Your Wednesday Briefing

Muhammed Enes Yeninar, a 17-year-old earthquake survivor, was rescued on Tuesday.Credit…Ismail Coskun/Ihlas News Agency, via Reuters

Miraculous rescues in Turkey earthquake

Rescue workers in the earthquake-devastated city of Kahramanmaras pulled two Turkish brothers from the rubble after the men had spent about 200 hours trapped there, one of at least nine such improbable rescues. The pair had survived by rationing bodybuilding supplements, drinking their own urine and swallowing gulps of air, they said.

Relief organizations typically scramble to find survivors in the first 72 hours after a natural disaster, as over time signs of life become much more rare. In the past week, more than 35,000 Turkish search-and-rescue teams joined international workers to dig through the rubble, according to Turkey’s emergency management agency.

More than a week after 7.8-magnitude earthquake leveled towns, killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions in Turkey and Syria, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said it could reasonably be called the “disaster of the century.” The death toll now exceeds 40,000 across the two countries.

More aid to Syria: President Bashar al-Assad agreed to open more border crossings from Turkey — a first in the 12 years since Syria’s civil war began. Before the quake, only one crossing had been used for all of the U.N. aid flowing to the opposition-held side.

The balloon that a U.S. fighter jet shot down on Feb. 4.Credit…Chad Fish/Chad Fish, via Associated Press

‘Benign’ flying objects over the U.S.

Three unidentified flying objects shot down in the past several days might turn out to have been harmless, according to a top White House official. There was as yet no evidence that the objects were connected to China’s balloon surveillance program, though the debris had not yet been found, he added.

In a wild weekend, American fighter aircraft shot down three unidentified flying objects from Friday to Sunday: the first over Prudhoe Bay, Alaska; the second over the Yukon Territory of Canada; and the third over Lake Huron. The third object landed on the Canadian side of the lake, officials said.

The admission that the administration had more questions than answers about three of the objects prompted a fresh wave of frustration among U.S. lawmakers, who criticized not only the slow effort at recovering the debris but also the lack of clarity about what was floating overhead in the first place.

Theories: Aviation officials determined that the objects had not been operated by the U.S. government. One possible explanation for the objects, a White House spokesman said, might be that they had been operated by private companies or research institutes and were “therefore benign.”

Context: In the U.S. alone, the National Weather Service sends up around 60,000 high-flying balloons each year, and NASA runs a program from Texas that over the years has lofted more than 1,700 large balloons on scientific missions that can last for months.

Ukrainian officials have said that they are in dire need of shells for heavy guns. Credit…Nicole Tung for The New York Times

U.S. vows more ammunition for Ukraine

As Russia continues to make gains, particularly around the fiercely contested eastern city of Bakhmut, NATO defense ministers promised continued military support to Kyiv, whose forces are expending ammunition faster than allies can produce it.

The U.S. defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, said that Western nations were focusing on Kyiv’s “most pressing needs,” including training that could reduce Ukraine’s dependence on artillery fire. “We’re going to do everything we can working with our international partners to ensure that we give them as much ammunition as quickly as possible,” he said.

In Bakhmut, where much of the recent fighting has been concentrated, Ukrainian officials said yesterday that they were urging the civilians still in the city to leave, adding to signs that Kyiv might be preparing to retreat from a city it had defended fiercely for months.

Supplies: Ukrainian officials have said that they are in dire need of NATO-caliber artillery shells to work with allied-supplied heavy guns, as well as more Soviet-caliber ammunition for the T-72 tanks they already possess in large numbers.

In other news from the war:

  • Moldova briefly closed its airspace a day after its president accused Russia of plotting a coup.

  • A Times visual investigation found that a U.S. aid worker had most likely been killed by a targeted Russian missile strike and not by indiscriminate shelling.

  • A secretive network of at least five organizations is helping dissenters escape from Russia to avoid prison.


Around the World

Credit…Vincenzo Pinto/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s hard-right leader, has surprised many in Europe by showing a pragmatic streak since coming to power.

  • Indian tax agents searched BBC offices in the country weeks after its government had tried to quash a BBC documentary that was critical of the Indian prime minister.

  • The human rights chief of the E.U. border agency said that it should stop operating in Greece because of serial abuses of asylum seekers by Greek border guards.

  • A train derailment this month in a village in Ohio set off evacuation orders, a toxic chemical scare and a federal investigation.

  • For the coronation of King Charles III and Camilla, the queen consort will wear a crown that does not include the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which was taken from India in the 1840s.

Other Big Stories

  • The E.U. will ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting in 2035.

  • Nikki Haley is running for president of the United States. She’s the first Republican to challenge Donald Trump for the nomination.

  • Inflation in the U.S. slowed to 6.4 percent in January, down from 6.5 percent in December, but remains uncomfortably rapid.

  • Facing economic headwinds, social media companies have cut jobs on teams that were designed to fight misinformation.

  • The U.S. arrested three Americans in connection with the 2021 assassination of Haiti’s president.

Science Times

Credit…Thomas Suchanek
  • Cockatoos are only the third animal, besides humans and chimpanzees, known to select varying tools based on the task at hand (or beak).

  • For older people, increasingly left to protect themselves as others abandon Covid-19 precautions, the pandemic is not over.

  • Suicide rates in the U.S. increased in 2021 among younger Black, Hispanic and Native American people and declined among whites and older people.

  • In at least one orca population, mothers catch food for their adult sons and even cut it up for them.

  • There shouldn’t be a ring around this dwarf planet. So why is it there?

A Morning Read

Credit…Irene Servillo

We seldom talk about big, profound platonic love. Romantic partners gush about love at first sight; parents rhapsodize about meeting their babies for the first time. But it’s rare for friends to wax poetic about the instant they “fell” for one other — even though there’s definitely magic in that moment.

What if we celebrated that kind of connection more?


The soccer-mad couples who get married at their team’s stadium: The ceremonies can include specially embroidered shirts and the same “kickoff” times and anthems.

The stars lighting up the Champions League: As Europe’s elite teams return to action, our experts choose the players they cannot wait to watch.


Credit…Todd Heisler/The New York Times

An ode to the library

Libraries aren’t about silence anymore. They’re about versatility. The modern library helps people stay warm in the winter or cool down in the summer. It provides safety, entertainment, education, even hydration. You’re always invited, no reservation needed.

Last fall, The Times sent photographers to local libraries in seven U.S. states. They found toddlers trying to catch bubbles on the loose, grateful seniors enjoying deliveries of crime novels and teenagers strumming guitars together.

See the photos, and share your own memories.


What to Cook

Credit…Romulo Yanes for The New York Times.

This bistro-style blue-cheese steak and endive salad serves two.

What to Watch

“Jethica” is a gently appealing horror-comedy in which two women battle an unusually persistent admirer.


The 25 essential dishes to eat in Paris.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Impossible answer to the question “Are you lying? (three letters).

And here are today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha

P.S. Nicholas Kristof will interview Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., about Ukraine, at 3:30 p.m. Eastern today (8:30 p.m. in London). Here’s the link.

“The Daily” is about why the U.S. is shooting down high-flying objects.

You can reach Natasha and the team at

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