The commission was created in 1917 to commemorate the deaths of service members in cemeteries and memorials across the world. Among the group’s main principles is “equality of treatment for the war dead irrespective of rank or religion.” At least 1.7 million British Empire and Commonwealth citizens died during the two World Wars.

In World War I, the contributions of soldiers from “white-settled” countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand dominated the narrative over other parts of the British Empire, the report said.

Many Britons were unaware that nonwhite colonial subjects were involved in the empire’s wars, and that was because of gaps in the history that is taught in schools, Professor Andrews said. “If government institutions were serious, you have to fundamentally rebuild the school curriculum from scratch,” he added.

The forced conscription of colonial subjects, he said, should open a conversation about restitution and reparations for the families of those affected.

“This was 100 years ago,” he said, adding that the current accounting of past wrongs was “too little, too late.”

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What Do Women Want? For Men to Get Covid Vaccines.

Holly Elgison and Len Schillaci are a mixed vaxxed couple, and they are far from alone.

“I was always going to get the vaccine, 100 percent,” said Ms. Elgison, a medical claims auditor in Valrico, Fla.

Her husband, a disaster insurance adjuster, said he will pass. “To be honest with you, I think that the worst of Covid is behind us,” Mr. Schillaci said. “I’m good.”

As the Biden administration seeks to get 80 percent of adult Americans immunized by summer, the continuing reluctance of men to get a shot could impede that goal.

Women are getting vaccinated at a far higher rate — about 10 percentage points — than men, even though the male-female divide is roughly even in the nation’s overall population. The trend is worrisome to many, especially as vaccination rates have dipped a bit recently.

higher for men than among women. And the division elucidates the reality of women’s disproportionate role in caring for others in American society.

“It could matter to localized herd immunity,” said Alison Buttenheim, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and expert on vaccine hesitancy. “While most experts are fretting about larger gaps by race, political party, religion and occupational group,” she said, many of which overlap with the gender disparities, “I haven’t heard of any specific initiatives to target men.”

In Los Angeles County, where 44 percent of women over 16 have gotten their first shot — compared with 30 percent of men — officials are scrambling to figure out how to do just that.

“We are very concerned about it and are planning to embark on some targeted outreach among men,” said Dr. Paul Simon, the chief science officer at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, who said that the disparities are of particular concern for Black and Latino men. Only 19 percent of Black males in Los Angeles County and 17 percent of Latino males have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with 35 percent of Asian men and 32 percent of white men, according to the most recent data available from early this month.

larger proportion of that age group. In many states, health care workers and schoolteachers were also given vaccine priority: Women account for three-quarters of full-time health care workers and over 75 percent of public schoolteachers in the United States are female.

The disparities show both where women do the paid and unpaid labor of life. For instance, women lost the majority of the earliest jobs in food services, retail businesses, health care and government jobs. The mothers among them have done most of the work in the shift to remote schooling and caring for parents and sick relatives.

The combination may have increased their vaccine motivation in two ways: They are seeking to protect the rest of their family and they are desperate to get back in the work force. Indeed, just as women drove the job losses last year, they are leading the economic recovery now; roughly half a million women joined the labor force in March, in part because in-person schooling has resumed across much of the country.

“In addition to women being disproportionately represented in several essential jobs,” said Pilar Gonalons-Pons, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in gender issues, “they are also disproportionately represented as unpaid caregivers for older adults in their families and communities, and this can also be an additional motivation for getting the vaccine.”

In many ways, the pattern with vaccines reflects longstanding gender differences when it comes to preventive health care. Women are on average more likely to get annual physicals than men, even when adjusted for pre-existing health conditions and other factors, and are more likely than men to get preventive care.

less likely to visit doctors regularly and go to the emergency room in a crisis and to get basic dental care, according to federal data. Vaccines are no exception: Historically, influenza vaccination is much higher among females — about 63 percent compared to 53 percent — though the gap narrows in Americans over 75 years old.

The coronavirus vaccine “is the latest expression of the tried-and-true gender gap we’ve long witnessed in preventive health care seeking patterns,” said Lindsey Leininger, a health policy researcher and clinical professor at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

But experts say that even in the context of general male health care recalcitrance, there may be some factors that are specific to this vaccine that are preventing more male shots in arms. Because the sign up has been cumbersome and confusing, men may have had less patience in navigating the system, which has largely taken place online, a process that women might find easier since they tend to get more of their health care information online.

“We have to figure out if disparities are about access, if men are having more difficulty navigating the appointment systems,” Mr. Simon of Los Angeles said.

Further, when it comes to the coronavirus — which has been the subject of rampant misinformation, evolving medical advice and politicization — other dynamics may be at work.

“Some men have a sense that they are not necessarily susceptible,” Mr. Simon said health care workers have told officials. “They have weathered this for more than a year and have a sense of omnipotence.”

turned it down.)

research on this trait.

“In other words, these cultural ideals lead men to avoid important health care in order to act masculine,” she said. “Now that the vaccine is available to everyone, it will be interesting to watch male-female differences in vaccine uptake, because these will more likely reflect social and cultural ideas about gender and health, such as the cultural idea that ‘real men’ don’t need preventive health care.”

At this stage, U.S. health authorities have not released data on nonbinary adults and vaccination.

There may also be political connections. Women are far more likely than men to register as Democrats, and polls demonstrate that Republicans across the country have been far less likely than Democrats to embrace the vaccine.

So who will men listen to? Not their wives and female friends or doctors, it seems. For their recent preprint study, Leah Witus and Erik Larson, professors at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn., watched videos with men and women that featured identical information about the vaccine. Among the 1,184 Americans who watched them, most were positively influenced by the male narrator while the female narrator got a far more mixed response.

“The male-narrated version of the video increased vaccination intention in viewers,” said Ms. Witus, “but the female-narrated had mixed associations with vaccine propensity, and in some viewers, those that identified as conservative, actually decreased vaccination intention.”

This may spell victory for Mr. Schillaci as he and his wife subtly joust for influence over their 20-year-old son’s vaccination decision. Mr. Schillaci has been sharing his views with his son, whom his wife is prodding to take a shot.

“I would rather he got the shot, and I hope that he’ll consider it,” said Ms. Elgison.

But Ms. Elgison’s own decision may benefit her son, even if he decides against the vaccine.

As often happens in life, men may find their gaps covered by women. “To the extent most people live and socialize in a mixed-gender setting, the men will benefit from the higher coverage among women,” Ms. Buttenheim said.

Ms. Elgison, however, still has a trump card she hopes might work. “I would like my son to get it so we can all travel together,” she said. “I explained to him that it’s possible that we could protect his dad.”

