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This is WNYC 93.9 FM and a.m. 8 20 NPR news and the New York conversation Live from NPR news in Washington I'm Dave Mattingly Ongoing concerns about Russian troop buildups near Ukraine's border are expected to be discussed this afternoon when President Biden speaks with Russian president Vladimir Putin NPR's Dave missed it says the call comes at Putin's request A White House official says the administration does not know why Putin wants the call It comes as the Biden administration demands Russia pull back tens of thousands of troops along its Ukrainian border U.S. officials say there have been no signs of deescalation and that they remain gravely concerned Russia has nearly 100,000 troops in areas near Ukraine's border Ghislaine Maxwell is facing the possibility of decades behind bars after a jury in New York City convicted her on 5 of 6 counts Jurors found Maxwell guilty of luring teenage girls to be sexually abused by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein During the trial four women testified they were victimized by Epstein and Maxwell as miners U.S. attorney Damien Williams spoke after the verdict was announced I want to commend the bravery of the girls Now grown women who stepped out of the shadows and into the courtroom their courage and willingness to face their abuser made today's result in this case possible Prosecutors say the abuse occurred at Epstein's homes in New York Florida and New Mexico This is NPR news from Washington And its doubly midway in New York at 5 32 a good Thursday morning 44 Apache fog light rain a slim chance of rain and a high of 50 today Delays this morning on MJ transit on main bargain county northeast quarter and Hudson Bergen light rail In the news governor Cathy hopeful says more than 6700 people were hospitalized with COVID across New York State as of yesterday of those more than 3000 are in New York City and the number that has doubled in the last week Locals said she hopes to avoid canceling elective surgeries on a statewide basis We do have cases where we had to stop elective surgery but we did not want to do that statewide because we know how crippling that can be for a hospital system As it stands hospitals must cancel non-essential elective procedures if their staff bed capacity drops below 10% as of Wednesday afternoon the state had not applied the band to any New York City hospitals Crime in New Jersey's largest city state flat this year new numbers from New York public safety show the city had three more homicides this year about a 6% increase from 2020 and a 10% rise from the record low rate in 2019 Mayor as Barack says Newark is not witnessing the sharp rise in homicides hitting other American cities but acknowledges that does not bring comfort to all residents You feel like you know this number can't represent you but this is clearly what the data is And we have to do our job and get into zero down in those neighborhoods and blocks that make sure you can actually feel what we're doing citywide Non fatal shootings increased by 13% in Newark this year according to the public safety division and citizen complaints of excessive force by police dropped by 44% Throwing confetti might seem simple You tell us colorful paper into the air and it flutters around before settling on the ground but organizers at the time's Times Square New Year's Eve celebration say it's always worth a test drive Jeffrey Strauss coordinates the event for the Times Square and lions He dumped buckets of confetti into the air during the annual confetti test yesterday The first test the confetti was going in the wrong direction down towards Harold square So we learned we had to throw the confetti down to make the confetti come up and then it was perfect The main event of course what happened on New Year's Eve with about 3000 pounds of confetti gets released at midnight A slim chance of mid afternoon rain cloudy and 50 a slim chance of rain by 9 o'clock tonight patchy fog otherwise cloudy and just around 48 or so Right now 44 with patchy fog light rain should end by 7 o'clock this morning It's double you might say at 5 34 Support for NPR comes from WNYC members and from the kresge foundation expanding opportunities in America's cities through grant making and social investing More at kresge dot org And yarl and Pamela moan thanking the people who make public radio grade every day and also those who listen It's morning edition from NPR news I'm Sarah mccammond And I'm Steve and Steve Good morning It's said that many people rarely talk by phone anymore People text or email or DM or whatever but that apparently does not apply to the presidents of the United States and Russia President Biden speaks by phone with Vladimir Putin today their second talk this month And Paris Charles maines is covering the story and I want to pause to know Charles is a familiar voice on our area has been for a while but he is now formally NPR's Moscow correspondent so Charles welcome aboard officially Wow thanks Steve Appreciate it It's announcing the privilege It's good to have your insights and what do you know about this call Well you know The White House announced the call only yesterday saint Putin had requested to speak with Biden the Kremlin spokesman here just confirmed that Putin thought the conversation was necessary and important to have They also confirmed the call take place quite late It's at three 30 in the afternoon in Washington but that's 1130 p.m. here The White House said they expected the two leaders would discuss a range of issues that includes upcoming diplomatic engagements I think that's another way to say they want to talk about efforts to defuse the situation around Ukraine and this build up of Russian forces there that has the U.S. fearing of an invasion and warning Russia of massive sanctions should it take military action Now if you're looking for hints as to how that will go Putin just posted a new year's message to the Kremlin website saying he was convinced that effective dialog with Biden was possible Is it better understood what Russia is aiming at when it puts troops on the border with Ukraine Yeah well fundamentally this is about Russia trying to essentially block a Ukraine's desire to move towards the west to thwart that Russia launched a proxy war in east Ukraine in 2014 This is where Russian backed separatists have this simmering war with the government in Kyiv But this latest Russian buildup seems to be a way for Moscow to force a conversation with the U.S. about something else which is NATO's presence along Russia's borders Putin aired these concerns what he's called his red lines in a video conference call with Biden earlier this month He spelled them out again at this annual press conference he gave last week let's listen in just a bit With this museum that means so here Putin says that any further movement by NATO towards the east is completely unacceptable to Russia and he argues the U.S. wouldn't tolerate it if the Kremlin was placing its military hardware near America's borders Now now the Kremlin says it wants security guarantees from the U.S. and it's spelled out conditions It wants no NATO membership for Ukraine and another former Soviet republic Georgia It says no military presence by NATO or weapon systems along countries bordering Russia and it wants NATO to pull back its military deployments from central Eastern Europe places like Poland and the Baltic states So at the core what Putin wants is to turn the clock back on NATO's expansion after the end of the Cold War and he's using the threat of an invasion of Ukraine to try and get it How does all of this look to the other NATO allies by which I mean Western European powers that are aligned with the United States but a lot nearer Russia Well certainly the eastern Europeans are not happy about this A lot of them look to NATO as a way to guarantee their security from Moscow's influence so of course they want a lot of the number of former communist governments taking over by the Kremlin in after World War II But I think in terms of what the Russian demands are you know is the question here is it a bargaining chip Are they trying to create a maximum stance and see what they can get Or is it an excuse to justify Kremlin military actions when and if diplomacy fails And Paris Charles maines is in Moscow thanks Thank you There is still a backlog of ships waiting off the coast of Los Angeles because of supply chain problems Those vessels in the bay are making the region's poor.

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