The New York Times from June 27 – July 3

From the SUNDAY MAGAZINE

John Grisham Is Still Battling His Southern Demons

“It was such a hard-right-wing, racist society that I grew up in. I’ve come a long way.”

June 27

Protesters clashing outside the Supreme Court yesterday.Shuran Huang for The New York Times

U.S. abortion fight shifts to new battlegrounds

A Supreme Court ruling on Friday that overturned the constitutional right to abortion has unleashed a frenzy of activity. Anti-abortion forces plan to push for near-total bans in every state in the U.S., while abortion rights groups have vowed to fight back in the courts and push the Biden administration to do more to protect abortion rights.
The court said its ruling on Friday was needed because of what it called a half-century of bitter national controversy sparked by Roe v. Wade, but its decision set off more immediate and widespread rancor and mobilizing than the original ruling — and guaranteed pitched battles and extraordinary division ahead.
Demand for medical abortion is rising, as abortion pills, already used in more than half of recent abortions in the U.S., are becoming even more sought-after in the aftermath of the ruling. They will most likely be at the center of the legal battles that are expected to unfold as about half the states ban abortion and others take steps to increase access.
Background: The decision is the culmination of a generational conservative campaign. Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, had laid out a methodical strategy decades ago to overturn the landmark ruling.
Outcomes: The ruling will very likely reduce abortion access most for lower-income women and Black and Hispanic women who lack resources to travel to obtain one.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany delivering remarks at the G7 summit yesterday.Kenny Holston for The New York Times

G7 leaders discuss more sanctions for Russia

Meeting in Germany this weekend, leaders of G7 nations said they would stop buying gold from Moscow and discussed a new American proposal to undercut its oil revenues. U.S. officials see the measures as ways to shrink key sources of revenue for Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine and further isolate it from the international financial system. Follow the latest updates from the war.
The session came as Russian forces rained missiles on Kyiv for the first time in weeks, hitting an apartment building and killing at least one person. The top three floors of the nine-story building were reported destroyed. Russia also escalated its use of cruise missiles across the country over the weekend, launching dozens of strikes. Track where the strikes were reported.
Speaking last night, Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, made a plea to the people of Belarus, whose military forces are conducting military drills near the Ukrainian border. “A lot now depends on the ordinary people of Belarus,” he said. “And I know that you can refuse to participate in this war. Your lives belong only to you, not to someone in the Kremlin.”
Gold: The metal is Russia’s second-most valuable export after energy products. Most of those exports go to G7 countries, particularly Britain, through the gold trading hub of London. Russia did nearly $19 billion in gold exports in 2020, almost all of it going to Britain.
Related: The war has hampered the fight against climate change as countries focus on finding fossil fuels — even coal — to make up for lost Russian oil.
Marine Le Pen, center front, alongside newly elected lawmakers from her party.Benoit Tessier/Reuters

France’s far right surges in parliamentary elections

A far-right party, the National Rally, triumphed in last week’s parliamentary elections in France, with a record 89 lawmakers elected. It came after Marine Le Pen, the party’s leader, was defeated in a second-round runoff in the presidential race by Emmanuel Macron, the incumbent.
Fueled by anger against Macron and enabled by the collapse of the traditional mainstream right, the results came as a shock even within the National Rally’s own ranks. “I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t surprised,” said Philippe Olivier, a special adviser to Le Pen, who described the results as “a tidal wave.”
For years, Le Pen has tried to sanitize her party’s image, project competence and put a softer face on her resolutely nationalist and anti-immigrant platform. The results now make it the second largest party in Parliament behind Macron’s party, which does not have an absolute majority.
Effects: For the first time since the 1980s, Le Pen’s party has enough seats to form a parliamentary group — the only way to get leverage in the lower house. National Rally lawmakers can now bring a no-confidence vote and use their speaking time and amending power to affect the legislative process, among a host of other new capabilities.

