October 7, 2022

Good morning. We cover Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and new US sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s allies.

Nancy Pelosi met with Tsai Ing-wen, president of Taiwan, after visiting Taiwan’s legislature earlier today.

In what is likely to be seen as an affront to China, the US House speaker is also likely to hold talks with several human rights leaders this afternoon before departing. She said her visit to the self-governing island was a sign of the United States’ “unwavering commitment” to support its democracy.

The high-profile meetings set the stage for further tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as its territory. Shortly after Pelosi landed, Chinese diplomats said her trip “severely undermines” Beijing’s sovereignty, maintaining a growing drumbeat of anger in China toward the U.S.

And China’s military has announced live-fire drills that appear to violate Taiwan’s territorial waters. A state news agency warned ships and aircraft to move away for “security reasons”. Live updates follow.

The Biden administration yesterday announced a major new round of sanctions on Russian entities, including dozens of companies, oligarchs close to the Kremlin and tech institutions with ties to the military.

They are also targeting a woman believed to be Vladimir Putin’s romantic partner: Alina Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast and member of the Russian Duma.

The move prevents Kabaeva from accessing any assets in the US or conducting business with Americans and denies her a visa to enter the country. It is already under sanctions imposed by the EU and Britain.

And the move follows news of an extension of US aid to Ukraine. On Monday, the US announced it would send another $550 million in weapons to Ukraine, bringing the US investment in the war effort to more than $8 billion.

Toll booth: At least 140,000 residential buildings in Ukraine have been destroyed or damaged, leaving more than 3.5 million people homeless. Civilians store firewood and charcoal in preparation for winter.

Rights: Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine, raised the prospect of “political partnerships” yesterday. The war is cataclysmic: LGBTQ soldiers fight for their country, but their partners have no legal rights.

At the sea: Sailors usually don’t discuss politics. The war is testing this rule for Ukrainian and Russian crew members on merchant ships.

Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, is due to leave office in September. But few expect him to escape the spotlight – or give up on the prospect of one day reclaiming his position.

Less than three weeks after he announced his resignation amid a series of scandals, rumors are already swirling about a possible return. Recently, he posed in a fighter jetthen to a military base where he threw a grenade, used a machine gun and held a rocket launcher during an exercise with Ukrainian troops.

And in his final appearance in Parliament as prime minister, Johnson’s verdict on his three tumultuous years in Downing Street was “mission largely accomplished — for now,” before signing off with words from a Terminator movie: “Hasta la vista, baby.”

What’s next: Either Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, or Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, will take over. Johnson’s allies expect him to try to stay in parliament to defend his legacy and key policy initiatives.

As Libya descends back into chaos, there is little room for reconciliation. A town, Tarhuna, struggles to find justice after the reign of a murderous band of brothers. But the residents cannot even find the bodies of their relatives.

“When you say to me, ‘make peace,’ how can I make peace with someone with blood on their hands?” asked a woman. “How can I shake his hand?”

Almost every object in Hebrew has a gender: Table is masculine. a door is female. In recent years, some Israelis have been pushing to modify the language, even the alphabet, to counter what they see as its inherent biases.

A grunt: Hebrew lacks neuter pronouns. People once reverted to the masculine plural to refer to a mixed-gender crowd. Some have taken to using both the masculine and feminine forms of every verb and pronoun, along with corresponding adjectives—or simply using the feminine form.

Critics call this cumbersome, unnecessary haircut: “I’m against clumsiness,” said one reporter. Some ultra-conservative Jews oppose the new focus on equality on principle.

And Hebrew is more than the official language of the Jewish state: It is a binding marker of identity. The modern form has roots in biblical times. But it has preserved the grammatical rules of the ancient patriarchates.

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