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The Vaccination Gender Gap: Women Are Getting Shots at a Higher Rate Than Men

Holly Elgison and Len Schillaci are a mixed vaxxed couple, and they are far from alone.

“I was always going to get the vaccine, 100 percent,” said Ms. Elgison, a medical claims auditor in Valrico, Fla.

Her husband, a disaster insurance adjuster, said he will pass. “To be honest with you, I think that the worst of Covid is behind us,” Mr. Schillaci said. “I’m good.”

As the Biden administration seeks to get 80 percent of adult Americans immunized by summer, the continuing reluctance of men to get a shot could impede that goal.

Women are getting vaccinated at a far higher rate — about 10 percentage points — than men, even though the male-female divide is roughly even in the nation’s overall population. The trend is worrisome to many, especially as vaccination rates have dipped a bit recently.

higher for men than among women. And the division elucidates the reality of women’s disproportionate role in caring for others in American society.

“It could matter to localized herd immunity,” said Alison Buttenheim, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and expert on vaccine hesitancy. “While most experts are fretting about larger gaps by race, political party, religion and occupational group,” she said, many of which overlap with the gender disparities, “I haven’t heard of any specific initiatives to target men.”

In Los Angeles County, where 44 percent of women over 16 have gotten their first shot — compared with 30 percent of men — officials are scrambling to figure out how to do just that.

“We are very concerned about it and are planning to embark on some targeted outreach among men,” said Dr. Paul Simon, the chief science officer at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, who said that the disparities are of particular concern for Black and Latino men. Only 19 percent of Black males in Los Angeles County and 17 percent of Latino males have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with 35 percent of Asian men and 32 percent of white men, according to the most recent data available from early this month.

larger proportion of that age group. In many states, health care workers and schoolteachers were also given vaccine priority: Women account for three-quarters of full-time health care workers and over 75 percent of public schoolteachers in the United States are female.

The disparities show both where women do the paid and unpaid labor of life. For instance, women lost the majority of the earliest jobs in food services, retail businesses, health care and government jobs. The mothers among them have done most of the work in the shift to remote schooling and caring for parents and sick relatives.

The combination may have increased their vaccine motivation in two ways: They are seeking to protect the rest of their family and they are desperate to get back in the work force. Indeed, just as women drove the job losses last year, they are leading the economic recovery now; roughly half a million women joined the labor force in March, in part because in-person schooling has resumed across much of the country.

“In addition to women being disproportionately represented in several essential jobs,” said Pilar Gonalons-Pons, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in gender issues, “they are also disproportionately represented as unpaid caregivers for older adults in their families and communities, and this can also be an additional motivation for getting the vaccine.”

In many ways, the pattern with vaccines reflects longstanding gender differences when it comes to preventive health care. Women are on average more likely to get annual physicals than men, even when adjusted for pre-existing health conditions and other factors, and are more likely than men to get preventive care.

less likely to visit doctors regularly and go to the emergency room in a crisis and to get basic dental care, according to federal data. Vaccines are no exception: Historically, influenza vaccination is much higher among females — about 63 percent compared to 53 percent — though the gap narrows in Americans over 75 years old.

The coronavirus vaccine “is the latest expression of the tried-and-true gender gap we’ve long witnessed in preventive health care seeking patterns,” said Lindsey Leininger, a health policy researcher and clinical professor at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

But experts say that even in the context of general male health care recalcitrance, there may be some factors that are specific to this vaccine that are preventing more male shots in arms. Because the sign up has been cumbersome and confusing, men may have had less patience in navigating the system, which has largely taken place online, a process that women might find easier since they tend to get more of their health care information online.

“We have to figure out if disparities are about access, if men are having more difficulty navigating the appointment systems,” Mr. Simon of Los Angeles said.

Further, when it comes to the coronavirus — which has been the subject of rampant misinformation, evolving medical advice and politicization — other dynamics may be at work.

“Some men have a sense that they are not necessarily susceptible,” Mr. Simon said health care workers have told officials. “They have weathered this for more than a year and have a sense of omnipotence.”

turned it down.)

research on this trait.

“In other words, these cultural ideals lead men to avoid important health care in order to act masculine,” she said. “Now that the vaccine is available to everyone, it will be interesting to watch male-female differences in vaccine uptake, because these will more likely reflect social and cultural ideas about gender and health, such as the cultural idea that ‘real men’ don’t need preventive health care.”

At this stage, U.S. health authorities have not released data on nonbinary adults and vaccination.

There may also be political connections. Women are far more likely than men to register as Democrats, and polls demonstrate that Republicans across the country have been far less likely than Democrats to embrace the vaccine.

So who will men listen to? Not their wives and female friends or doctors, it seems. For their recent preprint study, Leah Witus and Erik Larson, professors at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn., watched videos with men and women that featured identical information about the vaccine. Among the 1,184 Americans who watched them, most were positively influenced by the male narrator while the female narrator got a far more mixed response.

“The male-narrated version of the video increased vaccination intention in viewers,” said Ms. Witus, “but the female-narrated had mixed associations with vaccine propensity, and in some viewers, those that identified as conservative, actually decreased vaccination intention.”

This may spell victory for Mr. Schillaci as he and his wife subtly joust for influence over their 20-year-old son’s vaccination decision. Mr. Schillaci has been sharing his views with his son, whom his wife is prodding to take a shot.

“I would rather he got the shot, and I hope that he’ll consider it,” said Ms. Elgison.

But Ms. Elgison’s own decision may benefit her son, even if he decides against the vaccine.

As often happens in life, men may find their gaps covered by women. “To the extent most people live and socialize in a mixed-gender setting, the men will benefit from the higher coverage among women,” Ms. Buttenheim said.

Ms. Elgison, however, still has a trump card she hopes might work. “I would like my son to get it so we can all travel together,” she said. “I explained to him that it’s possible that we could protect his dad.”

View Source

How Europe’s Soccer Super League Fell Apart

This was precisely what some of those involved with the project had feared. There had been doubts that the plan was ready to go live; insiders worried that it might not survive a fierce initial backlash. “This is not the time to do it,” an executive involved in the project warned. The executive suggested holding off until summer.

By then, it was hoped, the clubs might have found a frontman for the breakaway. Florentino Pérez, the president of Real Madrid, had been the driving force behind much of it; it was, to some extent, his brainchild. But his peers were aware that he would struggle to convince an English audience, in particular.

The Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer, whose family also owns the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Chelsea’s Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich; and Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke, who controls nearly a dozen professional teams, almost never speak publicly. Manchester City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi, doesn’t speak to reporters at all. And others considered for the role — like Liverpool’s majority owner, John W. Henry — were unwilling to accept it.

