Hello. We cover the ongoing destruction of Mariupol, Ukraine, the search for survivors in a Chinese plane crash and the lifting of Covid restrictions in Hong Kong.
The bloody fight for Mariupol
Ukraine has rejected Russia’s request that soldiers defending Mariupol surrender at dawn on Monday. Efforts to reach the hundreds of thousands of people trapped there remained fraught with difficulty as Russian forces stepped up their attacks.
“My city is dying a painful death,” wrote one survivor after fleeing. “For twenty days, I would die of it. I was in hell.”
A powerful explosion also rocked kyiv on Monday and reduced a sprawling shopping center to rubble. A Times reporter saw six bodies there covered in plastic, as rescuers battled fires and pulled other victims from the wreckage. Here are the live updates.
The context: After nearly a month of fighting, the war is at an impasse. Russia is turning to deadlier and more brutal methods, including targeting civilians, as it suffers troop and equipment losses that would limit its ability to mount offensives.
Resistance: About two million people who remain in Kyiv are galvanized by a newfound unity. In the ancient city of Lviv, simple rituals took on a new and sometimes surreal meaning.
Diplomacy: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is drawing on other nations’ stories of struggle to rally support, invoking the civil rights movement to American lawmakers and the fall of the Berlin Wall to Germans. Our chief fashion critic also analyzed her most famous piece of clothing: the olive green tee.
Boeing 737 crashes in China
An airliner with 132 people on board crashed Monday afternoon in the Guangxi region, a mountainous region in southern China. It was unclear if any of the crew and passengers survived.
Hong Kong reduces restrictions
Carrie Lam, the leader of Hong Kong, announced Monday that the city will lift its ban on flights from nine countries on April 1 and reduce quarantine times for vaccinated residents returning from overseas from 14 days to seven.
Experts and government officials said the worst of a wave caused by Omicron may have passed and residents were at greater risk of infection from community transmissions than from imported cases.
But even though its new measures remain among the strictest in the world, Hong Kong’s approach appears to deviate slightly from that of mainland China, where Shanghai and Shenzhen remain in lockdown.
Context: For most of the pandemic, Hong Kong isolated itself from the rest of the world and forced travelers to self-quarantine for three weeks in a hotel.
Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.
THE LAST NEWS
A little over half a century ago, there were only about three dozen red-crowned cranes in all of Japan. They are now 1,900, thanks to the work of conservationists, but few scientists think they could survive without being fed by humans.
Russo-Ukrainian War: Main Developments
ARTS AND IDEAS
The long-running Eurovision Song Contest pits countries against each other for pop supremacy. Artists like ABBA (Sweden), Celine Dion (Switzerland) and Julio Iglesias (Spain) have all participated once.
Now the United States wants to recreate some of the magic of Eurovision with “American Song Contest”, hosted by Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg. Here is a primer.
Will I know any of the songs? No, they must be new, although applicants do not have to write their own stuff.
Who is in competition? The competition has 56 entries. Jewel (who grew up yodeling in harsh conditions in Alaska), Michael Bolton (Connecticut) and Sisqó (Maryland) are among the famous names.
Eurovision has crazy performance. Does this version? “One person’s cliché is another person’s truth,” said an executive producer. “Some of them are self-aware, some are not.” — Sanam Yar, a morning writer
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
Pad Thai is Thailand’s national dish and easy to cook. Abroad, it’s part of the canon of Thai restaurants.
The founders of Mejdi Tours believe that travel can be a force for peace.
What to watch
Charlotte Gainsbourg makes her directorial debut in “Jane by Charlotte,” an elusive portrait of her mother, Franco-English star Jane Birkin.