June 28

Some bakeries in Lebanon have been forced to close because wheat mills are lacking grain. Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

Sanctions on Russia worsen global food crisis

As the U.S. and Europe contemplate further sanctions to punish Russia for its war on Ukraine, there is growing concern that the fallout is fueling an alarming hunger problem that will not easily be reversed, amid a combination of rising energy costs and constrained exports from Russia and Ukraine.
Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, has embraced and exacerbated the crisis, blocking exports of food and grain from the region and using the shortages as leverage to get Western sanctions rolled back. The region’s critical role in the food supply chain has meant a cascading effect, sending global food prices soaring.
Even as the scale of the crisis became more apparent, leaders of G7 nations yesterday moved close to embracing an aggressive but untried plan to manipulate the price of oil, the largest commodity market in the world. The plan would allow Russia to keep selling oil to the world but would sharply limit the price.
By the numbers: Russia and Ukraine combined export about 30 percent of the world’s wheat and 75 percent of its sunflower oil. Cutting off those supplies has prompted other governments to block exports as nations try to stockpile goods.
Quotable: Janet Yellen, the Treasury secretary, said in April that the U.S. was drafting its sanctions with global food supplies in mind. “We reiterate our commitment to authorizing essential humanitarian and related activities that benefit people around the world,” she said, “ensuring the availability of basic foodstuffs and agricultural commodities.”
In other news from the war:
  • The trial for Brittney Griner, the W.N.B.A. star detained in Russia on drug charges, is set to begin on Friday.
The Russian Central Bank headquarters in Moscow. Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Russia defaults on its foreign debt

Russia missed a deadline for making bond payments on Sunday, its first default on international debt in more than a century, after Western sanctions thwarted the government’s efforts to pay foreign investors. About $100 million in dollar- and euro-denominated interest payments failed to reach investors within a 30-day grace period after a May deadline.
The default was prompted by widespread Western sanctions that sought to seal Moscow off from global capital markets after its invasion of Ukraine. Yesterday, Russia’s finance ministry said that it had made the payments in May but that they had been blocked from reaching bondholders by a Brussels-based financial clearinghouse.
News of the apparent default shows “just how strong” international sanctions against Russia have been, a senior U.S. administration official said, highlighting the “dramatic” effect on Russia’s economy.
Analysis: “We can expect Russia to stick to its alternative narrative: ‘The default isn’t a default, we tried and it isn’t our fault,’” said Tim Samples, an expert on sovereign debt, adding that Russia also hadn’t submitted to jurisdiction in foreign courts.
What it means: The default will linger in investors’ memories and will probably push up Russia’s borrowing costs in the future. But Moscow’s finances remain resilient even after months of war, and Russia continues to receive a steady influx of cash from sales of oil and gas.
Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion campaigners demonstrated outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Monday.Shuran Huang for The New York Times

The fallout from Roe v. Wade

The U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade has led to a coast-to-coast wave of lawsuits, legislation and pitched political fights. In roughly half of the states, conservatives have moved to end or substantially restrict reproductive rights. Liberals in about 20 more are scrambling to preserve them.
In conservative states attempting to ban abortions as swiftly as possible, the legal battles are accelerating. Abortion rights advocates are coalescing around a strategy of asking courts for temporary injunctions that allow abortions to proceed in the short term. Judges in Louisiana and Utah temporarily halted their states’ trigger laws, allowing abortion clinics to remain open for now.
States that support abortion rights moved yesterday to shore up their protections. In California, a supermajority of state lawmakers placed a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to explicitly protect abortion rights for the state’s 40 million people.
Analysis: “It’s all about the states from here on out,” said Jessie Hill, a law professor who has worked on abortion rights cases. “We can fantasize about federal solutions to this issue or nationwide settlements of the abortion question, but I think that after Dobbs, I don’t see a lot of possibilities at the federal level.”

