Your Thursday Briefing

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

Belarus’s diversion of a aircraft heading to Lithuania with the intention to arrest a journalist onboard opened a brand new chapter within the area’s most convoluted relationship: the one between Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus’s chief, and President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

The 2 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 infinite headache. (For these catching up, right here’s what’s taking place in Belarus.)

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

Associated: Russia has raised the warmth on Google, Twitter and Fb in a web-based crackdown of criticism in opposition to the federal government.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up a Center East journey on Wednesday wherein 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 warfare between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza.

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

The method 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 have been severed beneath 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 Financial institution and Gaza.

The youngsters who have been killed: At the very least 66 kids have been killed in Gaza and two in Israel in the course of the newest flare-up. Listed below are their tales.

It’s the query athletes and spectators around the globe have been asking for months.

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

However the public, distinguished enterprise figures and even the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, a accomplice of the Video games, have come out in opposition to 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 well being 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 language mountain city. However 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 grew to become an emblem of the struggles of individuals in rural China left behind by the nation’s financial increase.

Each weekday, I write this article from New York, the place I reside, and at this time, I needed to speak about the way it feels as the town begins to emerge from greater than a 12 months of illness, grief and isolation.

One 12 months in the past, I couldn’t have imagined the issues I’ve performed up to now two weeks: acquired a drink with pals on a bar patio in Brooklyn, went to a celebration, booked a ticket to see “Hamilton” on Broadway in October.

New York Metropolis feels completely different this month because it reopens. There was a time when you would scarcely consider 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 heart of the pandemic, and heard ambulance sirens in any respect hours, it shifted our views of how a lot we could possibly be shielded from any world risk.

My pals who lived by way of Sept. 11 right here have described the same chill. They felt without delay haunted by what they’d seen, and likewise a bit bit hopeful about how they noticed everybody come collectively. And we did cling to a sliver of hope this previous 12 months: My neighbors cheered on well being employees, volunteered to assist folks in want, did grocery purchasing for the aged, and later helped them make their vaccine appointments.

However now, I really feel as if I have to be dreaming once I see pals at eating places, {couples} happening dates and strangers smiling at me with out masks. After all, it’s not all joyful: There’s an vacancy and a somberness for the many individuals who died. And for therefore many, like weak folks with diseases and individuals who misplaced their incomes, vaccination has not been a fix-all.

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

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