There were also concerns that the rebels’ communications strategy — marshaled by Katie Perrior, a political operative close to Boris Johnson, the British prime minister — was too focused on winning governmental, rather than popular, support. There had been no effort to consult, involve or win over fans, players or coaches. An outcry might destroy everything before the lobbying effort could begin in earnest.

Those concerns were not heeded. Agnelli, theoretically a voice for all of Europe’s clubs in his governance roles and a close friend of Ceferin, was feeling the strain of being, in effect, a double agent. He had protected the rebels’ secret for weeks, shading the truth — or worse — in talks with friends and allies. On Monday morning, though, he would have to sit on the dais with the rest of the UEFA board as it voted to approve changes to a Champions League that would be under mortal threat from the Super League.

He knew the league was happening. With the signatures of Chelsea, Manchester City and Atlético Madrid in hand, the founding members were set. The financing, delivered by the Spanish advisory firm Key Capital Partners and backed by the American bank JPMorgan Chase, would mean billions in new riches. Agnelli simply needed the news out.

Glazer, one of Manchester United’s co-chairmen, agreed. He was adamant it was time to press the button.

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Covid-19 Live Updates: India Sets Global Record for Daily Infections

312,731 new infections on Thursday, the most recorded in any country on a single day.

India’s total eclipsed the previous one-day high of 300,669 recorded coronavirus cases, set in the United States on Jan. 8, according to a New York Times database, though differences in testing levels from country to country, and a widespread lack of tests early in the pandemic, make comparisons difficult.

Over the past two months, the outbreak in India has exploded, with reports of superspreader gatherings, oxygen shortages and ambulances lined up outside hospitals because there were no ventilators for new patients.

As cases worldwide reach weekly records, a substantial proportion of the infections are coming from India, a sobering reminder that the pandemic is far from over, even as infections decline and vaccinations speed ahead in the United States and other wealthy parts of the world. India has surpassed 15.6 million total infections, second most after the United States.

The death toll has also begun to climb precipitously.

On Thursday, the Indian government recorded 2,104 deaths, and an average of more than 1,300 people have died of the virus every day for the past week. That is less than the tolls at the worst points of the pandemic in the United States or Brazil, but it is a steep increase from just two months ago, when fewer than 100 people in India were dying daily.

There are signs that the country’s health system, patchy even before the pandemic, is collapsing under the strain. On Tuesday, at least 22 people died in an accident in the central city of Nashik when a leak in a hospital’s main oxygen tank cut the flow of oxygen to Covid-19 patients.

The picture is staggeringly different from early February, when India was recording an average of just 11,000 cases a day, and domestic drug companies were pumping out millions of vaccine doses. More than 132 million Indians have received at least one dose, but supplies are running low and experts warn that the country is unlikely to meet its goal of inoculating 300 million people by the summer.

Critics say Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who imposed a harsh nationwide lockdown in March 2020 in the early stages of the pandemic, failed to prepare for a second wave or to warn Indians to remain vigilant against the virus, especially as more infectious variants began to spread.

Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has also allowed a massive Hindu festival to take place, drawing millions of pilgrims to the banks of the Ganges River, and his party has held packed political rallies in several states.

“India’s rapid slide into this unprecedented crisis is a direct result of complacency and lack of preparation by the government,” Ramanan Laxminarayan, the director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in Washington, wrote in The New York Times on Tuesday.

The hardest-hit region is Maharashtra, a populous western state that includes the financial hub of Mumbai. On Wednesday, the state’s top leader ordered government offices to operate at 15 percent capacity and imposed new restrictions on weddings and private transportation to slow the spread of the virus.

This week, Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, and Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, called off plans to visit India. On Thursday, the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, said that direct flights from India would be reduced by about 30 percent, and that Australians would be allowed to travel to India only in “very urgent circumstances.”

A pregnant woman receiving the Pfizer vaccine in Schwenksville, Pa., in February.
Credit…Hannah Beier/Reuters

In an early analysis of coronavirus vaccine safety data, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found no evidence that the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines pose serious risks during pregnancy.

The findings are preliminary and cover just the first 11 weeks of the U.S. vaccination program. But the study, which included self-reported data on more than 35,000 people who received one of the vaccines during or shortly before pregnancy, is the largest yet on the safety of the coronavirus vaccines in pregnant people.

During the clinical trials of the vaccines, pregnant women were excluded. That left patients, doctors and experts unsure whether the shots were safe to administer during pregnancy.

“There’s a lot of anxiety about whether it’s safe and whether it would work and what to expect as far as side effects,” said Dr. Stephanie Gaw, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.

The new data, Dr. Gaw said, demonstrate that “a lot of pregnant people are getting the vaccine, there isn’t a significant increase in adverse pregnancy effects at this point, and that side effect profiles are very similar to nonpregnant people.”

“I think that’s all very reassuring,” she said, “and I think it will really help providers and public health officials more strongly recommend getting the vaccine in pregnancy.”

Covid-19 poses serious risks during pregnancy. Pregnant women who develop symptoms of the disease are more likely to become seriously ill, and more likely to die, than nonpregnant women with symptoms.

Because of those risks, the C.D.C. has recommended that coronavirus vaccines be made available to pregnant women, though it also suggests that they consult with their doctors when making a decision about vaccination.

The new study, which was published on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, is based largely on self-reported data from V-safe, the C.D.C.’s coronavirus vaccine safety monitoring system. Participants in the program use a smartphone app to complete regular surveys about their health, and any side effects they might be experiencing, after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine.

The researchers analyzed the side effects reported by V-safe participants who received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine between Dec. 14, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021. They focused on 35,691 participants who said that they had been pregnant when they received the vaccine or became pregnant shortly thereafter.

After vaccination, pregnant participants reported the same general pattern of side effects that nonpregnant ones did, the researchers found: pain at the injection site, fatigue, headaches and muscle pain.

Women who were pregnant were slightly more likely to report injection site pain than women who were not, but less likely to report the other side effects. They were also slightly more likely to report nausea or vomiting after the second dose.

Pregnant V-safe participants were also given an opportunity to enroll in a special registry that tracked pregnancy and infant outcomes.

By the end of February, 827 of those enrolled in the pregnancy registry had completed their pregnancies, 86 percent of which resulted in a live birth. Rates of miscarriage, prematurity, low birth weight and birth defects were consistent with those reported in pregnant women before the pandemic, the researchers report.

“This study is of critical importance to pregnant individuals,” Dr. Michal Elovitz, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, said in an email. “It is very reassuring that there were no reported acute events in pregnant individuals” over the course of the study, she said.

But the report has several limitations and much more research is needed, experts said. Enrollment in the surveillance programs is voluntary and the data are self-reported.

