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Your Thursday Briefing: Frustration Mounts in Turkey

todayFebruary 8, 2023 2

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During his first visit to the disaster zone, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey tried to reassure survivors of the devastating earthquake that the situation was under control. But as people wait for aid, their anger is mounting.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which killed more than 12,000 people in Turkey and Syria, has left many more homeless. In Kahramanmaras, a city near the epicenter, Erdogan met with people sheltering in tents as temperatures hovered around freezing. He acknowledged that rescue efforts had been hampered by damaged roads and airports.

In hard-hit areas across southern Turkey, many residents have waited in vain for government help. Frustration with the government’s response could hinder Erdogan’s re-election campaign.

A difficult rescue: Some residents are digging for children with their bare hands. There have been some miraculous rescues, but time is running out for trapped survivors in one of the deadliest natural disasters this century.

“It is trauma on trauma, it is heartbreak on heartbreak,” a UNICEF spokesman said.

Here are live updates and photos. Here’s how you can help.

The British government has so far resisted calls to send Ukraine fighter jets, concerned that it could put NATO in direct confrontation with Russia. Still, Sunak announced that Britain would train Ukrainian pilots to fly NATO-standard jets, and signaled he was open to eventually sending planes.

Ukraine, for its part, is already paving its runways with asphalt, so F-16s can land safely. Zelensky presented the speaker of the House of Commons with a helmet of a Ukrainian pilot that had a message written on it: “We have freedom; give us wings to protect it.”

MH17: A Dutch-led investigative team found “strong indications” that President Vladimir Putin decided to supply the antiaircraft missile system that Russia-backed separatists used to shoot down a Malaysia Airlines jet above Ukraine in 2014.

President Biden did not unveil any big proposals in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. Instead, Biden — at 80 the oldest president in U.S. history — gave a speech that framed his argument for an expected re-election bid in 2024.

Biden listed his administration’s accomplishments and pledged to “finish the job,” a barely veiled argument that voters should give him a second term. His performance could help assuage doubts about his vigor as a campaigner.

While he mostly focused on domestic issues, Biden mentioned China’s leader, Xi Jinping, by name, repeating that he sought competition, not conflict, with China — but he never mentioned the spy balloon.

The closest he came was this warning: “Make no mistake, as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did.”

Here are the main takeaways from his speech.

A 26-story building located on the outskirts of Ezhou, in central China, is being hailed as the world’s biggest free-standing pig farm.

The farm stands as a monument to China’s ambition to modernize pork production. But one researcher said hog towers exacerbate the biggest risk facing the country’s pork industry: disease.

Lives lived: Mukarram Jah, the last ceremonial monarch of Hyderabad in India, later fled to Australia to become a sheep farmer. He died at 89.

When LeBron James entered the N.B.A. at 18, no one thought he would overtake Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the league’s all-time leading scorer. It didn’t seem like anyone could.

But on Tuesday night, James scored the record-breaking 38,388th point that had eluded generations of superstars. He did it at 38 years old, an age when most players have retired. His longevity is one key to the record — but so are 3-pointers. Abdul-Jabbar scored just one 3-pointer in his career. James has hit thousands.

Read more about the big night, how James did it and what it felt like to watch.

Related: Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record may have been broken, but his legacy of activism and his expansion of Black athlete identity endure.

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