G7 to announce new Russia sanctions on Tuesday – U.S. official
G7 to work with other countries, private sector on oil price cap
Japan tries to cut zero-emission vehicles goal from G7 statement
SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany, June 27 (Reuters) – The Group of Seven rich democracies will commit on Tuesday to a new package of coordinated actions meant to raise pressure on Russia over its war in Ukraine, and will finalise plans for a price cap on Russian oil, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.
The announcement came as the White House said Russia had defaulted on its foreign sovereign bonds for the first time in decades – an assertion Moscow rejected – and as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke virtually with G7 leaders meeting at an alpine resort in southern Germany. read more
Zelenskiy asked leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrial democracies for a broad range of military, economic and diplomatic support, according to a European official.
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G7 nations, which generate nearly half the world’s economic output, want to crank up pressure on Russia without stoking already soaring inflation that is causing strains at home and savaging the global south.
The price cap could hit Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war chest while actually lowering energy prices.
“The dual objectives of G7 leaders have been to take direct aim at Putin’s revenues, particularly through energy, but also to minimize the spillovers and the impact on the G7 economies and the rest of the world,” the U.S. official said on the sidelines of the annual G7 summit.
G7 leaders would also make an “unprecedented, long-term security commitment to providing Ukraine with financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support as long as it takes”, including the timely provision of advanced weapons, the White House said in a fact sheet.
Western sanctions have hit Russia’s economy hard and the new measures are aimed at further depriving the Kremlin of oil revenues. G7 countries would work with others – including India – to limit the revenues that Putin can continue to generate, the U.S. official said.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of the five leaders of guest nations joining the G7 for talks on climate change, energy, health, food security and gender equality on the second day of the summit.
“Since it is a mechanism that could benefit third countries more than Europe,” one EU official said. “These countries are asking questions about the feasibility, but in principle to pay less for energy is a very popular theme.”
U.S. President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, European Council President Charles Michel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attend a working session with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in virtual attendance, during the G7 leaders summit at Bavaria’s Schloss Elmau castle, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany June 27, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Pool
TARGETING RUSSIAN GOLD, DEFENCE SECTOR
A U.S. official said news that Russia defaulted on its foreign sovereign bonds for the first time since the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 showed how effective Western sanctions have been.
“This morning’s news around the finding of Russia’s default, for the first time in more than a century, situates just how strong the actions are that the U.S., along with allies and partners, have taken, as well as how dramatic the impact has been on Russia’s economy,” the official added.
The Kremlin, which has the funds to make payments thanks to rich energy revenues, swiftly rejected the U.S. statement, accusing the West of driving it into an artificial default. read more
New sanctions planned by the G7 countries will target Moscow’s military production, crack down on its gold imports and target Russian-installed officials in contested areas. read more
The G7 leaders would task their governments to work intensively on how to implement the Russian price cap, working with countries around the world and stakeholders including the private sector, the official said.
The United States said it would also implement sanctions on hundreds of individuals and entities adding to the more than 1,000 already sanctioned, target companies in several countries and impose tariffs on hundreds of Russia products. read more
The agencies involved would release details on Tuesday to minimize any flight risk, a second senior administration official said.
The Ukraine crisis has detracted attention from another crisis – that of climate change – originally set to dominate the summit. Activists fear Western nations are watering down their climate ambitions as they scramble to find alternatives to Russian gas imports and rely more heavily on coal, a dirtier fossil fuel, instead.
Japan is also pushing to remove a target for zero-emission vehicles from a G7 communique expected this week, according to a proposed draft seen by Reuters. read more
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Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Sarah Marsh, Additional Reporting by Angelo Amante, Phil Blenkinsop; Editing by Thomas Escritt, Mark Heinrich and Alex Richardson
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SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany, June 26 (Reuters) – Group of Seven leaders pledged on Sunday to raise $600 billion in private and public funds over five years to finance needed infrastructure in developing countries and counter China’s older, multitrillion-dollar Belt and Road project.
U.S. President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders relaunched the newly renamed “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment,” at their annual gathering being held this year at Schloss Elmau in southern Germany.
Biden said the United States would mobilize $200 billion in grants, federal funds and private investment over five years to support projects in low- and middle-income countries that help tackle climate change as well as improve global health, gender equity and digital infrastructure.
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“I want to be clear. This isn’t aid or charity. It’s an investment that will deliver returns for everyone,” Biden said, adding that it would allow countries to “see the concrete benefits of partnering with democracies.”
Biden said hundreds of billions of additional dollars could come from multilateral development banks, development finance institutions, sovereign wealth funds and others.
Europe will mobilize 300 billion euros ($317.28 billion) for the initiative over the same period to build up a sustainable alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative scheme, which Chinese President Xi Jinping launched in 2013, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the gathering.
The leaders of Italy, Canada and Japan also spoke about their plans, some of which have already been announced separately. French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were not present, but their countries are also participating.
China’s investment scheme involves development and programs in over 100 countries aimed at creating a modern version of the ancient Silk Road trade route from Asia to Europe.
White House officials said the plan has provided little tangible benefit for many developing countries.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian defended the track record of BRI when asked for comment at a daily briefing in Beijing on Monday.
“China continues to welcome all initiatives to promote global infrastructure development,” Zhao said of the G7’s $600 billion plan.
“We believe that there is no question that various related initiatives will replace each other. We are opposed to pushing forward geopolitical calculations under the pretext of infrastructure construction or smearing the Belt and Road Initiative.”
Biden highlighted several flagship projects, including a $2 billion solar development project in Angola with support from the Commerce Department, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, U.S. firm AfricaGlobal Schaffer, and U.S. project developer Sun Africa.
