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Chinese universities are sending students home as the ruling Communist Party tightens anti-virus controls and tries to prevent more protests after crowds angered by its severe “zero COVID” restrictions called for President Xi Jinping to resign in the biggest show of public dissent in decades. With police out in force, there was no word of new protests in Beijing, Shanghai or other major cities. Some anti-virus restrictions were eased in a possible effort to defuse public anger following weekend protests in at least eight cities. But the ruling party affirmed its “zero COVID” strategy, which has confined millions to their homes. Universities cited the need to protect students from COVID-19. But dispersing them to far-flung hometowns also reduces the likelihood of more activism.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his NATO counterparts are gathering in Romania to drum up urgently needed support for Ukraine, including deliveries of electrical components for the war-torn country's devastated power transmission network. Ukraine’s grid has been battered since early October by targeted Russian strikes. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is trying to use winter as a weapon of war against Ukraine.” Tuesday's meeting in Bucharest is likely to see NATO make fresh pledges of nonlethal support to Ukraine; fuel, generators, medical supplies, winter equipment and drone-jamming devices.