Your Monday Briefing

Protesters swarming government offices in Brasília.Credit…Evaristo Sa/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Rioters storm the Brazilian capital

Thousands of supporters of Brazil’s right-wing former president, Jair Bolsonaro, stormed the country’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential offices in Brasília, the capital, yesterday to protest what they falsely claim was a stolen election. After more than five hours, the authorities said that the military police had retaken control of the site.

The assault was the violent culmination of incessant rhetorical attacks on the nation’s electoral systems by Bolsonaro, who lost a close runoff to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, in October. Lula, who was in São Paulo when the protests erupted, signed an emergency decree allowing the federal government to take additional measures to restore order.

Brazil’s justice minister said that about 200 people had been arrested. Local officials said that the authorities were investigating reports of rioters attacking journalists, smashing windows of ministry buildings and carrying bladed weapons.

Bolsonaro: The former leader has been staying in Florida, where he traveled late last month as his presidency was coming to a close. Since his election loss, his supporters have been camped outside military bases across the country and had called on the armed forces to take control of the government and halt Lula’s recent inauguration.

Members of a Chechen battalion training near Kyiv. Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

Volunteers join the fight against Russia

Ukraine’s military commanders have welcomed to their ranks thousands of volunteers from outside Ukraine. They include Chechens, who are refugees from Russia itself, as well as foreign citizens from nearby nations, like Georgia, that have a history of opposition to Moscow and the leadership of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president.

Several Chechen units have joined Ukraine in its fight against Russia in recent years, following the 2014 uprising of Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.

Many of the volunteers were already living in Ukraine, either for work or seeking refuge from political oppression back home, and were motivated to join the fight by historical grievances of dispossession and suppression by Moscow. Some have struggled with visas and residency permits, and their eagerness to join the fight has aroused suspicions among some Ukrainian officials and commanders, who are on high alert for saboteurs.

In other news from the war:

  • After 10 months of Russian destruction, Ukraine’s economy shrank by 30 percent. But companies have found ways to adapt.

  • Worshipers gathered at a historically significant monastery in Ukraine to celebrate Orthodox Christmas. Despite a purported Russian cease-fire, shelling was as intense as ever in the city of Bakhmut.

Travelers in Hong Kong heading for the border with mainland China.Credit…Tyrone Siu/Reuters

China lifts its pandemic border controls

China yesterday opened its borders for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, welcoming visitors without strict quarantine requirements and allowing its citizens to go overseas as the travel period for Lunar New Year begins. Families who have been kept apart for weddings, funerals, birthdays and graduations are finally preparing to reunite.

In Hong Kong’s airport, hundreds of people waited to check in forflights to the mainland, but the arrivals hall was more quiet. Many of the city’s border checkpoints were reopened; empty transportation halls filled up with groups of people, and shuttered storefronts were open once again.

But unease has tempered the celebratory mood. Covid has ripped through China in recent weeks, causing chaos in hospitals. Beijing’s decision to open its borders has left many in the diaspora reeling and spurred some to delay returning to see family members until the Covid outbreak has abated.

Impact: Nations around the world are eager to welcome the return of Chinese tourists, who spent $250 billion a year overseas before the pandemic. Their abrupt disappearance in early 2020 plunged many tour guides and travel operators into bankruptcy.


Other Big Stories

Credit…Wana News Agency, via Reuters
  • Iran on Saturday hanged two men who participated in antigovernment demonstrations. At least 13 people have been sentenced to death for their part in the protests.

  • Two days before the publication of his memoir, “Spare,” Prince Harry appeared in high-profile interviews in the U.S. and Britain.

  • In Japan, where pension funds are scarce and young employees are lacking, many seniors work well into their 70s.

  • Africa’s first heat officer is fighting to make Sierra Leone’s capital livable.

  • At least 40 people were killed and about 80 were injured in a bus crash in Senegal yesterday.

From Opinion

  • A clean-energy future doesn’t have to mean no flying cars or lunar bases. In fact, it’s what will make those things possible, Ezra Klein argues.

  • Pamela Paul asks: Why has America fallen so hard for Harry and Meghan?

  • When antivaxxers blame tragedies like Grant Wahl’s death on Covid vaccines, they put us all at risk, Céline Gounder, an epidemiologist and Wahl’s widow, writes.

  • The American occupation has ended in Afghanistan, but the aftereffects of the long war are still ravaging the country, Jamil Jan Kochai writes.

A Morning Read

Credit…Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times

An art history lecturer in the U.S. showed her class a 14th-century painting of the Prophet Muhammad that scholars herald as a masterpiece. She lost her job.

The events have created a national controversy, which has pitted advocates of academic liberty and free speech, as well as some Muslim art historians, against Muslims who believe that showing the image of Prophet Muhammad is always sacrilegious.


Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s political pawn: The World Cup winner left Spain, but the power of his name is still being used by his former club to curry favor.

The hated rivals who need each other more than ever: The Super League has brought Barcelona and Real Madrid together in a far cry from the wars between Ronaldo and Messi, Guardiola and Mourinho.

Inside Real Madrid’s move to sign Brazil’s best young player: The world wanted Endrick. This is the story of how Real fended off rivals to sign the 16-year-old.

From The Times: Naomi Osaka withdrew from the Australian Open. She has not played a tournament since September, when she withdrew from a match in Japan with abdominal pain.


The future of remote work

In a tight labor market, where employers have had good incentives to accommodate workers’ preferences, it has been easy for workers to make the argument for workplace conditions that suit them — including “wfh,” or “working from home,” as a given at least some of the time.

As layoffs loom, the worker-first era is over. Some prominent chief executives, including David Solomon of Goldman Sachs and Elon Musk of Twitter, have seen an opportunity to get their employees back in the office. But is the pandemic-induced remote work experiment about to end? Economists say it is not likely.

Last year, remote work stabilized well above prepandemic levels, with around 30 percent of full paid working days in the U.S. completed remotely last year, up from around 5 percent in 2019. In surveys, workers favored being remote about 2.8 days per week. Their employers preferred them to be out of office 2.3 days.

Employees say they like working remotely because it means no commute and more peace and quiet. But allowing employees to operate outside of the office can also benefit companies. Such flexibility may allow them to pay less, and workers with an option to log in remotely may also take fewer sick days.

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What to Cook

Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times

Think of these overnight oats as a gift to your future self.

What to Watch

In “M3GAN,” a robot doll’s sinister virtuosity provokes simultaneous amusement and deep unease.

What to Read

In three new historical novels, female protagonists defy odds and push limits.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Vernon Dursley, to Harry Potter (five letters).

And here are today’s Wordle and Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha

P.S. What are your reading goals for 2023? Tell us about them.

Start your week with this narrated long read about a teenager who survived an airplane crash in the Amazon. And here’s Friday’s edition of “The Daily,” on an agreement to protect biodiversity.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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