In addition, because the study period encompassed just the first few months of the U.S. vaccination campaign, the vast majority of those enrolled in the pregnancy registry were health care workers. And there is not yet any data on pregnancy outcomes from people who were vaccinated during the first trimester of pregnancy.

“I think we can feel more confident about recommending the vaccine in pregnancy, and especially with pregnant people that are at risk of Covid,” Dr. Gaw said. “But we do need to wait for more data for complete pregnancy outcomes from vaccines early in pregnancy.”

Federal regulators have found many shortcomings at a plant of Emergent BioSolutions in Baltimore.
Credit…Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators have found serious flaws at the Baltimore plant that had to throw out up to 15 million possibly contaminated doses of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine, casting doubt on further production in the United States of a vaccine that the government once viewed as essential in fighting the pandemic.

The regulators for the Food and Drug Administration said that the company manufacturing the vaccine, Emergent BioSolutions, may have contaminated additional doses at the plant. They said the company failed to fully investigate the contamination, while also finding fault with the plant’s disinfection practices, size and design, handling of raw materials and training of workers.

The F.D.A. has not yet certified the plant, in Baltimore’s Bayview neighborhood, and no doses made there have gone to the public. All the Johnson & Johnson shots that have been administered in the United States have come from overseas.

The report amounted to a harsh rebuke of Emergent, which had long played down setbacks at the factory, and added to problems for Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine had been seen as a game changer because it requires only one shot, can be produced in mass volume and is easily stored.

The inspection began after routine checks showed that Emergent workers had contaminated at least part of a batch of 13 million to 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with the harmless virus that is used to make the AstraZeneca shot, which is not yet authorized in the United States.

The F.D.A. findings, based on an inspection that ended on Tuesday, underscore questions raised in reports by The New York Times about why Emergent did not fix problems earlier and why federal officials who oversee its lucrative contracts did not demand better performance.

In statements on Wednesday, the F.D.A., Emergent and Johnson & Johnson all said they were working to resolve the problems at the factory. There was no indication of how long that would take.

Global Roundup

Police officers stood guard in Berlin as Germans demonstrated against coronavirus measures on Wednesday.
Credit…Christian Mang/Reuters

BERLIN — State lawmakers in Germany approved a new version of a law on Thursday boosting the federal government’s power to enforce uniform coronavirus lockdown rules. New restrictions are expected in most districts soon after the president signs the bill into law, which could be as early as Thursday afternoon.

The law, which Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet passed last week, is a response to a disjointed virus response by state governments, which previously had the ultimate say in carrying out restrictions. For months, experts have called for a lockdown to control Germany’s surging third wave of coronavirus infections.

Under the law passed by the federal council of states on Thursday, the rules would apply uniformly across the country but would depend on the rate of infection in each district, leading to more severe lockdowns in highly affected areas. There would be a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in districts with more than 100 new infections per 100,000 people in a week. Restaurants would remain closed, and nonessential stores would require an appointment and a negative test result in districts with more than 150 new infections per 100,000 people. Schools would close if 165 new infections per 100,000 were registered.

Germany is currently measuring 161 infections per 100,000 in a week, according to the health authorities, which also counted 29,518 new infections on Wednesday.

As many as 8,000 people, including right-wing extremists and coronavirus deniers, took to the streets in Berlin to protest the measures on Wednesday. Several lawsuits against it have already been announced.

Germany has recorded more than 80,000 deaths so far.

In other developments across the world:

Nepal’s dethroned king, Gyanendra Shah, center, at Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, last year.
Credit…Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times, via Getty Images

KATHMANDU, Nepal — At the beginning of this month, Nepal’s dethroned king, Gyanendra Shah, and his wife, Komal, traveled to northern India for the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu pilgrimage where millions seek a dip in the Ganges River to absolve themselves of their sins.

Gyanendra bathed in the river, and for 10 days, he and his aides mingled in crowds and met ascetics, Hindu leaders and other dignitaries. On April 18, he and Komal flew home to Nepal, where supporters welcomed them at the airport and formed a procession to escort them home, chanting pro-Hindu and pro-monarchy slogans along the way.

Three days later, the couple tested positive for the coronavirus. Now they are in quarantine at their residence in Kathmandu, the capital, while health officials in Nepal try to trace anyone who was in contact with them.

“Both king and queen have isolated themselves from other family members,” said Phani Raj Pathak, an aide to Gyanendra, who was dethroned when Nepal became a republic in 2008 and ended a two-century-old Hindu monarchy. The former ruler, who is in his 70s, retains support among some Hindus in Nepal as well as among critics of the elected government.

The infections have cast a harsh spotlight on the Kumbh Mela, where millions of Hindu pilgrims have gathered for weeks, shoulder to shoulder and often maskless, even as highly infectious variants of the coronavirus surge across South Asia. On Thursday, India reported more than 312,000 new infections, the highest daily total in any country since the pandemic began.

The Indian government has defended the gathering as safe, even as news media report thousands of infections among participants. Organizers say that attendees are required to wear masks and show proof of a negative coronavirus test, but they acknowledge that given the size of the event, many could have flouted the rules.

Now there are fears that the Kumbh Mela will cause the virus to explode in Nepal, which shares a porous border with India.

“The majority of people weren’t wearing face masks,” said Yogini Saritanandi, a pilgrim who returned to Nepal. She said she had seen “nothing other than a sea of humans on the bank of the Ganges.”

She said the authorities in the northern city of Haridwar, where the Kumbh Mela is being observed this year, began to slightly restrict entry after a few ascetics were reportedly infected and after India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, urged organizers to observe social distancing. But it appeared to be too late.

“People got Covid one after another,” said Ms. Saritanandi, 43. “When I saw this, I thought of my 10-year-old son, and I cut my visit short to return to Nepal earlier.”

As Indian states impose new lockdowns, tens of thousands of Nepali migrant workers have returned from India without undergoing coronavirus tests. After reporting no new infections for much of January, Nepal is now averaging more than 1,100 cases a day, according to a New York Times database.

The government has closed schools and colleges in urban areas and tried to speed up vaccinations, with more than 1.7 million people having received at least one shot. But the inoculation drive was slowed after India restricted exports of vaccines to fight the outbreak at home, leaving Nepal to rely on a donation of shots from China.

Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium earlier this month.
Credit…Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Fully vaccinated baseball fans will be granted their own section at the Los Angeles Dodgers game this weekend against the San Diego Padres.

The set-aside seats, reported by The Los Angeles Times, are part of the many incentives being offered — from doughnuts to beer — to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The Miami Heat and the San Francisco Giants have introduced similar sections at their stadiums.

