At an emergency summit today in Brussels, European Union leaders agreed to create a $54 billion fund to support Ukraine in its protracted war against Russia. The assistance, which will be spread out over four years, will prop up the nonmilitary portion of Ukraine’s budget and will be a lifeline to a country at risk of financial meltdown.
The approval of European aid came to many as a surprise. Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, the bloc’s closest ally of Vladimir Putin, had blocked the funding for weeks. Only after a behind-the-scenes game of good cop, bad cop by top E.U. officials and heads of state did Orban agree to withdraw his opposition. It is not clear what, if anything, he got in exchange.
Before the announcement, Ukraine was considering major spending cuts that could have stirred instability or driven more Ukrainians into Europe as refugees. The money will cover pensions, payments to people displaced by war and salaries for teachers and doctors.
Ukrainian officials were quick to thank the E.U., while also alluding to the uncertainty over U.S. support. A $60 billion package, which includes military assistance and other aid that Ukrainians say is badly needed, is currently languishing in Congress as Republicans have signaled diminishing interest in advancing the funding for Ukraine.
In Washington, Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, said he would set up a vote next week on a border deal that would include aid for Ukraine.
Biden imposed sanctions on Israeli settlers
President Biden ordered broad financial and travel sanctions today on Israeli settlers accused of violent attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank. The move, for now, affects four Israelis, who will be cut off from the U.S. financial system.
His executive order comes a month after the U.S. banned the visas of dozens of Israeli settlers who have committed violence in the West Bank. Today’s action appeared to be a gesture aimed in part at Arab American voters furious about the president’s backing of Israel’s war in Gaza. The White House announced the sanctions just hours before Biden held a campaign event in Michigan, a critical battleground state with a large Arab American population.
In Gaza, at least 33 controlled demolitions by the Israeli military have destroyed hundreds of buildings — including mosques, schools and entire sections of residential neighborhoods — since November, a Times visual analysis found.
The world’s biggest record label took its music off TikTok
Countless videos on TikTok, the popular social media platform, went quiet this morning after Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, removed its tracks. The silence followed a breakdown of contract negotiations.
Universal, which represents stars like Taylor Swift, Drake and U2, had threatened to withdraw licenses if TikTok did not offer a more attractive royalty rate and crack down on A.I.-generated music. Until a new deal is reached, TikTok will remove any post that includes Universal music.
Why more women may suffer from autoimmune diseases
A group of researchers believe they might have an explanation for why women are much more likely than men to have their immune systems turn against them, resulting in autoimmune diseases like lupus.
Their study, published today, suggests that molecules that silence the extra X chromosome carried by women can confuse the immune system. Independent experts said that the molecules are unlikely to be the sole cause. But if the new study’s results hold up, they could serve as a guide for new drugs to specifically treat the molecules.
A choreographer in pointe shoes
Tiler Peck has danced for New York City Ballet for nearly two decades, becoming one of its most celebrated stars. But tonight, for the first time, Peck has a different role: The company will premiere “Concerto for Two Pianos,” a ballet she created.
Peck’s company debut as choreographer was notable from its opening rehearsals: That a woman was in charge would have been unusual until a few years ago. But Peck was also directing the performance while wearing pointe shoes herself, occasionally stepping in to explain her vision. The City Ballet’s associate artistic director said she had never seen that in 40 years on the job.
Small, female dogs with prominent noses live the longest
Researchers in Britain published a study today of nearly 600,000 dogs from more than 150 breeds, examining which have the longest life span. They found that smaller dogs and those with elongated snouts lived longer than large breeds and breeds with flatter faces. Female dogs also lived slightly longer.
Across all dogs, the median life span was 12.5 years. Topping the list were Lancashire heelers, petite herding dogs that live 15.4 years on average. The much larger Caucasian shepherd dogs had the shortest recorded life span, at just 5.4 years. Check out the full list.
A maritime mystery in Newfoundland
In the tiny Canadian community of Cape Ray, Newfoundland, population 250, there has been no shortage of activity lately. Late last month, a 90-foot wrecked wooden ship washed ashore.
One local shipwreck expert, Neil Burgess, said the vessel was probably from the 1800s because of some construction details, like treenails and copper pegs, which were common in that era. He also suggested that the ship was most likely brought close to shore by Hurricane Fiona in 2022.
Have a notable evening.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew
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