Ukraine’s influence increases in the Black Sea
Ukraine is increasingly managing to gain a degree of control over part of the disputed waters of the Black Sea, aided by an intensifying military campaign and Ukraine’s growing ability to hit Russian warships, experts say.
In recent weeks, seven cargo vessels have successfully sailed a new shipping corridor established by Ukraine to evade Russia’s de facto blockade of its Black Sea ports, according to the Ukrainian Navy. Once the ships left Ukrainian waters, they hugged the western Black Sea coast near NATO members, a likely deterrent where Russia is unlikely to take action.
Under a yearlong agreement with Russia, Ukraine had been able to ship its grain by sea, but Moscow pulled out of the deal in July and warned that it would consider any ship approaching a Ukrainian port to be a potential military threat. In response, Ukraine devised its new route, offering passage through a maze of maritime mines the country installed to protect its shores.
Analysis: “We’ve seen that Ukraine is taking an increasingly offensive approach in the Black Sea,” said Thea Dunlevie, an analyst at the Center for Maritime Strategy.
In other news from the war:
The U.N., caught between reform and rupture
At the U.N. General Assembly, leaders gathered to debate the world’s most pressing problems: war in Europe, poverty, a warming planet and pandemics. They also acknowledged that the U.N.’s premier body, the Security Council, had been paralyzed by the inability of its permanent members to act in unison on Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine.
Deep divisions among the five permanent members have also stymied collective action to stop deadly conflicts, human rights abuses and nuclear threats around the world, from Ukraine to Syria, Mali to Myanmar, South Sudan to North Korea. More recently, Russia has vetoed resolutions condemning its invasion of Ukraine.
These failures have amplified decades-long calls to change the institution. But despite abundant evidence of the Council’s failures, breaking the gridlock holding up change is nearly impossible, as there is little consensus and the U.N.’s founding charter was designed to make alterations extremely difficult.
Quotable: “The world has changed. Our institutions have not,” the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, said last week.
What a judge’s ruling means for Trump’s empire
Donald Trump could lose his grip on three flagship Manhattan properties after a state judge ruled that he had persistently committed fraud by inflating the value of his assets. The judge sided with New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, who had brought a civil case against the former president.
As a punishment, the judge effectively revoked Trump’s licenses to operate those properties — and potentially an even broader swath of the family business that the former president built over the last half-century. The ruling left much of his New York operation hanging in the balance.
In Georgia, Texas and Washington, D.C., three Black women are working to preserve desecrated African American burial grounds and the stories they hold.
“I thought about all of these women in that cemetery who blazed a trail for me to be here and my daughters to be here, and all of the love that I remember in my home and in my family,” one volunteer said. “But my daughters said it best: ‘Mama, we cannot let our family be buried in a trash dump like that.’”
Ajax implosion: How did one of Europe’s biggest soccer clubs get in such a mess?
Daniel Farke’s first touch: Analyzing the impressive skill that went viral.
The making of Liam Lawson: New Zealand’s Formula 1 trailblazer.
ARTS AND IDEAS
The new all-seeing, all-talking ChatGPT
ChatGPT — viral A.I. sensation, slayer of office work, sworn enemy of high school teachers and Hollywood screenwriters — is getting new powers: seeing, hearing and speaking.
The bot will soon be able to respond to images. You can upload a photo of the contents of your refrigerator, for example, and receive instructions about what to cook for dinner. Users will also able to converse aloud with it, the way you might talk to Siri or Alexa.
Kevin Roose, our tech columnist, got early access to the new ChatGPT for a hands-on test. “I certainly didn’t mistake ChatGPT for a conscious being, or develop emotional attachments to it,” he said. “But I also saw a glimpse of a future in which some people may let voice-based A.I. assistants into the inner sanctums of their lives.”
For more: Meet the A.I. Jane Austen.