Together with G7 members and the EU, Washington will also provide $3.3 million in technical assistance to Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal as it develops an industrial-scale flexible multi-vaccine manufacturing facility in that country that can eventually produce COVID-19 and other vaccines, a project that also involves the EU.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will also commit up to $50 million over five years to the World Bank’s global Childcare Incentive Fund.
Friederike Roder, vice president of the non-profit group Global Citizen, said the pledges of investment could be “a good start” toward greater engagement by G7 countries in developing nations and could underpin stronger global growth for all.
G7 countries on average provide only 0.32% of their gross national income, less than half of the 0.7% promised, in development assistance, she said.
“But without developing countries, there will be no sustainable recovery of the world economy,” she said.
($1 = 0.9455 euros)
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Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Additional reporting by Martin Quin Pollard in Beijing; Editing by Mark Porter, Lisa Shumaker and Muralikumar Anantharaman
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OREGON HOUSE, Calif. — In a tiny town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, a religious organization called the Fellowship of Friends has established an elaborate, 1,200-acre compound full of art and ornate architecture.
More than 200 miles away from the Fellowship’s base in Oregon House, Calif., the religious sect, which believes a higher consciousness can be achieved by embracing fine arts and culture, has also gained a foothold inside a business unit at Google.
Even in Google’s freewheeling office culture, which encourages employees to speak their own minds and pursue their own projects, the Fellowship’s presence in the business unit was unusual. As many as 12 Fellowship members and close relatives worked for the Google Developer Studio, or GDS, which produces videos showcasing the company’s technologies, according to a lawsuit filed by Kevin Lloyd, a 34-year-old former Google video producer.
critically acclaimed winery; and collected art from across the world, including more than $11 million in Chinese antiques.
Revelations.” Mr. Burton described Apollo as the seed of a new civilization that would emerge after a global apocalypse.
sold its collection of Chinese antiques at auction. In 2015, after its chief winemaker left the organization, its winery ceased production. The Fellowship’s president, Greg Holman, declined to comment for this article.
The Google Developer Studio is run by Peter Lubbers, a longtime member of the Fellowship of Friends. A July 2019 Fellowship directory, obtained by The Times, lists him as a member. Former members confirm that he joined the Fellowship after moving to the United States from the Netherlands.
At Google, he is a director, a role that is usually a rung below vice president in Google management and usually receives annual compensation in the high six figures or low seven figures.
Previously, Mr. Lubbers worked for the staffing company Kelly Services. M. Catherine Jones, Mr. Lloyd’s lawyer, won a similar suit against Kelly Services in 2008 on behalf of Lynn Noyes, who claimed that the company had failed to promote her because she was not a member of the Fellowship. A California court awarded Ms. Noyes $6.5 million in damages.
Ms. Noyes said in an interview that Mr. Lubbers was among a large contingent of Fellowship members from the Netherlands who worked for the company in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
At Kelly Services, Mr. Lubbers worked as a software developer before a stint at Oracle, the Silicon Valley software giant, according to his LinkedIn profile, which was recently deleted. He joined Google in 2012, initially working on a team that promoted Google technology to outside software developers. In 2014, he helped create G.D.S., which produced videos promoting Google developer tools.
Kelly Services declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Under Mr. Lubbers, the group brought in several other members of the Fellowship, including a video producer named Gabe Pannell. A 2015 photo posted to the internet by Mr. Pannell’s father shows Mr. Lubbers and Mr. Pannell with Mr. Burton, who is known as “The Teacher” or “Our Beloved Teacher” within the Fellowship. A caption on the photo, which was also recently deleted, calls Mr. Pannell a “new student.”
Echoing claims made in the lawsuit, Erik Johanson, a senior video producer who has worked for the Google Developer Studio since 2015 through ASG, said the team’s leadership abused the hiring system that brought workers in as contractors.
“They were able to further their own aims very rapidly because they could hire people with far less scrutiny and a far less rigorous on-boarding process than if these people were brought on as full-time employees,” he said. “It meant that no one was looking very closely when all these people were brought on from the foothills of the Sierras.”
Mr. Lloyd said that after applying for his job he had interviewed with Mr. Pannell twice, and that he had reported directly to Mr. Pannell when he joined a 25-person Bay Area video production team inside GDS in 2017. He soon noticed that nearly half this team, including Mr. Lubbers and Mr. Pannell, came from Oregon House.
Google paid to have a state-of-the-art sound system installed in the Oregon House home of one Fellowship member who worked for the team as a sound designer, according to the suit. Mr. Lubbers disputed this claim in a phone interview, saying the equipment was old and would have been thrown out if the team had not sent it to the home.
The sound designer’s daughter also worked for the team as a set designer. Additional Fellowship members and their relatives were hired to staff Google events, including a photographer, a masseuse, Mr. Lubbers’s wife and his son, who worked as a DJ at company parties.
The company frequently served wine from Grant Marie, a winery in Oregon House run by a Fellowship member who previously managed the Fellowship’s winery, according to the suit and a person familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified for fear of reprisal.
“My personal religious beliefs are a deeply held private matter,” Mr. Lubbers said. “In all my years in tech, they have never played a role in hiring. I have always performed my role by bringing in the right talent for the situation — bringing in the right vendors for the jobs.”
He said ASG, not Google, hired contractors for the GDS team, adding that it was fine for him to “encourage people to apply for those roles.”And he said that in recent years, the team has grown to more than 250 people, including part-time employees.