June 29

President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, third from left, shaking hands with Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general.Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters

Turkey relents on Sweden and Finland

Turkey agreed to lift its veto on Sweden’s and Finland’s joining NATO, clearing a major diplomatic hurdle. Today, at a summit in Madrid, the alliance will formally invite the two countries to join. Here are live updates.
The Madrid meeting comes after the Group of 7 summit in Germany, which concluded yesterday with a fledgling and untested plan to seek price caps on Russian oil. Leaders also announced that they would spend billions more on food security, seeking to counter shortages caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
President Vladimir Putin also traveled to meet with allies, heading to Tajikistan before a meeting with leaders of Central Asian countries in Turkmenistan today — a potential bulwark against his isolation from the West. It was his first trip abroad since the invasion, and a show of confidence.
Fighting: The death toll from a Russian missile strike on a crowded mall in central Ukraine rose to 18, the city’s mayor said. Russia unleashed a fresh round of strikes yesterday, killing at least eight more civilians. Communication breakdowns are still proving fatal for Ukrainian soldiers.
India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the G7 meeting. He is trying to position India as the voice of poorer nations, arguing that sanctions hurt developing countries the most.
What’s next: At the NATO summit, Western leaders are expected to announce more military funding for Ukraine and the deployment of more forces in Eastern Europe. Tomorrow in Moscow, Putin plans to meet with President Joko Widodo of Indonesia.
Cassidy Hutchinson testifying on Tuesday.Doug Mills/The New York Times

‘They’re not here to hurt me’

Donald Trump demanded to join the mob as it approached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, even as the riot was underway, a former White House aide said yesterday in testimony before the House committee investigating the attack.
Trump knew the crowd he had amassed in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, was armed and could turn violent, but he wanted security protections lifted, said Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Mark Meadows, Trump’s final chief of staff.
Hutchinson paraphrased the former president’s objections to the presence of magnetometers to detect weapons: “‘You know, I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f-ing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the f-ing mags away.’”
Hutchinson also testified that Trump had tried to grab the steering wheel of the presidential limousine from a Secret Service agent when he was told that it was not safe to go to the Capitol. Here are live updates.
Details: Meadows and Rudy Giuliani sought pardons from Trump after the riot, Hutchinson testified.
Rage: Inside the White House, Trump threw dishes, splattering ketchup on the wall, after learning that his attorney general had publicly shot down his false allegations of a stolen election, Hutchinson said.
Analysis: “This is the smoking gun,” said one expert, who told The Times that Tuesday’s hearing had established a case for Trump’s criminal culpability on “seditious conspiracy charges.”

The aftermath of Colombia’s Civil War

Colombia’s national truth commission called on Tuesday for a sweeping transformation of the country’s armed forces that would refocus the military around respect for human rights and international law.
The recommendations are part of an expansive report that was the product of the 2016 peace deal between the FARC and the government. The work, which took nearly four years and involved more than 14,000 individual and group interviews, was designed to tell the most comprehensive narrative yet of Colombia’s long and brutal internal conflict, which lasted at least 58 years.
Other proposals included moving human rights violations and crimes committed by the police out of the military criminal justice system and into the civilian system, eliminating compulsory military service and evaluating the military budget with the goal of reducing its size.
The background. The Colombian conflict began as a war between the government and the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC. It eventually evolved into a complex battle involving the government, the FARC, paramilitary groups and the U.S. government. The conflict cost hundreds of thousands of lives, and billions of American dollars were spent helping the Colombians fight the insurgency and the drug trade that funded it.
Next steps. The report is not a judicial measure, and the commission will not issue sentences or penalties. Instead, the truth commission is meant to establish a common truth and “lay the foundations for the transformations necessary to make peace possible.”
Challenges. The rise of armed groups is threatening to tear Colombia apart again.

The Indian authorities arrested Mohammed Zubair, a prominent Muslim journalist and a critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on charges of inciting religious disharmony.