To prove they are fully vaccinated, fans will have to show government-issued I.D. and documentation like a vaccination card, according to the Dodgers’ website. Everyone 16 years and older will have to show proof that at least two weeks have passed since they were fully vaccinated. Fans younger than 16 will be required to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours before admission.

Face masks will still be required, but social distancing will not. The team said spectators in the sections for the fully vaccinated will be seated directly next to each other.

The game Saturday won’t mark the first time fans have entered Dodger Stadium since the pandemic began. The team’s home opener on April 9 was attended by fans — just not all that many of them. Attendance was capped at around 11,000, about 20 percent of capacity.

In the past week, there has been an average of more than 2,300 daily coronavirus cases in the state, and Los Angeles County has seen an average of 435 daily cases — a 20 percent drop over the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database.

As of Wednesday, more than 40 percent of Californians had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and more than 20 percent had been fully vaccinated.

On April 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom loosened some restrictions in the state, permitting limited outdoor gatherings and live events, depending on a region’s Covid-19 risk level.

A 5K run organized by New York Road Runners in October.
Credit…John Minchillo/Associated Press

New York Road Runners, the club that puts on the New York City Marathon, has announced the return of its first regularly scheduled race since the beginning of the pandemic.

On Thursday, the club said that it would hold the annual New York Mini 10K on June 12. The 10-kilometer, women-only race has been held annually since 1972, with the exception of last year.

“This is our first real table setting,” said Kerin Hempel, the organization’s interim chief executive. “It’s starting to feel like ‘OK, we’re back, we’re coming back.’”

This will not be the first race the club has held since the onset of the pandemic.

The organization has held a series of “return to racing” events as pilots starting last fall, allowing very small fields to run with safety protocols in place. Among other measures, the races had temperature checks, staggered starts and different corralling of runners.

Those events, Ms. Hempel said, have given N.Y.R.R. the confidence to move ahead with its first regularly scheduled race since March 2020.

The Mini 10K field will be smaller than in past years, with a cap of 1,200 runners. The race will also have safety protocols, such as requiring runners to mask up at the start and finish. (They will be strongly encouraged to wear masks during the race, too.)

It will be the first time N.Y.R.R. has welcomed elite athletes since the 2019 New York City Marathon, with 25 elite athletes expected at the starting line. The 2019 Mini 10K champion, Sara Hall, will return to defend her title.

The announcement comes as runners look ahead — with cautious optimism — to the return of major road races. Ms. Hempel anticipated the question on the minds of many: What does this mean for the New York City Marathon?

“We’ve been saying the marathon is going to happen,” she said. “It’s more about what it’s going to look like, and how many people we can accommodate on the course.”

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‘The worst is behind us’: Airlines see signs of continued recovery.

The worst appears to be over for airlines. Now, it’s just a matter of waiting for the summer travel frenzy to begin.

American Airlines and Southwest Airlines on Thursday were the last two major U.S. airlines to report financial results for the first three months of the year. American lost nearly $1.3 billion, while Southwest earned $116 million, a welcome profit after weathering its first annual loss in half a century last year.

“While the pandemic is not over, we believe the worst is behind us, in terms of the severity of the negative impact on travel demand,” Gary Kelly, Southwest’s chairman, said in a statement. “Vaccinations are on the rise, and Covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States are down significantly from their peak in January 2021. As a result, we are experiencing steady weekly improvements in domestic leisure bookings, which began in mid-February 2021.”

That sentiment is shared across the industry.

“With the momentum underway from the first quarter, we see signs of continued recovery in demand,” Doug Parker, American’s chief executive, said in a statement on Thursday. His counterpart at United Airlines issued a similarly hopeful statement this week, despite posting a loss of $1.4 billion. Last week, Delta Air Lines reported a $1.2 billion loss.

The industry has been buoyed by federal support, receiving $54 billion in grants to pay workers over the past year and another $25 billion in loans. Mr. Kelly of Southwest credited that support for the airline’s slight profit, saying that the airline would have lost $1 billion in the first quarter without it.

Southwest was also buoyed by its limited exposure to corporate and international travel, which have been slow to rebound and are lucrative parts of the business for American, Delta and United. Leisure travel within the United States, which all of the airlines serve, is almost fully recovered.

Air travel started to recover meaningfully in early March, with Transportation Security Administration data showing a steady rise in the number of people screened at airport security checkpoints relative to the same period in 2019. That surge has subsided somewhat since earlier this month, with screenings down about 42 percent over the past week compared with 2019.

Southwest said demand for travel continues to improve with summer fast approaching and customers once again feeling comfortable making travel plans further out. The airline estimates that it has about 35 percent of expected bookings in place for June and 20 percent for July.

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India Sets Covid-19 Daily Case Record

Marking a grave new milestone in the coronavirus pandemic, India recorded 312,731 new infections in a 24-hour period, the Indian health ministry said on Thursday. It is the highest daily case count in a single country since the virus surfaced in China more than a year ago.

India’s total eclipsed the previous single-day high of 300,669 cases, set in the United States on Jan. 8, according to a New York Times database.

Over the past two months, the outbreak in India has exploded, with reports of superspreader gatherings, oxygen shortages and ambulances lined up outside hospitals because there are no ventilators for new patients.

As cases worldwide reach new weekly records, 40 percent of the infections are coming from India, a sobering reminder that the pandemic is far from over, even as infections decline and vaccinations speed ahead in the United States and other wealthy parts of the world. India has surpassed 15.6 million total infections, second most after the United States.

at least 22 people died in an accident in the central city of Nashik when a leak in a hospital’s main oxygen tank cut the flow of oxygen to Covid-19 patients.

The picture is staggeringly different from early February, when India was recording an average of just 11,000 cases a day, and domestic drug companies were pumping out millions of vaccine doses. More than 132 million Indians have received at least one dose, but supplies are running low and experts warn that the country is unlikely to meet its goal of inoculating 300 million people by the summer.

Critics say Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who imposed a harsh nationwide lockdown in March 2020 in the early stages of the pandemic, failed to prepare for a second wave or to warn Indians to remain vigilant against the virus, especially as more infectious variants began to spread.

Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has also allowed a massive Hindu festival to take place, drawing millions of pilgrims to the banks of the Ganges River, and his party has held jam-packed political rallies in several states.

wrote in The New York Times on Tuesday.

The hardest hit region is Maharashtra, a populous western state that includes the financial hub of Mumbai. On Wednesday, the state’s top leader ordered government offices to operate at 15 percent capacity and imposed new restrictions on weddings and private transportation to slow the spread of the virus.

