Ukrainian forces notched victories this week against two lines of Russian defense, according to a White House spokesman, who called the advances “notable progress” in Kyiv’s counteroffensive.
The spokesman, John Kirby, declined to discuss war plans for Ukraine but said the U.S. expected Ukrainian forces to continue to push farther south, which will require “tough fighting ahead.”
Ukraine celebrated a tactical victory this week when its forces retook the southern village of Robotyne. A senior Ukrainian military official said today that Ukrainian units had successfully pushed about three and a half miles farther south of Robotyne toward Melitopol, a primary target of the counteroffensive.
The White House comments came a day after Ukraine’s foreign minister sharply derided criticism of the counteroffensive as slow. “I would recommend all critics to shut up, come to Ukraine and try to liberate one square centimeter by themselves,” he said.
In other news from the war, Russia said that it had put a new nuclear missile “on combat duty.”
U.S. job growth forged on, but unemployment rose
American employers added 187,000 jobs last month, according to government data released today, maintaining the trend of steady growth. But the gains, along with those from June and July, were the lowest in more than two and a half years.
Much of the slowdown has come from industries that are returning to more typical levels after the pandemic’s upheaval. A prime example is truck transportation, which grew to serve a stay-at-home online shopping spree and shrank as it died down.
More surprisingly, the unemployment rate jumped to 3.8 percent from 3.5 percent, but that’s probably for a good reason: The labor force grew by 736,000 as more people started to look for work.
The U.S. pushes nursing homes to hire more staff
The Biden administration proposed a new set of federal standards today that would require the nation’s most thinly staffed nursing homes to hire more workers. The move was prompted by the industry’s troubling performance at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, when 200,000 nursing home residents died.
If put into effect, the standards would be the greatest change to federal nursing home regulations in three decades. But the proposal still falls far short of what both the industry and patient advocates believe is needed to improve care for most of the 1.2 million Americans in nursing homes.
Back in force, Idalia approaches Bermuda
The remnants of Hurricane Idalia — which crashed into Florida’s Gulf Coast this week, downing trees and causing flooding — were forecast to strengthen back into a tropical storm over the next day as the storm nears the island of Bermuda.
Idalia is one of a handful of major storms that are currently active. The strongest among them, Typhoon Saola — which had the equivalent of Category 4 wind speeds — hit Hong Kong today and is expected to make landfall in southern China today or tomorrow.
More top news
Adam Driver, the star of Venice, slammed the big studios
With virtually no other A-list actors at the Venice Film Festival this week because of the Hollywood strikes, much of the attention is on Adam Driver, the star of the upcoming movie “Ferrari.” Working with the indie studios Neon and STX, he secured a guild waver to attend, and he was eager to talk about it.
“Why is it that a smaller distribution company like Neon and STX International can meet the dream demands of what SAG is asking for — the dream version of SAG’s wish list — but a big company like Netflix and Amazon can’t?” Driver said.
Looking for something already in theaters? Denzel Washington is back in “The Equalizer 3.”
Will A.I. kill the college admissions essay?
For generations, high school seniors have written college admissions essays showing off their creativity and writing skills in the hope of securing a spot at an elite college or university. The requirement has allowed applicants to show that they have more to offer than their grades. But that era might soon be upended.
A.I. chatbots are now so effective and widely available that students around the world are bound to use them to brainstorm, edit or entirely compose their essays. Some schools worry that will lead to plagiarism and negate the value of the writing. But others are more optimistic that A.I. tools could help democratize a writing process that is already unequal.
For more: We asked A.I. bots to write essays for Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Here’s how it went.
Find the perfect paint color for you
A long weekend like this one is the perfect time to tackle a home project that you’ve been putting off for too long, and there’s no easier or cheaper way to transform a room than to paint it. The hardest part might be choosing a color.
When we asked the interior designer Brigette Romanek for some advice, she said a good starting point is to assess the room. Deep greens or grays may be good in statement-making spaces like lounges and powder rooms, and refreshing blues and pinks in kitchens and dining rooms. For a bedroom, a soothing off-white and beige may work best.
In her own home, Romanek used no fewer than 16 shades of white to create the vibe she wanted.
Have a colorful weekend.