Mr. Pannell said in a phone interview that the team brought in workers from “a circle of trusted friends and families with extremely qualified backgrounds,” including graduates of the University of California, Berkeley.
In 2017 and 2018, according to the suit, Mr. Pannell attended video shoots intoxicated and occasionally threw things at the presenter when he was unhappy with a performance. Mr. Pannell said that he did not remember the incidents and that they did not sound like something he would do. He also acknowledged that he’d had problems with alcohol and had sought help.
After seven months at Google, Mr. Pannell was made a full-time employee, according to the suit. He was later promoted to senior producer and then executive producer, according to his LinkedIn profile, which has also been deleted.
Mr. Lloyd brought much of this to the attention of a manager inside the team, he said. But he was repeatedly told not to pursue the matter because Mr. Lubbers was a powerful figure at Google and because Mr. Lloyd could lose his job, according to his lawsuit. He said he was fired in February 2021 and was not given a reason. Google, Mr. Lubbers and Mr. Pannell said he had been fired for performance issues.
Ms. Jones, Mr. Lloyd’s lawyer, argued that Google’s relationship with ASG allowed members of the Fellowship to join the company without being properly vetted. “This is one of the methods the Fellowship used in the Kelly case,” she said. “They can get through the door without the normal scrutiny.”
Mr. Lloyd is seeking damages for wrongful termination, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination and the intentional infliction of emotion distress. But he said he worries that, by doing so much business with its members, Google fed money into the Fellowship of Friends.
“Once you become aware of this, you become responsible,” Mr. Lloyd said. “You can’t look away.”
SAN MATEO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Essex Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE:ESS) announces the publication of its 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report, summarizing the Company’s ongoing progress and accomplishments in Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) through 2021.
“As a prominent provider of housing on the West Coast we recognize the important role we play in leading ESG initiatives forward, both within our Company and the industry as a whole. As we look back on this past year, we are proud of the continued successes and advancements that Essex has made in accomplishing this goal and remain committed to expanding our ESG efforts in the year ahead,” said Michael J. Schall, Essex’s President and CEO.
Notable 2021 ESG highlights from the Company include:
Issued our first TCFD report and completed our climate risk assessment in an effort to evaluate and address the impacts of climate change in a thoughtful manner
Inclusion on Newsweek’s Most Responsible Companies list for a second consecutive year
Achieved a 0% gender pay gap for the third consecutive year
Women represent 50% of named Executive Officers and 65% of managerial positions in the Company
Additional details can be found in the Company’s 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility Report which can be accessed on the Investors section of the Company’s website at www.essex.com under Corporate Social Responsibility Reports.
About Essex Property Trust, Inc.
Essex Property Trust, Inc., an S&P 500 company, is a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT) that acquires, develops, redevelops, and manages multifamily residential properties in selected West Coast markets. Essex currently has ownership interests in 253 apartment communities comprising approximately 62,000 apartment homes with an additional 2 properties in various stages of active development. Additional information about the Company can be found on the Company’s website at www.essex.com.
Since its founding in 1923, Disney has stood alone in Hollywood in one fundamental way: Its family-friendly movies, television shows and theme park rides, at least in theory, have always been aimed at everybody, with potential political and cultural pitfalls zealously avoided.
The Disney brand is about wishing on stars and finding true love and living happily ever after. In case the fairy tale castles are too subtle, Disney theme parks outright promise an escape from reality with welcome signs that read, “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.”
Lately, however, real world ugliness has been creeping into the Magic Kingdom. In this hyperpartisan moment, both sides of the political divide have been pounding on Disney, endangering one of the world’s best-known brands — one that, for many, symbolizes America itself — as it tries to navigate a rapidly changing entertainment industry.
In some cases, Disney has willingly waded into cultural issues. Last summer, to applause from progressives and snarls from the far right, Disney decided to make loudspeaker announcements at its theme parks gender neutral, removing “ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls” in favor of “dreamers of all ages.” But the entertainment giant has also found itself dragged into the fray, as with the recent imbroglio over a new Florida law that among many things restricts classroom instruction through third grade on sexual orientation and gender identity and has been labeled by opponents as “Don’t Say Gay.”
Disney then aggressively denounced the bill — only to find itself in the cross hairs of Fox News hosts and Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, who sent a fund-raising email to supporters saying that “Woke Disney” had “lost any moral authority to tell you what to do.” Florida lawmakers began threatening to revoke a 55-year-old law that enables Walt Disney World to essentially function as its own municipal government. (Disney had already been at odds with the governor on pandemic issues like a vaccine mandate for employees.)
In trying to offend no one, Disney had seemingly lost everyone.
Candlelight Processional events, Bible verses and all.
It took the company until 2009 to introduce a Black princess.
But in recent years, there has been a noticeable change. Robert A. Iger, who served as chief executive from 2005 to 2020, pushed the world’s largest entertainment company to emphasize diverse casting and storytelling. As he said at Disney’s 2017 shareholder meeting, referring to inclusion and equality: “We can take those values, which we deem important societally, and actually change people’s behavior — get people to be more accepting of the multiple differences and cultures and races and all other facets of our lives and our people.”
powerful Afrocentric story line. Under his tenure, Disney refocused the “Star Wars” franchise around female characters. A parade of animated movies (“Moana,” “Coco,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Soul,” “Encanto”) showcased a wide variety of races, cultures and ethnicities.
