Russian NYE Attack in Kyiv, Pope Benedict Lies in State: 5 Things Podcast

From today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Kyiv residents ringing in the New Year caught in Russian attack

Peace talks may still be a long way off as Russia hits Ukraine over the holidays. Also, Brazilian Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as president, 14 people died after the attack on a Mexican prison near the US border, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is in state at the Vatican, and listen some tips for improving your mental health in the new year with Tara Thiagarajan, founder of Sapien Labs, who creates tools to understand the diversity of the human brain and how it relates to cognitive and mental health outcomes.

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Hit play on the player above to listen to the podcast and follow the transcript below. This transcript was auto-generated and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be differences between audio and text.

Taylor Wilson:

Hello and good year. I’m Taylor Wilson and here are 5 things you need to know Monday January 2, 2023. Today, more attacks on the Ukrainian capital. Plus, tensions in Brazil as a new president takes office, and we look at how to take care of your mental health in the new year.

Kyiv residents celebrating the New Year were interrupted by air raid sirens and a series of missiles in what Ukrainian officials call a targeted Russian attack on civilians. Dozens of people were injured on New Year’s Eve when rockets hit the capital. Officials said two schools were also damaged, including a kindergarten. The latest attacks come after Russia targeted the country’s electricity and water infrastructure over the past week. This weekend, in his New Year’s speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised never to forgive Russia for its missile barrage. And he said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “hiding behind the army, behind missiles, behind the walls of his residences and palaces”. Zelensky also addressed Russia in his own language. Putin said last month that Moscow could be open to talks to end the war. But Ukraine and much of the West dismissed the comments, and US analysts said the end of the war does not appear near.

Brazilian Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as president yesterday.

[Music from Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s inauguration]

Lula, as he is known, takes office for the third time after defeating the re-election bid of far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro. He beat Bolsonaro in late October by less than two percentage points after his opponent spread doubts about the reliability of Brazil’s electronic voting system. Bolsonaro supporters have spent the month since questioning the election results and even lobbying for the armed forces to prevent Lula from taking office. There are fears of possible violence this week. Dozens of people tried to invade a federal police building in the capital Brasilia last month and burned cars and buses. And on Christmas Eve, police arrested a man who admitted to making a bomb heading for the airport in the same city. For his part, Bolsonaro fled the country and is currently in the United States, in Orlando. He faces several investigations in Brazil, including one related to his attacks on Brazil’s voting machines.

Fourteen people have died after an attack on a Mexican prison near the US border. 10 guards and four inmates were killed early yesterday morning when gunmen in armored vehicles attacked a state prison in Ciudad Juarez across the border from El Paso, Texas. In addition to those killed, 13 people were injured and at least 24 inmates escaped, according to the Associated Press. A riot at the same prison in August also spilled over to the streets of Juarez and left 11 people dead. Violence is common in Mexican prisons, where clashes between rival gangs and drug cartels regularly break out. Juarez’s latest wave of violence also comes as a surge of migrants has arrived in the city, amid recently dashed hopes that the US Title 42 migrant policy could end, easing asylum claims. in the USA. And Reuters reported last month that many of the migrants who arrived in El Paso were part of a group kidnapped in Mexico.

The body of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is now on display in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. As daylight dawned this morning, 10 white-gloved papal gentlemen carried the body past the main altar as thousands lined up to pay their respects. Security officials said they expected 25,000 people to watch the first day of viewing. The late pontiff retired as pope in 2013, becoming the first to do so in 600 years. He died Saturday at the age of 95. His passing came with a two-sentence announcement from the Vatican press office and without most of the traditional rituals for the passing of a pope. Benedict XVI’s funeral, scheduled for Thursday, will also likely be low-key. His passing has raised new questions about how to deal with retired popes in the future. It is unclear whether the current pope, Francis, will issue new protocols to regulate the office of a retired pope in the future.

Gyms are usually packed at the start of the new year with people trying to lose weight and get in better shape for the resolution. But what about mental health? Producer PJ Elliott spoke with Tara Thiagarajan, founder of Sapien Labs, which creates tools to understand the diversity of the human brain and how it relates to cognitive and mental health outcomes. She shares some tips on how people can improve their mental well-being in the New Year.

PJ Elliot:

Tara, thank you for joining 5 Things today.

Tara Thiagarajan:

Thank you. Thank you for hosting me.

PJ Elliot:

So I want to start with that. The onset of the pandemic has clearly put tremendous mental pressure on all of us, but that hasn’t seemed to go away with the ebb of COVID. I saw the Mental Health America statistic that almost 20% of adults suffer from mental health, which is about 50 million Americans. Why are we always so stressed?

Tara Thiagarajan:

One of the things we’ve seen where we struggle the most is in a dimension of mental health that we call the social self, which is how we see ourselves and how we we relate to others. Obviously that became a much bigger challenge during the pandemic, but it was something that was there before the pandemic, and I think the lockdowns and all of that just amplified that challenge.

And from our data, what we’re seeing is that lack of in-person social interaction is actually a really outsized predictor of your mental health, way more so than exercise, or sleep, or anything else that we really think are big challenges. with mental health. So I think one of the things that we haven’t fully appreciated is how fundamental our social interaction and membership in a social fabric really is to human well-being.

PJ Elliot:

Social media obviously gets a lot of blame for some mental health issues, and as its use continues to grow and more of us spend more hours online each day, many people, especially teenagers, are reporting feelings of anxiety and depression. Should we put our phones down more often?

Tara Thiagarajan:

Absolutely, absolutely. I think if you look at the statistics, we are online, on average in different countries, between seven and 10 hours a day. And what that means is that one is what it does and what the social media environment does to us. But on top of that, it also takes away so many things that are pro-wellness, which are getting out and spending in-person time with friends and family, exercising, being ‘outside, all the things we did before became addicted to the Internet. I think if we hang up the phone, we will have more time for all those things that will contribute to our well-being.

PJ Elliot:

Yeah, it’s scary because every Sunday I get these notifications that show my average daily phone usage and when it shows it’s over 10 hours a day, I’m like…

Tara Thiagarajan:

Yeah, it’s scary.

PJ Elliot:

…at some point, you just have to put the phone down and find something else to do.

Tara Thiagarajan:

Yes.

PJ Elliot:

Tara, I have one more question for you. For those who want to prioritize their mental health in the new year, what else would you recommend?

Tara Thiagarajan:

I think the first thing is to be bold and reach out to people because I think a lot of people sit around and wait for something to come along and make things right for them. I think if we don’t all make this effort to bring people together, rather than waiting for it to happen to us, everyone will be better off. I think the other thing that we consider very important in relationships is that those who have stronger friendships, stronger families, tend to do much better. And one of the things that I frequently see in today’s culture is how to get rid of family, how to get rid of friends, and everybody’s toxic, and so on. But I think the real challenge is how do we overcome the differences to build stronger relationships? I would say, reach out to someone you’ve had a disagreement with because no two people will agree on everything, and try to find your common ground and work out your differences , and I think everyone will be better off.

PJ Elliot:

Tara, great stuff. I thank you so much for doing this.

Tara Thiagarajan:

Thank you.

Taylor Wilson:

Thank you for listening 5 things. You can find us every morning right here, wherever you’re listening right now. I’m back tomorrow with 5 more things from USA TODAY.


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