Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

We’re covering Biden’s jab at Russia and China at the climate summit in Glasgow and Ethiopia’s state of emergency.

On Day 2 of the climate summit in Scotland, President Biden said the two nations’ leaders were wrong not to join more than 100 world leaders looking for solutions to the climate crisis. We have live updates here.

“I think it’s been a big mistake for China” not to show up at the conference, he said. “It just is a gigantic issue and they walked away,” Biden said.

Of Putin, he said, “Literally, his tundra is burning.”

World leaders promised to curb methane emissions and end deforestation by 2030. At the same time, though, the most important goals remain elusive.

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, can warm the atmosphere 80 times as fast as carbon dioxide in the short term. More than 90 countries agreed to limit it.

Russia and China, despite abstaining from the methane pact, joined Brazil and more than 100 countries in pledging to end deforestation in the coming nine years. The pact encompasses about 85 percent of the world’s forests.

Analysis: Although the two agreements are potentially big wins in the battle against climate change, leaders failed to secure aggressive commitments to reach net-zero carbon emissions globally, and slow the rising temperatures that have led to lethal fires, floods and more.

Since it went into effect in March, the statute has been enforced with zeal. It has been used at least 15 times to punish people who slight party history.

Dissent has long been policed in China, but this new law goes beyond previous restrictions. It has criminalized topics that were once subjects of historical debate and research, including Mao Zedong’s rule.

Context: The new law is part of an intensified campaign under China’s leader, Xi Jinping, who is seeking to solidify a moral foundation for the Communist Party’s supremacy.

Risky questions: Was Mao’s Long March really not so long? Was Mao’s son, Mao Anying, killed by an American airstrike during the Korean War because he lit a stove to make fried rice? Asking those questions could lead to arrest and prosecution.

Quotable: “It is a sign of the establishment of an absolute political totalitarianism,” said Wu Qiang, an outspoken political analyst in Beijing.

After Tigrayan rebel forces captured two crucial towns about 160 miles from Addis Ababa, the government declared a state of emergency and called on citizens to pick up arms.

The Tigrayans, who have been fighting the government for the past year, have joined forces with another rebel group. The Ethiopian military suffered a major defeat when it was forced to withdraw from Tigray in June. Now the war is rapidly moving toward the capital.

Under the state of emergency, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has sweeping powers to arrest and detain critics, impose curfews and restrict the media. Any citizen over 18 could be called into the fight, the justice minister said.

What’s next: Jeffrey Feltman, the Biden administration’s envoy to the Horn of Africa, said the deepening conflict could have “disastrous consequences” for Ethiopia’s unity and its ties to the U.S.

U.S. sanctions: President Biden said that he would revoke trade privileges to Ethiopia, citing “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

Asia Pacific

A large wedding is an important rite of passage for many Palestinian men, who take out wedding loans, often worth about $2,000, or nearly an average annual salary in Gaza. We followed Wasfi al-Garosha, who ended up in prison more than a dozen times for failing to repay a wedding loan. His story is emblematic of the economic crisis in the area, and the stresses of life in the Gaza Strip.

Cultural institutions have been trying to lure audiences back with shorter shows. Not the Metropolitan Opera.

The Met is staging the longest opera in its repertory, Wagner’s nearly six-hour “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” about love and music-making in medieval Germany. The show includes more than 400 artists and stagehands, breakneck set changes, fight scenes and two 40-minute intermissions. “There’s always room for epics,” Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, told The Times. “There is always an appeal for huge events.”

For now, the audience has been slow to turn out. On opening night last week, a little more than half of the auditorium’s 3,700 seats were filled. On Saturday, about two-thirds of the seats were full.

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