Friday briefing: Zelensky’s high-risk visit to Washington | ET REALITY


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

On his second wartime visit to Washington, Zelensky also met with lawmakers and warned that his country would fall into the hands of Russia if the United States cut off military and financial aid that has helped his forces resist Russian onslaught.

“If we don’t get help, we will lose the war,” Zelensky said in a meeting with at least 50 senators, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Zelensky came to Washington to follow up on Biden’s request to Congress for a $24 billion package in 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 onset of winter brings fighting to a standstill.

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

Change: During his first trip to Washington in December, Zelensky received a hero’s welcome. “The whole dynamic is a real change from where things were the last time Zelensky came to Capitol Hill,” said my colleague Karoun Demirjian. “Then he was honored, gave a joint speech before Congress and the public, and was roundly praised for the good job he did in making his case.”

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

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

The announcement marked the formal end of 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 accumulated the power to make or break presidents and prime ministers. He built that empire across three continents, helping to change norms and tastes in journalism, politics and popular culture across the English-speaking world.

Murdoch will become chairman emeritus of both companies and will continue to provide advice, his son said in a statement.

Whats Next: There is no indication so far that Lachlan Murdoch, 52, will change the overall direction of Fox News. The political world and media will be watching closely to see if her father’s retirement changes that.

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

When Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian Sikh separatist, became temple 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 territory. India’s Ministry of External Affairs said yesterday that it had suspended visa applications from Canadian citizens.

Bollywood movies often depict grand Indian weddings filled with dance sequences. An online service, Join My Wedding, is capitalizing on interest in lavish Indian weddings by allowing tourists to buy tickets to attend. The experience is earning praise from some as a meaningful cultural exchange, but others criticize it as fetishism.

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

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

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

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

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