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Putin Warns of a Russian ‘Red Line’ the West Will Regret Crossing

MOSCOW — He warned ominously of “red lines” in Russia’s security that, if crossed, would bring a powerful “asymmetric” response. He reminded Western leaders once again of the fearsomeness of his country’s modernized nuclear arsenal. And he boasted of Russia’s moral superiority over the West.

Yet even as President Vladimir V. Putin lashed out at foreign enemies real or perceived in a state-of-the-nation speech on Wednesday, tens of thousands of Russians defied a heavy police presence to pour into the streets to challenge his rule. In Moscow, some gathered across the street from the Kremlin to chant, “Go Away!”

It was a snapshot of Russia in the third decade of Mr. Putin’s rule: a leader facing an increasingly angry and desperate opposition but firmly in power with his country’s vast resources and huge security apparatus at his disposal.

an enormous troop buildup on Russia’s border with Ukraine and has gone toe to toe with President Biden, who issued a new round of sanctions last week, undeterred by Mr. Putin’s saber rattling in Ukraine.

Mr. Putin portrayed Russia as harried by Western nations for years with hypocritical criticism and sanctions. Punishing Russia, he said, has become a “new sport” in the West, and he was running thin on patience.

While he pledged on Wednesday that he still wanted “good relations with all participants of international society,” he said that if Russia is forced to defend its interests from any security threats its response would be “fast and tough.”

the prison treatment of the prominent opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny seemed to be mushrooming into something more.

Thousands were arrested at those protests this winter, which came after Mr. Navalny’s return to Russia from Germany, where he had been treated for a poisoning with a chemical weapon.

Riot police officers were out in force on Wednesday. While it appeared that they sought to avoid scenes of brutality that could cast a shadow over Mr. Putin’s speech, the police did detain nearly 1,500 demonstrators nationwide.

Protesters stood on the sidewalks across the street from the exhibition hall next to the Kremlin where Mr. Putin had spoken a few hours earlier. They chanted “Go away!” — referring to Mr. Putin; and “Release him!” — referring to Mr. Navalny.

“I didn’t come out concretely because of Aleksei Navalny, I came out more for myself,” said Svetlana Kosatkina, a 64-year-old real estate agent. “I can’t stand this whole situation of lawlessness and just total humiliation.”

a hunger strike and said by his lawyer to be near death, Mr. Navalny this week wrote in a letter to his allies that he had grown so thin he resembled a “skeleton walking, swaying in his cell.”

Police detained dozens of opposition activists earlier on Wednesday, including Mr. Navalny’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, and a top lieutenant in his political organization, Lyubov Sobol. To curb turnout at protests, universities compelled students to sit for unscheduled exams, TV Rain, an independent news station, reported on Tuesday.

Mr. Putin’s speech was closely watched for hints of his intentions in Ukraine, after massing the largest military force on the border since the outset of Kyiv’s war with Russian-backed separatists seven years ago.

highest per capita in the world.

“Solar Winds” hacking of government agencies and corporations, various disinformation efforts and earlier military interventions in Ukraine.

Mr. Putin’s allies had also erupted in fury when President Biden in an interview last month agreed with a characterization of Mr. Putin as a “killer.” In Wednesday’s speech, Mr. Putin lingered on a grievance that has not gained much traction outside Russian state news media: an accusation that the C.I.A. had been plotting an assassination of its own, targeting President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, the leader of Belarus, a Russian ally.

Over the weekend, Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, arrested two men who it said had coordinated with American and Polish intelligence agencies to plot the murder of Mr. Lukashenko. This, Mr. Putin said, “crossed all the boundaries.”

In Mr. Putin’s telling, Russia, far from pursuing a militaristic policy, has been the victim of a Western scheme to contain and hobble the country. “They attack Russia here and there without any reason,” Mr. Putin said. He cited Rudyard Kipling’s novel “Jungle Book” with a comparison of the United States to Shere Khan, a villainous tiger, nipping at Russia.

And Mr. Putin lingered on descriptions of Russia’s modernized arsenal of atomic weapons. These include a hypersonic cruise missile, called the Dagger, and a nuclear torpedo, called the Poseidon. The torpedo, Russian officials have said, is designed to set off a radioactive tsunami.

The foreign policy message was a stark warning, said Andrei A. Klimov, deputy chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Russian Senate.

“We aren’t joking any longer,” Mr. Klimov said. ““We won’t every day tell our opponents they will be punished. But when it comes, they will understand.”

Anton Troianovski contributed reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine and Ivan Nechepurenko from Moscow.

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Putin Says Any Nation That Threatens Russia’s Security Will ‘Regret Their Deeds’

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Wednesday delivered an annual address replete with threats against the West but, despite intense tensions with Ukraine, stopped short of announcing new military or foreign policy moves.

Russia’s response will be “asymmetric, fast and tough” if it is forced to defend its interests, Mr. Putin said, pointing to what he claimed were Western efforts at regime change in neighboring Belarus as another threat to Russia’s security.

He pledged that Russia “wants to have good relations with all participants of international society,” even as he noted that Russia’s modernized nuclear weapons systems were at the ready.

“The organizers of any provocations threatening the fundamental interests of our security will regret their deeds more than they have regretted anything in a long time,” Mr. Putin told a hall of governors and members of Parliament. “I hope no one gets the idea to cross the so-called red line with Russia — and we will be the ones to decide where it runs in every concrete case.”

that could be prepared to move into neighboring Ukraine.

In Washington, the Biden administration reacted mildly to Mr. Putin’s tough words.

“We don’t take anything President Putin says personally,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said when asked for a response. “We have tough skin.”

Asked if the sharpened rhetoric from Mr. Putin would affect the prospects for a possible meeting with President Biden later this year, Ms. Psaki said discussions were ongoing. “Obviously,” she said, “it requires all parties having an agreement that we’re going to have a meeting and we issued that invitation.”

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Putin, Addressing Russia, Warns West Not to Cross Red Line: Live Updates

that could be prepared to move into neighboring Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky on the front line in Ukraine’s Mariupol region this month.
Credit…Ukrainian Presidential Press Service, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine addressed his nation on Tuesday evening, warning citizens of the possibility of war. He addressed President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia directly, urging him to step back from the brink and proposing that the two meet.

The unusual videotaped appearance by Mr. Zelensky — a former comedian elected in 2019 on a promise to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine — was the clearest signal yet that Ukraine is girding for the possibility of a full-fledged war with Russia. Moscow’s buildup of troops on the Ukrainian border, he said, had created “all the preconditions for escalation.”

“Does Ukraine want war? No. Is it ready for it? Yes,” Mr. Zelensky said. “Our principle is simple: Ukraine does not start a war first, but Ukraine always stands to the last man.”