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The result, for the most part, has been one hit after another. But a swath of Disney’s audience has pushed back.
review bombed” in the fall because it depicted a gay superhero kissing his husband, with online trolls flooding the Internet Movie Database with hundreds of homophobic one-star reviews. In January, Disney was accused by the actor Peter Dinklage and others of trafficking in stereotypes by moving forward with a live-action “Snow White” movie — until it was revealed that the company planned to replace the seven dwarfs with digitally created “magical creatures,” which, in turn, prompted complaints by others about the “erasure” of people with dwarfism.
Disney executives tend to dismiss such incidents as tempests in teapots: trending today, replaced by a new complaint tomorrow. But even moderate online storms can be a distraction inside the company. Meetings are held about how and whether to respond; fretful talent partners must be reassured.
As Disney prepared to introduce its streaming service in 2019, it began an extensive review of its film library. As part of the initiative, called Stories Matter, Disney added disclaimers to content that the company determined included “negative depictions or mistreatment of people or cultures.” Examples included episodes of “The Muppet Show” from the 1970s and the 1941 version of “Dumbo.”
“These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now,” the disclaimers read.
The Stories Matter team privately flagged other characters as potentially problematic, with the findings distributed to senior Disney leaders, according to two current Disney executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential information. Ursula, the villainous sea witch from “The Little Mermaid” (1989), was one. Her dark color palette (lavender skin, black legs) could be viewed through a racial lens, the Stories Matter team cautioned; she is also a “queer coded” character, with mannerisms inspired in part by those of a real-life drag queen.
changing of the guard, with Mr. Iger stepping down as executive chairman in December.
Mr. Iger occasionally spoke out on hot-button political issues during his time as chief executive. His successor, Bob Chapek, decided (with backing from the Disney board) to avoid weighing in on state political battles. Disney lobbyists would continue to work behind the scenes, however, as they did with the Florida legislation.
gently explored gender identity. Gonzo donned a gown, defying a directive from Miss Piggy “that the girls come as princesses and the boys come as knights.” Out magazine wrote that the episode “just sent a powerful message of love and acceptance to gender-variant kids everywhere!” And a far-right pundit blasted Disney for “pushing the trans agenda” on children, starting an online brush fire.
Around the same time, some L.G.B.T.Q. advocates were criticizing Disney over “Loki,” a Disney+ superhero show. In the third episode of “Loki,” the title character briefly acknowledged for the first time onscreen what comic fans had long known: He is bisexual. But the blink-and-you-missed-it handling of the information angered some prominent members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community. “It’s, like, one word,” Russell T. Davies, a British screenwriter (“Queer as Folk”), said during a panel discussion at the time. “It’s a ridiculous, craven, feeble gesture.”
The fighting will undoubtedly continue: The Disney-Pixar film “Lightyear,” set for release in June, depicts a loving lesbian couple, while “Thor: Love and Thunder,” arriving in July, will showcase a major L.G.B.T.Q. character.
Last month, when Disney held its most recent shareholder meeting, Mr. Chapek was put on the spot by shareholders from the political left and right.
One person called Disney to task for contributions to legislators who have championed bills that restrict voting and reproductive rights. Mr. Chapek said that Disney gave money to “both sides of the aisle” and that it was reassessing its donation policies. (He subsequently paused all contributions in Florida.) Another representative for a shareholder advocacy group then took the microphone and noted that “Disney from its very inception has always represented a safe haven for children,” before veering into homophobic and transphobic comments and asking Mr. Chapek to “ditch the politicization and gender ideology.”
In response, Mr. Chapek noted the contrasting shareholder concerns. “I think all the participants on today’s call can see how difficult it is to try to thread the needle between the extreme polarization of political viewpoints,” he said.
“What we want Disney to be is a place where people can come together,” he continued. “My opinion is that, when someone walks down Main Street and comes in the gates of our parks, they put their differences aside and look at what they have as a shared belief — a shared belief of Disney magic, hopes, dreams and imagination.”
Russia signaled a possible recalibration of its war aims in Ukraine on Friday as the Kremlin faced spreading global ostracism for the brutal invasion, hardened Western economic punishments and a determined Ukrainian resistance that appeared to be making some gains on the ground.
A statement by Russia’s Defense Ministry said the goals of the “first stage of the operation” had been “mainly accomplished,” with Ukraine’s combat capabilities “significantly reduced,” and that it would now focus on securing Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, where Russia-backed separatists have been fighting for eight years.
The Defense Ministry statement was ambiguous about further possible Russian territorial ambitions in Ukraine, where its ground forces have been mostly stymied by the unexpectedly strong Ukrainian military response.
But on a day when President Biden was visiting U.S. soldiers in Poland near the Ukrainian border, the statement suggested the possibility that the Russians were looking for a way to salvage some kind of achievement before the costs of the war they launched a month ago became impossibly onerous.
While Russia “does not exclude” that its forces will storm major Ukrainian cities such as Chernihiv, Mykolaiv and the capital, Kyiv, the Defense Ministry statement said that taking them over was not the primary objective.
“As individual units carry out their tasks — and they are being solved successfully — our forces and means will be concentrated on the main thing: the complete liberation of the Donbas,” Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi, a senior Russian military commander, said in the statement, his first since Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24.
Whether General Rudskoi’s statement was sincere or simply strategic misdirection was difficult to assess. But the statement amounted to the most direct acknowledgment yet that Russia may be unable to take full control of Ukraine and would instead target the Donbas region, where Russia has recognized the independence of two Kremlin-backed separatist areas that it calls the “Donetsk People’s Republic” and the “Luhansk People’s Republic.”
Russia has also insisted that Ukraine recognize its control of Crimea, which President Vladimir V. Putin’s forces seized from Ukraine in 2014.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has ruled out ceding those regions to stop the war.
