Your Thursday Briefing

The Northern Crimean Canal has been reopened.Credit…Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times

Russia restores rail links to the south of Ukraine

Russia is cementing its grip on southern Ukraine, extending infrastructure that could help it claim permanent dominion over the region. The repair work would allow Moscow to fortify a “land bridge” between Russia and Crimea and build on efforts to claim control through the introduction of Russian currency and the appointment of proxy officials. Follow the latest updates from the war.

Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said yesterday that the military and Russian Railways had together repaired about 750 miles of track in southeastern Ukraine and set the conditions for traffic to flow from Russia through Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region to occupied territory in Kherson and Crimea. These claims could not be verified.

Satellite imagery reviewed by The Times showed that water was again flowing through parts of the Northern Crimean Canal in Crimea that had been dry until March. The 250-mile canal is an important source of freshwater that Ukraine cut off in 2014 with bags of sand and clay after the Kremlin annexed the peninsula.

Fighting: Even as Russia sought to entrench its control in the south this week, guerrilla warfare has emerged inside the occupied regions, with a series of attacks targeting Russian supporters and proxies.

Sievierodonetsk: In the east, where both armies are fighting for control, Ukrainian officials were weighing whether to withdraw their forces from the city, which is the last major pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the Luhansk region that has been blasted by weeks of Russian shelling.

In other news from the war:

  • Russia and Turkey announced no progress toward allowing grain exports from Ukraine.

  • In a symbolic vote, the European Parliament recommended that Ukraine be granted candidate status for membership in the E.U., Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, said on Twitter.

The crash took place yards from the site of a fatal terrorist attack in 2016.Credit…Michael Sohn/Associated Press

Car drives into a school group in Berlin

A car plowed into a crowd of people on a busy Berlin sidewalk yesterday morning, killing a female teacher on a school trip and injuring 14 teenage students traveling with her, before crashing into the window of a store. Five of the victims have life-threatening injuries, officials said.

The driver was a 29-year-old German man of Armenian origin who lives in Berlin and whom a Berlin state senator described as “a mentally impaired person.” A police spokesman said they knew of no motive, but were investigating whether the crash was intentional or accidental and perhaps caused by “an exceptional medical situation.”

The schoolteacher who was killed was from the western state of Hesse, according to officials. It was not clear if there were any people injured aside from the students. As of last night, the police had not released the names of any victims and were waiting to alert their families.

Site: The area was yards from the location of a terrorist attack on a Christmas market in 2016 in which 12 people died after an attacker drove a stolen truck into a crowd of people. The square has since been reinforced to protect the large numbers of people who pass through it every day.

Moderna said a new formulation of its Covid vaccine that targets the Omicron variant performed well in trials.Credit…Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

New data on Omicron vaccine

Moderna released encouraging preliminary results on an updated vaccine that targets the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. It was shown to produce 1.75 times the level of neutralizing antibodies against Omicron as a booster dose of the original vaccine.

But experts warn that the virus is rapidly evolving and may outpace the ability to modify vaccines using human clinical trials. Omicron has been spawning subvariants for months, and some researchers say that what matters now is how well a new booster formulation would protect against the latest subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, not Omicron itself.

BA.4 and BA.5 now represent 13 percent of new coronavirus cases in the U.S., up from 7.5 percent a week ago, according to health officials. These new subvariants seem to spread even more quickly than earlier versions of Omicron and may be better at dodging the immune system’s defenses. It is unclear whether they cause more severe disease.

Next steps: Outside advisers to U.S. health officials will meet at the end of the month to discuss which vaccine formulation would work best as a fall booster. Vaccine manufacturers have said they would need to start production soon.


Around the World

Credit…Joao Laet/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Search crews in Brazil are scouring part of the Amazon for a British journalist and a Brazilian expert on Indigenous groups who mysteriously disappeared three days ago.

  • Eight years after the Sewol ferry disaster took the lives of 250 South Korean students, parents say they are still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.

  • Iran turned off U.N. surveillance cameras used to monitor a nuclear site.

  • Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister of Israel, is voting against initiatives he supports in an effort to topple the country’s coalition government and regain power.

Other Big Stories

Credit…Pool photo by Patrick Pleul
  • Twitter will give Elon Musk access to a large swath of its data, potentially making it tougher for the tech billionaire to end his $44 billion acquisition.

  • More than 90 women are suing the F.B.I. for failures in its investigation of Larry Nassar, the former doctor for U.S.A. Gymnastics.

  • British authorities have authorized criminal charges against Harvey Weinstein on two counts of indecent assault in 1996.

  • Lawyers will question Donald Trump under oath next month as part of an investigation into his business practices.

What Else Is Happening

  • In the abortion rights debate, some progressive organizations have adopted inclusive language that moves away from terms like “women” or “breastfeeding.”

  • In a new study, a treatment for metastatic breast cancer was found to be stunningly successful, slowing tumor growth and extending life to an extent rarely seen with advanced cancers.

  • Milan Design Week runs through the end of the week. Catch up with our special report.

A Morning Read

Credit…May Truong for The New York Times

You’ve probably seen the Pulitzer-winning 1972 photograph of Kim Phuc Phan Thi taken as she ran away from napalm explosions in the village of Trang Bang in Vietnam — a naked child with outstretched arms, screaming in pain.

“That picture will always serve as a reminder of the unspeakable evil of which humanity is capable,” she writes in this Times Opinion essay. “Still, I believe that peace, love, hope and forgiveness will always be more powerful than any kind of weapon.”


Credit…Jimmy Marble for The New York Times

Dress to express

The drama “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has earned praise for its whirlwind shots, its strange story, and its tender and philosophical take on family and generational trauma. Amid all that, the costumes stick out for their fabulous maximalism.

Before Shirley Kurata, above, designed the looks for the movie, she had already dressed Billie Eilish, Tierra Whack, Lena Dunham, Jenny Lewis and Pharrell Williams. Her stardom has grown even more with the film’s success. “I’m seeing how much the movie has affected people,” Kurata said. “Being part of something like that means a lot to me, where you see Asian representation not in a clichéd or stereotypical way.”

Kurata’s signature style mixes vintage with high-end designers, drawing from an intense color wheel. It’s an exuberant look she has cultivated ever since her brother’s girlfriend gave her hand-me-down Barbies from the 1960s.


What to Cook

Credit…Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Deviled eggs are a classic appetizer for good reason: They’re delicious.

What to Watch

A documentary profile of Marshall Ngwa, who performs drag as BeBe Zahara Benet, is a breath of fresh air.

What to Read

Buying books online lacks much of the romance and joy of browsing in a brick-and-mortar store. Book-discovery apps aim to change that.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Annoying critter (four letters).

And here’s today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

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

P.S. The Times won two Peabody awards for coverage of the Capitol riot and the aftermath of war in the Gaza Strip.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on guns and mental health.

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

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