Monday Briefing – The New York Times

Congress narrowly averted a federal shutdown as the House, in a stunning turnabout, approved a stopgap plan to keep the U.S. government open until mid-November. The bill, which will keep money flowing to government agencies, does not include money for Ukraine despite a push for it by the White House and members of both parties in the Senate.

Both Democrats and Republicans said they were confident they could win money for Ukraine in the weeks ahead, but the failure to provide any funding in the bill was a reflection of diminishing Republican support for additional aid for Kyiv.

Its absence pointed to a potentially nasty fight ahead over funding the war effort, which comes on the heels of a visit to Washington by Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, to make the case for continued U.S. support. Congress has approved about $113 billion in aid since Russia invaded Ukraine, and President Biden has requested another $24 billion.

Quotable: “This bill is a victory for Putin and Putin sympathizers everywhere,” said Representative Mike Quigley of Illinois, the only Democrat to vote against the bill, who said he did so because it did not include aid for Ukraine. “We now have 45 days to correct this grave mistake.”

Robert Fico, a former prime minister who took a pro-Russia campaign stance, claimed victory in Slovakia’s parliamentary elections, a further sign of eroding support for Ukraine in the West as the war drags on and amid billions of dollars in military aid from the U.S. and the E.U.

The nature of Fico’s coalition government is unclear. He may lean toward pragmatism, as Italy’s far-right prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, has done since her election last year. Still, the shift in Slovakia is stark: It was the first country to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine.

Details: Fico took about 23 percent of the vote on a socially conservative platform that included stopping all arms shipments to Ukraine and placing blame for the war equally on the West and Kyiv.

Analysis: “The wear and tear from the war is more palpable in Central Europe than Western Europe for now,” said Jacques Rupnik, a professor at Sciences Po, a university in Paris. “Slovakia demonstrates that the threat at your door does not necessarily mean you are full-hearted in support of Ukraine.”

Poland, bitterly polarized on everything from relations with the rest of Europe to abortion rights, will hold a general election on Oct. 15 that will determine whether the right-wing nationalist Law and Justice party secures an unprecedented third consecutive term in government.

Ahead of that vote, huge crowds marched through Poland’s capital, Warsaw, as opponents of the governing party sought to rally voters for what they see as the last chance to save the country’s hard-won democratic freedoms. It was the largest display of antigovernment sentiment since Polish trade unionists rallied against communism in the 1980s.

In August, 18 Syrian asylum seekers crossing into Europe found themselves trapped between Greek police and wooded terrain being ravaged by a wildfire. They opted for the forests — and their messages to family members at home quickly stopped.

Even today, the father of one of the boys presumed to have died in the fire still holds out hope. “My heart tells me he is alive,” he said.

UEFA: European soccer’s governing body is facing criticism after it partially lifted a blanket ban on Russian teams.

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Taylor Swift: When the world’s most famous pop star shows up for an N.F.L. game, what’s a TV broadcast to do?

The new Steven Gerrard? After just eight games with Liverpool, Dominik Szoboszlai is being compared with Gerrard.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s achievements are almost fantastically improbable: An immigrant bodybuilder with a heavy accent became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, was elected governor of California, then settled into his present status as an elder statesman.

Yet Schwarzenegger believes his life and outlook can be a model for others, according to his new self-help book, “Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life.”

“I’m not guaranteeing anybody anything,” he told The Times in a recent interview. “What I’m doing is saying: ‘Look, everyone that I’ve talked with, that I’ve helped and reached out to, they learned from me the sky’s the limit. If you fail, [expletive] it. It’s not the end of the world.’”