arrested at antiwar protests early in the war, the vast majority stayed silent. Western sanctions have hit Russia’s economy, but it has not collapsed, allowing many people to live largely as they had before the invasion.
Analysis: Putin’s speech was especially subdued when compared to the fiery rhetoric he has espoused on other occasions in the last two months. “He has developed a certain sense of what is and is not possible,” Gleb Pavlovsky, a former adviser to the Russian leader, said.
In other news from the war:
The stock market plunge continues
Wall Street’s decline stretched into a sixth week yesterday, amid new data about China’s exports and worries about a global economy that has been battered by high inflation, rising interest rates and a malfunctioning supply chain. The S&P 500 fell 3.2 percent, and oil prices slid more than 6 percent. Stocks in Europe and Asia also plunged.
The drop has stocks approaching a bear market, Wall Street’s term for a decline of 20 percent or more from recent highs. Investors have many reasons to back away: Rising prices and higher interest rates are sure to hurt consumption in the U.S., while the war in Ukraine and the lockdowns in China are hampering global supplies and exacerbating inflation.
Few of these concerns are likely to be resolved soon. The Federal Reserve, which raised its benchmark interest rate half a percentage point last week, is expected to keep raising rates until it is confident that consumer prices are finally under control — something investors fear will result in an economic slump.
Rising prices: Annual inflation reached 8.5 percent in March, its fastest pace in over 40 years, with fuel and food driving prices higher. Economists expect that price gains will have slowed slightly when the data on the Consumer Price Index for April is released later in the week.
Another Marcos to lead the Philippines
Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the former Philippines dictator, appeared sure to win the country’s presidential election last night, with more than double the number of votes of his closest rival, Leni Robredo. The margin of victory is likely to be the widest in a presidential race in the Philippines since Marcos’s father was ousted in 1986.
Since the 1990s, Marcos has been working to rehabilitate the family’s name and chart his own rise to political influence, winning 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, the daughter of Rodrigo Duterte, the departing strongman leader, who remains largely popular.
In this election, Marcos won the support of millions of voters who have grown disillusioned with their country’s brand of democracy and failure to address the basic needs of its people. The result heralded 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’s opponents fear that as president, he will deepen the culture of impunity enshrined by Rodrigo Duterte, who worked to enable a Marcos comeback. Marcos has said he would try to shield the former leader from international court proceedings.
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ARTS AND IDEAS
Staying grounded in a frenetic world
Shunmyo Masuno is a Japanese monk and garden designer who recently published the book “Don’t Worry.” Masuno spoke to Dani Blum, a reporter for The Times, about how he finds peace amid the chaos of the day-to-day.
For Masuno, it all comes down to how you start your day. He wakes up early, he says — but not too early, which he describes as “a burden.” Around half an hour earlier than your usual wake-up time might be a great place to start. “The trick to feeling better all day and a sense of fulfillment is rising early,” he said.
Next, he takes 10 minutes to clean, designating a different area for each day — perhaps the kitchen on Monday or the hallway on Tuesday. By carving out that extra time for yourself, he said, you can check something off your to-do list right away. “You’ll feel good once you’ve done it — refreshed,” he said. That way, he added, you won’t need to undergo a more substantial cleaning over the weekend.
Finally, a morning meditation helps him ease into the demands of the day, including paying close attention to one’s breathing to promote “inner calm” and focus. As you inhale, picture the fresh air flowing into your lungs.