Pavel Luzin, a Russian military analyst, cautioned that the public pronouncements of Russian military commanders should be regarded skeptically. While Russia could indeed be narrowing its war aims, he said, General Rudskoi’s statement could also be a feint as Russia regroups for a new offensive.
“We could say that this is a signal that we’re no longer insisting on dismantling Ukrainian statehood,” Mr. Luzin said. “But I would rather see it as a distracting maneuver.”
General Rudskoi’s statement came as Ukraine acknowledged that Russian forces had been “partially successful” in achieving one of their key objectives — securing a land corridor from Russia to the Crimean Peninsula.
While Russia already controlled much of the area, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the route allowed Russian troops and supplies to flow between Crimea and Russia.
But some Ukrainian officials said the significance of such a route might be overstated. Oleksandr Danylyuk, a former secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine under Mr. Zelensky, described the land bridge as a minor Russian victory and said the Kremlin was moving to secure Donetsk and Luhansk to “sell to the Russian public as a potential victory.”
In Moscow, Mr. Putin, who has made any criticism of the war a potential crime, used a televised videoconference with the winners of a presidential arts prize on Friday to deliver a diatribe about “cancel culture” that made no mention of the war in Ukraine.
In embracing a term that has become a favorite of the American political right to reprise his contention that the West is trying to erase Russian culture and history, Mr. Putin cited J.K. Rowling, author of the “Harry Potter” books, whose comments about transgender women have been criticized as transphobic.
“Not so long ago, the children’s writer J.K. Rowling was also ‘canceled’ for the fact that she — the author of books that have sold hundreds of millions of copies around the world — did not please fans of so-called gender freedoms,” Mr. Putin said.
Ms. Rowling responded on Twitter that, “Critiques of Western cancel culture are possibly not best made by those currently slaughtering civilians for the crime of resistance, or who jail and poison their critics.” She added the hashtag #IStandWithUkraine.
As Mr. Putin spoke, there were indications that Ukrainian forces were making some progress in the second week of their counteroffensive. A senior Pentagon official said that Russian forces no longer had full control of the southern port of Kherson and that the city, the first major urban center to be captured in the Russian invasion, was now “contested territory.”
The Pentagon assessment contradicted General Rudskoi’s claim on Friday that the Kherson region was “under full control.”
In another sign of the bloody stalemate in Ukraine, Russian soldiers have adopted “defensive positions” near Kyiv, the Pentagon official said, adding that Russia appeared to be “prioritizing” the fight in eastern Ukraine, as General Rudskoi had indicated.
“Clearly, they overestimated their ability to take Kyiv and overestimated their ability to take any population center,” the Pentagon official said.
Mr. Biden, on the second day of his three-day visit to Europe because of the Ukraine crisis, traveled to Rzeszow, Poland, about 50 miles from the Ukrainian border, where he met with members of the 82nd Airborne Division who are serving as part of NATO’s efforts to protect Poland and other member states from Russian aggression.
Greeting American service members who were eating pizza in a cafeteria, Mr. Biden called them “the finest fighting force in the history of the world,” and added, “I personally thank you for what you do.”
Later, Mr. Biden met with President Andrzej Duda of Poland and officials managing the humanitarian response to the more than two million Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Poland to escape the shelling and deprivation.
Mr. Biden also announced a deal to increase U.S. shipments of natural gas to help wean Europe off Russian energy. But it remained unclear exactly how the administration would achieve its goals.
The deal calls for the United States to send an additional 15 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas — roughly 10 to 12 percent of current annual U.S. exports to all countries. But it does not address the lack of port capacity to ship and receive more gas on both sides of the Atlantic.
Still, American gas executives welcomed a renewed emphasis on exports as a sign that the Biden administration was now seeking to promote the U.S. oil and gas industry rather than punish it for contributions to climate change.
“I have no idea how they are going to do this, but I don’t want to criticize them because for the first time they are trying to do the right thing,” said Charif Souki, executive chairman of Tellurian, a U.S. gas producer that is planning to build an export terminal in Louisiana.
Robert Habeck, the vice chancellor and economic minister of Germany, said his country expected to halve imports of Russian oil by midsummer and nearly end them by year’s end — sooner than many thought possible. He estimated that Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, could be free of Russian gas by mid-2024.
Images and videos from Ukraine that emerged on Friday underscored the escalating death toll and destruction.
Newly surfaced security camera footage, verified by The New York Times, showed an attack on people in line for emergency aid outside a post office and shopping center in the battered northeastern city of Kharkiv on Thursday. Oleg Sinegubov, the head of the regional government there, said that at least six civilians had been killed and 15 wounded.
Photographs out of Kharkiv on Friday also showed a large fireball and nearby cars and buildings on fire, as residents fled on foot and bicycle, carrying whatever belongings they could grab in the aftermath of the attack.
In the central city of Dnipro, Russian missile strikes on a military facility destroyed buildings late Thursday night, according to Ukrainian officials, who said that casualties were still being assessed.
And in Mariupol, the southern port savaged by Russian attacks, Ukrainian officials said that an estimated 300 people had been killed in a March 16 strike on a theater used as a bomb shelter.
It was unclear how officials had arrived at that estimate. Ukrainian officials have said that about 130 people were rescued from the theater, which was attacked even though “children” had been written in giant letters on the pavement on both sides of the building.
The United Nations said on Friday that more than 1,000 civilians have been killed, including 93 children, since Russia’s invasion began, many in what appeared to have been indiscriminate bombardments that could constitute war crimes.
The United Nations cautioned that it had not been able to verify the death toll in areas of intense conflict, including Mariupol, and said the actual number of injured and dead was likely to be considerably higher.