It appeared to be no coincidence that Mr. Zelensky’s address came on the eve of Mr. Putin’s annual state of the nation address on Wednesday. At the end of his video, Mr. Zelensky switched from Ukrainian to Russian, speaking to Mr. Putin directly. He pushed back at Mr. Putin’s contention that Russian forces would be used in Ukraine only if the Russian-speaking population in the east was threatened, and proposed a summit in the war-torn eastern region known as Donbas.

“It is impossible to bring peace on a tank,” Mr. Zelensky said.

“I am ready,” he continued, “to invite you to meet anywhere in the Ukrainian Donbas where there is war.”

There was no immediate response from the Kremlin to Mr. Zelensky’s invitation.

Aleksei A. Navalny, left, at a court hearing in February. 
Credit…Yuri Kochetkov/EPA, via Shutterstock

Russia is moving ahead with efforts to outlaw the organization led by the opposition figure Aleksei A. Navalny, a step that could result in the most intense wave of political repression in the post-Soviet era. But supporters of the jailed opposition leader say they are determined to take to the streets.

Opponents of President Vladimir V. Putin have called for protests across Russia on Wednesday in support of Mr. Navalny, whose allies say he is on a hunger strike and near death in a Russian prison. The police are expected to intervene forcefully to break up the protests, which started in the country’s Far East immediately after Mr. Putin delivered his state of the nation speech.

Mr. Putin has rarely mentioned Mr. Navalny by name and did not do so in his speech. He did not refer to him in any way.

Mr. Navalny is insisting that he be allowed to be seen by doctors of his choosing. A lawyer who visited him, Vadim Kobzev, said on Tuesday that Mr. Navalny’s arms were punctured and bruised after three nurses had unsuccessfully tried six times to hook him up to an intravenous drip.

“If you saw me now, you would laugh,” Mr. Navalny said in a letter that his team posted to social media. “A skeleton walking, swaying, in its cell.”

The Kremlin depicts Mr. Navalny as an agent of American influence, and Russian prosecutors filed a lawsuit on Friday to declare his organization “extremist” and illegal.

The extremism designation, which a Moscow court will consider in a secret trial starting next week, would effectively force Russia’s most potent opposition movement underground and could result in yearslong prison terms for pro-Navalny activists.

The White House has warned the Russian government that it “will be held accountable” if Mr. Navalny dies in prison. Western officials — and Mr. Navalny’s supporters and allies — reject the idea that he is acting on another country’s behalf.

But in the Kremlin’s logic, Mr. Navalny is a threat to Russian statehood, doing the West’s bidding by undermining Mr. Putin. It is Mr. Putin, Mr. Trenin said, who is keeping Russia stable by maintaining a balance between competing factions in Russia’s ruling elite.

“If Putin leaves, a battle between different groups breaks out, and Russia withdraws into itself, has no time for the rest of the world and no longer gets in anyone’s way,” said Dmitri Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. “The West is, of course, using Navalny, and will use him to create problems for Putin and, in the longer term, help Putin become history in one way or another.”

Lyubov Sobol, center, was among the close allies of Aleksei A. Navalny to be detained before the planned rallies. 
Credit…Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

MOSCOW — Dozens of opposition activists were arrested in 20 cities across Russia before a rally scheduled for Wednesday night in Moscow in support of the imprisoned Kremlin critic Aleksei A. Navalny.

Some of the activists were beaten and sentenced to administrative arrests, according to OVD Info, an independent rights group that tracks arrests. Many were members of Mr. Navalny’s political organization, but some were arrested simply for sharing social media posts about the rally.

Among those detained were two prominent associates of Mr. Navalny: his spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh; and Lyubov Sobol.

In Russia’s Far East — where protests started before rallies were expected to sweep across the vast nation with 11 time zones — the police detained eight people in the city of Magadan, according to Vesma, a local news website. About 40 people came out to protest in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the capital of the Kamchatka region, with no arrests reported.

In Vladivostok, a major port on the eastern tip of Russia, about 100 people marched through the city with no arrests reported so far, Vl.ru, a local news website reported.

“Freedom to political prisoners,” people chanted. The police warned protesters through loudspeakers that they could be arrested. “We will not stay silent,” was the response.

In recent weeks, the Russian authorities have conducted raids on Mr. Navalny’s offices across the country, looking for leaflets and other materials calling for protests. Those items would presumably be used in the Kremlin’s drive to have his organization labeled “extremist,” which would expose its members to potentially lengthy prison terms.

In Kurgan, a city in central Russia, an unknown person sneaked into Mr. Navalny’s office on Monday morning and destroyed a radiator, flooding the premises.

Under various pretexts, the authorities in cities across Russia blocked central squares and streets. In Yekaterinburg, they rescheduled a Victory Day parade rehearsal to ensure that it overlapped with a scheduled protest. In Kostroma, the central square was closed down, ostensibly for pest control measures.

In universities across the country, students were ordered to sit for unscheduled tests and other gatherings with mandatory attendance, TV Rain, an independent news station reported on Tuesday.

The authorities in Moscow denied Mr. Navalny’s allies a permit for the rally they have planned for Wednesday evening, citing coronavirus concerns. The Prosecutor General’s office warned parents that they would be subject to fines and arrest if their underage children are detained at a rally.

More than 450,000 people nationwide registered online to declare their intent to take part in demonstrations against Mr. Navalny’s incarceration and treatment in prison. More than 100,000 people did so in Moscow, and more than 50,000 in St. Petersburg.

President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus in Sochi, Russia, in February.
Credit…Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In a speech filled with bluster and bromides against the West, President Vladimir V. Putin on Wednesday lingered on a grievance that has not gained much traction outside the Russian state news media: an unfounded accusation that the C.I.A. has been plotting to assassinate the leader of Belarus.

Even as he raised the subject, Mr. Putin acknowledged that it was not being taken seriously outside Russia.

“Characteristically, even such lamentable actions are not discussed in the so-called collective West,” Mr. Putin said. “They pretend nothing happened.”

Over the weekend, Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, arrested two men whom it said were plotting to murder President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus and to seize television and radio stations.

It said the men had coordinated with U.S. and Polish intelligence agencies and come to Russia to meet Belarusian generals sympathetic to the opposition. The Russian authorities released video that showed the men casually discussing their improbable plot over a meal at a Moscow restaurant.

One of the men, Aleksandr Feduta, is a former spokesman for Mr. Lukashenko. The other, Yuras Zyankovich, has dual U.S. and Belarusian citizenship. The United States and Polish governments denied any role in a murder and coup plot in Belarus.

