Monday, May 10, 2021
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Your Friday Briefing

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A day after President Vladimir Putin, in an annual state-of-the-nation address, rattled off a list of grievances against Western countries, Russia ordered some of its troops to pull back from the border with Ukraine, easing fears in Europe of a possible war.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had called the buildup a test of the Russian military’s readiness, said the units deployed to the border area had shown their capabilities and should return to their regular positions by May 1.

Russia intends to leave some armored vehicles in field camps near the border with Ukraine’s Donbas region. Satellite images have shown hundreds of trucks and tanks in the area.

Response: President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, who on Tuesday warned his country that war was possible, said he welcomed Russia’s move. He said it would reduce tension.

Related: Russia’s fraying relations with the West took a turn for the worse when the Czech Republic yesterday ordered the expulsion of as many as 60 Russian diplomats over a military-style sabotage attack on a Czech weapons warehouse in 2014.


President Biden announced a plan that would cut U.S. emissions at least in half by 2030, compared to 2005 levels, at a virtual climate summit yesterday. Canada and Japan also put forward new targets for reducing planet-warming gases.

Neither China nor India ramped up their climate goals. But China’s leader, Xi Jinping, said that his country — currently the world’s biggest greenhouse gas polluter — would “strictly limit increasing coal consumption” in the next five years, and would phase it down in the following five years, as part of its plan to reach net carbon neutrality by 2060.

Vaccines: 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.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

Vikki Dougan, above, was a model and an occasional actress whose toned, taut and impossibly shapely back made her, for one whirlwind year, a star. But after interest in her fetching backside waned, Ms. Dougan’s contract was not renewed, and the starlet seemed to disappear from Hollywood as quickly as she had arrived.

Now social media is here to rectify this injustice. “Maybe I’m having a resurgence,” she said from her home in a rent-controlled apartment building for older adults in Beverly Hills.

After an awards season of largely virtual events, the Academy Awards are returning on Sunday with a red carpet and an in-person ceremony. Watch some of the nominated films using this streaming guide. And movie buffs can test their knowledge of Oscars trivia or fill out a 2021 ballot.

Here’s what to watch out for (and our critic’s predictions.)

  • More diversity. This year’s Oscar nominations are the most diverse ever, with 70 women nominated in 76 categories and nearly half of the acting nominations going to people of color.

  • A historic directing prize? Chloé Zhao — the front-runner, who directed “Nomadland” — could become the first woman of color to be named best director, as well as the second woman ever. (The first was Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” in 2010.)

  • A posthumous honor? Chadwick Boseman, who died last year, is up for best actor for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” In his prediction roundup, The Times’s Kyle Buchanan writes, “It’s hard to imagine voters won’t seize their only opportunity to give one to Boseman for a flashy role that showcased the late actor’s immense range.”

  • A tossup for best actress. Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”) and Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) are all top contenders.

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