How Gov. Gavin Newsom is handling Russian sanctions and more.
Given the fast-changing situation in Ukraine and the mounting death toll, I’ll be using today’s newsletter to guide you through our coverage of the war as well as some stories with particular relevance to California readers.
On Thursday, top diplomats from Russia and Ukraine met for the first time since the invasion began, but failed to make even a hint of progress. Russian forces pushed farther into Ukrainian cities.
The other big stories, which are featured on today’s front page, tackle surging inflation, America’s two-front information war against Russia and China and President Vladimir Putin opening the door to nationalizing Western businesses.
The Times also wrote about how Russian sanctions are straining an already snarled global supply chain and why sanctions are an increasingly popular tool in foreign policy.
You can keep up with breaking news about Ukraine here, or sign up for a nightly email from The Times about the conflict.
And now for some stories that I think Californians should read:
A jarring photograph: The Times published a photo this week showing a family lying bloodied and motionless, killed by mortar fire outside Kyiv, Ukraine. (You can see the photo here, but be warned that it’s very upsetting.)
The Times profiled the family and interviewed the husband who lost his wife and two children, all depicted in the photo. As my colleague wrote, the image “encapsulates the indiscriminate slaughter by an invading Russian Army that has increasingly targeted heavily populated civilian areas.”
The woman killed, Tetiana Perebeinis, was an employee of a Palo Alto company called SE Ranking. Half of the company’s employees are based in Ukraine, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
“For me as her colleague it’s a tragedy to see those pictures,” Ksenia Khirvonina, the company’s spokeswoman, told The Chronicle. “They show that it’s real. On the other hand, they prove that (the) Russian Army and Putin himself are monsters who deserve no mercy for their doings.”
California reviews contracts in light of sanctions: Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered state agencies to terminate contracts with companies or individuals subject to U.S. sanctions because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, The Associated Press reports.
Newsom signed an executive order directing all state agencies and departments under his authority to review contracts and agreements valued at $5 million or more. He said the state should halt financial transactions with Russian entities.
Californians head to Ukraine’s front lines: Andrey Liscovich, a Harvard-educated tech entrepreneur, left his life in San Francisco several days ago to fight in Zaporizhzhia, his hometown.
Liscovich is one of a growing number of Ukrainians in the U.S. who have heeded President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call to join the front line against Russia. Fellow soldiers have nicknamed Liscovich “the American.”
“I’ve never held a gun, besides maybe a water pistol,” he said.
Read the full article from The Times on U.S. fighters bound for Ukraine. Many of the details, including Liscovich updating his will during his flight to Europe, are gutting.
This is how Americans describe the strain of life on the front lines of a changing climate.
Tax rebate: Newsom’s proposal to send Californians another round of government checks could help him balance the state’s budget, The Associated Press reports.
Catalytic converter thefts: State Farm said it paid over $23 million in 2021 for over 9,000 catalytic converter theft claims in California, almost 10 times the amount from 2019 KTLA reports.
Covid-19 emergency: Thirteen Democratic governors, including Newsom, asked the federal government to extend the country’s public health emergency declaration beyond its scheduled expiration in April.
College admissions scandal: A former water polo coach at the University of Southern California went on trial yesterday for his alleged role in the college admissions bribery scandal, The A.P. reports.
$15,000 in fuel: San Diego groups are planning a free gas giveaway amid the surge in prices, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Homeowners ousted: A group of homeowners near Yosemite National Park are expected to remove or surrender their mobile homes without compensation, The Fresno Bee reports.
Closed for camping: Nineteen R.V. campsites along the Morro Bay waterfront will close in April, The A.P. reports.
Federal charges: A former athletic trainer at San Jose State was accused of violating the civil rights of four women he was supposed to be treating for injuries.
Bay Area vaccine mandates: San Francisco and Berkeley will no longer require proof of vaccination for restaurants, gyms or bars after Friday, KQED reports.
People’s Park: The city of Berkeley and the University of California, Berkeley, plan to lease a hotel to provide housing for people who will be displaced by construction in People’s Park this summer, Berkeleyside reports.
Obituary: Sally Schmitt, the founder of French Laundry and a pioneer of California cuisine, died at 90.
Twelve wines from South America to drink now.
Today’s tip comes from Tyler Shaw, who recommends the rural city of Winters near Sacramento:
“I stumbled upon it on a road trip from the Bay Area to Redding, and was amazed. It has a gorgeous, historic, walkable downtown area, excellent restaurants and a brewery, and a long creek trail for hikes. It definitely has that ‘quaint small town’ feel that doesn’t feel fake or manufactured, which only a few places in California can really claim. Worth more than a stop, I’d spend an afternoon here and unwind.”
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
Over the next 15 months, the city of Berkeley is hoping to plant 1,200 to 1,800 trees in residential neighborhoods on the city’s west and south sides.
These lower-income, more diverse communities tend to lack tree cover, which can improve air quality and keep neighborhoods cooler in the summer.
City staff will work closely with residents to determine where and what to plant, Berkeleyside reports. There will be curated lists of possible trees to choose from.
“You get to pick what you think looks cool,” said Ian Kesterson, the city arborist. “There’s usually an evergreen option or deciduous fall color tree, maybe something with showy flowers. It is a public utility, but it’s also your thing. There’s a lot of emotional attachment to our trees.”
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back Monday. — Soumya
Briana Scalia, Mariel Wamsley and Geordon Wollner contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.
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