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Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, announced yesterday that the security bloc would grant accelerated membership to Sweden and Finland. The move increases pressure on Vladimir Putin, who justified Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on what he presented as the need to keep the military alliance away from his country’s borders. Follow the latest updates.

Finland’s parliament is expected to ratify a NATO bid today, and Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party said yesterday it would vote in favor of membership. “President Putin wants Ukraine defeated, NATO brought down, North America and Europe divided,” Stoltenberg said. “But Ukraine is on its feet, NATO is stronger than ever, Europe and North America are firmly united.”

Finland and Sweden’s decision to apply to join NATO increases the likelihood of alliance troops deploying along Russia’s 810-mile border with Finland.

Next steps: An application to join NATO must be approved unanimously by its 30 members. One of them, Turkey, raised questions about pending applications, although he hinted that he would not object to admission if his own security concerns were taken into account. account.

On the ground: Ukrainian forces have moved closer to the Russian border in recent days after pushing back Russian troops from the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. There is growing evidence that the Russian offensive in the Donbass region further east is running out of steam after modest initial gains.

In other war news:

Nearly one million people have died from Covid-19 in the United States. Many of the loved ones they left carry a grief that feels lonely, permanent, and terribly distant from a nation that wants to move on.

In dozens of interviews with The Times, people across America who have lost parents, spouses and friends to Covid have described how they experienced the pandemic, from the frightening unknowns of the early weeks to this time. , with a reopened nation moving forward, even as more than 300 people die every day.

For now, there is no lasting national memorial for the lost, no common place to gather and mourn. And for some, their grief seems met almost with indifference.

First person: “For us, the pandemic is not just this blip in our history,” said Erin Reiner, whose mother died of Covid. “People talk about it like it’s such an inconvenience – we can’t do that; we’re not going to have this celebration. I only wish that was all it was for us, for me, for the countless other families.

Alternative result: If the US had the same Covid death rate as Australia, around 900,000 lives would have been saved. Our Australian office manager explores what went right in Australia and what went wrong in the US

In a nearly two-year-delayed vote, hundreds of Somali lawmakers yesterday elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the country’s new president. Mohamud, a former president and peace activist, received 214 votes out of 328 lawmakers, who were chosen by clan representatives.

His selection ends a bitter electoral period marred by corruption, his predecessor’s attempt to cling to power and violent fighting in the streets. Mohamud defeated three dozen candidates after three rounds of voting, including Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who was convicted after extending his term last year.

The vote comes amid a host of challenges for Somalia: spiraling inflation, a recent deadly drought and the threat of Al Shabab, a terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda. After more than 16 years, the group now has sweeping powers, including to extort taxes, try court cases, force minors to join its ranks and carry out suicide attacks.

The context: Somalia’s 16 million people have suffered from decades of civil wars, poor governance and terrorism. The central government has been reinforced by African Union peacekeepers and Western aid.

Quoteable: “Our country must move forward, not back,” Mohamud said after being sworn in early today. “I promise to build a Somalia in harmony with itself and in harmony with the world.”

What do the data tell us about wealth and happiness?

The richest Americans – the 140,000 who earn more than $1.58 million a year – may not be the tycoons you think they are. And the things that make us happy are almost exactly what you’d expect: nature, sex, friends and exercise, writes Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in this article in our Opinion section.

Many adults under the age of 35 ignore financial prudence, reports Anna P. Kambhampaty in The Times. Disheartened by the future – amid climate change, a pandemic, war and more – this group is saving less and pursuing passion projects, like coral farming, above, or risky careers.

There are some historical analogies here. During the Cold War, the threat of nuclear war shaped young people’s plans. And when the 2008 financial crisis hit, saving for a home seemed pointless to many people. “If you have an apocalyptic vision of the future, why would you save for it?” said a financial psychologist.

Hannah Jones, a comedian from Denver, put it this way, “I’m not going to deprive myself of the comforts of life now for a future that seems like it could be snatched away from me at any moment.”

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