The arrests aligned with Mr. Putin’s casting of Russia in his state of the nation speech on Wednesday as victimized and pressured by a hypocritical and aggressive Western world that poses imminent threats.

The encroaching West, Mr. Putin said, has “crossed all the boundaries.”

Policies to pressure Russia that were previously limited to economic sanctions “have been reborn as something more dangerous,” he said. “I have in mind the recent facts that came to light of a direct attempt to organize a coup in Belarus and the murder of the leader of that country.”

In an interview in March, President Biden assented when asked whether Vladimir V. Putin was a “killer.”
Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

The election of Joseph R. Biden Jr. as president of the United States, despite his promise to be tough on Russia, initially gave the Kremlin hope, analysts say.

He was seen as more professional, reliable and pragmatic than President Donald J. Trump, with a worldview shaped by a Cold War era of diplomacy in which Washington and Moscow engaged as equal superpowers with a responsibility for global security. In their first phone call in January, Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin agreed to extend the New Start arms-control treaty, a Russian foreign policy goal that the Kremlin had not been able to achieve with Mr. Trump.

Then came the television interview in March in which Mr. Biden assented when asked whether Mr. Putin was a “killer.” A month later, that moment — to which Russian officials and commentators responded with a squall of prime-time-televised, anti-American fury — looks like a turning point. It was followed by last week’s raft of American sanctions against Russia, combined with Mr. Biden’s call for a summit meeting with Mr. Putin, which to many Russians looked like a crude American attempt to negotiate from a position of strength.

“This is seen as an unacceptable situation — you won’t chase us into the stall with sanctions,” said Dmitri Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, a think tank.

How far Mr. Putin will go in striking back against the West’s real or imagined hostility is an open question. In the state news media, the mood music is dire. On the flagship weekly news show on the Rossiya 1 channel on Sunday, the host Dmitri Kiselyov closed a segment on Mr. Putin’s showdown with Mr. Biden by reminding viewers of Poseidon — a weapon in Russia’s nuclear arsenal that Mr. Putin revealed three years ago.

“Russia’s armed forces are ready to test-fire a nuclear torpedo that would cause radioactive tsunamis capable of flooding enemy cities and making them uninhabitable for decades,” a translation of a Danish newspaper report intoned.

Still, there are signs that Mr. Putin does not want tensions with the West to spiral out of control.

As Europe and the United States scrambled to assess the Russian troop buildup in late March, Russia’s top military officer, Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, spoke on the phone with his American counterpart, Gen. Mark A. Milley. On Monday, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Mr. Putin’s Security Council, discussed the prospect of a presidential summit with Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser. And the Kremlin said this week that Mr. Putin would speak at Mr. Biden’s online climate change meeting on Thursday.

Ms. Stanovaya, the analyst, says she was convinced that Mr. Putin is more interested than his hawkish advisers in looking for ways to work with the United States. She pointed to Mr. Putin’s determination to return Russia to the ranks of great powers.

“Putin very much believes in his mission as a great historic figure with responsibility not only for Russia, but also for global security,” Ms. Stanovaya said. “He doesn’t understand how it is that the American president doesn’t feel the same way.”

A satellite image of Russian military equipment at the Opuk training area on Crimea’s Black Sea coast.
Credit…Maxar Technologies, via Associated Press

The Russian authorities closed airspace to commercial traffic near the Ukrainian border starting on Tuesday in another sign of rising military tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

The warning to commercial pilots covers parts of the Crimean Peninsula — annexed by Russia seven years ago — and international airspace over the Black Sea. It formalized what had already become obvious: The region is in the grips of an increasingly ominous military crisis.

Ukraine objected last week to Russia’s closing of areas in the Black Sea to shipping, a ban that the U.S. State Department spokesman, Ned Price, on Monday called an “unprovoked escalation in Moscow’s ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilize Ukraine.”

Over the past month, Russia has massed the largest military force along Ukraine’s eastern border and in Crimea since the outset of war in 2014, according to Western governments. Analysts say that the deliberately high visibility of the buildup indicates that its purpose is more a warning to the West than a prelude to invasion.

“They are deploying in a very visible way,” said Michael Kofman, a senior researcher at CNA, a policy research group in Arlington, Va. “They are doing it overtly, so we can see it. It is intentional.”

The Russian military says it is conducting exercises in response to Ukrainian threats to two Russian-backed separatist regions and to what it calls heightened NATO military activity in the Black Sea area.

Military tensions have also risen elsewhere. On Tuesday, Russia’s Air Force flew two nuclear-capable Tu-160 strategic bombers over the Baltic Sea for eight hours. In the Arctic Ocean, the Northern Fleet has been conducting a huge naval drill, the Defense Ministry said.

President Vladimir V. Putin on Wednesday hailed Russians’ “singular cohesion, their spiritual and moral values that in a number of countries are forgotten.”
Credit…Maxim Shipenkov/EPA, via Shutterstock

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has often sought to bolster domestic support through rally-around-the-flag, aggressive foreign policy moves. But on Wednesday he opened his annual address to the nation by focusing on the bread-and-butter economic issues that polls show most worry Russians.

He rattled off a laundry list of social subsidies that he said his government would begin to provide to new mothers, single parents and low-income families.

“For our entire history, our people triumphed, overcoming challenges thanks to their singular cohesion, their spiritual and moral values that in a number of countries are forgotten, but we on the contrary have strengthened,” Mr. Putin said.

He outlined programs to subsidize summer camp for children, smooth the system for child-support payments to single mothers and move more social services online.

While Russia is still in the throes of a coronavirus wave, Mr. Putin minimized the threat and said Russia would swivel to “healing the wounds” and shoring up the economy. He also laid out a requirement that Russian laboratories be ready to prepare tests for potential new infectious diseases within four days of their discovery.

Mr. Putin traditionally starts his yearly address with a focus on economic issues, and despite rising tensions with the West, this year was no different.

The Russian leader is aware that empty wallets can add fuel to protest movements and that the stagnating economy is taking a toll on support for his government. Russians’ average take-home wages adjusted for inflation have been declining since the Ukraine crisis in 2014, dropping 10 percent since then.

Analysts say it is no coincidence that protests have seeped out of the wealthy cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg to Russia’s far-flung provinces, which are feeling the economic pain more acutely.

The Russian budget fell into deficit during the pandemic last year, but in the first quarter of 2021 was again in surplus, buoyed by rising oil prices. This has provided Mr. Putin room for maneuver on populist policies before parliamentary elections scheduled for the fall.

Over the years, he has padded his speeches with populist announcements that are often repetitions or minor updates on long-running policies.

Russia, for example, has for years paid a bonus of around $10,000 to women for the birth of a child, a policy intended to help reverse Russia’s long demographic decline.

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