Continents Update

Your Wednesday Briefing

Russian lawmakers on Tuesday voted to raise the top age for military conscription, aiming to expand the pool of trained recruits who could potentially join the war in Ukraine.

If approved by the full Parliament, the measure would apply to the year of military service required of all Russian men. Starting next year, those ages 18 to 30 would be required to serve; currently, it is 18 to 27.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has promised that conscripts serving for a year would not be sent to Ukraine, but many are deployed on its border and could be called upon to sign contracts and be sent to battle.

When the conscription age plan was first announced by Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu at the end of last year, it called for raising the age of conscription and making the range 21 to 30. But last week, lawmakers made it 18 to 30.

Reaction: “This is an attempt to implement a plan for a protracted war of attrition, for which you need to replenish your resources faster than the enemy does,” said Dmitri Kuznets, who analyzes the war for Meduza, an independent Russian news website.

More news from the war:

Five weeks ago, China’s foreign minister, Qin Gang, was at the center of an important restoration of high-level diplomacy in U.S.-China relations: He shook hands with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in Beijing and accepted an invitation to visit the U.S.

Soon after, he disappeared from public view. Yesterday, he was replaced by the former foreign minister, Wang Yi.

His fate, the latest example of how secretive elite politics has become under Xi, has become a huge topic of speculation on social media, with many commentators focusing on his personal life and a potentially compromising relationship while he was an ambassador in the U.S.

Analysis: “The suddenness and opacity surrounding Qin’s dismissal demonstrates the volatility that has now become a feature of China’s political system under Xi,” an analyst told The Times.

Also on Tuesday, Pan Gongsheng, who oversaw one of the world’s biggest pots of money as the caretaker of China’s foreign reserves, was named the head of the country’s central bank.

Researchers in Denmark announced that a sharp weakening of the ocean currents that shape the climate around the North Atlantic, or even a shutdown, could be upon us by century’s end.

It was a surprise even to the researchers that their analysis showed a potential collapse coming so soon, one of them told The Times. They predict that the Atlantic circulation could collapse around midcentury, though it could potentially occur as soon as 2025 and as late as 2095.

Were the circulation to tip into a much weaker state, the effects on the climate would be far-reaching. Much of the Northern Hemisphere could cool, the coastlines of North America and Europe could experience faster sea-level rise, and the Sahel in Africa could receive less rain.

Also in climate news:

More than three years into the pandemic and with untold millions of people dead, mysteries still swirl about the virus’s origins.

Did it spill into humans from some unknown animal at a wholesale market? Was it engineered in a laboratory? And does it really matter?

The remarkable story of Linda Caicedo: The Colombia forward has performed impressively in her debut World Cup, at just 18.

Why do soccer field markings remain unchanged?: The sport continues to evolve, but there have been few changes to field layouts since the early 20th century.

Hungarian F1 driver rankings: Who impressed in the pack chasing Max Verstappen?

At the Chaotic Singles Party, held across the U.S., singles are invited to attend to meet other singles — but only if they bring a Tinder match, whom they do not know, as their plus one.

The host, Cassidy Davis, began the event series after a difficult time with dating in Los Angeles. On Valentine’s Day in 2022, she instructed her single female friends to invite random men from their dating apps to her house for a party. At the last minute, she also invited 65 men from Tinder for what turned into a “really fun party,” she said.

The parties offer welcome solace from using dating apps. Instead of swiping, people are trying speed dating, posting personal ads around their neighborhoods, soliciting help from a matchmaker or taking a break from dating all together.

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