Your Thursday Briefing


We’re overlaying the tough relationship between Russia and Belarus, and the U.S. strikes to rebuild its ties with the Palestinians.

Belarus’s diversion of a airplane heading to Lithuania so as to arrest a journalist onboard opened a brand new chapter in the region’s most convoluted relationship: the one between Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus’s chief, and President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

The two are more and more leaning on one another, although they’ve sharply diverging pursuits. Putin desires extra affect on Belarus, and Belarus’s chief desires an ever-tightening iron grip. Belarus is a rustic of simply 9.5 million folks, however for Putin, it’s each a vital ally and an unlimited headache. (For these catching up, here’s what’s happening in Belarus.)

Putin’s selection: President Biden will maintain his first face-to-face assembly with Putin in simply three weeks. The Russian chief must determine how far he’ll go to proceed supporting Lukashenko after the airplane fiasco angered the West, at a time when Russian officers have telegraphed that they wish to decrease tensions with the U.S.

Related: Russia has raised the warmth on Google, Twitter and Facebook in an online crackdown of criticism towards the federal government.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up a Middle East journey on Wednesday by which he met with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, in addition to leaders of Jordan and Egypt, after the trauma of the 11-day struggle between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza.

Blinken’s actions represented an try and revive America’s position as a impartial mediator within the battle — a pointy turnaround from the Trump administration’s alignment with Israel.

The strategy carries dangers: The Biden administration says it’ll assist finance an enormous reconstruction effort in Gaza however will work with the Palestinian Authority, which doesn’t have widespread affect there. Rebuilding ties with the Palestinians, which had been severed below the Trump administration, might pressure relations with Israel.

U.S. strikes: Blinken introduced that the U.S. would reopen a consulate in Jerusalem to deal with Palestinian affairs that had been shut by the Trump administration in 2019, and pledged $112 million in assist to the West Bank and Gaza.

The kids who had been killed: At least 66 kids had been killed in Gaza and two in Israel in the course of the newest flare-up. Here are their stories.


It’s the query athletes and spectators world wide have been asking for months.

The organizers of the Olympics stated final week that they’d entered what they known as “operational delivery mode,” one other clear sign that they’d plow forward towards the opening ceremony, set for July 23.

But the general public, distinguished enterprise figures and even the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, a companion of the Games, have come out against them, as a state of emergency continues to be in place in elements of Japan. The U.S. issued a high-level journey warning for the nation final week.

The newest voice of warning got here from public health specialists who wrote in a medical journal that the committee’s sport plan for athlete security didn’t go far sufficient to guard folks amid the coronavirus disaster and didn’t heed classes from different massive sporting occasions.

Dai Guihua wished for a greater life for her two kids and husband in Langtang, a Chinese mountain city. But then her husband vanished, his white automobile plunging right into a river, after they racked up steep medical payments for his or her daughter.

Twenty-two days after her husband disappeared, she walked to a pond and took her personal life, in addition to these of her son and daughter. Her story has turned a logo of the struggles of individuals in rural China left behind by the country’s economic boom.

Every weekday, I write this article from New York, the place I dwell, and right now, I needed to speak about the way it feels as the town begins to emerge from greater than a yr of illness, grief and isolation.

One yr in the past, I couldn’t have imagined the issues I’ve achieved up to now two weeks: bought a drink with mates on a bar patio in Brooklyn, went to a celebration, booked a ticket to see “Hamilton” on Broadway in October.

New York City feels completely different this month because it reopens. There was a time when you can scarcely imagine that any enchancment within the coronavirus numbers was going to final. For these of us who lived within the metropolis whereas it was a world middle of the pandemic, and heard ambulance sirens in any respect hours, it shifted our views of how a lot we could possibly be protected against any international risk.

My mates who lived by Sept. 11 right here have described an identical chill. They felt directly haunted by what they’d seen, and likewise a little bit bit hopeful about how they noticed everybody come collectively. And we did cling to a sliver of hope this previous yr: My neighbors cheered on well being staff, volunteered to assist folks in want, did grocery searching for the aged, and later helped them make their vaccine appointments.

But now, I really feel as if I have to be dreaming once I see mates at eating places, {couples} occurring dates and strangers smiling at me with out masks. Of course, it’s not all completely satisfied: There is an vacancy and a somberness for the many individuals who died. And for thus many, like susceptible folks with diseases and individuals who misplaced their incomes, vaccination has not been a fix-all.

Like each monumental shift, it’s bittersweet. But for now, I’m completely satisfied to listen to laughter within the streets, to speak about one thing apart from being overwhelmed and fearful, and to listen to folks planning for the longer term once more. There is hope in New York. — Melina

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