In a sign that diplomatic efforts were struggling, Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, rejected comments by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who had suggested that Ukraine was open to concessions in four key areas.
In an interview released Friday, Mr. Erdogan, who is hosting talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations, said that Ukraine was willing to drop its bid for NATO membership, accept Russian as an official language, make “certain concessions” about disarmament and agree to “collective security.”
But Mr. Kuleba said the negotiations had proved “very difficult” and that Ukraine had “taken a strong position and does not relinquish its demands.”
“We insist, first of all, on a cease-fire, security guarantees and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” he said, adding that there was “no consensus with Russia on the four points mentioned by the president of Turkey.”
“In particular,” he said, “the Ukrainian language is and will be the only one state language in Ukraine.”
Anton Troianovski reported from Istanbul, Michael D. Shear from Warsaw and Michael Levenson from New York. Reporting was contributed by Helene Cooper from Washington, Ivan Nechepurenko from Istanbul, Valerie Hopkins from Lviv, Ukraine, Andrew E. Kramer from Kyiv, Megan Specia from Krakow, Poland, Nick Cumming-Bruce from Geneva and Clifford Krauss from Houston.
Behind a set of imposing metal doors in an easy-to-miss office building in a New York City suburb, a small team manages billions of dollars for a Russian oligarch.
For years, a group of wealthy Russians have used Concord Management, a financial-advisory company in Tarrytown, N.Y., to secretly invest money in large U.S. hedge funds and private equity firms, according to people familiar with the matter.
A web of offshore shell companies makes it hard to know for sure whose money Concord manages. But several of the people said the bulk of the funds belonged to Roman Abramovich, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
Concord is part of a constellation of American and European advisers — including some of the world’s largest law firms — that have long helped Russian oligarchs navigate the Western financial, legal, political and media landscapes.
both said they were leaving Russia. A spokeswoman for another large firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, said it was terminating several client relationships and would not take any new clients in Moscow. Ashurst, a large London-based law firm, said it would not “act for any new or existing Russian clients, whether or not they are subject to sanctions.”
The accounting giants PwC, KPMG, Deloitte and EY — which have provided extensive services to oligarchs and their networks of offshore shell companies — also said they were leaving Russia or severing ties with their local affiliates.
wrote a letter to the White House arguing that Russia’s Sovcombank shouldn’t face sanctions, citing the bank’s commitment to gender equity, environmental and social responsibility.
Sovcombank had agreed to pay the lobbyist’s firm, Mercury Public Affairs, $90,000 a month for its work.
The Biden administration recently imposed sanctions on Sovcombank. Within hours of the announcement, Mercury filed paperwork with the Justice Department indicating that it was terminating its contract with Sovcombank.
As recently as mid-February, the British law firm Schillings represented the Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, a longtime ally of Mr. Putin.
Two weeks later, the European Union and the U.S. Treasury placed sanctions on Mr. Usmanov. Nigel Higgins, a spokesman for Schillings, said the firm is “not acting for any sanctioned individuals or entities.”
say on its website that it represents “some of Russia’s largest companies,” including Gazprom and VTB. The firm said it was “reviewing and adjusting our Russia-related operations and client work” to comply with sanctions.
In Washington, Erich Ferrari, a leading sanctions lawyer, is suing the Treasury on behalf of Mr. Deripaska, who is seeking to overturn sanctions imposed on him in 2018 that he claims have cost him billions of dollars and made him “radioactive” in international business circles.
And the lobbyist Robert Stryk said he had recently had conversations about representing several Russian oligarchs and companies currently under sanctions. He previously represented clients targeted by sanctions, including the administrations of President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela and former President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mr. Stryk said he would consider taking the work if the Treasury Department provided him with the necessary licenses, and if the prospective clients opposed Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
online profiles of current and former Concord employees.
The Russia-Ukraine War and the Global Economy
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Gas supplies. Europe gets nearly 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia, and it is likely to be walloped with higher heating bills. Natural gas reserves are running low, and European leaders have accused Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, of reducing supplies to gain a political edge.
Shortages of essential metals. The price of palladium, used in automotive exhaust systems and mobile phones, has been soaring amid fears that Russia, the world’s largest exporter of the metal, could be cut off from global markets. The price of nickel, another key Russian export, has also been rising.
Financial turmoil. Global banks are bracing for the effects of sanctions intended to restrict Russia’s access to foreign capital and limit its ability to process payments in dollars, euros and other currencies crucial for trade. Banks are also on alert for retaliatory cyberattacks by Russia.
Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers who have interacted with Concord and its founder, Michael Matlin,said it oversaw between $4 billion and $8 billion.
It isn’t clear how much of that belongs to Mr. Abramovich, whose fortune is estimated at $13 billion.
Mr. Abramovich has not been placed under sanctions. His spokeswoman, Rola Brentlin, declined to comment on Concord.
Over the years, Concord has steered its clients’ money into marquee financial institutions: the global money manager BlackRock, the private equity firm Carlyle Group and a fund run by John Paulson, who famously anticipated the collapse of the U.S. housing market. Concord also invested with Bernard Madoff, who died in prison after being convicted of a vast Ponzi scheme.
panel focused on European security, requested that the U.S. government impose sanctions on Mr. Abramovich and seize the assets at Concord, “as this blood money presents a flight risk.”
The work performed by law, lobbying and public relations firms often plays out in public or is disclosed in legal or foreign agent filings, but that is rarely the case in the financial arena.
