Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times
We cover the difficult relations between Russia and Belarus, and the United States sets out to rebuild its ties with the Palestinians.
Belarus plane crisis is a new headache for Putin
Belarus’ hijacking of plane bound for Lithuania to arrest journalist on board opened a new chapter in the region’s most convoluted relationship: that between Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Poutine.
The two are increasingly relying on each other, although they have very divergent interests. Putin wants more influence over Belarus, and the leader of Belarus wants an ever-tighter iron grip. Belarus is a country of only 9.5 million people, but for Putin it is both a vital ally and a huge puzzle. (For those catching up, here’s what’s happening in Belarus.)
Poutine’s choice: President Biden will hold his first face-to-face meeting with Putin in just three weeks. The Russian leader will have to decide how far he will go to continue supporting Lukashenko after the plane fiasco angered the West, at a time when Russian officials have telegraphed that they want to reduce tensions with the United States.
Related: Russia has turned up the pressure on Google, Twitter and Facebook in an online crackdown on criticism of the government.
US seeks to rebuild ties with Palestinians
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded a trip to the Middle East on Wednesday where he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Jordanian and Egyptian leaders, after the trauma of the 11 one-day wars between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza.
Blinken’s actions represented an attempt to rekindle America’s role as a neutral mediator in the conflict – a sharp reversal in the Trump administration’s alignment with Israel.
The approach comes with risks: the Biden administration says it will help fund a major reconstruction effort in Gaza but will work with the Palestinian Authority, which does not wield broad influence there. Restoring ties with the Palestinians, which were severed under the Trump administration, could strain relations with Israel.
American movements: Blinken announced that the United States would reopen a consulate in Jerusalem to handle Palestinian affairs that had been closed by the Trump administration in 2019, and pledged $ 112 million in aid to the West Bank and Gaza.
Children who were killed: At least 66 children were killed in Gaza and two in Israel in the latest outbreak. Here are their stories.
Will the Tokyo Olympics be held?
This is the question that athletes and spectators around the world have been asking themselves for months.
Organizers of the Olympics said last week that they had entered what they called the ‘operational delivery mode’, another clear signal that they would be heading to the opening ceremony, scheduled for July 23. .
But the public, prominent business figures and even the Games partner Asahi Shimbun newspaper have spoken out against them, as the state of emergency is still in place in parts of Japan. The United States issued a high-level warning to the country last week.
The last warning voice came from public health specialists who wrote in a medical journall That the Athlete Safety Committee’s game plan did not go far enough to protect people amid the coronavirus crisis and ignored lessons learned from other major sporting events.
Dai Guihua wanted a better life for her two children and her husband in Langtang, a Chinese mountain town. But then her husband disappeared, his white car plunging into a river, after racking up high medical bills for their daughter.
Twenty-two days after her husband disappeared, she walked to a pond and committed suicide, along with those of her son and daughter. Its story has become a symbol of the struggles of people in rural China left behind by the country’s economic boom.
ARTS AND IDEAS
New York is coming back
Every day of the week I write this newsletter from New York where I live, and today I wanted to talk about how I feel as the city begins to emerge from over a year of sickness, heartache. and isolation.
A year ago, I couldn’t have imagined the things I have been doing over the past two weeks: had a drink with friends at a bar in Brooklyn, went to a birthday party, booked a ticket to see “Hamilton” on Broadway in October.
New York City feels different this month when it reopens. There was a time when you could hardly believe that any improvement in the coronavirus count was going to last. For those of us who lived in the city when it was a global pandemic center and heard ambulance sirens around the clock, it changed our perspective on how we could be protected from anything. global threat.
My friends who experienced 9/11 here described a similar cold. They both felt haunted by what they had seen, and also a little optimistic about how they saw everyone coming together. And we clung to a silver lining this year: My neighbors cheered on health workers, volunteered to help those in need, ran errands for the elderly and then helped them pick up their appointments for vaccines.
But now I feel like I must be dreaming when I see friends at a restaurant, dating couples and strangers smiling at me without a mask. Of course, not all is happy: there is a void and a gloom for the many who have died. And for so many people, such as the vulnerable with disease and those who have lost their income, vaccination has not been a silver bullet.
Like every monumental change, it’s bittersweet. But for now, I’m happy to hear laughter in the streets, to talk about something other than being overwhelmed and scared, and to hear people again planning for the future. There is hope in New York. – Melina
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