Your Friday Briefing

Ukrainian flags flying alongside E.U. flags yesterday in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.Credit…Nariman El-Mofty/Associated Press

The E.U. gives Ukraine candidate status

The E.U. officially made Ukraine a candidate for membership yesterday, a step that even weeks ago seemed impossible. While it could take a decade or more for Ukraine to actually become a member, the E.U.’s decision sends a powerful message of solidarity to Kyiv and a rebuke to Moscow.

Candidate status signals that a nation may begin a painstaking, time-consuming process of internal changes and negotiations with the E.U., with a view to eventually joining. The country must align itself institutionally, democratically, economically and legally with E.U. laws and norms, a process that has taken some countries about 10 years. Others, like Turkey, have been candidates for much longer and have yet to join.

Ukraine’s candidacy is bound to irritate Russia, which has described Kyiv’s aspirations to align itself with institutions like NATO and the E.U. as Western attempts to interfere in its rightful sphere of influence. The move signals a belief on the part of E.U. states that Ukraine’s future lies in an embrace of the democratic West.

Moscow: Asked last week about the prospect of E.U. candidate status for Ukraine. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said, “We have no objections.” Since then, Russian officials and analysts have said that he didn’t really mean it.

In other news from the war:

  • For the young Ukrainian refugees packing into Poland’s capital, a park offers a place where they can try to cope, together.

  • Amid a backlash, Eurovision’s organizers have defended their decision that Ukraine cannot host next year’s song contest.

Abdul Hanan, 70, lost 17 members of his family in the quake.

‘I did not expect to survive’

Villages across Paktika Province in Afghanistan’s southeast were devastated by the 5.9-magnitude earthquake that struck early Wednesday — the country’s deadliest in two decades.

As rescue efforts unfolded, vehicles laden with supplies made their way over rugged, unpaved roads to hillside villages strewn with wrecked houses. Relief officials said yesterday that they were now focusing on the survivors, who had endured not only heavy rain but also unseasonably frigid temperatures that threatened to bring snow to some areas.

Afghan officials in the hardest-hit areas estimated Wednesday that at least 1,000 people had been killed and 1,600 or more injured. Yesterday, the U.N. offered a slightly lower estimate — 770 people killed and 1,440 people injured — but cautioned that its figures were likely to rise.

First person: Hawa, a 30-year-old mother of six, felt the walls collapsing on her — then everything went dark. “I did not expect to survive,” she said from her hospital bed. Her village, Dangal Regab, like many others in the region, was a tableau of death and destruction.

An underground natural gas storage facility in Rehden, Germany.Credit…David Hecker/Getty Images

A looming energy crisis in Europe

As tensions between Europe and Russia over energy continue to mount in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, European nations are rapidly pumping natural gas into storage chambers, hoping to moderate stratospheric prices, reduce Moscow’s political leverage and head off the possibility of shortages this winter.

Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled energy giant, last week cut by more than half the amount of gas it delivers via the pipeline Nord Stream 1, which serves Germany and other countries. Germany responded by triggering the second stage of its three-step emergency gas plan. The German government has also called on consumers and companies to conserve gas.

The reduction in supplies to the German pipeline, which also affected flows to countries including France, Italy and the Netherlands, dashed any remaining hope among European leaders that they could count on Russian gas, perhaps the most difficult fuel to replace. Analysts say Moscow will probably continue to use gas for maximum leverage.

By the numbers: Since May, the E.U. has required member states to fill their storage facilities to at least 80 percent of capacity by Nov. 1. Overall European storage levels are at 55 percent. Gas prices are already about six times what they were a year ago.


Around the World

Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Torrential floods in southern China have disrupted the lives of almost half a million people, as rising water submerges cars and houses.

  • The final findings of a three-year inquiry into deep-rooted corruption in South Africa were released Wednesday.

  • Ecuador has been buffeted by a week of protests over a spike in prices for fuel, food and other basic necessities.

Other Big Stories

Credit…Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters
  • Malta’s abortion ban has placed a pregnant American tourist who needs medical care in dire straits.

  • The Jan. 6 hearings resumed yesterday, as U.S. lawmakers unveiled evidence of Donald Trump’s pressure on the Justice Department.

  • U.S. health officials are taking on nicotine addiction: The country banned sales of the vaping brand Juul and plans to cut the nicotine level in cigarettes.

What Else Is Happening

  • Thieves are going after French bulldogs, one of the most expensive breeds in the U.S.

  • Low yields of Mexican chiles have caused an “unprecedented shortage” of Asian hot sauces like sriracha.

  • With the help of NASA and Elon Musk, the artist Jeff Koons is now looking beyond the confines of Earth.

  • From Opinion: It feels as if Boris Johnson’s Britain is finally “sinking giggling into the sea,” writes Samuel Earle.

A Morning Read

Credit…A grid of 0.5 selfies: Julia Herzig (2); Hannah Kaplon (2); Rebecca Worth (2); Soul Park (2); Alessandro Uribe-Rheinbolt

The 0.5 selfie, taken with an ultra-wide-angle lens that can make subjects look “distorted and crazy,” isn’t fussed over. These snaps have become a mainstay of Gen Z documentation, showing up on Instagram, proliferating in group chats, becoming the talk of parties and often simply capturing the minutiae of daily life.


Credit…Alexander Coggin for The New York Times

A ‘jiggle jiggle’ moment

Louis Theroux, 52, is hardly an obvious hip-hop sensation. Yet a short rap by Theroux, a bookish British American documentary filmmaker, is storming the internet. If you’ve been on TikTok, you’ve probably heard the hook: “My money don’t jiggle jiggle, it folds.”

The song was born in 2000, on “Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends,” a BBC series in which he delved into various subcultures. Reese & Bigalow, a rap duo in Jackson, Miss., helped whip the song into shape. But it took off this year, when Theroux recited the rap in an even deadpan on the popular web talk show “Chicken Shop Date.”

That clip has inspired D.J.s and dancers alike, prompting legions of videos of the same languid moves. Stars like Shakira, Snoop Dogg and Megan Thee Stallion have all danced to the track. Theroux, not wanting to miss the moment, has rerecorded it. “I sincerely hope we can all make some jiggle jiggle out of the phenomenon. Or maybe some fold,” he said.


What to Cook

Credit…Craig Lee for The New York Times

This simple roasted chicken dish is fragrant with herbes de Provence.

What to Read

The 25 most significant New York City novels from the past 100 years, according to our panel.

Ask Well

How bad are the germs in public restrooms, really?

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: “Oh, now we’ve got a game!” (five letters).

And here’s today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha

P.S. Russia and Ukraine agreed to divide up the Black Sea Fleet and to settle other disputes 30 years ago today. They did not discuss Crimea, The Times reported.

“The Daily” is about a Supreme Court case that could doom U.S. climate goals.

You can reach Natasha and the team at

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button