While Russian oligarchs make tabloid headlines for shelling out for extravagant superyachts and palatial homes, their bigger investments often occur out of public view, thanks to a largely invisible network of financial advisory firms like Concord.
Hedge fund managers and their advisers said they were starting to examine their investor lists to see if any clients were under sanctions. If so, their money needs to be segregated and disclosed to the Treasury Department.
Some hedge funds are also considering returning money to oligarchs who aren’t under sanctions, fearful that Russians might soon be targeted by U.S. and European authorities.
Paradise Papers project, involved the files of the Appleby law firm in Bermuda. At least four clients owned private jets through shell companies managed by Appleby.
When sanctions were imposed on companies and individuals linked to Mr. Putin in 2014, Appleby jettisoned clients it believed were affected.
The Russians found other Western firms, including Credit Suisse, to help fill the void.
Ben Freeman, who tracks foreign influence for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, said Russians were likely to find new firms this time, too.
“There is that initial backlash, where these clients are too toxic,” Mr. Freeman said. “But when these lucrative contracts are out there, it gets to be too much for some people, and they can turn a blind eye to any atrocity.”
David Segal contributed reporting. Susan Beachy contributed research.
For the past nine months, I have been pregnant. But I have not — for the most part — been pregnant at work.
In the beginning, when I felt nauseous, I threw up in my own bathroom. Saltine crackers became a constant companion but remained out of view of my Zoom camera. A couple of months later, I switched from jeans to leggings without any comment from my co-workers.
And as my baby grew from the size of a lemon to a grapefruit to a cantaloupe, the box through which my colleagues see me on video calls cropped out my basketball-sized gut.
Outside the virtual office, an airport security screener scolded me for trying to pick up a suitcase, cashiers became extra nice and strangers informed me of how big or small or wide or high my belly was.
Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And research suggests that pregnant women tend to be seen as less competent, more needing of accommodation, and less committed to work as compared with women who don’t have children, said Eden King, a professor of psychology at Rice University who studies how pregnancy affects women in the workplace.
Similar stereotypes affect mothers — 63 percent of whom are working while their youngest child is under three, according to the Labor Department — but pregnancy is a more visible identity, said Ms. King. “It can be a very physical characteristic in a way that motherhood isn’t,” she said. “So some of those experiences and expectations may be exacerbated.”
In interviews with 10 pregnant or recently pregnant remote workers for this article, several women said that being visibly pregnant in real life but not on a work Zoom screen helped them feel more confident and less apprehensive about what parenthood might mean for their career. Christine Glandorf, who works in education technology and is due with her first child this month, said that like many professionals on the brink of parenthood, she worried that people’s expectations of her in the workplace could change. Remote work solves part of that equation.
“It’s nice that it’s literally not in people’s face in any way, shape or form unless I choose for it to be a part of the conversation,” she said.
a study published in the journal Personnel Psychology in 2020, Ms. King and her colleagues asked more than 100 pregnant women in a variety of industries to track how much their supervisors, without having been asked for help, did things like assign them less work so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed or protect them from unpleasant news.
Women who received more unwanted help reported feeling less capable at work, and they were more likely to want to quit nine months postpartum.
“The more you experienced those seemingly positive but actually benevolently sexist behaviors, the less you believed in yourself,” Ms. King said.
Journal of Applied Psychology in 2019, examined this apparent shift in treatment.
believe women and men should be treated equally at work and at home, mothers in opposite-sex relationships still handle a majority of the housework and child care. The same pattern holds for parental leave. While almost half of men support the idea of paid paternity leave, fewer than five percent take more than two weeks.
In 2004, California began a paid family leave program that provides a portion of a new parent’s salary for up to eight weeks. Though the program offers the same benefit to both new fathers and new mothers, a 2016 study found that it increased the leave women took by almost five weeks and the leave that men took by two to three days.
That was the disparity when new fathers actually had an option to take paid paternity leave. Most don’t. Paid leave is still uncommon for both men and women. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, 23 percent of all private industry workers had access to parental leave, up from 11 percent 10 years earlier. Although the Department of Labor stopped differentiating between maternity and paternity leave in its data more than 25 years ago, other surveys suggest that paid leave is far more uncommon for fathers.
These inequalities are one reason the gender pay gap, even between spouses, widens after women have children.
The virtual office may be relatively new, but women have long thought about how to shape their colleagues’ perception of their pregnancies. In a 2015 study conducted by Ms. Little, researchers interviewed 35 women about their experience being pregnant at work.
companies summon people back to the office, fewer people will have that choice. But there is part of the remote work pregnancy experience that can be replicated offline, Ms. King said.
“Some women do need help, and some women do want accommodations,” she said. But “you have to ask women what they want and what they need and not assume that we know.”
SEOUL — They have shown up whenever women rallied against sexual violence and gender biases in South Korea. Dozens of young men, mostly dressed in black, taunted the protesters, squealing and chanting, “Thud! Thud!” to imitate the noise they said the “ugly feminist pigs” made when they walked.
“Out with man haters!” they shouted. “Feminism is a mental illness!”
On the streets, such rallies would be easy to dismiss as the extreme rhetoric of a fringe group. But the anti-feminist sentiments are being amplified online, finding a vast audience that is increasingly imposing its agenda on South Korean society and politics.
These male activists have targeted anything that smacks of feminism, forcing a university to cancel a lecture by a woman they accused of spreading misandry. They have vilified prominent women, criticizing An San, a three-time gold medalist in the Tokyo Olympics, for her short haircut.
They have threatened businesses with boycotts, prompting companies to pull advertisements with the image of pinching fingers they said ridiculed the size of male genitalia. And they have taken aim at the government for promoting a feminist agenda, eliciting promises from rival presidential candidates to reform the country’s 20-year-old Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.
runaway housing prices, a lack of jobs and a widening income gap.
