Your Friday briefing: EU leaders visit Ukraine

We cover the wishes of European leaders to support the Ukrainian war effort and a Trumpian presidential candidate in Colombia.

The leaders of France, Italy, Germany and Romania met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday in Kyiv, where they voiced their support for Ukraine’s bid to join the EU. EU and said they would continue to support Ukraine’s military efforts, despite suggestions to the contrary. .

President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, who had been criticized in recent days for feeling like they were trying to pressure Zelensky into starting peace talks with Russia, have stressed that their support was sincere: “We are and will remain by your side in the long term to defend your sovereignty, your territorial integrity and your freedom,” Macron said. “That is our goal, we have no other and we will achieve it.”

The four leaders expressed their support for Ukraine’s EU bid, Macron said. Scholz added that “Ukraine belongs to the European family”.

European leaders also visited Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv where investigators are probing reports of Russian atrocities during the war. Russia dismissed their trip as empty symbolism. Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president, derisively called the leaders “European connoisseurs of frogs, liver sausages and pasta”.

Hesitation: Ukrainian officials are wary of pressure to negotiate an end to the war with Russia due to the 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements, in which the Ukrainians offered concessions in return for Russian ceasefires, which did not never held.

Trap: With all the bridges connecting the twin Ukrainian cities of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk destroyed and fighting still raging, thousands of civilians have been trapped in one of the deadliest battles of the war to date.


Schoolchildren around the world have long learned that Hong Kong was a British colony. But students in Hong Kong will soon learn another lesson: that was not the case.

A new narrative pushed by Beijing – which rejects the way the British saw their relationship with the city – will be explicitly taught to high school students in Hong Kong through at least four new textbooks which will be rolled out in the fall.

The textbook materials are still being reviewed by principals, teachers, academics and Hong Kong Education Bureau employees, but appear to be intended for classrooms. Local news websites published draft excerpts this week, and the Times viewed teachers’ proof copies.

Excerpts from the manuals reinforce the Chinese Communist Party’s position on Hong Kong. “British aggression violated the principles of international law, so its occupation of the Hong Kong area should not have been recognized as lawful,” reads a teacher’s edition essay. manual.

Quoteable: The narrative, said one pro-democracy activist, “is shorthand for saying, ‘Hong Kong has always been part of China, so Hong Kong people have never been able to claim the right to self-determination'”.

Larger effort: The material is part of a wider campaign led by China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, to overhaul Hong Kong’s schools, “protect young minds” and nurture loyal, patriotic citizens.


Rodolfo Hernández, a 77-year-old businessman and former mayor, has become Colombia’s most disruptive presidential candidate in decades, electrifying voters — and a huge TikTok fan base — with a Trump-like message “empty Marsh”.

He is one of two remaining candidates in Sunday’s election for the nation’s presidency, the third-most in Latin America, with the winner taking control at a pivotal moment in the country’s history.

Hernández presented himself as a paragon of democracy, a successful businessman who keeps his promises and cares about the poor. But a Times reporter traveled to Bucaramanga, a mountain-fringed city where he built his empire and served as mayor, and found a different picture: an anti-corruption candidate who’s been indicted on corruption charges, a supporter of austerity whose slash-and-burn policies led to a hunger strike by city workers and a construction magnate who once pledged to build 20,000 homes for the poor, this which never materialized.

The opponent: Hernández faces off against Gustavo Petro, a former rebel and longtime senator who hopes to become Colombia’s first leftist president. Their electoral success – they are roughly tied in the polls – reflects an anti-establishment fervor that has swept across Latin America as long-standing poverty and inequality have intensified during the pandemic.

Diablo is one of the most successful video game franchises, from one of the biggest developers in the world, Blizzard Entertainment. But the latest entry in the series, “Diablo Immortal,” has received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics who say the game’s payment model is predatory.

“Diablo Immortal” is free to download on computers and mobile devices, but it hosts a store where players can use real money to purchase items to upgrade their avatar’s gear. These improvements are not guaranteed; players pay, in essence, a virtual scratch ticket. By some estimatesit can take thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to fully upgrade a character.

Belgium and the Netherlands will not have “Diablo Immortal” as a result of anti-gambling rules that prohibit these types of games. And on Metacritic, a review aggregator, users gave the PC version of the game a rating of 0.2 out of 10, among the lowest of any Blizzard game. — German Lopez

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