Your Thursday Briefing: Frustration Mounts in Turkey

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with survivors in southeast Turkey, many of whom are homeless and waiting for aid.Credit…Photo by Adem Altan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Erdogan meets quake survivors

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 Ukrainian president met King Charles III.Credit…Pool photo by Aaron Chown

Zelensky’s surprise U.K. visit

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine thanked Britain for its robust military support. But in an address to Parliament in London, he issued a blunt demand for fighter jets.

On his second trip outside Ukraine since Russia’s invasion nearly a year ago, Zelensky received a hero’s welcome: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met him at the airport and he had an audience with King Charles III. (The president wore his signature military green sweatshirt at Buckingham Palace.)

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.

The State of the War

  • Zelensky’s U.K. Trip: President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine made a surprise visit to London, during which he met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain and addressed the country’s Parliament.
  • A New Offensive: As the war intensifies in Eastern Ukraine, doctors struggle to handle an influx of injuries and soldiers fret over the prospect of new waves of conscripts arriving from Russia.
  • A Bloody Price: In its new push in the east, Russia is relying on masses of troops to overrun Ukrainian positions. The strategy has come at a cost of hundreds of dead and wounded soldiers each day.
  • Leadership Shake-Up: President Volodymyr Zelensky’s political party will replace Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov. The expected move comes amid a widening corruption scandal, although Mr. Reznikov was not implicated in wrongdoing.

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’s State of the Union address focused mainly on domestic issues.Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times

‘Finish the job’

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.


Asia Pacific

The remnants of the balloon just off the coast of the U.S. on Saturday.Credit…Chad Fish/Associated Press
  • China has been sending balloons over military sites worldwide as part of a global surveillance program, according to U.S. intelligence.

  • Scientists in New Zealand found the fossil of the largest-known penguin. It weighed almost 350 pounds (that’s about 159 kilograms).


  • Microsoft is incorporating an A.I. chatbot into its Bing search engine in a new tech race with Google. Our tech columnist Kevin Roose tested Bing at Microsoft’s campus.

  • “Deepfake” videos of fictitious news anchors are spreading disinformation.

Other Big Stories

  • A bird flu outbreak in a mink farm in Spain suggests the virus can spread between mammals. Experts stressed the need for vigilance — but said not to panic.

  • Black and biracial people in England and Wales are significantly more likely to be prosecuted than white people arrested on comparable charges, according to a study.

  • One of the police officers charged with the murder of Tyre Nichols in the U.S. took a picture of him after he was beaten and sent it to five people, according to police documents.

A Morning Read

China consumes half of the world’s pork.Credit…Gilles Sabrié or The New York Times

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.


LeBron James with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Adam Silver after breaking the N.B.A. scoring record.Credit…Kyle Grillot for The New York Times

LeBron’s moment

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.


What to Cook

Credit…Caitlin Ochs for The New York Times

Raise a toast with a Roaring Twenties cocktail.

What to Read

“Lives of the Wives” explores the unhappy marriages of five famous writers.

What to Listen to

These 10 recordings serve as an introduction to Gustavo Dudamel’s conducting style.


Want a strong core? Stop relying on crunches.

Now Time to Play

Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: Neighbor of a Norwegian (five 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. — Amelia and Mariah

P.S. The Times added more than a million digital subscribers in 2022.

“The Daily” is about the police unit accused of killing Tyre Nichols.

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