YouTube channel with 450,000 subscribers. To its members, feminists equal man haters.
Its motto once read, “Till the day all feminists are exterminated!”
The backlash against feminism in South Korea may seem bewildering.
the highest gender wage gap among the wealthy countries. Less than one-fifth of its national lawmakers are women. Women make up only 5.2 percent of the board members of publicly listed businesses, compared with 28 percent in the United States.
And yet, most young men in the country argue that it is men, not women, in South Korea who feel threatened and marginalized. Among South Korean men in their 20s, nearly 79 percent said they were victims of serious gender discrimination, according to a poll in May.
“There is a culture of misogyny in male-dominant online communities, depicting feminists as radical misandrists and spreading fear of feminists,” said Kim Ju-hee, 26, a nurse who has organized protests denouncing anti-feminists.
The wave of anti-feminism in South Korea shares many of the incendiary taglines with right-wing populist movements in the West that peddle such messages. Women who argue for abortion rights are labeled “destroyers of family.” Feminists are not champions of gender equality, but “female supremacists.”
In South Korea, “women” and “feminists” are two of the most common targets of online hate speech, according to the country’s National Human Rights Commission.
abortions were common.
mandatory military service. But many women drop out of the work force after giving birth, and much of the domestic duties fall to them.
“What more do you want? We gave you your own space in the subway, bus, parking lot,” the male rapper San E writes in his 2018 song “Feminist,” which has a cult following among young anti-feminists. “Oh girls don’t need a prince! Then pay half for the house when we marry.”
The gender wars have infused the South Korean presidential race, largely seen as a contest for young voters. With the virulent anti-feminist voice surging, no major candidate is speaking out for women’s rights, once such a popular cause that President Moon Jae-in called himself a “feminist” when he campaigned about five years ago.
It is hard to tell how many young men support the kind of extremely provocative and often theatrical activism championed by groups like Man on Solidarity. Its firebrand leader, Mr. Bae, showed up at a recent feminist rally dressed as the Joker from “Batman” comics and toting a toy water gun. He followed female protesters around, pretending to, as he put it, “kill flies.”
Tens of thousands of fans have watched his stunts livestreamed online, sending in cash donations. During one online talk-fest in August, Mr. Bae raised nine million won ($7,580) in three minutes.
legalize abortion and started one of the most powerful #MeToo campaigns in Asia.
Lee Hyo-lin, 29, said that “feminist” has become such a dirty word that women who wear their hair short or carry a novel by a feminist writer risk ostracism. When she was a member of a K-pop group, she said that male colleagues routinely commented on her body, jeering that she “gave up being a woman” when she gained weight.
“The #MeToo problem is part of being a woman in South Korea,” she said. “Now we want to speak out, but they want us to shut up. It’s so frustrating.”
On the other side of the culture war are young men with a litany of grievances — concerns that are endlessly regurgitated by male-dominated forums. They have fixated, in particular, on limited cases of false accusations, as a way to give credence to a broader anti-feminist agenda.
Son Sol-bin, a used-furniture seller, was 29 when his former girlfriend accused him of rape and kidnapping in 2018. Online trolls called for his castration, he said. His mother found closed-circuit TV footage proving the accusations never took place.
“The feminist influence has left the system so biased against men that the police took a woman’s testimony and a mere drop of her tears as enough evidence to land an innocent man in jail,” said Mr. Son, who spent eight months in jail before he was cleared. “I think the country has gone crazy.”
As Mr. Son fought back tears during a recent anti-feminist rally, other young men chanted: “Be strong! We are with you!”
Riot Games, the video game maker behind popular titles like League of Legends and Valorant, said on Monday evening that it had agreed to pay $100 million to settle a gender discrimination suit with more than 2,000 current and former female employees.
The class-action lawsuit, which was filed in 2018, was originally on track for a $10 million settlement, but in early 2020 two California employment agencies took the unusual step of intervening to block the settlement, arguing that the women could be entitled to over $400 million. Separate of the lawsuit, the state had been investigating the company after claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, unequal pay and retaliation against women.
If the settlement is approved by the Los Angeles Superior Court, it will “send the message that all industries in California, including the gaming industry, must provide equal pay and workplaces free from discrimination and harassment,” Kevin Kish, the director of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, said in a statement.
Under the terms of the agreement, more than 1,000 full-time employees and 1,300 contractors dating back to November 2014 would split $80 million, with another $20 million going to lawyers’ fees and other costs. Riot also agreed to fund a diversity and inclusion program and consented to a three-year, third-party analysis of gender equity in employee pay and job assignments, as well as to an audit of workplace investigations.
Activision Blizzard — Riot has also contended with frequent accusations of harassment and a work environment that women described as sexist and toxic.
sued over claims he sexually harassed his former executive assistant. That case is still pending. A committee formed by the company’s board of directors later said it found no evidence of the claims against Mr. Laurent.
In an email to the company’s employees viewed by The New York Times, sent minutes before the settlement announcement, Mr. Laurent wrote that the timing “isn’t ideal” but the “final details of the agreement came together quickly.” He said he hoped the settlement “symbolizes a moment where we move forward as a united company.”
The proposed settlement on Monday was hailed as a win for women at Riot.
“I hope this case serves as an example for other studios and an inspiration for women in the industry at large,” one plaintiff, Jes Negron, said in a statement issued through a lawyer. “Women in gaming do not have to suffer inequity and harassment in silence — change is possible.”