Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times

Developing countries face irreversible damage from climate change but have done little to cause the crisis. And they are demanding compensation from the parties they see as responsible: wealthier nations that have emitted half of all heat-trapping gases since 1850 and created pollution that is dangerously heating the planet.

This debate will be front and center this week at the 27th annual U.N. climate talks, known as COP27, which opened yesterday in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Simon Stiell, the U.N. climate chief, said the decision to include the issue on the agenda “bodes well” for a compromise by the end of the summit.

But political will is limited. The U.S. and the E.U. fear that such compensation could become an unlimited liability. Last year, wealthy nations vowed to provide $40 billion per year by 2025 to help poorer countries with adaptation. A U.N. report estimates that this amount is less than one-fifth of what developing nations need, fueling calls for separate funding to deal with the aftermath of climate disasters.

Quotable: “What we seek is not charity, not alms, not aid — but justice,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan’s foreign minister, said in September.

In the final weekend before the U.S. midterms, American voters — buffeted by record inflation, worries about their personal safety and fears about the fundamental stability of American democracy — showed clear signs of preparing to reject Democratic control of Washington and embrace divided government.

Many Republicans are now confident that they will win control of the House and possibly the Senate, while Democrats steeled themselves for potential losses even in traditional strongholds. Should Republicans sweep the House contests, their control could empower the party’s right wing, emboldening lawmakers who traffic in conspiracy theories and falsehoods.

A central question for Democrats is whether such a distinctive moment overrides fierce historical headwinds. Since 1934, nearly every president has lost seats in his first midterm election. And typically, voters punish the party in power for poor economic conditions — dynamics that point toward Republican gains.

Demographics: Key parts of the coalition that lifted Democrats to victory in 2018 and 2020 — moderate suburban white women and Hispanic voters — seem to be swinging toward Republican candidates. Latinos account for more than 20 percent of registered voters in more than a dozen hotly contested House races.

White House memo: After turning to President Biden for a sense of normalcy two years ago, voters now appear poised to register discontent that he has not delivered as they had expected, regardless of whether such expectations were realistic in the first place.

Donald Trump: The former president’s apparent plan to soon announce his candidacy is challenging the Justice Department to show that it can operate above partisanship.

With occupying Russian forces at peril in the strategic southern city of Kherson, troops with the Wagner Group, a private military force, advanced on the Ukrainian-held city of Bakhmut in the east of the country.

Bakhmut, under attack by Russia for months, has little strategic value, but a victory there for Moscow would break its humiliating run of defeats — and give a boost to the political fortunes of Wagner’s founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman, convicted thief and longtime associate of Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.

Prigozhin is a growing force in Russia’s labyrinthine power politics and has criticized top military commanders, all of whom have been replaced in the eastern, southern and western military districts since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Britain’s military intelligence agency said on Sunday that the “dismissals represent a pattern of blame against senior Russian military commanders for failures to achieve Russian objectives on the battlefield.”

Context: Prigozhin has cut an increasingly assertive and independent figure. On a recent visit to Russia’s Kursk region, he met with local businessmen to discuss the organization of an ill-defined people’s militia outside the regular military command.

In other news from the war: Russian trolls are trying to spread misinformation before the U.S. midterm elections.

Every year, high school mariachi bands along the Texas border battle it out in one of the nation’s most intense championship rivalries.

“If you want to be competitive, especially in this part of the Valley, you have to be super detailed,” one mariachi program director said. “That’s what gives mariachi music the style, all those little details we were going through. That’s the beauty of mariachi.”

The greatest MLS Cup match ever? From “Halloween film” to “Hollywood movie,” the 2022 MLS Cup final had all the twists and turns that only Los Angeles — and Gareth Bale — could produce.

Why soccer players love yoga: The physical and mental benefits of yoga are now well-known in soccer, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and more among its devotees.

Bayern says Davies should play in World Cup: Alphonso Davies suffered a hamstring injury playing for Bayern on Saturday, but his participation in the World Cup with Canada is “not at risk,” the team said.

On running: Two Kenyans won the New York City Marathon yesterday, The Times reports: Sharon Lokedi in the women’s race and Evans Chebet in the men’s. Marcel Hug and Susannah Scaroni set course records in the wheelchair races.

Maxine Angel Opoku is Ghana’s only openly transgender musician. Early in her career, she sang about love and romance. But after lawmakers introduced a bill that would imprison people who identify as gay, transgender or queer, her art urgently turned to advocacy, and her music began to attract legions of new fans as well as powerful adversaries.

Same-sex sexual acts are criminalized in Ghana, in part because of a British colonial-era law, but publicly identifying as gay, transgender or queer is not currently a crime. Opoku, who is known onstage as Angel Maxine, is one of the most visible targets of the proposed legislation.

Opoku’s song “Kill the Bill” responds to the bill directly, while another song, “Wo Fie,” which means “in your home” in the Akan language, talks about how L.G.B.T.Q. people may be part of every family; the lyrics call for tolerance and respect.

Because of potential risks to her safety, Opoku now performs rarely, and only in private. Even going to the market or taking a bus is out of the question. “Every day is dangerous for me,” she said. “I cannot walk on the street as a normal person.”

Read Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu’s profile of Maxine Angel Opoku in The Times.

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