June 30

More than 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers in the city of Mariupol surrendered to Russian forces in mid-May, after fighting from their base in the bunkers of the Azovstal steel plant for months.Associated Press

Ukraine and Russia swap prisoners

Ukraine announced the largest prisoner exchange since Russia invaded, saying 144 soldiers were being returned to Ukraine, including dozens who had fought in the siege of Mariupol. The same number of Russian and pro-Russian personnel were returned.
The exchange came as NATO formally extended membership invitations to Finland and Sweden yesterday, clearing the way for what would be one of the alliance’s most significant expansions in decades. President Vladimir Putin of Russia, at a summit in Central Asia, played down the significance of the expansion.
At the summit in Madrid yesterday, NATO leaders also outlined a muscular new vision, positioning Moscow as its primary adversary. NATO’s secretary-general also announced plans for new deployments of thousands of troops to eight countries on the alliance’s eastern flank.
Details: The fate of Mariupol’s last fighters has long been one of the most sensitive issues of the war. When the Ukrainian government issued a surrender directive to more than 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers hiding under a steel plant last month, it vowed to do all it could to ensure that they would be returned home.
Fighting: Russia is methodically gaining ground in eastern Ukraine as it dispatches more troops in an effort to seize the last patch of sovereign Ukrainian territory — a stretch of about 20 miles — in Luhansk Province. The U.N. has documented at least 3,924 Ukrainian civilian deaths in the war.
Analysis: For the first time, NATO also declared China to be a strategic “challenge.” The plan signifies a fundamental shift from the post-Cold War era, when the alliance saw Russia as a potential ally.
Week after week, hundreds testified in a giant Paris courtroom built to accommodate more than 500 people.Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

Convictions in Paris attacks

Twenty men were convicted yesterday for their roles in a coordinated spree of shootings and bombings in November 2015 that killed 130 people in and near Paris.
The only living attacker, Salah Abdeslam, was sentenced to life in prison. Other defendants, who stood accused of intending to take part in the attacks or of providing various degrees of logistical help to the attackers, were found guilty of almost all charges against them.
Abdeslam was one of 10 Islamic State extremists who targeted the Bataclan concert hall, an area outside France’s national soccer stadium and the terraces of cafes and restaurants in central Paris. The massacre was the worst Islamist terrorist attack in French history.
Questions remain after the 10-month trial, but victims’ family members and survivors praised the justice system. “I have made peace with not having truth,” a teacher who escaped the Bataclan said.
Context: The trial served as a catharsis for some survivors and families of victims, many of whom testified during five emotion-filled weeks about the devastating physical and psychological aftermath and the difficult road to recovery.
Analysis: The massacre deeply traumatized France. It continues to shape national debates over French identity, the place of Muslims in a country that identifies itself as secular, and the balance between individual liberty and collective security.
Crowds gathered to bring Kanhaiya Lal Teli’s body to cremation. In a video, he can be heard screaming for his life.Reuters

A killing in India seeds unrest

Religious unrest is spreading in India after two Muslim men filmed themselves killing a Hindu, who they said had insulted the Prophet Muhammad. The men then filmed themselves gloating and threatening Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The video has spread quickly across India, heightening concerns of violence as the schism between Hindus and Muslims in India deepens. Yesterday, the incident led to protests in the state of Rajasthan, where the attack occurred.
In response, the authorities arrested the men on terrorism charges and shut down Rajasthan’s internet. The government also deployed its counterterrorism force, saying it was “immensely concerned” because the men had threatened Modi.
Background: The events that led up to the killing of Kanhaiya Lal Teli, a Hindu tailor, began last month when a spokeswoman for Modi’s party made insulting remarks about the Prophet Muhammad. Two Muslim men were killed at a protest calling for the spokeswoman’s arrest.
Details: Teli had posted a WhatsApp status in support of the spokeswoman, which the police said had led Muslims to file a complaint against him. Teli then filed his own complaint, citing death threats. A few days later, he was killed.
Officials said that at least 53 people died from extreme heat inside the tractor-trailer.Lisa Krantz for The New York Times
  • A tractor-trailer carrying more than 50 dead or dying migrants passed through a U.S. immigration checkpoint without being inspected, a top Mexican official said yesterday.
  • The Philippines again ordered the news organization Rappler to shut down. The outlet’s co-founder, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, vowed to appeal.

