Thursday Briefing – The New York Times

The U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, convened a special summit yesterday in New York designed to shine a spotlight on the most ambitious global leaders on climate policy. The leaders of the U.S. and China, the world’s biggest polluters, did not get a turn at the microphone, and the summit yielded little in the way of new announcements of climate action.

Also at the U.N., President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine presented his 10-point plan to end the war with Russia and called for Russia to be stripped of its veto power. “It is impossible to stop the war because all actions are vetoed by the aggressor,” he said before the Security Council.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, was not present for Zelensky’s speech. When Lavrov spoke later, he justified his country’s invasion, reiterating claims that the West had staged a “coup” in Ukraine to install a pro-Western president. Zelensky had left the chamber by then and was not present for Lavrov’s remarks.

What’s next: Zelensky is heading to Washington today. His visit comes as dozens of Republicans are opposing President Biden’s latest request of $24 billion for aid in Ukraine’s war.

On the ground: These maps show the progress of Ukraine’s counteroffensive so far — and how far it still has to go.

A photograph released by the Nagorno-Karabakh human rights ombudsman of damage in the capital.Credit…Agence France-Presse, via Nagorno-Karabakh human rights ombudsman

Azerbaijan said that it had restored full control over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway Armenian enclave. The development could create thousands of new refugees and spell the end of decades of Armenian efforts to assert sovereignty in the mountainous Caucasus region. The area is home to tens of thousands of Armenians who stayed after a 2020 cease-fire.

Addressing his nation, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan asserted that pro-Armenian authorities surrendered after two days of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh region. “Karabakh is Azerbaijan,” he said, putting his fist in the air.

Effects: The return of the enclave to Azerbaijani rule is likely to alter power dynamics in the South Caucasus. The Armenian separatists’ surrender could hasten the decline of Russian influence in the Caucasus, where the role of Moscow as an arbiter in the decades-old conflict made it a pivotal power.

After years of claiming leadership in the international fight against climate change, Britain’s government said it would weaken key environmental pledges, promising lower costs for Britons ahead of a looming general election. The new policy risks alienating large sections of the electorate at a time of growing public awareness of global warming.

Brushing aside sharp criticism from business leaders, environmentalists and some of his own Conservative lawmakers, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he would stick to Britain’s overall goals for achieving net zero by 2050. He would do so, he said, in what he described as a more “sensible” way that did not “impose such significant costs on working people.”

Details: Sunak said that he would delay a ban on the sale of gas and diesel cars, lower targets for replacing gas boilers and propose no new measures to discourage passengers from flying.

When rappers write songs, they’re as likely as not to use no actual writing at all. Much of modern rap music is composed via an improvisational studio technique known as “punching in” — a freestyle approach to every line, one at a time, until a song is fully formed.

Is this technique good for the music? The jury is out, even within hip-hop. In this behind-the-scenes video, we track the generational shift.

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