Your Monday Briefing: U.S. Destroys U.F.O.s

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada said that the flying object “represented a reasonable threat to civilian aircraft.”Credit…Blair Gable/Reuters

U.S. downs U.F.O.s

American fighter jets destroyed three flying objects over Michigan, Alaska and Canada, about a week after the U.S. shot down an unmanned Chinese balloon over the Atlantic.

U.S. officials said they shot down the latest object on Sunday over Lake Huron.

“I ordered the take down of an unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada wrote on Twitter. An American F-22 jet downed that object over the Yukon Territory on Saturday.

The day before, President Biden ordered another unidentified object to be shot down over waters near Alaska out of what a White House spokesman called “an abundance of caution.” Officials said they had not determined what the objects were, though they have issued private assurances that there is no evidence of extraterrestrial activity.

Context: Tensions between the U.S. and China rose after the discovery of the Chinese spy balloon in American skies about two weeks ago. China maintains that the object was a civilian weather balloon.

In China, authorities said they might soon shoot down an unidentified flying object over waters near the northern city of Rizhao, The South China Morning Post reported.

Rescuers carried a body from a collapsed building in Gaziantep Province in Turkey, on Sunday.Credit…Emin Ozmen for The New York Times

Turkey pledges to investigate contractors

Turkey vowed to pursue contractors linked to deadly building collapses after an earthquake killed more than 33,000 people there and in neighboring Syria last week.

The country’s justice minister told reporters on Sunday that 134 people had been detained on charges related to collapsed buildings. More than 24,000 buildings out of some 170,000 surveyed had been heavily damaged or had collapsed, its environment minister said.

Building experts are blaming inferior construction for at least some of the collapses, and Turkish engineers and architects are collecting samples of rubble from the quake zone that could be used as evidence.

Rescuers were still searching the rubble in Turkey on Sunday, and two people, including a 6-year-old boy, were pulled from ruins after having survived for about 150 hours.

Context: Turkey upgraded its building codes after an earthquake in 1999 killed more than 17,000 people, but experts said the codes were often ignored. One urban planner said that the problem was systemic and that targeting only contractors would not fix it.

Syria: Almost no aid has reached northern Syria because of the complex political situation that more than 12 years of civil war has created there. Some Syrians said the earthquake was worse than anything they had endured during the war.

Soldiers with the Free Russia Legion training this month near Kyiv.Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Russian, but fighting for Ukraine

The Free Russia Legion is a Ukrainian military unit made up entirely of Russians fighting, and killing, their own countrymen.

Russian soldiers said that before they could join the unit they had to undergo an extensive background check that included polygraph tests. Russian spies have repeatedly tried to infiltrate the Legion, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence service said.

Still, the Legion has earned enough trust from Ukrainian commanders to take its place in the Ukrainian military, and several hundred Legion members are now concentrated near Bakhmut, a strategically significant city in eastern Ukraine.

Motivation: The soldiers have taken up arms because of moral outrage, a desire to defend their adopted homeland of Ukraine or a visceral dislike of Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.

Quotable: “A real Russian man doesn’t engage in such an aggressive war, won’t rape children, kill women and elderly people,” said one fighter. “That’s why I don’t have remorse. I do my job, and I’ve killed a lot of them.”

What’s next: These maps show what the next phase of the war might look like.

More news of the war: The Wagner paramilitary group said it had captured a village near Bakhmut. Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner’s billionaire leader, has become a prominent public figure, raising questions about his political ambitions.


Asia Pacific

Gautam Adani, the chairman and founder of the Adani Group.Credit…M. Scott Brauer for The New York Times
  • The collapse of the Adani Group’s stock price has not devastated India’s markets.

  • Air New Zealand canceled dozens of flights as Cyclone Gabrielle bore down on Auckland, the country’s largest city, The Associated Press reports.

Around the World

Genaro Garciá Luna, once the public face of Mexico’s war on drugs, speaking in Mexico City in 2011.Credit…Alexandre Meneghini/Associated Press
  • The outcome of the drug-trafficking and corruption trial for Mexico’s former top security official will reverberate far beyond the courtroom.

  • In a first in the modern history of Germany, Berlin held a do-over for an election on Sunday after serious logistical problems led to the annulment of one in 2021.

  • A clash between fox hunters and activists laid bare arguments about class, tradition and town-versus-country that still fracture British society.

Other Big Stories

  • A study of two million births in California found that the death rate was much higher for Black babies, even when they were born to wealthy families.

  • The maestro Gustavo Dudamel finds himself at a crossroads as he prepares to lead the New York Philharmonic.

Super Bowl LVII

  • The Super Bowl, which will be played between two excellent teams with 16-3 records, is expected to be one of the closest in recent memory.

  • For the first time, Black quarterbacks lead both of the Super Bowl’s contenders. Jalen Hurts versus Patrick Mahomes will be a match of contrasting styles.

  • Find answers to your Super Bowl questions, including how you can watch the game, what to serve during it and when Rihanna will take the stage for the halftime show.

  • Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time. Follow The Times’s Live coverage here, and read more from The Athletic.

  • Excitement over the Super Bowl can allow us to overlook football’s danger, even after a defensive back nearly died on the field last month, writes our Sports of the Times columnist.

A Morning Read

Credit…Adali Schell for The New York Times

For teenagers in Los Angeles, a first car is an escape pod — a place of safety and a doorway to endless possibilities.

“It’s so interesting to be in charge. Like, oh, my God, if we want to go through the drive-through, we can go,” a 21-year-old said. “You want to smoke a cigarette in my car? You can smoke a cigarette in my car.”

Lives Lived: Master Hsing Yun built a global network of Buddhist temples that helped popularize the faith in China, whose government had long been hostile to religion. He died at 95.


Stemming population decline

There’s very little that a government can do to reverse a shrinking population. Most initiatives that encourage families to have more children are expensive, and the results are often limited.

Experts say the most effective efforts address social welfare, employment policy and other underlying economic issues. When Sweden expanded its parental leave in the 1970s, for instance, its fertility rate rose, and it remains one of the highest among advanced economies. But it has trended downward over the past decade, like those of most developed countries.

Still, China could learn from Sweden’s example. Housing subsidies, extended parental leave and increased funding for education and pensions could ease the burdens on young families. That could slow the shrink and even stave off an economic downturn.

Related: A Yale professor suggested “mass suicide” for Japan’s older people to address the country’s rapidly aging society. He later said his comments had been taken out of context, but they’ve pushed the country’s hottest button.


What to Cook

Credit…Mark Weinberg for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Yossy Arefi.

This chocolate soufflé cake is rich and pillowy.

What to Read

Three historical novels set in Italy, Scandinavia and Palestine.

What to Watch

In “Huesera: The Bone Woman,” a pregnant woman battles visions of a demoness.


Hypnosis is more of a mindfulness practice than a vaudeville act.

The News Quiz

How well did you follow last week’s headlines?

Now Time to Play

Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: A.F.C. athlete in Super Bowl LVII (5 letters).

Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Dan and Amelia

P.S. The word “depackagers,” used to define garbage-sorting robots, appeared for the first time in The Times yesterday, in an article about Phoenix’s preparations for the Super Bowl.

Start your week with this narrated long read about how women have been misled about menopause. And here’s Friday’s edition of “The Daily,” on how sports betting became mainstream in the U.S.

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