July 01

Outside the Supreme Court after the ruling yesterday. Anna Rose Layden for The New York Times

New limits on the E.P.A.’s authority

The U.S. Supreme Court limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s powers to restrict carbon emissions from power plants.
Combined with a worldwide energy crunch and intraparty politics, the ruling makes it nearly impossible for President Biden to achieve his climate goals. Experts said the ruling would make it mathematically impossible for him to keep a campaign promise to cut U.S. pollution in half by the end of the decade.
The 6-to-3 decision comes at a time when experts are issuing dire warnings on climate change. In a dissent, the court’s three liberal justices said the decision had stripped the E.P.A. of “the power to respond to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.”
Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, only glancingly alluded to climate change. Instead, Roberts argued that Congress had not given the E.P.A. sweeping authority to regulate the energy industry. Here are live updates.
What’s next: The implications of the ruling could extend well beyond environmental policy and make it easier for business owners to challenge numerous regulations.
Immigration: The Supreme Court also sided with Biden’s efforts to end the so-called Remain in Mexico program, a Trump-era policy that requires migrants seeking asylum to wait in Mexico while their cases are heard.
Legacy: Ketanji Brown Jackson has become the first Black woman to serve on the court. She is replacing Justice Stephen Breyer, who formally retired today.
Snake Island, off the Ukrainian coast in the Black Sea.Satellite Image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

Russia withdraws from Snake Island

Russian troops have withdrawn from Snake Island, a tiny but strategic outpost in the Black Sea, after repeated assaults by Ukrainian forces. Here are live updates.
The development is a setback for Moscow’s forces. Just a week ago, the Kremlin bragged about repelling a Ukrainian attempt at retaking the island.
Ukraine’s control of Snake Island could undermine Russia’s blockade of vital shipping lanes for grain in the Black Sea, which has raised the cost of food and created the likelihood of shortages and even famines in some countries. Still, there was no indication that the Kremlin was prepared to allow safe passage of Ukrainian vessels leaving the port of Odesa.
Diplomacy: At Group of 7 and NATO summits this week, Western leaders presented a unified front against Russia. But energy costs are soaring, Western publics are weary, and leaders failed to describe the war’s endgame.
U.S.: President Biden said that the country could face higher gas prices for “as long as it takes” to defeat Russia, a risky statement as midterm elections near.
Russia: President Vladimir Putin has begun presenting himself as a patient, calm leader, a stark shift from his wartime crisis mode.
China: Beijing accused NATO of “maliciously attacking and smearing the country” and “provoking confrontation” after the alliance’s leaders announced an assertive new vision that, for the first time, cast China as a strategic “challenge.”
A moment of silence in Brussels after the terror attacks in 2016.Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

More convictions in Paris attacks

A Belgian court yesterday found 10 people guilty of providing assistance to the Islamist terrorist group that killed 130 people in and around Paris in 2015.
The verdict in Belgium came a day after 20 men had been convicted in Paris over their roles in the same attacks — a series of shootings and suicide bombings at the Bataclan concert hall, in an area outside France’s national soccer stadium and on the terraces of cafes and restaurants in central Paris.
The defendants in Belgium — 13 men and one woman, including two who were tried in absentia, as they are presumed dead — were not tried in France because they were suspected of having lesser roles in the Paris plot and faced lesser charges.
Abid Aberkane, one of the main suspects, was found guilty of giving shelter to Salah Abdeslam — his cousin and the sole surviving member of the team that carried out the Paris attacks — and one of his accomplices. Aberkane was sentenced to a three-year suspended prison term.
Analysis: The attacks in Paris and Brussels exposed European failures to share intelligence, secure borders and address a dangerous mix of criminality and radicalism in despondent immigrant neighborhoods upon which Islamist extremists preyed.
Looking ahead: The Islamic State network that carried out the Paris attacks also struck in Belgium several months later, in March 2016, with suicide bombings at the Brussels airport and in the city’s metro that killed 32 people. Ten men accused of involvement in the Brussels attacks are scheduled to be tried in October, including several who were convicted in Paris on Wednesday.

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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